In our own voice

By Danielle P.

Written in March, 2016

            Hi, my name is Danielle P. I’m a survivor. I’m one of three triplets. I was born prematurely. I weighed 1 lb 0 oz. I had challenges since I was born. I was placed on life support as I was not able to breathe on my own. I also went into cardiac arrest.

When I was twelve years old I was first hospitalized. I had a nervous breakdown. I had lost touch with reality. I didn’t know if I was coming or going. I cried every day. I was so confused. My mother and family visited as much as they could. After that I was in and out of mental hospitals for years.

When I was 23 years old, I attempted suicide. I was placed on life support for 6 weeks. My family was told that I wasn’t going to make it. Jesus saved me and I made a full recovery. I had lots of stressing situations that caused me to try to take my life once again. I had to get dialysis because I had kidney failure in 2013. In 2014, I overdosed and was placed on life support at Grady Hospital.

I thank God so much for letting me survive all my suicide attempts. I am blessed to be a part of NAMI. I am here for a purpose. I want to become a Certified Peer Specialist. I want to make a difference in people’s lives. I also want to be a mentor, tell others that no matter how tough life gets, it will get better. Just be patient. All the times I tried to take my life I thought I didn’t have a purpose. Now I know that God has a purpose for me and he’s not through with me yet.

I truly thank God for sparing me so many times. I have hope that one day I will become a certified peer specialist. I still have challenges that I face everyday like depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, harming myself.

I just want to thank all the supporters that I have in my life. The ACT team, Grady Nia Project, most of all, “God”, and my two best friends, “M and J”.

Mental Illness and I

Mental Illness and I

By Danielle P

Written on March 3, 2016

            I wish I was never mentally ill because it is a struggle for me every day. Some days are harder than the others. I try my best to do right. If people only knew what is on my mind. I feel lost without answers. I feel lost confused. I wish I could start my life over and not be mentally ill because it is rough. I am tired of hurting myself, tired of feeling hopeless angry sad frustrated powerless. I want to get better for myself. What does “better” look like; not hurting myself, not wanting to take my life, using my DBT skills like distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, Dearman, emotional regulation skills, be able to live on my own, manage my own medications, become a certified peer specialist, manage my symptoms, live my life to the fullest, and not be so fearful of things that come my way.

HOW ART HAS CONTRIBUTED TO MY RECOVERY

~Text and photographs by Viveca W.
My name is Viveca W. I have been empowered to explore creative & expressive art as an integrative approach to my therapy. It has been very helpful for my trauma recovery. For me, Art is like a friend who nudges me to find a healthy and creative outlet – through the darkness and the light. It is because of this, I continue to gladly welcome it along my recovery journey as a guiding light. In terms of creative recovery art, I particularly find photography and writing most helpful for my recovery process. For instance, when I am capturing an image of myself and the world around me, I can be candid, reflective and free-flowing as I possibly can. In my opinion, these are very precious and vulnerable moments, which allow freedom without self-judgment or self-criticism. Because of Art, I am able to have some compassion for myself along my journey. I can capture pieces of my story at a glance, tell it and share it – filling it with a healthy balance of darkness and light for the purpose of healing. 
 
REFLECTIONS OF MY LENS
AN INTROSPECTIVE LOOK INTO SURVIVOR MODE – THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGES
WITH THIS CREATIVE RECOVERY ART, I PRESENT MYSELF AND MY WORLD IN ITS RAW, SURREAL AND ABSTRACT FORM. STARTING OUT ON A BROKEN PATH, I SET OUT TO TRAVEL WITH PLENTY OF BAGGAGE TO SPARE. AND ON THIS PATH, I CONTINUALLY LOOKED TO THE SKIES SEEKING TRUTH AND LIGHT. I PRAYED FOR PEACE, LOVE AND TRANQUILITY. I CLIMBED THE HILLS, VALLEYS AND MOUNTAINS AND DISCOVERED FREEDOM. I LAUGHED, I CRIED AND EVEN FOUND IT IN ME TO LIFT MY HEAD UP WITH HUMILITY.
creative recovery art - 3creative recovery art - 2creative recovery art - 1creative recovery art - 5creative recovery art - 4

Harvest

By Minister Mildred

Spring has sprung again in my heart

It rolls like the tide

Spring has given me a new way of life, only to begin again

Spring has given me a new way to breathe, healthy and free

Spring is here in my heart, molded solid in me!

~ Minister Mildred

Break the cycle of violence today and rediscover your voice!

By Erica

Experiencing domestic violence or know someone experiencing domestic violence? The time to act is now!

If you or a friend need some support during this tough time, USA.Gov may have helpful resources to help you:

Does your friend need your help?  
As a friend of a person experiencing domestic violence, it might unclear why they stay in this relationship. These reason may include:

  1. Fear that family and friends will not believe their experiences.
  2. Financial instability.
  3. Fear of the safety of self and/or children.
  4. Understanding that the abuser is loved by the community.
  5. Feeling confused because of the abuser’s mind games or “gaslighting.”
  6. Feeling that they deserve the abuse.

Have you Witnessed Domestic Violence? 

Many assaults are witnessed by bystanders who could have saved the lives of the victims, if they had called for help, but for whatever reason chose not to. Similarly, we must stand up for those who are in unsafe and potentially life threatening situations.

Do you need help? 

Experiencing domestic violence can be lonely, and may leave you feeling ashamed and hopeless. The abuser often gets into your heart and your head, telling you that your shared experience is not abuse. In some cases the abuser may blame you after he hurt you, saying things such as, “you see what you made me do!” These are all warning signs and an opportunity for you to evaluate your relationship.

If you do not want to involve the authorities to record the abuse officially, you can at least work towards a safety plan for you and your children (if you have children) to remain safe. A well-crafted, realistic, and detailed safety plan instructs you on what to do when a dangerous situation arises with your partner.

The Grady Nia project is a great way to start the change if you reside in the Atlanta area. The Nia project offers individual and group therapy for people who have experienced Intimate Partner Violence and suicidality. If you need help, and are in the Atlanta area, please contact Nia at 404.616.2897. All services are free of cost. Break the cycle of violence today and rediscover your voice!

You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 24/7. If needed, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE(4673). You can delete this number from your phone or computer after using it, so your partner will not be aware you sought help to leave. This can create a dangerous situation as well. These two resources would be able to refer you to local counseling centers to treat trauma, stress, depression, housing, child care legal aide etc. By utilizing these resources, and hopefully with the support of family or friends, you are not alone.

Please know that safety and hope is just around the corner, online and here at the Grady Nia Project (404-616-2897)! All services are free of cost. Let USA.Gov be your guide at USA.gov/exploreUSA’Gov is a federal program that provides you with tips and tools in both English and in Spanish from hundreds of government agencies, departments, and programs.

Learn how to help yourself or your friend(s) move toward safety and healing with these suggestions from WomensHealth.gov.

References 

CBS8.com

USA.Gov

Erica (Student/Trainee)

A Healing in the World

 

By DYG

Written on February 14, 2016

Dear God!

People need a healing

In this world today some

Are hurting, grieving

In pain

For the lost of a loved one

That they will never

See again

Dear God!

People need a

Healing

In this world today

Some are

Lost and confused

And don’t

Know what to do

Or

What direction they should

Choose

Dear God!

People

Need a healing

In this

World today

Some of theirs

Hearts

Have been shattered

And

Their spirits have

Been broken down

And there’s no one

Around

To help them, get

Theirselves

Off of the

Ground

People need

A healing

In this world today

Dear God!

Some people can’t

Speak or talk

Nor see

But they do have

Plenty to say

People need a healing

Today

Wisdom, knowledge

Loving, caring

Kindness and understanding

This is the

Beginning

Of

The healing process

People need a

Healing

In the world today

“Dear Heavenly Father”

Send your

“angels”

Down here

To heal the people

There’s an urgent

Need for a Healing

For

The many, many

Catastrophes

In

The world today

Killing poverty

Homelessness and

Loneliness and

Mental illness

Cause

You are a Great!! God

You are a Great!! Provider

You are a Great!! Comforter

When we need

You

And

You are all of ours

Heavenly Father

And

My God!! You love

Everyone

No matter what!

Race, creed or

Color

God, you made us

All

So, father, please heal

The people in

The world

Thanks Father

For the

Healing

List of Activities To Do While You Are Restoring And Maintaining Your Health

By Viveca W

Who says you have to be miserable and bored while you are not feeling well? Whether you have the flu, just came out of surgery or tore a ligament playing basketball, or whatever your situation is, the following list of activities can help you feel better and stay on top! I have gathered, experimented and explored this list myself for years and the results have been very positive! I really believe it can help you, too! Go ahead and explore the list yourself!

*Remember to check with your doctor if you are uncertain about trying specific activities*

  • Do gentle stretches and/or other exercises (Record and store exercises by using a voice recorder or videocamera from your phone or another media playing device)
  • Practice improving your posture
  • Take deep breaths
  • Create a foot massage (Buy some sand or have a friend bring some from a beach, fill it up inside of a foot tub and run your feet through it for a gentle massage!)
  • Squeeze a rubber stress ball
  • Wear soft and cozy socks
  • Open up the blinds or curtains and let the warmth of the sunshine in!
  • Listen to the sound of ocean waves, the rain or music on a media player, youtube or from outdoors
  • Rest, sleep, nap and daydream
  • Take a foot bath (Add a soak, bubbles or oil)
  • Pray, reflect and/or meditate
  • Open up the window or run a fan to let a gentle breeze in
  • Use binoculars to view the town around you
  • Join a book club online or by phone
  • Draw, sculpt/mold, doodle and/or paint
  • Sing a song that makes your heart sing!
  • Use a backscratcher or massage brush on your back inside or outside of the tub (Add an oil, soap or soak)
  • Maintain your schedule (Daily routine, meals, treatment, exercise, religious/spiritual ritual, special occasions or days, appointments, applications/interviews, homework, reminders, messages, shopping list, budgeting, couponing, follow-ups or visits, planning, monitoring, etc.
  • Buy, order or make gifts for friends, relatives and other loved ones
  • Make new friends and introduce them to old friends
  • Reach out to a loved one by phone, email and/or text
  • Send a greeting card to a loved one
  • Spend some quiet time alone (Turn the world off for a little while and take a little break from technology)
  • Work from home (Find purpose-filled good paying opportunities that will allow you to work from home)
  • Light a candle or switch on a flameless candle and place it on your night stand or around your bath tub
  • Contact an author of your favorite book or media article and let them know how much they have added some positivity to your life
  • Collect special little things and keep them near you
  • Visit virtual museums online by going to http://www.virtualfreesites.com/museums.museums.html
  • Visit a city, state or country using google maps
  • Create or get a box, can, envelope or jar and fill it with your favorite quotes, sayings, scriptures, love notes, memories, etc. (Read them whenever you need a little boost of inspiration and motivation)
  • Create and build a collage of your dream home, career, vacation, wedding, etc.
  • Have tea time and sip on a soothing tea
  • Create a bucket list and a wish list and make it happen – no matter how long it takes!
  • Check-out, buy or borrow and read your favorite books, magazines, journals, etc.
  • Grow and maintain a potted plant
  • Grow and maintain a garden in your window
  • Dress-up (LOOK GOOD, FEEL GOOD!)
  • Buy or borrow a media player and watch a good movie or listen to your favorite album (Don’t forget the popcorn, refreshments and candy while you watch your movie!)
  • Collect and organize your own “Media Guide” by storing and saving your favorite channels and episodes from different types of media players
  • Cuddle with a soft blanket or pillow or furry stuffed animal
  • Keep a journal and fill it with your thoughts, feelings, reflections, insight, intuition, hopes, dreams, wishes, prayers, accomplishments, lessons-learned
  • Take fun and positive selfies and/or other special photographs (Store them or share them with loved ones)
  • Disconnect from news channels for a little while or at least read the online news or newspaper
  • Disconnect from the view points of negative people, especially if they only express joy from your set-backs – sickness included! (Your “set-backs” are really come-ups in disguise!)
  • Stay positive! (Don’t be distracted by the negative energy of negative people or the people they have influenced to speak or think negative things about you! You have something special and some negative people are really just “secret admirers” in disguise!)
  • Drink plenty of water, eat a balanced meal, take vitamins, supplements and/or any other medicines and eat LITTLE or NO junk food
  • Still celebrate special occasions and/or a rite of passage – even if you can’t be there (Have a friend bring back some cake, a special drink, flowers, video footage, pictures, etc.)
  • Create a new spin on your favorite food, drinks and snacks
  • Keep a caddy or roller crate of your favorite personal and handy items by your bed or near you
  • Hug yourself, your pillow, your stuffed animal, your therapy dog and/or your loved one
  • Keep up with fashion and check out what you might look good in! (Use your imagination! Fashion is everywhere!)
  • Write a poem, a song or haiku
  • Color your space by creating some color swatches and let it inspire you to make something special and uplifting! (Find, snip, cut and gather beautiful colors from all sorts of materials and objects)