Posting my Certified Peer Specialist Essay Exam 2014
1. Why do you want to become a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) ?
I want to take my experiences, risks, opportunities and personal growth and apply them to real daily life by giving to other’s. I want to take these experiences and turn them into lessons to be taught and applied to life. I want to teach other’s that mistakes are truly opportunities. I want to show strength and bravery to all by applying my life experiences and combining them with tools to help other’s apply their strengths and weaknesses and turn them into achieved goals. I want to teach other’s that through mistakes you can build self confidence. Once you define a clear goal then you can achieve anything. Teaching that focusing on risks that include a larger purpose can be productive and you will grow and gain from it. I want to teach other’s that you can enable your joy to flourish amid the fears and difficulties of life. By reading self – help books and working on self – help worksheets daily and acting on it you can gain knowledge and purpose. That while you may be starting out with small steps they lead to larger steps. Even the smallest of successes can bring about big feelings of competence. That by thinking, speaking and acting positively you can make each small step into a desired completed victory. I want to share my ten years experience of self – help and self – directed recovery with other’s. I want to mentor to other’s the key factors important in maintaining a healthy balance being the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. I want to mentor to other’s how to hope, dream and inspire ones self into learning how to obtain empowerment to include a good and well state of mind and health. That regaining health, mind and strength are achievable if you apply yourself and work at it daily. Teaching, instructing and training other’s how to regain whole health of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual once again and reclaiming the quality of life one once had and is accustomed to can be achieved and is within ones reach and grasp with the goal of improving and gaining a better quality of life.
2. What makes you a good candidate to work with other peers in the behavioral health field?
I was first diagnosed as an adult in August of 2004 and bring to the field ten years worth of experience and personal growth to share with other’s. I have ten years worth of risks, growth and achieved goals to share and teach other’s of. I hold the keys and tools to mistakes, risks and goals. I hold the skills to making stress, anxiety and worry your ally. I have gained the necessary knowledge to teach and share with other’s self – evaluation and how to recognize that self is very important along with one’s whole health being one’s responsibility and how to master complete and total control of one’s life even when faced with a mental diagnosis. I have gained in knowledge of how to plan for the future when faced with a diagnosis and how to make that future productive. I hold the ability to teach other’s that one can remain hopeful and that the human ability to learn gives hope for managing mental illness. I have personal experience in personal growth and self – help along with experience in the courtroom for those with mental illness and have been an advocate in and out of the courtroom for myself and other’s. I have gained the necessary life skills to mentor other’s in their day to day living and to make their aspirations, hopes and desires achieved goals and prosperous opportunities for their future. I know how to identify you can use a diagnosis as the first step in getting well. Stating your readiness to start thinking about and planning how to reach life goals. Having ten years of life experience I know exactly how to remain hopeful and steadfast with improvement and receiving positive outcomes from your patterns of growth. I have the experience also in the classroom with teaching to my peers the importance of many life skills and goals that should be set and that are attainable in the face of adversity while having a mental illness diagnosis. I have taught many classes at New Rock and always teach on a moment’s notice with no assistance necessary. I feel that I am responsible, dependable and knowledgeable to contribute to the personal, physical and mental growth of myself and to other’s.
3.What does recovery mean to you?
Discovery and healing are above all and should be applied generously to life skills and you gain understanding and insight into one self and are therefore able to attain and achieve whole health wellness. By listening to your needs and seeking understanding you inspire yourself to continue on with life in the face of adversity. By creating a new story you are the author of your life and the hero who overcomes adversity. By creating meaning you remind yourself what you are living for. By asking for help and reaching out to someone you grow in self – respect and begin setting higher and higher goals to accomplish. By applying coping skills, behavior, emotional responses, bodily symptoms and events and situations into your daily routine you achieve whole health wellness and a commitment to recovery. Ten years worth of growth from my diagnosis to teaching class to my peers to application of essay exam to become a CPS has included much growth and reward and a lot of gained ground over the years to present. I’ve learned that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become. you must think of the consequences and see the impact for tomorrow, next week or next year. You must structure your day. A productive schedule keeps you on track and connected to the world. By setting an action plan being specific and with deadlines you are focusing on now with the achieved goal in mind. When you prioritize healing you are making healing, growth and recovery the most important goals above all else. With that in mind you will gain ground in becoming a complete and whole person once again. By fighting the trigger you may experience you are taking an active approach to protecting yourself. Recovery involves not only self – help but getting others to support your recovery by telling people what you need. Every person has individual needs and people who have a mental illness have the same basic needs as other people. Being in recovery consists of being confident in knowing what your needs are and how to have them met. Putting painful emotions behind you is a very rare but important task along with releasing any and all denial you may carry. Learning to apply life skills and reality to denial you can vanquish the feelings of loss, pain and suffering. Finding your biggest strengths and best qualities will become second nature and you will learn how to act upon this improving all aspects of whole health and your life.
4. What were some of the important factors in your own recovery?
Acceptance and attitude have played key roles in my recovery. Self – management support tools along with a healthy changes plan have contributed to my goals and plan for overcoming difficulties and have proven positive. In some of my darkest moments hope has emerged when I have taken care of some of the following:
Facing my difficulties. Tackling them and setting achievable goals. Reframing my problems and adjusting my standards by learning and knowing that no one is perfect and that perfectionism should be avoided and to stop setting myself up for failure by demanding perfectionism. Focusing on the positive. Adjusting my attitude. Sharing my feelings. Learning to forgive. Speaking up and coping with the emotional pain other than dismissing it and not facing it head on. Focusing on important tasks using a technique of magnification and minimization to help sort out what is most important and highest attainable positive outcome. By accepting and gaining understanding and knowledge that seeing my doctor regularly and maintaining a medication management plan I can be productive and remain in recovery not allowing the triggers to set me back. Also by attending support groups and keeping all therapeutic appointments and not ignoring warning signs or isolating I can remain in a constant state of growth and recovery. By working towards a resolution and setting cognitive boundaries I have progressed into a state of maturity with my illness and have reached the desired goal of recovery time and time again always gaining more ground than the day or month before. By studying relationship conflict resolution I have gained the necessary skills to maintain focus on the problem and not to blame myself or my person. I have grown from passive, aggressive and hurtful communication to assertive communication by applying and expressing my feelings and needs in a way that also respects the rights of the other person and helps me to stand up for my personal rights and to help other’s learn and know their rights without compromising the constant state of recovery. I have worked closely with my private therapist and View Point Health for nearly ten years now remaining consistent and steadfast in my self – recovery by keeping in contact with my providers and also maintaining whole health recovery and the fact that whole health is of great importance. By applying what I know to what I do I remain steadfast and true to my recovery. This has given my recovery good orderly direction and helped me to see and understand those things that may get in the way of my recovery application. I have learned to accept what I cannot change. Planning recovery. Picking my battles and living one day at a time. I have made a self inventory of my character flaws and defects and learn from them daily caring about my whole self. I have held myself accountable for my illness and accepted it. I take a daily inventory of my feelings and my actions making certain that this inventory individualizes my recovery needs and puts my priorities first. View Point Health over the last ten years and New Rock over the last couple of years have laid a stronger and greater foundation for me in which to rest my head upon by teaching me the skills to mentor to other’s holding myself accountable for my actions and the recovery of other’s by attending day program classes along with leading and teaching and being mentor to many.
5. What types of experiences have you had in working with consumers of behavioral health services? Please describe in detail, listing efforts in letter – writing, personal advocacy, public testimony, programs you began, or the work you are doing now. Be specific i.e. advocating, self – help groups, community activities.
I have been actively involved in support groups of many types to include Codependency (the caregiver), and have worked closely with the leaders and all members in order to achieve a higher attainable goal of positive results. I have attended and taught classes in PSR and in Peer Support through New Rock Day Services Program. I have been actively involved in the court system for ten years advocating and supporting the rights of the mentally ill, family violence victims, the parentally alienated and for parental reunification process involving those with mental illness. I have won many court hearings to my behalf in the O.C.G.A. ( Official Code of Georgia Annotated) and feel that with my many wins have left behind a lasting legacy in the State of Georgia. I have written many letter to attorney’s, public officials and Judges regarding mental illness and mental health in support of and in advocacy of. I have had a personal blog at my local hometown newspaper for over two years now (The Covington News) where I voluntarily and very willingly offer letter writing, personal advocacy and public testimony to those with mental illness and my experiences in behavioral health services to include my experiences and my mentoring. I am very active in my community and share in my growth and mental progress with my community and all attorney’s and Judges giving a record and account of my life to The Mental Health Court’s of The Alcovy Judicial Circuit for many years now to come out on top many times over during the last ten years always in support and advocacy of those with mental illness and those in recovery. I attend all events of the Newton County Square and blog of many community activities and events at my Covington News blog of these events through therapeutic written and photographic blogs. I have been and on again off again member of Celebrate Recovery and have attended many classes and given personal testimony here and at church many times. I have worked closely with State Representative Mr. Rick Jeffares on a law for Juveniles to include each and every child having their own attorney and personal legal council during the course of a legal separation or divorce as opposed to the divorcing parent’s attorney. Mr. Rick Jeffares has also referred me to State Representative Mr. Andy Welch where I have also shared in my ideas and intent of the passing of this law for Juveniles and parent’s alike. I have visited the State Capitol for those with mental illness and been a very strong advocate of this event for my State and my County. I am a graduate of The Respect Institute of Georgia with Mr. Joel Slack and Ms. Jen Banathy and have shared with my local legal system The Respect Institute and its importance to our State in hopes that The Alcovy Judicial Circuit Mental Health Courts will adopt The Respect Institute for court ordered procedures and in local colleges and prison systems. I am mentor and friend to many at New Rock and feel that I have contributed to their personal growth. I have had the opportunity to be in attendance at St. Simons Island through New Rock for recovery training and classes and brought back all information and introduced New Rock to The Respect Institute for myself and my peers to be able to attend.
6.Why do you think it is important for CPS ‘s to tell their recovery stories?
Being mentor to other’s is a crucial and vital key and component to recovery. It is not only important to share your story but to be mentor and friend in the process. By telling your story you work towards desired goals and work toward a resolution to your own life by giving, sharing and mentoring to other’s. You grow immensely in your private life as well as in personal achievement and growth. You learn to understand and recognize your strengths and weaknesses and learn how to help other’s recognize theirs as well. By knowing and understanding these strengths and weaknesses your whole health grows in a positive light and your demeanor and mannerisms become second nature to healing and recovery in all aspects of your life as well as those you touch, contributing to their whole health and growth. By sharing in your feelings you gain knowledge of coping skills, boundaries and life lessons that help you deal with stress and anxiety on a greater and higher level. During the phases of telling your recovery story you teach other’s how to tell their stories empowering them to become more. Empowering them to become mentor and friend in their futures as well setting a healthy cycle in motion for the greater good and stronger foundation for everyone including yourself that your story touches. There are many challenges we face in life and we are all responsible and held accountable for the way we conduct our lives and the choices we make. By setting high standards and goals for yourself and then passing these along to those you mentor you are laying a solid foundation for whole health recovery. Developing a recovery program and telling your story in daily life is an important and key factor to whole health recovery and you gain knowledge and wisdom with each and every time you tell your story. I have ten years worth of experience and have been rewarded as of recent accordingly to include : Inspiring other’s with strength and resilience and working towards goals with increased stability. By sharing your story you keep other’s from becoming discouraged over their very own lives whether that be emotional, mental or physical. You help by mentoring and caring for the person as a whole by giving them the tools to enlightenment you open their eyes for improvement and achieved desired goals. You maintain a healthy balance in life and set the ground and foundation for other’s to be successful in their progress and day to day living. Teaching other’s to live one day at a time, one moment at a time actually lays a stronger foundation for whole health improvement over the long run and for many years to come just as I have over the last ten years of experience in recovery. You give yourself and other’s a voice that otherwise may not exist if not for sharing and telling your story. A voice of love, caring, advocacy and mentorship that awakens the body, mind and spirit.
7. What will be your most difficult challenge in attending the Certified Peer Specialist training? How will you deal with this challenge?
My most difficult challenge will be in traveling and the cost. I live in Conyers, GA. which is long distance to the training classes. I will have difficulty in obtaining enough and adequate gas funds to drive to the training. I will also have great difficulty in obtaining the necessary funds for gas, lodging and food. I am in hopes of a loan from a family member or in obtaining a personal loan from a finance company in order to fund my goals of attendance.
8. Describe your current employment situation (or volunteer situation). If neither applies, how do you spend your time?
I am not currently employed. I am currently actively seeking employment and working closely with The Supported Employment Program on obtaining employment. I have a revised resume and have been actively applying for positions in my community. I have been working diligently on this for some time now with The Supported Employment Program and at home during the day and evenings. I have been a volunteer at Social Circle Rehabilitation and Retirement Center through New Rock and have visited and worked closely with the Elders. During the day I have been in attendance as a student and Peer at New Rock Day Services Program and with The Supported Employment Program. I have been taking the necessary steps towards employment everyday by filling out applications, submitting and handing out my revised Resume. I enjoy reading and journaling along with attending community events and blogging of it at my Covington News blog, my local hometown paper. I visit the doctor regularly and maintain a health medication management regimen daily.
9. Is there anything else you would like us to know in considering you for the Certified Peer Specialist training?
I have been a strong advocate for View Point Health and New Rock in and out of the classroom. At my Covington News blog I have continued to blog of the importance of whole health and the programs I attend and how important it is to utilize these services in the community. I have brought back The Respect Institute from St. Simons Island to New Rock so that all my peers could attend classes and rejoice in the fact that there is hope in recovery, sharing The Respect Institute with everyone was my goal and was accomplished. I have been used as a client for public relations in several brochures and newsletters for New Rock and View Point Health during my attendance in classes. I have not only maintained in my personal life but also taught the importance of understanding and comprehending the following : triggers and stressors, warning signs, coping skills and support groups for maintaining personal responsibility and a better quality of life. I have a longstanding track record of many wins to my behalf in open, public Superior and Juvenile Court for individuals and parent’s who suffer from mental health diagnosis and the facts that one is still to be considered important in the eyes of the law and how necessary it is to lose the state of stigma that mental health too often carries. I have been involved in several 5 K walks donating my time, effort and for the benefit of mental health. I am familiar with the WRAP book and workbook and use them as a daily study guide and during devotional time as well. Only reaffirming in my life the importance of personal responsibility with self – directed recovery daily just as I have over the last ten years since diagnosis. I have worked through crisis and post crisis all alone at times using the self – help directed skills and tools I have learned and applied in my life over the past ten years. I want to teach of the high and great significance of Journaling and my travels with penning. What began as tearing photographs and articles from magazines went to penning in a journal then onto my WordPress blog account and there turned into a blogging site at my local hometown newspaper, The Covington News for over two years now. Choosing to share writings is a personal choice and I have taken my private penning to new and great heights using my blogs to be a strong advocate for the mentally health challenged and have became very involved in community activities and remained a pillar of my community throughout the last twenty plus years. Journaling helps you learn what you like best about yourself and what you would change. It helps to aid in what you can do to prevent your illness from getting out of control. It teaches you to learn what you value about life. It guides you to learning about forgiveness, personal responsibility and your goals. In my darkest moments hope has emerged through Journaling and blogging. I hope to one day take my penning, journaling and online blogging to the next level as I have been in preparation of a memoir for sometime now. We rise by lifting other’s and I hope that my writings have inspired many. I have twenty plus years as an advocate for children in and outside of the courtroom here in GA. Self – directed recovery and advocacy have the power to restore one to health, become healthy again, to tranquil, to revise and refine, to come together for common purpose and action. By using this power often you heal yourself and all those around you in the process. During my days as CPS I hope to instruct and educate, to assist and encourage, to show other’s a firmness to purpose, how to arrive at a resoluteness of strength of character, how to make oneself well and happy, regaining health, mind and strength and that one always has merit and their life has worth and value and that one should maintain personal responsibility.