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Hope • Help • Healing

M E N T A L • H E A L T H

Last week I had an appointment with the physiatrist at the U of M for the mental health study I am participating in.

{Quick back story if you aren’t aware. I suffer from PTSD from a past abusive relationship, actually several abusive relationships. After I had our baby girl, I had severe postpartum anxiety & depression- that I’m still trying to get a hold on.}

To be honest the whole process with the study has been annoying & frustrating on my end. I’m trying my best to stick with the program so I can help with getting better care in this area. For some reason the U.P. (Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where we currently live) is almost like cut off from the rest of the world when it comes to finding certain kinds of health care. My hubby lived in Alaska for 4 years and said he had better access to things there than we do here.

That being said, GOOD mental health care is really HARD to find. I mean there are doctors up here that will write you prescriptions and their are a handful of counselors here, but no psychiatrists or physiologists. This whole process has been so difficult that I’m ready to be done with the study and find care on my own.

This has been the process over the past 8 months-

• The Health Care Manager contacts me & asks if I need anything.

• I’ve been handed over to 3 separate care managers as they seem to be having issues keeping them on staff. That’s been frustrating in itself.

•I tell them how I’m feeling and fill out a survey. We discuss my medication and how it’s making me feel & any side effects.

• I’ve been wanting a change of medication doe several months now because I don’t like the side effects of the one I am on. Stopping an antidepressant is hard when you have been on a high dose for so long. Withdrawal symptoms are real!

• The cafe manager relays my concerns to the medical doctor.

• The medical doctor talks to the physiatrist.

• The physiatrist tells the doctor what prescriptions he thinks they should prescribe or what ones to keep me on, take me off of, change etc.

• The doc fills the prescriptions {Sometimes this gets lost in translation and they don’t get filled or they get filled improperly.}

• The care manager is supposed to call me back. {Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t, I honestly usually end up calling and ask if everything has been taken care of.} Then the care manager fills me in on what the doc & psychiatrist said.

This process takes about 2 weeks. Literally.

I feel like a lot of what I say and what the psychiatrist & medical doctor say gets lost in translation when it’s relayed back and forth so much and that I’m not fully being heard or told things properly.

I’m not sure if you know anything about depression or anxiety medication, BUT It takes about 4-6 weeks to take full effect.

So we have tried 3 medications that have given me undesirable side effects that won’t go away. I’m back at square one feeling like I haven’t gotten any help within the entire 8 months of the study.

This past week I got to actually meet with the psychiatrist via telemed (it’s like a secure version of Skype). I explained to him my struggles and frustrations and he totally understood that.

We have created a new action plan with finding the right medication & a counselor that does the right kind of therapy for my needs.

He told me since I’ve been shuffled around so much because of the staffing issues that he would be willing to meet with me directly from now on, which is also hopeful.

My biggest concern is not actually for myself in this process. It’s realizing how hard it is to get the right type of help in this area.

Now, as you know, I’m a pretty strong advocate for myself. I know when to reach out and ask for help if I need it. {even when I’m being stubborn about it, I can still realize the warning signs.}

But just think about someone who doesn’t recognize those signs in themselves. Or if someone was suicidal or if their medication gave them horrible side effects, and they felt hopeless & knew it would take too long to get actual help –

I have a legitimate fear for that persons well being. Their life could literally be in danger.

So this is why I’m sticking with the process of the study even though it’s been hard & frustrating.

They never promised me it would be easy, that’s why it’s called a study.

But I know it will be worth it.

I’m determined to help bring better care to this area and other rural areas!

If you feel like you need help there are several resources that can help you right NOW!

In our area we have a help line called Dial Help that is there 24/7 to offer help & support.

• Dial Help • Phone: 1 (906) 482-9077

We also have a woman’s Shelter for domestic violence survivors & their children. {I’m actually finishing up my volunteer training there this week!}

• Barbra Kettle-Gundlach Shelter •

Phone: 1 (906) 337 – 5623

• National Suicide Lifeline• Available 24/7

Phone: 1-800-273-8255

Live Chat: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/

Remember there is always hope & always someone that can help, so you can start healing. 💙💜

Our Muse

She is a rebel soul,

Who lives in her own state of

beautiful anarchy.

You see my dear friends,

Wild Hearts?

They can not be broken-

And you just can’t tame,

Those souls who are

meant to be free.

Amber Dawn;

You are our muse,

You are our poetry.

Giving the eulogy at my childhood friends funeral was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Something I never ever imagined I would have to do.

Depression is a horrible indescribable disease.

It’s something that those of you that don’t suffer from it can’t possibly understand.

It doesn’t care if you are a good mother, an amazing wife, a beautiful daughter or a fun friend. Amber was all of these things are more. It is an overwhelming darkness that can come at you out of nowhere and knock you down harder that you ever have been before. One minute you are fine and the next its a full blow sucker punch to the face. It’s that whisper in the back of your head, gently tapping on your shoulder telling you that you will never be enough.

I’ve been asked several times if I was mad at her or if I thought what she did was selfish. No.

I don’t think my friend was selfish.

She was the exact opposite of selfish.

She cared too much.

She worried too much.

She held the weight of the world on her shoulders and she trudged though the mud – trying to do it all herself, trying to be strong all by herself, not wanting to burden others with her problems. She trudged on trying to be the strong one until the weight eventually broke her.

She was far too strong for far too long.

I’m not mad at my dear friend –

I’m heartbroken.

My heart aches because she hurt so badly.

My spirit is crushed because she felt that the world would be better off without her in it.

Maybe you feel like she felt. that the things you have done or are doing are far too much to be forgiven.

Or that feeling that you will never be enough,

that you will never be able to do enough,

or fix enough.

Please know there is Hope.

The hope I have is not a wish or a dream.

The hope I have is a solid assurance.

An assurance that we are all loved and all forgiven for the things we have done, are doing or will do.

Grace is a free gift given to anyone, you just have to be willing to accept it.

You may make mistakes, but please know-

YOU ARE NOT A MISTAKE.

Please help me honor my friend and help others by taking a few mins and watch my eulogy at her service.

It’s on my Facebook page and should be public. I can’t figure out how to upload it here- but will do so as soon as I can.

You have my permission to share.

Janet’s Eulogy for Amber ❤️

If you know anyone that has struggled or is struggling with depression- Or- if you or anyone you know has been affected by suicide or depression-

Please like, comment, tag them in it, share this post and share this video with them.

There is always hope.

Someone can always help.

You are not too far gone.

You are not a burden.

Suicide National Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Online Chat: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/

Both Available 24/7

Janet’s Eulogy for Amber ❤️

Being BRAVE.

It’s funny how some things don’t seem hard until you made it though them and then you look back and think holy crap that was hard!! I can’t believe I did that.

And then there are other things that are hard from the get go. Things that scare you, but you push through them – because you HAVE to, even when you don’t WANT to.

Doing hard things is BRAVE.

I always thought that in order to do brave things & be brave that I had to stop being scared.

– Being brave isn’t the ABSENCE of fear.

Being BRAVE is pushing through the fear, it’s doing things even though you are scared.

It’s okay to be afraid!

Somewhere along the lines we are taught to Just stop being scared. While at times that can be a good thing, it has often stopped me from doing hard or things that brought on my fears. I would look at something and say well that scares me- so I guess I won’t do it.

Leaving my abusive relationship was hands down the hardest thing I have ever done, until last week.

Last week I spoke at my childhood friends funeral. She lost her battle with depression and took her own life. This news hit me so hard. Not only because I lost my dear friend, but because that could have been me.

There have been times where I felt so low, I’ve considered ending my life. Thinking it would just make it easier on everyone else around me.

I’m still in a fog of disbelief.

It’s a strange feeling that I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around.

I can’t get her out of my mind.

I can’t stop thinking of her family, her husband, her kids, her mom, her dad, her sister, her brother and all of those beautiful people that came to celebrate her life.

Walking up to speak at her funeral was one of the most surreal things I have ever experienced.

I was scared, yet calm.

Anxious, yet confident.

In a shock of disbelief but yet so sober.

I knew there would be a lot of people there, But; there were A LOT of people there.

She impacted so many people, most she probably didn’t even realize she affected.

Amber accepted you for who you were and made you feel comfortable with yourself.

I wish I could have done the same for her.

I wish that there was something I could have done to help her.

Depression doesn’t care who you are or where you are in life.

It doesn’t care if you are an amazing mom, a wife, a fun friend, because Amber was all of those things and more.

It doesn’t care that you have overcome & battled through the hard stuff, it doesn’t care that you are the happiest you have ever been.

It takes all that good in your life and it tells you that you don’t deserve it. It tells you that you aren’t worth it. Then, when you least expect it- it sneaks up behind you taps you on the shoulder and sucker punches you right in the face.

This is why I have to work on myself EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. This is why I surround myself with people who challenge me and make me better- even when my introverted self wants to hide under a blanket.

This is why I love my job. It encourages me to work on my whole self. I not only get to work on my physical self but my mental and spiritual well being. I’m always learning and trying to be as real and transparent as possible- so that others know it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to be okay one day but not okay the next.

It’s hard, some days I’m good, other days- it’s a struggle. There are days where I want to quit and give up, But I push though it anyway. Then there are days where I have so much planned and so much I want to do I don’t even know where to start.

I won’t wake up one day and be magically “fixed.” I won’t just forget about my past. It doesn’t work that way. Believe me I wish it did. Whether I like it or not, my past has shaped me into the person I am today.

All the good, the bad & the ugly.

Those same choices and circumstances of my past- the ones that whisper in my ear & tell me I’m not good enough- also give me the strength to push through and prove to my past self I AM good enough.

Yes- I made mistakes, but I am learning that I am not a mistake. Those mistakes don’t define who I am.

It’s okay to struggle it’s okay to fail.

Learn from it.

I’m learning to embrace it.

I am learning that I can use it to help others.

If me being vulnerable, scared, embarrassed, honest & open helps just ONE person know they are not alone, than it’s all worth it.

Health & Healing is lifelong journey.

It’s not a destination. You are always moving.

Embrace it, work with it, grow with it.

It will be hard.

But I can do hard things.

And so can you-

Even if you are scared.