Well, I’ve been blogging right at five months now and have over 3,400 views I just established a Twitter account and a Facebook page and will be expanding on that in the months to come. The audience keeps growing; I have gained in visitors every month since October and have 33 WordPress followers so far.
I’ve completed the second draft of a manuscript of a book since working on the blog–I hope in another six months to be able to start looking for an agent after I have a solid track record with the blog. I’ve met some amazing people along the way–readers and commenters who are learning about bipolar disorder and those who are living with it as well. I thank each and every one of you for the support you’ve been giving me the past few months. I feel like I’ve finally found my audience and people to whom my writing means something. That is a great boon to a writer to know that someone is reading and cares about what you put out.
As far as my condition goes, I seem to be stabilizing a bit from earlier in the year. The obsessions have all but disappeared. I go back to my counselor in April and will get her take on how I’m holding up. I still have some challenges to work through–the end of the school year is always crowded with events and places to be and things to do. I’m going on a two-day blog hiatus starting tomorrow since I’ll be on a field trip with my youngest daughter to Chattanooga, Tennessee. That is a milestone in itself–I once thought I couldn’t travel without Bob because I was scared of being away from home and having an episode. But I see this trip as another step in my recovery. So wish me well on this trip and I’ll be back Friday!
I graded papers last night and this morning and am a little discouraged. Enough people got them right that I know that I taught the material adequately, but enough people got them wrong that I despair for their collegiate future if they don’t straighten up and fly right. This phenomenon is the frustrating thing about teaching. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get through to some people. I hate handing out F’s. Especially when it’s on a technicality that I have no choice about. Very sad episode here.
But today is a new day and “I will rejoice and be glad in it”! I have another chance to hammer everything home to them for their research papers. Wish me well!
Well, it’s off to another dance competition, this one local. Both my younger ones are in this one, so that’s going to be all right. Not nearly the pressure of the last one. My oldest came home yesterday but goes back this morning since we’re going to be gone most of the day–she didn’t want to just sit around the house and wait for us to get through. 🙂
I wrote in January that I was having a procedure done to help me with my periods. It seems that it has failed. A week after my post-op checkup, I started bleeding again and have been having cycles about every week and a half. When I first brought it up, I was told to wait it out and see if it got better. The second time I called about it, I was put on another birth control pill to try to regulate it. Now I’ve been bleeding for a week ON the birth control pill and so I am going back to my doctor this morning.
So please pray that a) she’ll take my concern seriously, b) that she can come up with something to regulate this, and/or c) God will heal me so I don’t have to have further surgery. Thanks and you all have a wonderful day!
I just saw on my stats where it looks like someone is taking the time to read the whole blog again–31 views with only three visitors. That doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it makes me feel really good about what I am doing with this blog. I want to reach out to people with my story, It’s as simple as that. I’m not into monetizing or making so much a “career” out of blogging as I am making sure that my message of hope goes out to people who often have very little of it. I do hope to attract an agent with my blog and publish a book with a traditional publisher because that would give my story even more reach. But I’ve already touched more people with the blog than I ever thought possible before I started. And that makes me feel good about continuing it.
It’s therapeutic to feel like I have a purpose outside myself again. I had a similar one while I was writing freelance–I wanted to write stories that inspired people—whether writing about a notable personality or some who simply overcome great obstacles, I was right there with a story to document it if I found out about it. That purpose guided my freelance work throughout my career. I think it’s important to have a purpose outside yourself so that you can fulfill whatever God put you on earth to do. So that’s why I blog. Keep reading!
For some reason, I do not want to do class today. The temptation is strong to just have them read out of the book aloud and cover the material that way. I don’t tend to do things like that, but I’m just tired of teaching right now. I don’t know if It’s because we’re moving into the research paper, or if it’s a general malaise with teaching itself, or if I’m getting down on everything in general.
I’m so tired. I just want to go back to bed and sleep. I did that yesterday and got up around nine something. I didn’t feel any better; I never do. I just feel heavy and tired virtually all the time. I still have two months left in my dangerous season and wonder if I’m going to get through it or not this year. I just feel like I’m stumbling along. I’m excited about the possibilities with NAMI, and I’m still very positive about how things are going here blogging. I’m hoping to add Facebook and Twitter accounts next month and see how that goes. But otherwise I feel a bit directionless.
I know this is depression talking, but it’s still the way I feel right now. Pray that someday soon it will lift and I can partake in life more than I’m able to do right now. Thanks for all the comments and encouragement.
So the training began early Friday morning. We met at a local church; there were five of us there for the training and two trainers, Marci and Monica. The other participants were from Oxford, Hattiesburg, Gautier,and another girl from Brandon. (It was all women). We introduced ourselves and afterward watched Marci and Monica do a sample presentation from their own experiences.
We then worked through the presentation in sections. Each section of our presentation can only be three minutes long. We did Introduction, Dark Days, and Acceptance the first day and Treatment, Coping Skills, and Successes, Hopes and Dreams the second day. Each of us got up and practiced our presentation for each section. We also have a DVD to play during the presentation and so learned how to manage that.
Each section presented it’s own difficulties for me. My story is so long and drawn out that I can’t hardly condense it down to three minutes–I wound up shorting it considerably and talking too fast to try to get it all in during such a short time. During the Dark Days segment, I concentrated on the year before I had my first big breakdown. Acceptance consisted of me telling about coming to Jesus and finally accepting that there was a reason for me to have this disease even through I did not know what it was at the time. In Treatment, we talk about medication ad therapy without endorsing specific medicines. In Coping Skills we talked about what we did to manage day-to-day. I talked about prayer, a low-stress life, my bogging, and my church activities. And in Successes, Hopes, and Dreams, I talked about how coping daily was a success and that I hopes to one day be able to share my story in a book.
My main goals in improving my talk are to slow down, speak more extemporaneously, and be as open as I can about my problems. So I plan to practice and see what I can do to improve in those areas. It was a very enjoyable training–Marci and Monica made it fun even though the subject matter is very serious. I talked to the executive director of our local group, and she said she would go ahead and start trying to line up places for me to speak. So I am looking forward to that. Wish me grace in the places I go that I can get my message across and tell my story in a way that helps people.
I thought I’d start off discussing my training this weekend by discussing NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to Americans affected by mental illness. Begun in 1979, NAMI has become the one of the nation’s leading voices on matters pertaining to mental health.
NAMI’s mission is four-fold–education, advocacy, listening, and leading. .NAMI’s education programs are available throughout the country to ensure families, individuals, and educators get support and information about mental illness. NAMI works to shape national policy for people with mental illness and their families and provides volunteer leaders with the tools, resources and skills necessary to advocate for mental health in all states. The toll-free NAMI HelpLine allows it to respond personally to hundreds of thousands of requests each year, providing free referral, information and support–often a lifeline to many. NAMI’s awareness events and activities, including Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), NAMIWalks and other efforts, combat stigma and encourage understanding, and NAMI works with the media constantly to make sure America understands how important mental health is.
NAMI advocates for all who are affected by mental illness, both the individuals and the people in their lives. Their advocacy efforts have led to many victories including securing better funding for the National Institute of Mental Health, protecting access to medications and other treatments in Medicare and Medicaid, and most recently, attaining mental health parity to ensure that mental illness is treated equally to physical illness in most insurance plans
Across the country, trained NAMI volunteers bring programs to a variety of community settings, from churches to schools to NAMI Affiliates. These programs and support groups provide free education, skills training and support. One of these is NAMI In Our Own Voice, a presentation for the public to promote awareness of mental illness and the possibility of recovery. This program is also available in Spanish, En Nuestra Propia Voz de NAMI. This program is the one I trained for this past weekend. It consists of a multimedia presentation of what it is like to live with a mental illness. Each In Our Own Voice presentation features two speakers, people who suffer from a mental illness, and allows them to speak their experience with mental illness and how it changed their lives. I learned how to be a presenter and how to speak to different audiences on all aspects of mental health.
Next time I’ll talk about the training in detail–be sure to tune in!
Headed to day two of training for NAMI’s “In OUr Own Voice” program without much time to blog about yesterday. I’ll fill you in on the full details of the training starting Monday when I talk about NAMI and what it’s all about. Think about me as I write my presentation materials and learn how to interact with the multimedia format.
So today I have my first session of NAMI training,. I am excited but nervous. I’ve spoken openly about bipolar disorder but usually hidden behind a magazine cover or a microphone, never getting up in front of people and talking about it. My early experiences talking to people did not go so well (witness what I’ve written earlier on the blog). But now I feel very confident that I can get the message cross that you can learn to live with this disease and that it doesn’t have to ruin your life. So pray for me to learn all I can these next few days.