Overdose: It Can Happen To Anyone, At Any Age


overdose-can-affect-anyone

An overdose can happen to anyone, at any age. Not only does an overdose affect the life of the person who chose to put the drugs into their system, but it affects the lives of everyone that they know, or even knew. Continue reading

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Visual Exercises For Letting Go Of Throughts

 

Visual Exercises For Letting Go Of Thoughts


Letting go of negative thoughts can be very hard at times. Sometimes it helps to just visualize your thoughts leaving your mind in different ways rather than sitting there and dwelling on them. Overthinking will just make things worse in the end.

Here are a few visualization exercises to try to help let go of your negative thoughts (from the book 30 Minute Therapy for Anxiety):

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Thinking About Life: July 11, 2017


After careful consideration, I have decided to quit my ghostwriting job. It just was not worth it anymore. I sent them an email about it and their only response back was literally, “Oh, wow!” and I have not heard anything since. I was so nervous when I did it. Continue reading

July 9, 2017 @ 5AM

 

Writing


I am not exactly sure how I have been feeling lately. Probably all over the place per my usual self, I guess. I have not been able to keep up with blogging lately, I am slammed with articles between BabyGaga.com and ghostwriting. I am trying to do both and it is taking a serious toll on me. I tried telling the lady I am ghostwriting for that I can only do 2-3 articles for her a week and I basically for chewed out so I need to try to find a way to maintain 6 articles a week for them. But honestly, it is not worth the pay and headache anymore. Continue reading

July 4th, 2017

 

July 4th, 2017


Introduction

Today has been pretty good for me while also marking my first 4th of July Sober. But I managed to make it through with of too much of an issue. I did not even get my a** to a meeting like I should have. Then again, I also did not get any sleep like I should have… I have not been to bed yet and I tried everything I could think of, besides illegal stuff and drugs and alcohol, to get me to sleep but to no avail. (So, I am hoping the Unisom I took mixed with my Remeron will help me sleep tonight finally.)  Continue reading

Keeping A Gratitude Journal

 

Keeping A Gratitude Journal


The Dictionary.com definition of Gratitude is: the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful. Keeping a gratitude journal of positive experiences can help us remember the good things that have happened to us on our worst day. Even when we are having a bad day, it is good to be able to pick out what you are thankful for. Try to write between at least 3-5 gratitude journal entries a day. 

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How To Counter A Negative Automatic Thing

 

How To Counter A Negative Automatic Thought

Automatic thoughts are the first things, or thoughts, that come to our mind when something happens. Sometimes, these thoughts happen so quickly we don’t even realize they are happening until the negative thought is stuck in our head, and then we don’t know how to get rid of that negative thought once it’s there. Continue reading

Journaling And Mental Illness

Journaling & Mental Illness


Journaling can be an important and beneficial factor in mental illness. It can help improve your overall mental well-being because it can create a healthy outlet to express your emotions. A lot of people that struggle with any type of mental illness, or addiction, tend to stuff their emotions deep down inside of themselves, or they try to release them or cope with them, in unhealthy manners.

I’ve been there, and every now and then I still resort to unhealthy means to release my emotions, but journaling is what has been one of the best coping mechanisms that have ever been suggested to me. Everyone is different, and different things work for different people, but journaling is something that has worked for so many people that I have come into contact with, and I highly recommend it to people that struggle with getting their feelings and emotions out and suggest that it should be tried at least once. What could it hurt, right? It’s literally just putting a pen to a piece of paper, or even your hands to your keyboard.

When a person journals, they can let out their innermost thoughts that they wouldn’t dare share with another soul. You can be your true genuine self, and never feel judged by anyone because you are not writing for anyone else’s enjoyment. You are solely writing to be able to get out whatever it is that you are holding inside. Whatever you are writing doesn’t even have to make sense. It could be incomplete thoughts or just random words. It’s whatever you are feeling at that particular moment in time.

I have heard people say that they don’t want to journal because they are worried that someone else in their household may find their journal and read their private thoughts. I get that. When you write something that is meant for your eyes only, you want to keep it that way. There are a few different forms or means of journaling that can be done if you are worried about the traditional diary style due to lack of privacy.

Here are some options to try instead:


Online Diary/Journals:

If you fear that prying eyes might see a traditional journal you can always sign up for an online account somewhere. This is one I have used in the past, and they even have an app you can download on your smartphone.PrivateDiary.net and with this one, it is username and password protected so no one but you can access it. You can even sync the app and the online site so you can create entries either way and never lose track of anything. It also allows you to upload pictures to your entries as well. If you decide you really don’t like the way this journal is set up, just type in “online diary” into a search engine and tons of results will pop up. Just keep searching until something catches your eye.


Word Documents/Processers:

If your computer is password protected, and you never have to worry about anyone going through your files, you can always create your own journal using something like Google Docs, MS Word, etc… and just saving the files right to your computer. Maybe create a specific folder like, “My Journal” or “My Thoughts” and saving your entries in there.


Create & Trash:

If you are severely worried about someone seeing what your private thoughts are, then you can always physically write out all your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Then after you are done just rip up the paper and throw it away, burn it, shred it, or discard it however you see fit.


Smartphones:

If you have a smartphone then you automatically have a journal or diary at your fingertips. If you have an Android device, all you have to do is go to the Google Play Store and search for “Diary Apps” and hundreds of them will come up. Just look for one you will like. Another option is just to create journal entries using your memo or notepad within your phone.


Email:

You could always create a folder and label it “My Journal” or something of the sorts, and create journal entries in your personal email account, send them to yourself and then save them in your designated saved folder.


There are obviously lots of creative ways to create and manage a journal without having to keep a physical copy in today’s day and age. Almost everything is digital now. As for myself, I still love to have a physical copy because I enjoy putting a pen to a piece of paper.

Every means of mental health and addictions treatment that I have ever come across, since 2001, has suggested that I journal, and I have been doing it ever since. I go through phases where I will journal rigorously every day for chunks of time, then I will go periods of time where I won’t journal at all, then I will journal in moderation. And what I have come to the realization of, is that during the periods of time when I am the most routinely active in my journaling, is when my emotions are the most manageable. I seem to have less frequent crying spells because I am not bottling up as much inside of me.

Now, what I mean by routinely active, is that I am not obsessively writing, but I am also not infrequently writing either. When I am not at either extreme is when I am at my best, which at times that gets hard to come by since I am bipolar, and what is bipolar other than polar opposites.

So, if you have never tried journaling as a way to get your emotions out, give it a try. Just one time. Learning a new coping skill mechanism is always a thing of great value because you never know when life may throw something new your way that your current coping skill may not be suitable for. What works for you one day, may not work for you the next. That’s the thing about mental illness, it’s not always predictable and neither is life.


Hope This Helps 😀 -Samantha ♥

Preparing For Your Psych Appointment

Preparing For Your Psych Appointment

Most people don’t bother preparing for their appointments because either they don’t see the point in it, they think it’s a waste of time, or they think they already know everything they want to mention. But how many times have you left an appointment and thought, “Oh man, I completely forgot to mention that!” or “Oh, yeah I need a refill on that!” I know I have done it plenty of times before I actually started jotting down notes on things I want or need to mention. My mom had been trying to get me do this for years and then one day after forgetting to mention a really important side effect it finally clicked. So thank you for that mom!

Now that almost everyone has smartphones glued to their faces, all you have to do is create a list of things you should mention or bring up during your next appointment right in your phone’s memo or notepad. Lists and memos are not just for our parents and grandparents anymore. If you want to take change or your own health then this is something that you should really start getting in the habit of doing. 

Just because I am labeling this is “Preparing For A Psych Appointment” does not mean that you cannot apply this to any other appointment you may have as well.

Creating a list of notes for your upcoming appointment is probably the best thing you could do to avoid leaving anything out. There’s no harm in being too thorough.

Here’s an example of what my list would look like:

  1. Medication Issues
    • Side Effects
    • Decreased Effectiveness
    • Noticing No Changes (especially with new meds)
    • Have I started/stopped any meds?
      • What Over-the-counter meds am I taking?
      • Has a different provider (Family Doctor, Neurologist, Etc..) started me on a new med?
  2. Mood Changes
    • New/Worsening Symptoms
    • If I am having “episodes” and for how long?
      • Such as an actual Manic or Depressive episode.
  3. Self-Injurious Behaviors +/-
  4. How many hours am I sleeping on average?
  5. Any notable appetite changes?
  6. Any psychosis/hallucinations?
  7. Any dissociative episodes?
  8. Any Insurance/Income Changes?
  9. Any Major Life Events?
    • Major Life Events should be noted because these could affect mood and overall well-being. (This includes, but is not limited too; Divorce, Marriage, Job Change/Loss, Move, Death in the family, Pregnancy, etc…)
  10. Noticeable weight change?
  11. Are there any bothersome physical issues?
    • Dizziness, Headaches, etc…

 

This may seem like an extensive list, but too much information for a doctor to have is never a bad thing. It is always best to cover your bases when it comes to your health, especially your mental health. Not only does your mental health affect your mind, but it can affect your body as well.

Now, my list won’t necessarily look like your list. Everyone is different and has their own unique bases to cover. I just happen to have a lot of issues to generally discuss during my appointments. After dealing with my mental health for over 15 years, I try to get the most out of every appointment because my main goal is recovery and getting better. I try to utilize my time and make sure I keep my doctors informed so they can also keep track if they think I am making progress or regressing.

I hope someone can get some use out this. It’s definitely worth it. I wish I would have started making checklists for my appointments sooner. It would have saved me so much time, and so many unnecessary phone calls.

 

Sea Isle City ’17: Day 6

 

Sea Isle City 2017: Day 6 (Thursday)

For the first time since I have been on vacation, I did not isolate… at least fully. I spent some time working on my one article, even though my focus was horrific for some reason today. I just could not focus. My boyfriend and I talked about leaving and coming home today, but we ended up staying. Even though I am pretty homesick, I am glad we decided to stay in a way. I actually had a decent time today. Continue reading

Sea Isle City ’17: Day 5

Sea Isle City 2017: Day 5 (Wednesday)

I am absolutely mentally exhausted. On top of my normal 6 articles a week, I had to do an extra 2 more due to another writer having an emergency. These articles should have been so simple, but they were in a new format and style for me, so I had to learn something brand new and from scratch which took up a lot of time. Continue reading

Sea Isle City ’17: Day 3


Today was a pretty bland day for me. I don’t think I really left the beach house we were staying at, except for stopping and picking up pizza. I really isolated today. In my defense though, the weather was pretty crappy. It was windy and cloudy. I was also assigned 6 new articles today which are all due within the next 6 days. I don’t know how I am supposed to be on “vacation” while still attempting to get all 6 articles done. Continue reading

Sea Isle City ’17: Day 2

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My boyfriend & I


Since I am using writing as my main coping mechanism for my mental health and addiction issues, I have come to the conclusion that it is probably in my best interest to try to add at least one blog post daily. Blogging, and writing in general, are very therapeutic for me. I honestly don’t know where I would be without it. Probably still using alcohol and drugs is my guess, along with being a total emotional wreck instead of a partial one. Continue reading

Poison Bottle – Poem By: Gary B

Old Liquor Bottle

Joy through the bottle,
did never I find.
I was locked in a prison within my own mind,
Darkness and fear
encircled my head,
better I thought that I should be dead.
But a light came upon me,
as I kneeled down to pray.
Now happy and sober,
I’ve been to this day.
Thank you Father.


This is a Poem created by a follower Gary B. Click Here to see it at poetry.com

June 17, 2017 S.I.C., NJ

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I guess it’s safe to say I made it to my destination without much of an issue. I wish I could say I have been having the time of my life since I’ve gotten here, but that would be an outright lie. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed myself at times. But at other times, I’ve felt like I was crawling out of my skin. Continue reading

The Bottle Took Her

I feel kind of ridiculous now for posting about how going on vacation is going to be hard for me because of much I am going to want to drink. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it still rings true. However, I found out this afternoon that my Aunt Laura passed away and that it was alcohol related. Continue reading

*Fwd From Another Blog*

We learn something new every day, they say, and learning to accomplish a mammoth task like overcoming addiction means you will learn more than one thing on your journey.

via What Suffering an Addiction Really Teaches Us — When Women Inspire

Keeping Your Mental Health Happy

Keeping Your Mental Health Happy

By: Samantha Steiner


In order to maintain stability with your mental health, there are a few things that you need to do on a regular basis to keep yourself healthy in mind and body. I have put together a simple list of the things that I believe are the most important to keep your mental health happy and well balanced and most of all to keep you happy too! Continue reading

My First Month Sober

My First Month Sober

By: Samantha Steiner

My last drink was around 11 PM on Saturday, April 8th, 2017. I was drinking with a girl that I conceded to be my best friend of almost 20 years and two of her cousins. Some stuff went down and we basically lost touch after that. It’s not my story to tell so I will not get into what happened. After I got sober, I basically lost my best friend and that hurts more than anything. However, all we literally did, over 20 years, was get high and drunk together. I love this girl to death though and I will always love her.

Now, to get back on topic, when I had my last drink I was attending a partial hospitalization program called Adult Transitions for my dual diagnosis which is mental health issues along with substance abuse problems. Not only was I a total binge drinker but I also smoked weed and I used to do whatever drugs I could get my hands on. My therapist at A.T. (Adult Transitions) made me realize that it is not really normal to not be able to stop after one drink. At A.T. we would have 3 hours of group therapy so between my therapist and the group I really started to see how much of a problem that I had.

I made excuses for my drinking. I figured that since I was able to stop drinking daily all on my own I didn’t need any help. I didn’t need AA. I didn’t think I had that much of a problem, even though everyone else sure thought I had a problem. I started to wonder if maybe there really was something to what everyone else was telling me.

My therapist would urge me to go to an AA meeting but like with everything else, I would make excuses for not going. I would say that I don’t need to go because I don’t drink every day anymore, or that I can’t go alone, or that I wouldn’t have a way there, or that AA was for quitters (ha!). I would say whatever I could think of. The only time I would admit to having a problem was when I was already wasted and feeling severely depressed. That’s when I would be able to tell that something wasn’t quite right.

I didn’t like the thought of never being able to drink again. Nobody likes being told the word never. It is a very powerful and permanent word. AA is all about, “One day at a time,” But I didn’t know how to do one day at a time. My mind would just go to the future. How was I going to stay sober during holidays and birthdays? I just couldn’t picture it, at first. How do you learn to live one day at a time when it was hard to stay in the present moment to begin with? I had a lot of learning and growing up to do.

I had been drinking and using drugs for 16 years which is over half my life so that was really all I knew.  At first, quitting drinking wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I went to my first AA meeting 7 days in. I was extremely nervous and my boyfriend went with me for support because there was no was that I was going to go alone. I am a very codependent person which is something I really need to work on. One thing at a time though.

My first meeting was kind of overwhelming but everyone was so nice and welcoming. I kind of got a cultish type of vibe though. I was scared at first though because I was the only female there. I thought, Oh no, my very first meeting and I showed up to a men’s only meeting! I was freaking out! When the chairman starting speaking he really messed with me and looked right at me (it was a small, cozy meeting) and said, “Welcome, to the _________ men’s only Meeting.” My jaw dropped, I turned bright red and everyone started laughing. He was just screwing with me. Talk about an awkward ice breaker. Needless to say, I ended up making that my home group. I just felt comfortable there even though many women don’t show up to that Saturday night meeting. However, that group does also have a Sunday and Monday night meeting as well.

I felt relieved after my first meeting though. I couldn’t figure out why I had been so nervous in the first place. After that, I started going to meetings regularly, just not as much as I would like since I have to rely on rides at the moment, and I even found a sponsor within my third day of attending meetings. It took a while to open up to my sponsor but once I did, I was glad I did. She is my rock when I need someone to talk to as well as some of the other people that I have become good friends with that are in recovery.

At first, I thought there was nothing too much to this staying sober thing. I didn’t really have many hard urges or cravings; they were more just like passing thoughts. Like, hmm, I am bored I could go for a drink but nah I don’t need to. However, as more time went on it got a little harder. The more I got stressed, the harder the urges got. I wasn’t an everyday drinker, so I should have realized that the urges wouldn’t kick in right away or even all the time. They are only once in a while. Kind of like my drinking habits. When I did drink, I went all out though. I drink too much in such a short period of time. I had to be the one to drink more than everyone else. I had to be the one with the strongest drinks. I had to be the one who blacked out at the end of the night. It was getting unmanageable and out of hand. My drinking went from wanting to drink to needing to drink especially in times of emotional stress or pain, which is the worst time to drink since alcohol is a depressant.

I would be fine for a few hours but by the time I got home and was trapped inside my own head and alone at night, after getting wasted, I would get depressed, suicidal, start self-harming, cry hysterically, yell, scream, argue, and whatever else you could think of that was negative. I just couldn’t control myself and I guess that is not normal. More so, I know that is not normal.

As of today Monday, May 29th. 2017 I am 1 month and 20 days sober. Within the past 20 days, I have been way more agitated, emotional, angry and feeling out of control with my emotions. A new, and good, friend from AA told me that it is most likely caused by new sobriety. I was not prepared for the mood changes. On top of being bipolar, I didn’t need anything else to affect my mood. Staying sober is worth it though. Some days I still doubt my sobriety when I am feeling really low. I will wonder if I made the right decision even though in the back of my mind  I know that I would not have been able to stay on the same path that I was on and that my life had become unmanageable (step one). I feel like it is normal to doubt yourself sometimes when you are making a major life change for yourself.

1 month and 21 days ago, I could have never pictured getting sober. It was not even an option for me. I am working on my one day at a time. And today, I am going to have to work on one moment at a time since it is Memorial Day—a major drinking holiday. Or at least, it was for me. I have only made it through one other holiday sober which was Easter since I have decided to get clean. It was easier than I thought but it was still when everything was peachy before I became so angry and irritable about everything. I know that if I need help I can always call my sponsor or one of my friends in recovery and that they will always be there for me. As everyone in recovery always tells me, “Recovery is a WE thing. You are never alone.”