Sunday, May 7, 2017

The year of the Jen...that's a thing right?

I've been gone from home for 2 weeks. I got to spend time with staff members at the Crisis Text Line. It was magical to hang with them face to face, collaborate on ideas, and have my mind blown about automation. I have always been afraid of automating things, but Assaf, one of our engineers, opened my mind to all the things. I’m no longer afraid and feel I can be a dreamer of many ideas now. It’s bizarre. 

I’m in a new place in life, and my mind is so open to new things, new ideas and new perspective of life. It’s odd. I’m not one for change. I like my little happy world, but I’m seeing my world grow and expand to new heights. What’s up with that??
After the staff retreat I was able to travel to the American Association of Suicidology conference in Phoenix, AZ. I was there to work the booth for Crisis Text Line and to present the newest product that we will be launching soon. I’m so proud of being with Crisis Text Line. I just passed my 2 year mark with them as a full time employee. Being part of the this organization and giving me hope and strength to share so much about myself. I was able to share for the first time in my life publicly, my suicide attempt. I shared it in front of 250 people. That’s nuts. It’s something I kept quiet for so many years. 22 to be exact. AAS 2014 was the year I saw it’s okay to talk about it. Power houses like Misha Kesler, Craig Miller, Dese'Rae Stage and Kevin Hines, shared their stories. They are magical and always an inspiration to me. 
I deemed 2017 my year. My year to shine within and out. The year to screw that fear and really open up. I say “Fear is the cock blocker of dreams” and this resonates with me more than anyone can know. 
I always feared of being judged for my attempt, I also always feared change. But I recognize that it’s stopping me from reaching for the stars. 

This year is about me, not in an arrogant way, but in a way that my health is important. My family is important and my life is important. Whatever happens this year. I know it will be good. Shit happens, yes I get that, but I won’t let it smear. Just flush it down the toilet and be free. 

Yep, I totally ended that on a poop note. 


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Pre Travel planning from an anxiety disorder sufferer..SPOIL ALERT: it sucks.

I'm not sure about you, but I freak the F out when I'm getting ready to travel. Not the plane ride or anything, but the preparation of it all. As I am sitting here typing this, I should be, finishing laundry, packing my suitcase, mail packages that I have to get out today and so many other things, besides blogging. Yet here I am, tick tacking away on the keyboard.

One of the mental illnesses I struggle with is Anxiety Disorder. So, knowing I have all these things I should be doing to make sure I'm not forgetting things and just getting the stuff while I'm away in order, I instead, stress.

My Hubs and kids are very familiar with this ritual.

  1. I get the suitcase out of the storage room a week before. Thinking, I'll be packed up and ready in no time!
    1. WRONG! It's still sitting on the floor of the bedroom. I leave in the morning.
  2. I gather all the toiletries that I have accrued over the several trips. To make it easier to pack. 
    1. WRONG! I feel I should buy ALL new things so I have to go to the store and buy stuff and putting my 'schedule' off course
  3. Finish the laundry so it's not a total mess for the husband a few days in advance while I'm gone. 
    1. WRONG! I just literally threw the last load of laundry that I NEED before I leave tomorrow. Luckily, Kev is insanely capable of doing the boys and his owns. (sigh of relief) 
  4. Carefully pack my carryon bag so it's easy to manage through if I need it on the flight. 
    1. WRONG! I throw all the shit in a bag and sort it out while waiting for the plane to taxi on the run way. 
There are a few other in between things that I am classically known to do as well, but it would make the post super long and therefore creating even more stall time for me. 

Bottom Line: Thankful that Kev and the Boys understand me and make me take a breath and help me work through my anxiety attack. They help me make lists and check the little boxes I have next to my list. 

And honestly, after it's all said and done and I'm sitting at the gate at the airport I take a deep breath, a xanax and drink some coffee and giggling that I will SO not be like this NEXT time I travel. Oh silly Jen, keep telling yourself that! Wanna see me at this very moment: click here 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Being an empath sucks

em·pa·thy
ˈempəTHē/
noun
  1. the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.


Two recent deaths have shaken my world. Amy Bleuel, the founder of Project Semicolon, had died by suicide. Then I learn of of my friend Mandie Wallinger, passed away suddenly last week. 

Though I didn't know Amy personally, her mission and voice has changed so many lives. Her passion and compassion will never be forgotten. Her death has many in the suicide prevention world, devastated. She lost her battle but will always be a staple in the space. 

Mandie was the VERY first person to reach out to me, when I took my first overnight shift at the Crisis Text Line. December 1st, 2013. I was working at Common Ground at the time and my friend Jonny Aguis and I went into the crisis room to start our 11pm-7am shift. Mandie immediately reached out via Direct Message to greet us. Every overnight shift, I enjoyed her humanity and love for the others on the shifts. At the time, it was just Crisis Centers taking convos from varies centers around the country. Mandie was with Samaritans of Boston. I remember listening to her passion for med school and how hard she worked to get in. In March, 2014, I helped develop the remote volunteer program and training. Mandie became a supervisor to some of the remotes. She always was doing trivia during her shift and making the Crisis Counselors engage with one another. She was a staple on the overnight shifts. Once the centers were weaned out the crisis centers at Crisis Text Line, I remained friends with Mandie and was able to watch her hilarious antics and passion via Facebook.

This sadness has engulfed my body the last few days. I think of all the good these two people have given in the world. I feel all the sadness. Being an empath I feel things at such greater height it can knock me out of commission for a few days, just so I can regroup, refresh, remain.

My heart goes out to their families and friends. There are no words I can say that will express the true emptiness in my heart.

This blog is dedicated to both of them. I promise to them and all those they have changed that I will be a source of good. I will continue to help, provide support and speak for them. Because I know that they will not be forgotten.

RIP Amy and Mandie. I will continue to share your stories.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Woman and that time of the month...Yep that's what I typed!


Some days I can't blame my mood on my mental illness, not that I do all the time. Some days when I'm extra emotional and let's face it, bitchy, I forget that the next day most likely Aunt Rose will come to visit. Gosh, she's such a bitch.

Periods suck. I get it, it's all part of being a woman blah blah blah. They still suck. I mean who really likes having a Tiger basically rip the shit out of your uterus. I know I don't!

Some women celebrate surfing the crimson tide thinking, YAY, not pregnant this month. On the opposite end, some women cry because they are NOT pregnant this month.

It's really a fickle bitch. Seriously!  Shark Week is just a pain in my ass and well uterus. I should have known it was coming when I pretty much bought every single chocolate Easter candy at the store last night. I should have known that this morning I would be riding the cotton pony. But hey, I'm healthy I suppose.
Trying to smile along and just deal. So, if I have been mean or incredibly snarky, I'm sorry. Sorry not sorry. I'm totally blaming cousin Red for giving me such pain.

Ok ok...I have run out of all the slang for a menstruation cycle, so I will bid you adieu!



Sunday, March 5, 2017

Your check engine comes on in your brain...

I have bi-polar, panic and anxiety disorder. Fun times I know. I was diagnosed in April of 1995. Sometimes, the check engine light in my brain comes on. What the heck do I do?

It will be 22 years in April since my suicide attempt. Still can't believe it's been that long. Am I still suicidal? No. Do I have thoughts of suicide that crosses my mind. All the time. Huge difference is, I don't plan on dying by suicide. This world hasn't seen enough of me yet. But what I do find is that the thoughts are there, a lot. Just thoughts, but still a major part of my mental health.

When I became part of the Crisis Text Line back in 2013, it was so exciting to see this service. This technology that is basically tapping into the matrix of those who struggle. I guess a different way of putting it is, a jumper cable to a car battery. When the battery doesn't have enough juice, you give it a boost with the cables. Crisis Text Line has become that boost to so many. 

Many of us who struggle with mental health have our own plans of actions. Therapist, meds, doctors and coping skills. That's like required maintenance for your car right? A tune up.  What I never realized way back when I attempted, is that I needed to always have my jumper cables available too. My current jumper cables are my close friends and family, who know when I'm sheltering away and being that hermit crab. They reach out and basically shock me back to life. 

We see so many people come to Crisis Text Line. From all kinds of issues; from anxiety, stress and relationship issues to name a few. When you have a crisis, it's so intense you freeze and don't know what to do. That's when you reach out and get your jumper cables.

The irony of all this auto talk and car analogy is I have no clue about cars. But I do know when my brain is on the fritz, it's always good to have a healthy maintenance plan in place.

If you are in crisis and need support text Hello to 741741, we have trained Crisis Counselors waiting to listen, 24/7

Learn more about Crisis Text Line and our Crisis Trends data by going to the website:
www.crisistextline.org and www.crisistrends.org

Random factoid about me: I was born in a 1970 Dodge Demon on Woodward Ave in Pontiac, MI.
Great start to my life!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The day after...November 8th.

I've been thinking a lot since the election night. I remember my 10 year son and I watching the results on the computer while in bed. He would let me know what states went to Hilary or Donald. I had to pick up my oldest from work and I would get text messages letting me know what was going on. Bubba stayed up til 11pm before crashing. He hoped when he woke up there would be the first female president.
As we all know, that didn't happen. That night I was watching and crying. I'm an empath, whether you believe in that shit or not, I was devastated and feeling so much sadness from our country. I work at the Crisis Text Line, for those who don't know. It's a 24/7 crisis support via text messaging. It's amazing. We got a huge spike in our texters that night and the next few days. We say so many people scared of what is next for them. Scared of what will happen to their families, to themselves, to their friends. Honestly, I was scared for them too. I didn't have the answers, I only had that ear to listen and validate that this is all so fucked up.
The next morning, Bubba wakes up. He comes to me and says, I have a bad feeling in my gut that Trump won Mom. I confirm his feelings. Trump is the president. As he was getting ready for the day he came to me and said; Mom, I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of sad and happy people today because of the results. I think the best thing I can do is smile more today, be an ear for those who may be afraid, and just be there.
How the hell did I get so lucky to have amazingly compassionate kids. I believe it's learned behavior, and I'm proud of that.
I felt so sad for the next week and beyond, hearing all the stories, feeling all the feelings. I know it's cliche and I don't care but Trump is not my president. I will not support his hateful mission. My kids and I will continue to fight for those who don't have a voice. It's my goal, passion and commitment to fight for the users. The United States is better than Trump.

Yes, this is a serious post. Something I have been wanting to put down in paper for a long time now. I have moments of clarity and focus. This was one of those times. I can't be silly when talking about this.

This next generation of kids will change the world, and I know for a fact that my two boys will be in the front lines!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Holy Crapballs

I'm so honored to be speaking at that #BlogHer17 Conference this year! I will be there representing Crisis Text Line, my lived experience in mental health and also me and my so called blog! Aw SHIT! I haven't been up on my blogging. I guess I should start writing daily. Yea, I said Daily, you may get an influx of unwanted information from me. My so Called Blog...thoughts reeling here, should I go with the very early 90's esq of the show My so Called Life, within my blog? I have so many things that have happened in my life. Majority of it is comical. And if it wasn't it eventually became comical.
As, I'm typing this out, I'm laying in my bed, my sanctuary, I kid you not I could just build walls around this and live comfortably for the rest of my life. Of course, my family wouldn't be so happy about that. But while laying here tick tick tick away at the laptop computer I have the nastiest chest cold. My hubs says I sound like Donald Trump, "I am the best at having colds, nobody does colds better than me...". I feel I have a bit of the Kathleen Turner vibe going on right now, but as my friend Fred mentioned, she would slap me for making that comment.
All my blogs are so random, so unnecessary, so silly! But I really want to be able to produce things that you like, that you want to hear from me. Let me know how I can entertain you!!!!

I only have so many poops and butt jokes to go around. Though, if you know my family you know that it can become an endless source.

And scene.