Open Your Hands

handmade greeting card, collage art

Open your hands,

if you want to be held

—Rumi

º º º

My final Support Group meeting last week turned out to be quiet and modest, which is fitting.  It’s been three months since I admitted myself to the partial hospitalization program, and during that transitional time the emphasis has been on doing what it takes every day to manage our varied illnesses.  We marked quiet, diligent effort and tiny steps toward a stronger sense of self all leading to a “graduation day” when we would continue on our own with outside support and services in place.

Most of the people in group last week were brand new, freshly discharged from the Program and hesitant about joining a group in progress.  But that’s the nature of this type of group—people come, people go, and there are lessons to be learned whichever way the door swings.  There were a few there who had been with me for a while in group, and when it came time to pass around the graduation token, they held it and spoke kindly about me and my participation.  The counselor, in particular, spoke about my skills as a peer.  He was quite adamant about me pursuing work as a Peer Support Specialist.  With the nature of mental health services shifting toward peer advocacy, he told me I was needed and gave me a contact at the local National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) office.

So, today I sent an introductory email and asked for information.  I know nothing about Peer Advocacy, but I’m willing to find out.  This feels like a huge step after trying and failing at jobs and volunteer work for several years.  I gave up the hope of ever returning to work for my peace of mind.  I felt I needed to accept my limitations and move on from that basic understanding.

But I also know that I have a lot to offer as a peer.  I know how to listen and how to ask questions.  I know how hard it is to do the work every day.  If I can find a place to use those skills, I think I must.

So, I sent the query today, along with my willingness and gratitude, into the ethers.  We’ll see what the Universe sends back.

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18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Littlesundog
    Aug 11, 2013 @ 20:48:24

    I feel good about this Sandy. As much as you have helped so many folks here, and you have a voice that is both encouraging and inspiring, I think this Peer Support Specialist is a wonderful idea! I’ll be transmitting positive vibes up your way! I’m putting out some mighty strong energy lately… I have plenty to share!

    Reply

  2. David Kanigan
    Aug 11, 2013 @ 21:00:35

    That’s quite a compliment to be asked to pursue this line of work. And I can say that I’m not surprised. Good heart. Fierce determination. They’d be lucky to have you…

    Reply

  3. Penny
    Aug 11, 2013 @ 22:57:02

    I am so happy that your skills were recognized and the counselor encouraged you to look into this! I am anxious to hear what you find out!!

    Reply

  4. Bobbi Gilbert
    Aug 12, 2013 @ 08:33:50

    What an amazing post…that door is always swinging…it is whether you want to keep swinging with it or walk through!! Excited for your new venture and I know that you will be amazing at it!!!

    Reply

  5. pegoleg
    Aug 12, 2013 @ 09:11:48

    Good for you for being willing to put yourself out for this! The counselor obviously thinks you’ve got much to contribute to helping others.

    Reply

  6. Forest So Green
    Aug 12, 2013 @ 10:15:04

    Happy that I found your blog and good luck on your next steps. Annie

    Reply

  7. docrob50
    Aug 12, 2013 @ 12:54:51

    I’m thinking it’s gonna send back many unexpected gifts. That guy that ran your group is dead on right – as are you – that if you can you must share the light that is you.

    Reply

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