“From award-winning documentary filmmaker Arthur Cauty, comes Faces of Mental Health, a short film which challenges stigma and encourages open conversation around mental illness and suicide in young people.
Students in Bristol were offered a space to open up and share their thoughts and personal experiences of mental illness and suicide, with a view to encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds across the country and around the World to step forward and speak out.”
It’s on vimeo, and definitely worth a watch and a share!!
What is disconnecting? Is it when you detach with love? Terminating a relationship? Isolating yourself? Unplugging an electrical device? Is it rejection? Not having a bond with something or someone?
Many times, people assume that someone who is disconnected find themselves in a difficult and challenging place to be. This can definitely be true, but what if disconnecting can be healthy and form a different connection?
When I have felt disconnected to the people, places, and things that help me stay sane, I start to get pretty down. I start feeling each of my insecurities creep into my mind and heart to convince me that I either don’t deserve the connection, or that it’s lost because of me.
Being disconnected can be very dangerous for my recovery and overall wellness – mentally and physically – however, it can also be extremely helpful, when used the right way; when I disconnect in order to connect.
One way I do this is by going to the beach and I shut out my thoughts and ground myself by using all of my senses to connect with the beach. I’ll disconnect my phone, my racing thoughts, my rapid heart rate, my loved ones, my responsibilities and allow myself to be vulnerable so I can connect to the calmness that the beach brings me. When I do this often, I’m able to balance the other connections in my life and have the strength to mend the disconnections in my life that I’m unhappy about.
Another way I’ve been disconnecting to connect is by getting to a quiet place, getting on my knees, and closing my eyes to start praying. I’m disconnecting any distraction so that I can build my spiritual connection. When I do this, I’m able to stabilize my emotions and welcome healing.
I’ve also been disconnecting electronics. I have been actually for once turning my phone on complete silence – no vibrate, nothing. When I do this, I’m able to enjoy the moment I’m in and be more in that moment. Sometimes, the moment is simply being alone. Sometimes I disconnect with others because I’m taking time for self-care. I’ve been realizing lately how important self-care really is.
This tool that I’ve learned and put into practice has had amazing benefits:
-the symptoms of my anxiety and ptsd have been more manageable
-I am able to take full advantage of EMDR Therapy
-My self-advocacy skills have increased tremendously
-I feel more empowered
-I feel confident in my ability to say no
-tasks are less pressuring and overwhelming
How will you disconnect to build a connection? What does that look like for you?
What are you proud of from 2018?
Hey guys! It’s 2019!
Pretty cool, kinda.
Some people seem to really care about New Years, it signifies a time to reflect and commit to change. Other people think it’s BS. And some don’t really care too much!
However you feel about New Years, it’s always good to reflect on time that’s passed and recognize strides that you have made.
My favorite quote when I was in the midst of a lot of struggles was,
“I may not be where I want to be but thank God I’m not where I used to be”
We don’t have to leap from ditches to mountain tops to recognize our power and strength. And sometimes it’s not even steps that deserve recognition, sometimes it’s staying right where you are, because it can be really hard to not fall backward, and good enough is good enough.
This New Years Eve, I laid in bed next to Willow while she slept and realized the changes that occurred over the past year. I thought about the pain, fear, and excitement I felt, and how hopeless I was at times. I realized how far I have come by looking back for a few moments. And it felt good, and it made me feel proud of myself. And I didn’t feel bad saying that.
So, what are you guys proud of from 2018?
I’m proud of myself for starting school, taking the leap to “real” employment and beginning the process of getting off of disability and SSI, moving, admitting to myself and a few friends that I was depressed, sticking with my path even when it was scary and painful and uncertain, trying every day to be a good mom, working hard, getting certified as a SMART recovery facilitator, Recovery Coach, and a Recovery Support Specialist, starting the path to getting my licence, and beginning to throw away things that I don’t need.
Let’s congratulate each other on our success in being here, even when it’s really hard work.
Recovery Month Videos
We want to see your videos for Suicide Prevention and Recovery Month! Check out Eliza’s video of why she fights for recovery and post yours here! We will share them on our facebook and twitter (if you want!)
World Breastfeeding Week
This Week is World Breastfeeding Week.
Breastfeeding has been a major part of my life for the last 17 months. Since the day Willow was born, and to this day, I have breastfed her.
Whenever, wherever, and for whatever reason, I have responded to my beautiful child’s wants and needs in the most natural and intuitive way physically possible; by breastfeeding.
This journey has taught me many invaluable lessons about both myself and my relationship with my daughter. Becoming a mother is a transformation. It’s a journey, and my own transformation is something I have talked about many times on my blog.
Before Willow was born, when asked how I was going to feed her (formula or breastfeeding) I said I would breastfeed, and thinking back I don’t remember why exactly, other than it seemed the only option- at that time primarily for financial reasons. As I learned more and more about what my journey would entail and about why people breastfeed I began to realize that I was truly making the best decision for both myself and my daughter.
The beginning was hard. It was more than hard.
Willow had a really bad latch. I was tired, depressed, lonely, in an un-supportive and abusive relationship, and essentially alone. Willow wanted to eat over and over again. And for long stretches of time. It seemed as soon as she finished she was hungry all over again. I was not myself, my body did not belong to me, and I was so so unbelievably exhausted. I cried a lot. I fell asleep sitting up at night, holding willow and would wake up terrified but thankful she was still in my arms, nursing. I left Willow latched even when it hurt (mistake) because I just wanted her to eat and fall asleep. I made many mistakes, and was confused about so much.
I had so much room to grow and learn but often felt so hopeless and alone, I would just blindly go forward, unknowing of what laid ahead. But I wasn’t alone. I joined Facebook groups. I talked to friends of mine who breastfed, or wish they did. People commended me, they validated me, and one person in particular (who was with me from early in my pregnancy, there when my daughter was born, and after) who educated me and supported me consistently and oftentimes when I needed it more than anything else. And I kept going, even though there were times I felt desperate to stop, perhaps for just a day, or a moment, or a night- to share the vast responsibility of growing, birthing, and feeding this small amazing person who brought me to my knees and changed my life.
Then, incredibly, and like many other aspects of motherhood, it got easier. Not immediately, and not overnight, but slowly and surely and then suddenly. Suddenly, breastfeeding was the easiest part of motherhood.
Suddenly, my confidence in myself and my ability as a woman and a mother was incredibly affirmed and increased. I am amazing, I made it through long enough to reach a place of ease in something I once considered giving up. I set goals, and wandered through, eyes closed and arms outstretched. Even when I fell into pits, and found my way out. And when giving up was an option I kept going.
I remember, hoping, wishing, to make it, to not give up. Reasoning that I would make it to at least 6 weeks, then at least 3 months. And then, it was just a part of our life. An amazing, incredible, and valuable part of our life. Now, at seventeen months strong, I can say with confidence that we are going as long as my daughter finds comfort and need in breastfeeding – even if its years and years from now. And I will never feel shame for lifting my shirt in public to feed and comfort my child.
And one day, she wont need or want to nurse. But that day is not today, and I hope that it is not tomorrow. But if it is, and when it is, I will be there, holding her hand, and we will forever have the bond that began in my womb and continues to grow every single day.
Uncomfortable, For Now.
**I posted this blog on March 23rd, and accidentally deleted it while editing** Repost**
March 23rd, 2018
I hate where I live.
Yesterday, as a group, we were told that we would be on lockdown. For three weeks. Three weeks trapped in the house, being punished for the actions of the other women I live with. I feel angry, so incredibly angry. And I want to scream and be juvenile; I feel the strong urge to act out, show them how stupid and senseless this is. But I am trying so very hard to resist this urge. I am reminding myself that what is most important, is my daughter, and her wellbeing. I am going to remind myself that she will not realize how unhappy I am unless I show her. But I am struggling.
I live in a shelter, and I am constantly being judged based on the assumption that I have wound up here by some wrong-doing I have committed. In reality, I came here as a result of domestic violence.
I lived in my own apartment, paid my bills, and had a savings account. And then my relationship changed. Or maybe it didn’t really change, maybe I just woke up one day. My awakening happened so gradually that I rejected each sign that I should leave. And when I tried to look at it, it was only for a moment.
Slowly, the savings account disappeared. My belongings were taken or broken. I was convinced that my friends and family were horrible and no good for me. And I was no good, too. I was promiscuous, crazy, a druggie. I flirted with everyone I spoke with. Said too much, was so embarrassing and stupid. Dramatic. I was so lucky to be loved by him and would never be loved by anyone else. I was so hard to love, I wasn’t too likeable. He was special for putting up with me. And sometimes, I was a good mom, I tried my best, even though I was usually still bad. I was good company sometimes. I believed it all, and never questioned it.
He handed me a mask, and I taped it to my face without any thought. At some point, I forgot it was just a mask. Then I realized I was unhappy, and as I realized one thing was off, it all suddenly came slamming down in front of me.
And then something scary happened. It wasn’t the first time. But it pushed me out, I had been looking for a good excuse to leave anyways, but this was a reason to run. And so I did.
I looked back a lot at first. And now, months later, I feel happy. I’m feel proud. I am beginning to feel like myself again. I still see him, talk to him, I still think of him as my friend, sometimes I think maybe I love him. Sometimes I hate him, so much. But things feel weirdly normal, and I am ok.
I cannot wait to leave this place, this dark angry place. This shelter is hard to be at. But I remember that nothing lasts forever.
I remember staying up late at night, crying, laying next my sleeping baby because I felt so trapped. And I wanted to escape, and get out but I didn’t know how and I didn’t even know if I had the right to feel that way. And then, slowly but suddenly, I did. I set my intention, and I left. And I know that nothing lasts forever, and that is especially true for things that are painful and uncomfortable.
Life is not supposed to be good always.
And it is not bad always, and it won’t be. One day soon, Willow and I will wake up in our own bed, in our own home and we will be happy and comfortable and at peace.
(My beautiful Bear a few months ago around Christmas)
Stages of life
This week I have been thinking a lot about the different stages in my life.
Luz posted something on the forum about changing your expectations of yourself, and reaching goals you may have never thought yourself capable of. She talked about what her life used to look like, and how she once did not believe she was capable of achieving “normalcy”. That made me think a lot about my past; where I’ve come from, where I’ve gone, where I’m at now. And most importantly, how I got there, and here. What did it take to go through each age and stage of my life? Where did I go (both good and bad) that I never imagined myself going? How did it change me?
Then today something else happened that hurled me years and years into my past.
I met someone- well didn’t meet, more met again. When I introduced myself she instantly remembered me- we were roommates and friends in the hospital together when I was 12.
That was over ten years ago, and the first time (of over 15) I was put in a psychiatric hospital. At that point in my life, it was one of the most profound experiences I’d ever had. So much happened in those 7 months (it was technically 3 separate stays, but with only a few days of being discharged in between) that shaped and transformed me.
I cannot help but find myself entombed in thoughts and memories. Reminiscing about a time in my life that was both incredibly painful, scary, and difficult; but also comfortable, safe, and sometimes even very happy. These memories are similar to falling in a rose bush. I’m surrounded by beautiful flowers, and covered in wounds. I feel a small light in my stomach, but enclosed within a deep pit full of sadness.
And then I begin to think about what happened after I left the hospital.
From there my life fell apart. From there my journey with mental illness began; and has not ended since. And from there I grew and changed in many ways- both good and bad.
From memories of my first hospitalization, come painful memories of all that ensued afterward; essentially my entire family falling apart both separately and together over a period of 5 years. What each tragedy encompassed. How it felt, and I don’t just remember the feeling, I experience it.
I am once again a 14 year old girl stuffing 200 pills down her throat.
Then, I am 16 years old, saying “no” to a 24 year old man, who was too high to listen. I am 17 years old and waking up from a coma after a suicide attempt I don’t remember making, because all the seizures that resulted from it damaged my memory. Again and again I am experiencing the traumas I left behind years ago.
And it’s like being beaten with a bat. I cannot catch my breath enough to beg for it to stop.
Where am I in time and how do I find my way back here?
How do I accept all that’s happened and the place I’m at now when all I want to do I reject it and bury my mind in a deep pit of sand?
It’s so strange how things continue to change at such a rapid pace. It’s all the time and we have no say as to whether or not it happens. Against our will we are under a constant transformation that will only cease to exist when we do.
How do I swallow the fact that I once wanted to die? That many times I tried to kill myself? That I hurt myself every day for years? How do I move forward knowing at one time in my life I would cry thinking about how much I hated myself? And that at one time I was a teenager and watching my life crumble before me; terrified and powerless.
I ask how do I do this because really, it wasn’t that long ago. And really, I’m still the same person.
Except now I have a daughter and life and set of responsibilities that I was never supposed to have. I was never supposed to be here. I don’t think I ever planned on being 22. Yet against my own will, transformations occurred. And somehow, without my knowledge or consent, I began to get better.
What about the times that that old, familiar dark place seems most comfortable?
It’s funny how small things can begin large, unmanageable spirals. Like hearing a song, or smelling something vaguely familiar. And how simple things, like writing this blog post can begin to bring me back into realignment- even if it’s without my consent or intent.
I come back to a place of normalcy where I remember that sadness is not safety. And that I’m no longer a child, and no longer without control or power.
And most importantly, I am responsible for a little girl. Who needs me and wants me. And it’s my job to be there for her, and be good to her. And I promise to her, and myself, and the entire universe that I will not fail her and I will always try as hard as I can to be what she needs.
Petite, But Mighty
I’ve been thinking a lot about the way I am perceived by others, as any 23-year-old woman would. My brain wonders a lot of the time which sides of me people see. I wonder if they are the sides of me that I also see, or if the rest of the world has their own preconceived notion of who I am. I wonder if people see me as the woman I see myself.
Last week, we had a conversation in the office regarding our experiences as young adult women. These thoughts have been on my mind for the last few days, and I’ve come here to share them with you.
Society has taught women for ages to accept the way we are treated, to look pretty, to be gentle and soft-spoken. We are expected to behave a certain way. We are expected to dress, act, live in a way that must be conducive to the gender stereotypes that society has created for us. Women are expected to comply.
I won’t let society’s expectations of me determine who I am and who I am meant to be.
Reigning at an inch above five feet, I am small. I am small, but I have so much to say. So much that you need to hear. I am compelled to tell other women (that I love and care for) how much they mean to the world. I need you to know that you do not have to conform to the standards that the world has set for us. You do not need to keep quiet. Speak your mind. Dream the biggest dreams possible. Be brave. Be kind. As a woman, you have the world at your fingertips. You have the ability to make the world a wonderful and gracious place.
Take a look at these incredible women (and men, too!) breaking the stereotype, fighting for their rights and for the rights of women, and people, everywhere.
It’s easy for me to sit here and tell you to go out there and change the world. It’s easy to want to change the world. However, it’s hard to actually do it. It’s hard to be a world-changer as a 23 year-old woman from a uniform town, not knowing what the whole world outside of your bubble looks like. I am trying to learn what I can about the world outside of my bubble. My inquisitive side is asking questions. I am taking steps to educate myself and others about things the rest of the world doesn’t want to talk about.
So take a minute right now- breathe in and breathe out. Think of the ways you will be able to make this world a better place. Think before you react. Let a little bit of that fiery spirit into your life and be the world-changing woman that I know you are.
Disclaimer: the idea for this post did not emerge out of the resent that fuels my opinion that men’s deodorant is being developed better than women’s deodorant. Probably.
Live Through This
As a survivor of suicide, sometimes it’s hard for me to not think about it again…and again. In the past, I’ve thought about what I did wrong that failed my attempts and what I could have done to succeed (what my other alternatives were).
Today, I am focusing more on what I am doing to better myself so when I do have suicidal thoughts, I don’t act on them. It’s a very difficult thing to do, but it is possible!
I have also tried thinking more about what my purpose is here on Earth. Now that I’ve been through this, it’s my turn to give back to prevent this from happening to someone else.
I came across this amazing blogger (Dese’Rae L.Stage) who shared her story about going through a very difficult time while staying in an abusive relationship. When Dese’Rae’s depression consumed her, she hit rock bottom and attempted suicide. After her failed attempt this is what she did: “I’ve collected the stories and portraits of attempt survivors across the country, people just like you and me, and I’m finding that the louder I yell, and the more people I convince to yell with me, the more we inch toward breaking down those walls of stigma and shame, and the easier it becomes to just live through this.”
Out of all of the survivors, the person who I felt connected to and who expressed very similar thoughts of survival was Tile Celeste.
She talks about her rethinking process after her attempt. She needed to figure out what part of her was worth holding onto. She says: “I started figuring out who I wanted to save: the Tile that I didn’t want to be gone.”
Which person do you feel most connected to? Who stood out?
Check out the project here: Live Through This
or here ->>>>> http://www.refinery29.com/2015/09/82628/live-through-this-suicide-attempt-survivors#slide
TurningPointCT.org was developed by young people in Connecticut who are in recovery from mental health and substance use issues. We know what it’s like to feel alone, stressed, worried, sad, and angry. We’ve lived through the ups and downs of self-harm, drugs and alcohol, and the struggle to find help.
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