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Peer to Peer Class Graduation

Posted Aug 03 2013 12:00am
Today, I finished teaching my first NAMI Peer to Peer class. The class graduated this afternoon, and we had a party, which included a candlelight ceremony where everyone shared what they had gained from the class. I absolutely loved being one of the Peer to Peer mentors, and I was interested in doing it only because it might help at least one person. I think it is safe to say that everyone in our class - all ten of them - felt they had benefited in one way or another from the course.

I encourage you to look into your local NAMI - National Alliance on Mental Illness and, if you are a consumer, to check out Peer to Peer classes in your area. They are held across the United States. It is a ten-week course on coping mechanisms, handling mental illness and stress, sharing your story, navigating the waters of employment and when to disclose mental illness, and creating advance directives. It is a class which I took years ago, around 2007 or 2008, and I was trained to become a mentor and help teach these classes last year.

At the participants' graduation ceremony, many of our board members showed up to show their support and we gave certificates and gift bags to all the participants. I am especially grateful for these ten individuals in opening up to all of us, and I told them that I admired their bravery, and their perseverance. Teaching the class, with the two other mentors, was helpful to me even though I was there as a helper.

I'm also talking to my friend about getting involved with the steering committee of the Florida Peer Support Network, so I look forward to that as well. Next month we will probably be beginning another Peer to Peer class, and I look forward to that.

I'm nervous about going back to college. After taking off in the middle of the spring semester, and not going for the summer sessions, I'm afraid my elementary Spanish will be evaporated from my memory and my tenacity will be rusty. I'm afraid I'm not cut out to finish a Bachelor's Degree and graduate, even though that is what I have been wanting to do for many years. I know that I can do it if my mind is cooperative enough, but that is the problem. It seems that even though Clozaril definitely helps me, I still have some trouble, which might be because of the dose being low. I am still hearing voices at work, and having some delusional thoughts about being a CIA agent, etc. I know they are delusions and hallucinations, but that doesn't make them any less real to me. I'm going to be seeing my psychiatrist next week, and will be discussing this with him.

A few weeks ago a traumatic event occurred in my life, but I can't write about it here. It is something I will have to deal with long term, and even though it was not my fault, it can make me feel pretty awful. I am doing m best to keep things in their proper perspective and not get overwhelmed.

I'm very grateful for everybody in my support system for helping me through this difficult time in my life.
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