Question 1: Briefly describe your current volunteer duties. Include the length of time you have worked in this position.
For one year I have volunteered as a Verified Listener at 7 cups an online organization. I fearlessly dove into controversial conversations with ease, empathy and an overall understanding which goes beyond words. It’s an ability which only surfaces after you, yourself experience the inner struggle of mental health issues. As a Verified Listener I’ve connected with 1,529 members this past year. A Verified Listener means demonstrating an enormous amount of mental health knowledge and listeners must complete mock chats with an experienced Verified Listener. Along with completing 25 one on one chats and passing an Active Listening module.
Question 2: what are your employment goals?
My first goal is to gain employment through Medicaid Behavioral Health Agency as a certified peer counselor. Working in the realm of mental health would be ideal. Being able to make a career from this position would be my end goal. While working in a facility my goals would be to encourage patients to strive for self-determination as well as self-sufficiency while working through recovery.
Question 1: Why are you interested in becoming a Certified Peer Counselor?
In the beginning of my healing journey I was told to create a purpose for myself. I found a passion within helping others with mental health problems. Becoming a peer counselor would allow me to connect with my peers who have just started their journey
Personally, From 2006-2012 I felt as if my psychiatrist wasn’t taking me serious when I explained the severity of my mental illnesses. Which is one reason I’d like to be a peer counselor. I would make sure to listen carefully to my peers. I would take what they tell me seriously. Next I’d reiterate what they said back to them to make sure I’m understanding the seriousness of what they are trying to convey.
Question 2: Have you been in mental health recovery for the past two years?
Ever since middle school I knew I had a major mental Illness. Unfortunately, I felt as if I wasn’t taken seriously by my psychiatrist. Thus I hardly went to therapy. I didn’t understand how therapy helped. I survived my dark bouts of suicidal depression on my own, my obsessive tendencies that ruined more than one high school relationship, or my crippling panic attacks due to being acquainted with two Oregon city girls, (Miranda Gaddis and Ashley Pond) who were kidnapped, killed and put into barrels over a slab of concrete. It was devastating.
After I graduated high school in 2006, I was diagnosed with Major Depression, Adhd, Anxiety, Panic Attacks and bipolar 2. Up to this point mental health was something I dealt with alone. But my trauma changed that.
September of 2011 I has in an arson house fire where gasoline was poured at my feet. Since January 2012 I’ve been in the process of healing; one trigger at a time. I’m currently on my seventh year of my journey. Up to that point I had successfully dealt with my mental health deep, dark suicidal thoughts, obsessive tendencies and panic attacks without help. But Ptsd pm in a realm all of its own. It is extremely hard to cope with. It’s unlike any of my other mental illnesses. After this trauma induced Ptsd I decided I needed help. I entered into a trauma treatment program that saved my life. I found that focusing primarily on overcoming my Ptsd symptoms I would in fact be also facing my Anxiety and Depression all at the same time.
Question 3: Explain how you used your mental health story to help others?
I was sitting outside off to the side of the Dollar Tree. I have this perfect spot where I can sit and write. As I was pondering what about mental health I’d like to focus on. I guess a good amount of time had passed and the Dollar Tree closed. I just kept writing. When up walks this decent looking guy in his mid thirties. He walked to the dollar tree entrance, but the door was locked. He turns around and walks towards me we start chatting, he then asks if he could sit next to me. I said sure. As we chatted the conversation quickly turned to mental health. I told him I sufferd from Ptsd and Bipolar 2. By using my own experiences I was able to list off symptoms I’ve struggled with. When I finished explaining. He paused with a shocked and an amazed look on his face.
He quickly asked how I knew what he was feeling. I smiled. This is one person who doesn’t feel so alone in their battle.