Mental Health First Aid

Recently I took a Mental Health First Aid certification course.  It was a great experience and I talk about the class and its benefits in the video below.  I had never heard of this type of class until I stumbled upon it, but was glad I found it and took the class.  It was informative, helpful, and I believe a great tool to help battle the negative and ridiculous stigmas surrounding mental health.  They have classes all over the country and there are organizations who offer this type of class outside of the US as well.  Here is the link to the Mental Health First Aid USA site.

Mark’s Journey – The official end of my job

I decided to create a vlog post on the YouTube channel to talk about the ending of my time with my current employer.  I have no ill will towards them in any way.  They held my position open for me for several months longer than they legally had to and I’m very grateful for that.  Unfortunately, I’m not able to step back into my old role and I’m still having a hard time progressing forward.  With this said, the time came for me to move into the next phase of my disability status with my private insurance.  This triggered the separation of employment, making my tenure there officially over.

Today I went to turn in my laptop, badge, etc. and to also pick up my box of personal items that had been gathered from my office.  It was tough, but not unexpected.  As stated, my former employer had been very understanding of my situation and I knew this day would come.  It doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t sting a bit though when this transition finally occurred.  In the end, it’s pretty simple, they have a business to run and I have to continue working on getting better.  If there is a silver lining, it is that this moment has come, and now passed, which takes the uncertainty out of the picture.  Uncertainty is tough, but it is magnified when someone is dealing with hyper-anxiety, so today…I’m trying my best to look at this silver lining.  Here is a link to the vlog post where I go into more detail.

Thanks for stopping by!

My First Geocaching Adventure

When I was at the residential facility in Wisconsin they offered recreational, as well as art, therapy.  One day our rec therapy consisted of Geocaching on the facility grounds.  I had always heard about geocaching and thought it sounded like such a fun activity (who doesn’t like treasure hunts).  It brought out my inner Goonies.  🙂  Well, I had a blast and was determined that I would continue this activity when I got back home.  As many of you know, I got back home much sooner than expected, but it didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for this new sport/hobby.

There was something very therapeutic about being out in nature, practicing mindfulness, and focussing in on the task of finding this “cache”.  I was hoping that would carry over to when I got home and started geocaching outside the bubble of my residential facility.  Today was my first attempt and I can happily report that I LOVED the experience.  I made a short vlog to accompany my first solo cache hunt in the “real world”.  I felt such a peace come over me and my anxiety seemed to quiet as I listened to nature and focussed my attention on finding this tiny cache that ended up hanging from a small tree.

I’m already planning my next outing and hope that I stick with it.  It’s something that truly combines a tangible goal with a sense of calm and excitement during the search.  If you’ve never heard of Geocaching I would encourage you to check it out.  However, if you are a pro or have some experience with Geocaching, I’d love to read your feedback, pointers, etc. in the comments section.  Thanks!

Mark’s Journey – I Received My Insurance Denial Letter

I officially received my Insurance Denial Letter which sent me home from the residential program I was attending. I’m having a hard time getting it off of my mind and tonight was having trouble sleeping…so I thought I’d vlog about it and how ludicrous the letter is. Also, I wanted to talk a bit about how ridiculous this whole situation is, not just for me but for all of us. We all deserve better.

Mark's Journey - Received My Insurance Denial Letter

Mark’s Journey – Back home, earlier than expected

Well, I’m back home much earlier than I had originally anticipated.  The 45-60 day residential program I was attending was cut short because my insurance company decided to stop paying after two weeks.  I would never have imagined that they would have approved me to attend a residential facility and then pull the rug out from under me after 14 days, but that’s how insurance companies operate in the “free market always knows best” land that we live in.  I’m upset but I am practicing Radical Acceptance, a skill I learned while receiving treatment.  It’s part of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) which I was introduced to for the first time during my journey to Wisconsin.  I can say without doubt that the time I spent there was worth it and I’m glad that I had the chance to even go for that amount of time.  I believe DBT is the missing link that I’ve been looking for.  I talk about this and where I’m currently at in my journey in a vlog post on the YouTube channel.

Mark’s Journey: Until next time…

Well, it’s that time.  The night before I take the biggest of steps in this journey.  Tomorrow morning I’ll be admitted into the behavioral health facility that I’ve traveled so far for (literally and figuratively).  There is a flood of emotion racing through my head right now, but I’m ready.  I’m ready for this next step.  I’m ready to get better, feel better, enjoy…better.

Not sure when I’ll have a chance to blog, vlog, or post of any kind for a while.  I’ll do my best to try and keep updates coming, but I think there might be some “off the grid” time in my near future.  With that being said, I’ve just added my last vlog post to the YouTube channel before my admission.

Thanks again everyone for all the support, thoughts, warm wishes, and positive vibes.  Until next time…

 

Mark’s Journey – Part 4 (Admission date is set)

I finally got my admission’s date…and it’s next week!  Yes, things are moving quickly.  I’m flying to Wisconsin on Monday.  It’s hard to believe, even as I type these words, that I’ll be on a plane within 48 hours.  I added another video to my YouTube channel chronicling this next step in my journey.  In the words of Dr. Seuss, “Oh, the places you’ll go!”

Mark's Journey - Part 4
Gearing up for the cold weather in my newest vlog post.