Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Letter to the One Year Ago Me

Dearest Chelsea at age 25 (a year ago),,

If you had told me the journey that would unfold in the last year, I know you would never have believed you. Nor would I ever believe that you could make it a whole year without being hospitalized.

But you did make it through the year.

Last year, today, you moved into a group home in order to leave a very toxic relationship with a family member. You were shy. You were terrified. But you knew that moving out was the best decision. The day you left the hospital last year on November 25, you were introduced to all new people in your life. You had to be courageous enough to believe that everyone was there for you. You knew that this was your new life. You knew that this new life would be much happier and more joyful.

And it has been. It's been a wild and crazy ride but most importantly, I have learned how to deal with our disorders (schizophrenia, bipolar and PTSD). We are not our illnesses. We are our strength. We are our hope. We are our light. We are our peace.

I'm sorry for all the negative things that have happened in the past year, but I see now that you have gained peace and strength through it all. Every second of this life is precious. You were reminded of that when you lost a friend earlier this week. Life is beautiful even on the rough days.

We know through our strength that we can conquer anything.

But most importantly, you have found out what it truly means to live., and to be happy, healthy and whole.

your 26 year old self

Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Peaceful World

In case you've been living under a rock, you know that our nation and our world are in turmoil. But it does not have to be that way. All of us can take a stand for peace, light over darkness and love over hatred and anger.

Call me crazy but I wholeheartedly believe that we can spread hope, light and love around the world. It begins with small steps that each of us take. As a collective group, we can change the world for the better. Who said we were destined for this chaotic place we call home to always be full of war, terrorism and hatred/racism?

Unconditional love.
Say that again.
Unconditional love.

We are called to love everyone, no matter what they've done, who they really are, or where they are going.

I wish most of all that my dream of a peaceful world would come into fruition.

So here are some ways that you can add to the positive, peaceful change in the world we live in.

1. Do not hate anyone. Personally, I was abused in every way for many years, even into my adulthood. I do not hate those who hurt me. Hate takes too much effort. Instead I see those difficult times as opportunities to learn from their mistakes and to spread the message of love to everyone I know. Rather than dwelling on the people who have hurt me makes me angry.

2. Do not judge. I cannot even begin to tell how many times it says that in the Bible, but people do not usually take the time to sit down and see how they are judging others and/or their current situation. It is very normal to judge but it is worth the effort to stop judging others or hold grudges. No one is immune to this but I can tell from experience that it takes more effort to judge someone than to not judge. It brings out the "peace that surpasses all understanding.

3. Random Acts of Kindness. I make it a priority to help at least one person every day. Whether it's opening the door to people with full hands or it's saying thank you to an unappreciated person, you can change their day and possibly start a "pay it forward" movement. Too many people suffer through the day. Too many people need just one kind person in their day.

Some of you know that I am working on a project to spread love. Since August, I have hand crocheted 144 scarves for 5 different charities across the country and around the world..There are so many opportunities in this life to give of our time, money and patience.

Trust me, acts of kindness are what make this life awesome.

4. Be the change inside of you that would allow you to bring peace into your life and those who surround you. Sometimes we get frustrated easily. Sometimes we are angry or say something negative to others. It does not always have to be that way. Choose something you want to work on to be a more peaceful person or to bring more positivity into your life. You really can change your life. And in turn, you can bring more joy to those around you.

5. Do not dwell on the negativity. This is very hard for me, as I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder IPTSD), in which I relive some of the most difficult times in my life. No matter how many flashbacks/memories I have in a day, I have the decision of whether I can let them rule my life or how I can rule them. Moving to a more peaceful world, it is necessary to think of positive things, like the birth of a new baby, a funny cat video or a video of a soldier coming home to surprise his/her child(ren). Laughter and smiles can change the world for each of us.

Let peace surround you and those around you as well.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Let Us Love

I have no TV. I do not watch the news. I do not really pay attention to the news online either.

However, I found out what is going on at University of Missouri via Facebook. Even then, I do not want to know all the details, because I am upset that this is happening in 2015. I feel that as a world, we need to spread love around the world.

This is what I just wrote on my Facebook:

Racism has no place in the world. Neither does discrimination. Neither does fear for the safety of one's life. According to the Bible, perfect love casts out fear. No matter where we are during our precious walk in this process we call life, we should aim to show unconditional love. That is, a love that knows no bounds and brings us together no matter how different we are. I pray every night that our world becomes a more positive and peaceful place. I pray that I can make a difference in this world, as I believe all of us are called to. It saddens me to hear of recent events. This hatred needs to stop. Unconditional love needs to be rooted in all of our hearts, actions and reactions. We will never be perfect enough to not make mistakes, but I believe that we, as a nation, can come together as human beings and not dwell on our differences. It is all of our differences that make this life so beautiful. Show love. Aim for peace. And stand up for the silent.

It is up to each of us to choose love over hate, peace over turmoil, and light over darkness. This is true in all facets of life and all the interactions we have with each other.

I cannot speak for everyone on this earth but I look forward to the day where  racism and discrimination are no longer. Gone. No more.


So when you hear more news about the current situation, know that you have a choice to make. You can decide if you want to bring positive change into your life and the other lives around you or you can stay stuck in darkness.

All of us are human beings and nobody is perfect and absolutely nobody should be the target of racism and discrimination.

Let us love.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Gone Now

Today was just a typical day but today was a monumental day for me.

I am currently not covered under my father's insurance for the first time since I knew what insurance was.

His insurance was the last tie I had to him. Now that is gone.

My father has never really been a father to me. Not even close. I even have a restraining order against him. He's done unspeakable things to me and my family..

I have to say that today was one of the best days of my life, even though I still struggled with symptoms of PTSD, caused by my father and some other family members.

After years of going to different doctors, hospitals and mental health inpatient and outpatient services, I am so relieved. You see, all those years, I had to tell the secretaries that I had no contact with him and had none of his information. Sometimes the people at the front desk were frustrated that I couldn't tell them anything about him. Same old story, different doctor.

That's gone now.

I'm done, father. I'm done.

No longer do you have any control over me.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

I Love Life

My boyfriend (ex now) broke up with me earlier this past week. I still am in the processing phase and possibly the Serenity Prayer phase.

Folks, life is not easy and, for some, that is an understatement.

But do our lives stop when difficult things happen?

No, not at all.
In fact, life starts a new phase every time we overcome something or deal with it in a healthy manner.

Every day we live, we make choices about our reactions. It's almost as if we have a new life or a new start every morning. You can be stuck in the pain or you can climb out of the pit.

Me, I get up and start running every morning because 6 years ago I fractured vertebrae in my back and the doctors said I was lucky to survive and lucky not to have a spinal cord injury.

Running is a constant reminder for me of how blessed I am to still be alive, even though I am processing a hard breakup as well as trying to figure out a dire situation with my insurance.

Even on the most futile days of my life, I love life.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

6 Years Ago

6 Years Ago, I nearly lost my life to a suicide attempt. A very serious one that almost resulted in a spinal cord injury.

6 Years Ago, I never could have imagined where life was going to take me in the next 6 Years.. All of the positive moments that I would never have gone through if I had not survived.

6 Years Ago, I said "This is it." And God said "Nope."

6 Years Ago, this day was the start of a brand new life.

In those 6 Years, I received my Bachelors of Science in Bioengineering  Magna Cum Laude and in the Honors Program. I received my Masters of Science in Biomedical Engineering as well. I've become a published writer. I have raised over $500 for charities around the world just by training for my first Half Marathon, a feat that I never thought would happen as I fractured several vertebrae in my lower back 6 Years Ago. I've made and donated a few hundred scarves. I have donated a gallon of blood and I've donated my hair three times. I have donated my time to a children's after school program and multiple food pantries. I have participated in various fundraisers, including Relay for Life. I choose very carefully how I am going to use my time and energy to make the most out of my borrowed time. I want to make the most of every day I still have in this life.

I've aim to better my life and to move through the difficult times.

Most of all, I am managing my mental illnesses much better than I thought I would. I had a really rough time last week, but I was able to make it through without going to the hospital. I am lucky to have the support of so many people.

Thank you to all those who have offered support, encouragement and love to me. I would not be still fighting if it were not for you.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Octobers the Month

This week was one of the most difficult weeks I have had in a long time. I dealt with severe symptoms every day, including paranoia, depression and flashbacks.

October is always the worst month for me. October 21 will be the 6 year anniversary of my most serious suicide attempt, in which I was told I should not be alive and that I should never be able to walk again. Last year, my brother went missing for 4 days and I moved out of my mother's house on October 28th and was hospitalized a few days later. When I was a child, I was stuck in a house fire in the fall.

Fall has a sort of drastic change in weather from Summer and it has always been a hard time for me. I feel a lot of inner turmoil when the leaves change color and the air is cold. I think my brain subconsciously remembers all the negative events that have happened in October. Sometimes the memories pass through my subconscious and I remember them,

Sometimes I wish that I did not remember everything that happens in my psychotic and paranoid states but I do. I not only have flashbacks of childhood abuse, but I also have them from other negative and stressful memories throughout my life. I even remember most of my childhood dreams and nightmares. I wish I did not have this extraordinary memory of negative memories but I do. I guess it could be considered part of the fact that my IQ is in the 99th percentile.

I have the power inside to stop this cycle of symptoms in October. Sometimes it does not feel like I do. But I do. All of us hold a power within us to stop the negative.