August 2015 Certified Peer Specialist essay exam application

I have the strong desire to post my Certified Peer Specialist essay exam application tonight. The deadline has passed as of August 10th and The Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network is now in process of determining who will be chosen for the training. This August being my 11th year anniversary of recovery from marital abuse, marital discord, depression and codependency as the caregiver. I go to bed every evening thinking have I posted everything today that needed to be taken care of? In the event that something or another may happen to me I am hoping each night I lie down that I have taken care of all business of the day. Hoping that this CPS essay exam application gets me a full scholarship to the CPS training. Please enjoy reading of my life and thank you for sharing in my journey of recovery.

Why do you want to become a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS)?

I would love to further my career in the health care world by becoming a CPS. I have spent the last year in Supported Employment last summer and a career as a Personal Care Assistant and Certified Nursing Assistant to the elderly and physically and mentally challenged in Covington, Conyers and the Atlanta Metropolitan Area. I have had duties and tasks to include:

Plan/Prepare Meals for Client, Assist with Transfers, Shower, Bath, Shampoo, Monitor Skin Condition, Oral Hygiene, Assist with dressing, toileting, Clean Kitchen for Client, Take out trash, wash dishes, Change linen, Clean Client’s bedroom, dust, mop, sweep, vacuum, laundry, clean client’s bathroom, errands, pick up prescription drugs, encourage proper medication, Hoyer lift, reading to client, walks with client, lighting candles for client and listening to music.

I have thoroughly enjoyed spending the last year working for Home Nurse and Because We Care caring for their clients as my very own family and I am once again applying to become a CPS for the State of Georgia desiring to work with The VA Hospital or The ACT Team here in Georgia.

I have spent the last ten years advocating for the mentally challenged and hope to teach my clients the tools and skills involved in self – help recovery. The art of penning and self –help recovery are attainable if one will apply themselves along with determination and devotion to better one’s lifestyle. Such as in: The Garden of Recovery, to include: The seeds of Recovery, The Four Flower Pots, The Seed of Forgiveness, The Seed of Love, The Seed of Hope, The Seed of Courage. Learning of the Four Flower Pots over ten years ago and how vital and important self-help and whole health recovery actually are. The seeds are vital because recovery is hard. Giving these gifts of love to yourself will help you to begin to grow a beautiful flower in The Garden of Recovery. Teaching my clients and peers self – help recovery and including patient affirmations, recovery through self- management, focus, consistency, goal setting, cooperation, self – control, perseverance, confidence, respect, leadership. Culture and Personality and Relationships, journaling, anger, the way one thinks, stress strategies, deep breathing exercises, boundaries, practicing happiness, anxiety, attitudes that keep you from expressing your feelings, feeling guilty or guilt or carrying shame, and How to Live a Happier Life.

Above are some prime examples on classes that I have taken and taught over the course of the last ten years and feel very confident and comfortable in the fact of sharing these skills and tools above to my clients and peers in hopes of improving their lifestyle, act of daily living and recovery time and successful outcome. Just as I have succeeded in becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant I feel I can teach my clients and peers to become successful as well and to recover with their hopes, dreams, aspirations and integrity intact.

I would like to teach my clients and peers the seven deceptions as I have learned them to include:

Denial, Shame, Identity, Blame, Pride, Hopelessness and Abandonment. These beliefs are not healthy and can give your wounds more power. I want to teach my clients and peers that your wounds should not weaken or destroy you.

There are also wounds that come in seven varieties that I have studied of and taught on to Include: physical, sexual, choices, verbal, social, spiritual and emotional.

I hope to teach my clients and peers that all our troubles create wounds but that there is no need for them to hang onto these wounds and that recovery and life is possible. By applying care, concern, love and faith in your life you can accomplish much and go to far away places unimaginable. Seeing God in everything and knowing that there is always hope. There is always hope in healing and you have a fresh start “every day” each morning when you awaken.

I hope to teach my clients and peers the answers to the following unrelenting questions in mental health. How can I let go of the pain? Will I ever get beyond the heartache? How much time does it take to heal? What should I expect in the days ahead? Teaching other’s how to manage their pain during their life of being mentally challenged. Teaching one that, you can rise to the challenge of anything and that in rising to meet the challenge you can overcome adversity and stigma. Giving light to my clients and peers that in fact; they will experience crisis, an intense time of confusion and emotion with recoil when things seem to be settling down and getting better and reorganization when they are moving forward. One may experience fear, anger, confusion, loneliness, emptiness, resentment, anxiety or shame but all of these are reversible and you can recover. I feel that given my classes at New Rock that I have taught on the above that I will be able to share it with other clients and my peers in the wake of a mental health worldly awakening to enlighten one on how to better maintain emotional, physical and spiritual health.

At New Rock I have taught all the above classes to my peers and led peer classes and discussion among my peers. I am a graduate of New Rock Day Program along with their Supported Employment program and The ACT Team. Graduating from New Rock, Supported Employment, The Respect Institute and GPSI along with The ACT Team and sharing with my peers at New Rock all my skills and tools that I have studied and learned of. I have also used the above skills and tools in caring for my patients as a personal care assistant and assisting them with truly caring about their daily living and the will to thrive and survive.

Establishing healthy boundaries is a must when thriving with being mentally challenged and I have studied and taught much on the subject and given my Respect Institute speech on several occasions to include how to establish healthy boundaries and the steps in order to establish these healthy boundaries. Teaching and speaking on tips to assertiveness and restoring your boundaries.

Practicing happiness is a key element to survival. A thankful heart is truly a merry heart. I have shared over the last nearly 4 years at my Covington News blog with my reader my journey of recovery being mentally challenged and hope to be able to continue this journey by becoming a CPS and sharing with my community my next goal becoming an achieved accomplishment. That being, my CPS Certification and working closely with the mentally and physically challenged helping them to thrive. I want to share my experiences as a nursing assistant with Home Nurse and Because We Care with my clients and peers and also to use my skills and tools assisting with the mentally and physically challenged in my community by having my territory widened so as to apply my learned skills and duties in a mental health field capacity.

I plan to continue with my career as a nursing assistant until such time as I am chosen as a CPS and would then love to continue my work in the mental health field.

I had the great pleasure of meeting Mr. Charles Willis at GPSI and he informed me to mention that I have applied before and not been chosen and that it did cause me great discouragement and that he has encouraged me to continue to apply for my CPS Certification. Mr. Charles was the very first person I met at GPSI and he took the time to shake my hand and welcome me and to hear my story and my aspirations of becoming a CPS.

Mr. Charles gave me his business card and said to call him anytime and to never give up on my dream of becoming a CPS. Unfortunately, I have sadly learned that Mr. Charles has passed on and is no longer with The Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network but I do plan on continuing to tell of his great encouragement and uplifting during my time at GPSI. I plan to share of my meeting Mr. Charles and carry on in his name delivering his livelihood and enthusiasm to the world with each person I meet. Carrying on in his name the sheer will power to become a CPS and help other’s reach their goals of recovery and thriving. His enthusiasm was contagious and gave me the will power to carry on even in the face of a crisis during GPSI where my son required immediate medical attention. Mr. Charles encouraging me that even though I had created a project board to still turn it in to New Rock to help my other peers in their recovery lives. Having chosen the 5 stages of recovery I completed the project and turned it into New Rock of View Point Health. Never forgetting the sweet man that has helped to lead me in the direction I am at today in the health career world giving weight to all my dreams of entering into the health care world and understanding my passion for recovery. Had it not been for Mr. Charles I may not have become a nursing assistant in the health care world. For his encouragement and uplifting brought me to a place in this world that I needed to achieve and it led me to the next open door of my life. As I have spent the last year as a personal care assistant and nursing assistant I have applied many of the characteristics, demeanor and mannerisms of Mr. Charles in my bedside manner and it has helped tremendously to think of him and reflect upon our meeting and his inspiration in my life. Giving me the free will and ability to get out of bed each day and work with my patients all the while sharing of his kindness, mercies and understanding.

I accept my mental challenges and advocate for them daily sharing with my peers, patients and community my journey of being mentally challenged and hope to further my life by using my learned skills from college in Business and Legal Office along with my Paralegal Certification with customer service skills and working greatly with the public to now working as a personal care assistant and nursing assistant caring for many while continuing in my walk of recovery through this life. I have an open heart about my fellow humans and a great love for mankind and hope to further this great state of Georgia throughout the remainder of my recovery.

Sharing also of my walk in Celebrate Recovery at Eastridge Community Church to include the Christ centered recovery program. I attend Celebrate Recovery In my community and would love to share of the messages with my patients as they include recovery and wellness.

Character Defects at Celebrate Recovery Eastridge

I have inquired about Stephen Ministry classes at Eastridge and will be getting the application to apply for the classes. I hope to take the 50 hours of Stephen Ministry lessons in August of this year at Eastridge. I am truly looking forward to the classes and hope to be accepted to attend the training so that I may use it with my nursing assistant career to better guide and assist my patients in their day to day recovery. Along with my peers at View Point Health and at New Rock and The Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network where I will be applying for CPS Certified Peer Specialist Certification in July this summer. Hoping to obtain my CPS Certification through the State of Georgia now that I have been in the healthcare world for some time now. Desiring to get involved with singing at Eastridge on Sunday mornings and on Thursday evenings at Celebrate Recovery. I would like to share here the 8 Recovery Principles based on the Beatitudes and The 12 Steps and their Biblical Comparisons. Character Defects are the Root of our problems. The keyword is change. Romans 12 1, 2 Things that you do that you can learn to change. Change the way you think. Thoughts become feelings and feelings become actions. We are transformed by the changing of our minds. Having a Positive Mental Attitude PMA is a plus. There are three types of character defects including : Biological , Sociological and Theological Physical Defects Emotional Defects Circumstances and learned behavior do not predict the future. DO NOT camp out in the past. If you form a habit you get stuck. You are misusing a positive quality. Some people confuse identity with Character Defects. Biblical thinking is God’s standards. Purpose in Celebrate Recovery. Do not skirt around the edges of Recovery. Get in the middle of the bed. Nobody should be left behind. Walk out of hurts, habits and hang – ups that life will throw at you. Dive in deep. Often the payoff is you mask pain. We give ourselves an excuse to fail and reward our human nature. A nature which desires a pleasurable pay off. It can be self – defeating. Satan constantly suggests negative thoughts. Satan is not all knowing but excellent at watching behavior. The Real Big Book states Satan is a liar. Suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character. Character produces hope. The love of God encompasses us. Character Defects Principle 5 Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects. Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires. Matthew 5:6 NIV Step 6 We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:10 NIV A. Where do my character defects come from? My chromosomes. Genetics explain predisposition but do not excuse sin. My circumstances. Character defects are often attempts to fill unmet needs. My choices. Character defects are often positive qualities being misused. B. Why is it so hard to change them? 1. Because I have had them for so long. 2. Because I identify with them. 3. Because they have a payoff. 4. Because Satan discourages me. If there were one character defect I could change that would make an immediate difference in my recovery and life, what would that defect be? How do I cooperate with God’s change process? Eight Recovery Principles based on the Beatitudes 1. Realize I’m not God; I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable.

Step 1. Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor. Matthew 5 : 3 We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behavior, that our lives had become unmanageable. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Romans 7:18 2. Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and that He has the power to help me recover.

Step 2. Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4 We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. For it is God who is works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose. Philippians 2:13 3. Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.

Step 3. Happy are the meek. Matthew 5:5 We made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God. Therefore I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12 1 4. Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.

Step 4 and 5. Happy are the pure in hart. Matthew 5:8 We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Lamentations 3:40 We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5 : 16 5. Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask him to remove my character defects.

Steps 6 and 7. Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires. Matthew 5 : 6 We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4 : 10 We humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1 : 9 6. Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others.

Steps 8 and 9. Happy are the merciful. Happy are the peacemakers. Matthew 5 : 7, 9 We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6 : 31 We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5 23-24 7. Reserve a daily time with God for self – examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will.

Steps 10 and 11. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall. 1 Corinthians 10 : 12 We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and power to carry that out. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly. Colossians 3: 16 8. Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words.

Step 12 Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires. Matthew3 5 : 10 Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and practice these principles in all our affairs. Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you may also be tempted. Galatians 6 : 1

On Thursday evenings at Eastridge we have New Hope Diner at 6:00 and Large gathering time at 7:00 in the Sanctuary and then Small group study at 8:00 and coffee and dessert following small group at 9:00. I would love to have you visit Eastridge. I made a profession of faith and was baptized on April 2nd at Celebrate Recovery for the 3rd time in my life devoting myself once again to the Lord our God and to my church family at Eastridge. Having moved my letter of membership for the first time in over 30 years from Oxford Baptist Chuch in Oxford, Georgia. Small group guidelines include: 1. Keep your sharing focused on your own thoughts and feelings. Please limit your sharing to 3-5 minutes. 2. Please, no cross talk. Cross talk is when individuals engage in a dialogue, excluding all others. Each person is free to express their feelings without interruption. 3. We are here to support one another. We will not attempt to fix one another. 4. Anonymity and confidentiality are basic requirements. What is shared in the group, stays in the group. The only exception is when someone threatens to injure themselves or others. 5. Offensive language has no place in a Christ centered recovery group. Celebrate Recovery Eastridge 770-786-2048 Renee Rutledge Director Celebrate Recovery x 233 Colleen Horn Assistant Director Celebrate Recovery x 234 renee@eccmail.org colleen@ecccmail.org Eastridge is an Elder led church and I am proud to say that I admire and respect the choice of Eastridge being an elder led church as I have been under the mentor of an elder since young adulthood and greatly respect and value this relationship we have shared for many years to present. Loving my home church. Come visit with us at Eastridge. It is promised you will fall in love too with the welcome and warmness.

What makes you a good candidate to work with other peers in the behavioral health field?

I am currently working as a personal care assistant and nursing assistant to the physically and mentally challenged along with the elderly. I have nearly 1 year experience working closely with the physically, mentally and behaviorally challenged health world. After last applying for CPS and not chosen I decided to enter into the health care world and gain some knowledge and experience working closely to those with physical, mental and behavioral challenges. During a visit with my patients all of the following is completed and I have gained knowledge and skill in all of the following areas.

  1. Monitor feeding tube
  2. Encourage proper nutrition
  3. Plan/Prepare Meals for Client
  4. Ambulation / Transfers
  5. Shower / Bath
  6. Comb/ Brush
  7. Shampoo
  8. Soak/Clean nails
  9. Monitor skin condition
  10. Assist with brushing
  11. Oral hygiene
  12. Assist with dressing
  13. Assist with toileting
  14. Timely continent care
  15. Take out trash for client
  16. Wash dishes for client
  17. Change linen / make clients bed
  18. Clean clients bedroom
  19. Dust, mop, sweep, vacuum
  20. Laundry for client
  21. Iron
  22. Clean clients bathroom
  23. Pickup prescription drugs
  24. Arrange/ accompany to MD
  25. Grocery shopping
  26. Pay bills
  27. Remind client to take all medications

I also sit with and hold the clients hands and read to them along with taking walks when client is able. I have also photographed several gardens of the clients and shared with the client the photography of their yards when they were unable to get out of bed and were bedridden. Also taking a holistic healing approach and lighting candles for the client and playing soft music has relieved their stress and pain. Having nearly 1 year experience with my clients with the above skills in assisting the physically, mentally and behaviorally challenged and the elderly.

In August of 2015 I will begin Stephen Ministry training at Eastridge Community Church and begin my 50 hours of Stephen Ministry training to gain my Stephen Ministry Certification. Being a Stephen Minister consists of the following:

Stephen Ministry training classes coming up in August I have been attending Honorable Ozburn’s Sunday morning lectures and class for some time now and one Sunday morning came across the book When and How to Use Mental Health Resources A guide for Stephen Ministers, Stephen Leaders, and Church Staff by Kenneth Haugk Ph.D . so I picked it up and began reading it. I took it with me and have been reading a little here and there when I have the time but have found it most interesting. So interesting in fact that my plan is to take the Stephen Ministry training classes in August at Eastridge Community Church and become certified in Stephen Ministry. My hope is that I will be able to use the training classes in my career as a nursing assistant helping the physically and mentally challenged along with the elderly and grieving. Along with using my Stephen Ministry training as a Certified Peer Specialist in my future to help my mental health clients in recovery and self-help recovery during times of stress, anxiety, grief, depression and loss. Stephen Ministry training topics include: The person of the caregiver Dealing with feelings Listening Distinctively Christian caregiving Process – oriented caregiving Christian assertiveness Maintaining boundaries Crisis theory and practice Maintaining confidentiality Telecare Using mental health professionals and other community resources Ministering to grieving persons Helping suicidal persons get the help they need Bringing closure to a caring relationship Participating in supervision How to make a first caring visit Following Jesus in caregiving Ministering to the dying, their family, and friends Caring for people before, during and after hospitalization Ministering to those experiencing losses related to aging Ministering to those needing long term care Ministering to those experiencing separation and divorce Caring when childbirth turns into a crisis Providing Spiritual care In August my plan is to take the Stephen Ministry training classes and to read through the entire book during August along with my study materials. So my plan is to help my patients as nursing assistant and to also minister to and worship with the ladies of Newton and Rockdale County jails offering them a sense of stability and that they can and will recover from being incarcerated so that they can face the world once again upon their release. I have already went in for my interview process at Newton County Jail and am on their waiting list to be able to minister with and worship among the ladies housed at the jail providing them with Spiritual correspondence and Bible study materials so that they will have roots to stand on and the Lord our God as their guide through their troubling experiences and so that they may grow while incarcerated and not give up so that they may better serve society when released. I have spoken with Honorable Ozburn about my plans and he feels it would be well worth it and in helping my bedside manner too. I will be discussing with him as my lead Elder my studies of Stephen Ministry and begin once again in August attending his Sunday morning lectures as during the month of July the classes have not been on the calendar. I am so very thankful to have a church home and church family to call my own. Eastridge Community Church an Elder led Church that has brought me much solace and peace of mind. A solace like no other when putting my trust and faith in my church and the Lord our God. Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. I have been praying for God’s will and His purpose to shine forth in my life. Thus far the Lord has shown me that I would make a difference in the O.C.G.A. with my name at hand since my early 20’s to include advocacy for children, family violence victims, parental alienation, parental reunification and the mentally challenged. My name came be found though out the O.C.G.A. in the judicial system and courts as advocate for 20 plus years to present date. The Lord has also shown me that I would have a career in the health field pursuing my Certified Peer Specialist Certification through the GA Mental Health Consumer Network as I have been working fruitfully as a nursing assistant to the physically and mentally challenged and the elderly. The Lord has shown me that I will continue to thrive regardless of my life circumstances or problems and adversity that I face. I will survive each trial and testament to the Glory of The Lord. Anxiously awaiting classes to begin on Stephen Ministry certification at Eastridge.

I have my college degree from Dekalb Technical College in Business/Legal Office Administration along with my Paralegal Certification and have worked closely with the public at large at The Newton County Public Defender’s Office as intern.

Furthermore as a juvenile probation officer through The Southwest Key Program visiting the children in their homes, school and places of employment while in college. Also working as a medical malpractice Paralegal and Contract Paralegal in several managerial and customer service positions; that required great leadership and supervisory skills to maintain my position. I am a graduate of Dekalb Technical College Covington Campus with dual awards in 2002.

I have been a client of View Point Health for 11 years now and been in recovery for over 10 years and have attended weekly support groups and discussions. I am a client recipient of services at New Rock Day Program through View Point Health and have graduated the Peer Support program of study. I attended conference at St. Simons Island and brought back The Respect Institute to View Point Health Newton County and View Point Health from attending The Respect Institute classes at St. Simons Island. After bringing The Respect Institute back to New Rock and Ms. Quianna Sydnor I then went on to graduate The Respect Institute per Mr. Joel Slack and have worked closely with The Respect Institute and shared my story in the community through my Covington News blog and through View Point Health at several conferences held and as of recent for the Mayor of Newton County Mr. Ronnie Johnston. I will be including my speech given at the View Point Health training class and for the Mayor. They Mayor of Newton County was present at the View Point Health training where I passed out green marble stones for Mental Health Awareness month and during Newton County’s 4th of July celebration hugged me and informed me that he had his green marble stone and thought of me often. I was pleased to hear this as at the meeting and speech he knew of my Covington News blog and commended me on the quality of my work and promoting my city of Covington Georgia and Mental Health Awareness.

View Point Health. Welcome to: “Recovery through the Arts” Agenda Welcome Client Expression Refreshments/Art Viewing Reading of Proclamation Closing Remarks Special thanks to View Point Health Clients Support Staff and Community Supporters. I was asked to read the welcoming statement this evening and did so proudly and felt so grateful and hope that it was graciously read and delivered genuinely. Mrs. Ijuana Landry Art: An open display of one’s emotions, thoughts, frustrations, inspirations, faith and hope. Art can evoke all of these things; not just in the observer, but in the artists as well. We are View Point Health: 27 Agencies created by the State of Georgia to provide a safety net of care for behavioral health and developmental disabilities. The Art you see on display represents us: the clients. It’s an open announcement of our pain and struggles through our artistic expressions; but most importantly through our achievements and recovery. We are not our illness; we are the beauty you see before you. Enjoy the Art. Sincerely, New Rock Day Services Newton Outpatient Services Independent Enterprises A Crisis has NO Schedule Georgia Crisis & Access Line 1-800-715-4225Help is available 24 hours 7 days a week for problems with mental health, drugs or alcohol. Sponsored by The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. Mental Health Awareness Month May 2015 “Pathways to Wellness” Whereas, Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well -being; and Whereas, All Americans experience times of difficulty and stress in their lives, and Whereas, There is a strong body of research that support user -friendly tools that all Americans can access to better handle challenges, and protect their health and well – being and Whereas, Mental health conditions are real and prevalent in our nation, and Whereas, With effective treatment, those individuals with mental health conditions can recover and lead full productive lives, and Whereas, Each business, school, government agency, faith-bases organization, health care provider, and citizen has a responsibility to promote mental wellness and support prevention efforts. Now, THEREFORE, I Ronnie Johnston, Mayor of the City of Covington, do hereby proclaim that the Month of May 2015 be declared as Mental Health Awareness Month in Newton County. We also call upon the citizens, government agencies, public and private institutions, businesses and schools in Newton County to recommit our community in increasing awareness and understanding of mental health, the steps our citizens can take to protect their mental health, and the need for appropriate and accessible services for all people with mental health conditions. This 19th day of May, 2015 Ronnie Johnston, Mayor The City of Covington We had the wonderful experience of getting to meet with the Mayor Mr. Ronnie Johnston and I was able to share a bit of my life with him. I was able to see many of my friends from class and to mingle among them as I have not seen them in a while. Among many of my friends from New Rock I was able to congratulate many of them on recent successes that would not have been possible without the support of View Point Health. Such as in my case as working closely with View Point Health, graduating The Respect Institute, graduating The GA Peer Support Institute, taking and teaching mental health recovery and whole health wellness along with graduating supportive employment and obtaining gainful employment as a Certified Nursing Assistant in my community and surrounding nearby counties serving many physically and mentally disabled persons along with the elderly. These successes have come as a result of View Point Health being a strong support system in my life which I could not imagine life without. As to why I get so emotional at times when it comes to the ladies that I am so close to and have built and carry personal, educational and work relationships with. Today was a pleasurable time and we had a “Balloon Release” at the end of the program in honor of View Pont Health clients and staff. What a great release to end a wonderful afternoon of Art. Mrs. Ijuana’s poem greatly reflects my life and how I feel about my blogging and expresses a great deal of exactly how I feel. Today was the first day I have ever read her poem and was ecstatically thrilled to read the welcoming poem as it hit me very close to my heart as a faithful expression of exactly how I feel about blogging and it being so therapeutic. I thank you my continued followers and come out and join us on May 26th for the Leadership Training Academy at Cloverbridge. New Rock Day Services for more information – 678-209-2575 Director Mrs. Quianna Sydnor Still in the research stages for my upcoming speech next week that I will be delivering to View Point Health regarding my successes and successes in the community that I have achieved. Not without the support of View Point Health though. So take me at my word when I say “family” that is how I feel towards View Point Health, as though they are “family.”

I was recently a guest on Thrive Weekly Radio Network and discussed the following:

Mary Nichelson

3 June

Tonight on an all new Thrive Weekly Magazine- April Fuller Sasser joins Kellye and Mary as they take on various topics such as self – care and spirituality. They will also revisit a recent hot topic, bullying. April’s extensive knowledge and experience in mental health and in the medical field is sure to add a multi-faceted view to the roundtable discussion. Join them at 7 PM EST.

For nearly 4 years now I have held a strong bond with my community as a full time blogger at  The Covington News while attending many community events and blogging of and taking photography of the events. I feel strongly that penning and journaling is a vital and invaluable tool when faced with being mentally challenged and have been sharing of my life’s story and events this November will make 4 years of being a strong advocate in my community.

What does recovery mean to you?

I read the Wellness Recovery Action Plan by Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD after it was given to me at New Rock and I live it daily. The WRAP is an essential tool in the mentally challenged ones tool box. I have studied it, read it, lectured on it and put it to practical use in my own life. Identifying your triggers and stressors is a first step and then onto creating a safety crisis plan that includes your doctor so as not to relapse. Including my private psychiatrist along with View Point Health has been most successful for me over the last ten years. Working my daily maintenance plan has proved beneficial in maintaining my overall wellness and recovery. Taking special note to watch out for early warning signs and to have your support share any early warning signs that they have noticed in you. Beginning the process of letting go of your grief by journaling is a great healer. Learning to cope with your pain instead of stuffing it is a must. Grief is so similar yet so different from clinical depression. Depression would be considered a mental illness but not grief. Grieving is achieved when you can enjoy fond memories without them leading to painful feelings. You can treat clinical depression in the way you would treat grief allowing your doctor to follow you closely and maintaining your regimen of medication. I have been diagnosed in the past with clinical depression during my divorce and have studied about grief and clinical depression and have taken a class on grief and depression and have spent a large amount of my time in recovery learning to let go of grief and how to cope and thrive with it so as not to relapse into a state of clinical depression.

  1. Denial 2. Anger 3. Bargaining 4. Depression – Common Mental Illness 5. Acceptance Depression being a common mental illness yet grief is looked at as a normal and natural way of processing sadness or loss. Depression being a chronic illness can be managed. If you experience Grief it is certainly a sign that you are not a sociopath as many bullies are. Having negative thoughts significantly affects your behavior. Stuffing your feelings can cause irrational thinking. Depression and Grief are processed differently. The Model I was taught included: 1. Express Feelings 2. Think more positive about the loss 3. Good/Bad Aspects 4. Live life to the fullest. Give and receive love. Have plenty of emotional support. If you are experiencing sadness, anger, fear you are still in the grieving process. Grief can also be considered a loss of health. Grief would not be considered a mental illness but depression is. Please release and let go of all stigma relating to depression as a mental illness. If the heart, liver or kidneys can go faulty so can the brain. Continuing to live life one day at a time and one moment at a time thriving on my own two feet. Grief is the road of healing. Grief is not linear. Greif and anxiety serve a positive purpose. It drives us to take action. I have studied, taken notes on, lectured and lived out what I call the 4 R’s of my life. It has truly helped in my grief, guilt and shame aspects of my life and to be able to share these with my peers in class and for open discussion into their opinions.

Repentance: Admit to ourselves and those impacted what we have thought, said or done that was wronged or wronged another. Remorse: Feel genuine and heartfelt sorrow for how we have hurt God, others, and ourselves. Restitution: Do something sacrificial that’s related to our wrong and that shows we take what we have done seriously. Repair: Go to those we have wronged seeking forgiveness, and then make specific changes that will help protect us from repeating our wrong. Forgiving has allowed me to let go of my past and envision a new tomorrow. Forgiving others has helped to erase my shame. Forgiving others has been a large step in my recovery process and lectures to my peers. Forgiving others detaches us from our guilt and shame. For without forgiveness we become trapped in vengeance or victimization. Bitterness and unforgiveness trap us in our hurt. You must put your pain in perspective. Several steps that I have taught on and worked out in my life over the last ten years have included: Admit the hurt and anger. Talking it out. Reminding myself that forgiveness is necessary for my freedom. Asking God to empower me to make the choice to forgive. Putting the past behind me. Being patient with the process. I was taught much on penning and journaling that began with cutting out magazine articles and ads and making a collage of things I found interesting or captured me. I was taught that in journaling we learn to process loss and grief. Writing and talking about what was said and done at the time of the loss giving explicit details. Writing and talking about the importance of the person, place or thing in your life. Writing and talking about the impact of the loss, describing what I thought and how it affected or changed my life. Writing and talking about my feelings of sadness, anger, fear and how I would like to say goodbye. Writing and talking about and correcting distortions. What started as magazine collages went into a blog with WordPress and then onto blogging at The Covington News where I will celebrate my 4th anniversary this November and where I am in attendance at many community events covering the event and blogging of said event and photographing the event for my community along with advocacy for the family violence victim and the mentally challenged. Trusting in God’s plan and finding resolve to wait on God including daily prayer time is a part of a very important role in holistic healing that I have spoken on during several group discussions as the role of spiritual health has always been important to my peers and clients. At my initial time of diagnosis in August of 2004 I sat in a group setting at a support meeting and we all came up with these positive affirmations to tell ourselves daily and I keep them close by and have made copies for all my peers and complimented them daily on these affirmations that I use daily in my own life since that dark day in August of 2004 to finally seeing some light. I have an Independent Spirit. I am creative in everything I do. As I turn my will over to a higher power, I myself have power. I look forward to joy in my life. Laughter is in my heart and in my soul. I feel the healing now. I have determination to recover. I feel empowered enough to come out of this. I appreciate myself enough to get better. I have happiness knowing I’ll be a better friend and mother. I am extremely courageous for dealing with abuse in my life. I have an open heart about my fellow humans. I have more self – love now that I am singing and creative again. I accept my addiction. I have tremendous strength by leaving everything I know. I know my happiness must come from within.

What are some of the important factors in your own recovery?

I am a Codependent caregiver so caretaking has been a huge factor in my recovery which began in August of 2004 as I had never heard of Codependency up until my divorce began in February of 2004. I have fortunately not suffered addictive diseases my make- up has been purely psyche. But I do tend to care – take those with drug, alcohol, gambling and abusive natures. I have taken many classes and lectures on being a Codependent caregiver and have attended Celebrate Recovery for some time now attending the Codependency classes. Recovering from Codependency as the caregiver has played a huge role in my life as I have learned to let go of those negative self- destructing behaviors and find anew. Making and keeping friends along with creating a strong support system in View Point Health as both my parents are deceased. Building my self – esteem. Action planning for prevention and recovery. Dealing with the effects of my trauma. Speaking out for myself.  Developing a recovery and wellness lifestyle. It is important to know that I have single handedly accomplished all of the above basically on my own. By my own free will and accord. Over the last ten years I have not had a strong support system so I have depended upon View Point Health for my support and encouragement. I have remained single up until the last 6 months of my life as I have had a steady partner with whom he has brought much joy and security to my life adding to my support system. My father once told me that the only person that could pull me out of my stupor was myself and that no one could do it for me that I had to want it bad enough. Ever since that conversation I have attempted not to squander any opportunity that I have had to better my life with even more self – help recovery teaching myself to cope and thrive on my own while being alone. Helping others has been a large part of my road to recovery. I enjoy helping others and developed a friendship with a stroke victim who became my best friend. He is a retired life flight and disaster area nurse and had a stroke and had to retire and settle down. But throughout my recovery over the last ten years not falling into the trap of Codependency yet helping others has become a forte of mine and one that I do well. I have committed and devoted my life to helping others from my peers at View Point Health of every walk of life to my patients as a nursing assistant up to and including my best friend who is a stroke victim and my boyfriend who has Parkinson’s. Self – advocacy has played a significant role in my recovery as I have had to be assertive on many occasions since my initial diagnosis as it had a grand impact on me and my four girl’s lives. I was alienated and estranged from four of my five children due to having a mental illness in 2004 by the courts and in 2005 which would later be reversed and justice served but it has been a long and uphill battle in the legal system that I have had to carry the burden of in order to one day hope to have a relationship with my girls once again that I was separated from over- night due to being hospitalized following a family violence incident and given a mental diagnosis. I filed a Pro Se case in 2005 and began my quest to vindication and justification within the courts as far as my four girls were concerned. Me and my girls have won many court hearings to our full behalf and I have since my initial diagnosis been given an open, full and loving relationship with my girls by the court system. But in the process lost my four girls due to the fact of having a mental diagnosis. Stigma has played a huge factor in my life in regards to the legal system and my four girls. I have 5 children. I had a biological son and adopted 3 step – daughters and then gave birth to my now 16 year old biological daughter. As there has never been any hint, question, suggestion, implication nor accusation as to any wrongdoing on my behalf as a mother nor as a wife I have been the one to carry the burden of having a mental diagnosis and being a family violence victim and advocate for and support my girls in and outside the courtroom in the State of Georgia. My entire adult life has been spent in the O.C.G.A with advocacy for children and women and the last ten years for family violence victims and the mentally challenged as I have always been honest with the court system about my entire history and diagnosis. I feel that I have made a lot of headway for the mentally challenged in the State of Georgia inside a court of law. The courts have been an active part of my life for the last twenty plus years while adopting my 3 step – daughters and advocating for my own daughter as we were separated due to “my mental condition.” That being a family violence victim with a mental diagnosis. I have been accountable, responsible and devoted to bearing good fruits for the court system in Rockdale County and The Alcovy Judicial Circuit so as to leave behind a lasting legacy for those suffering from parental alienation, family violence and mental illness. I had to take charge not only in my personal life but inside the courtroom to begin to regain control of my life. I will discuss more of my time spent in the court room in question number 5 where I explain when and where I felt empowered to take responsibility of my own recovery, choices and life direction. Overcoming my feelings of worthlessness and uselessness accompanied with the sadness has been on the top of my list and I feel that I have met this goal and achieved happiness by practicing happiness in my life. Grateful thinking and expressing gratitude has helped with past hurts and trauma that I have experienced. I have in the past suffered a great fear of disapproval and rejection. I am working on overcoming this by continuing to apply for my CPS Certification and working closely with the physically, mentally and behaviorally disabled.

Describe a turning point in your recovery where you felt empowered to take responsibility for your own recovery choices and life directions.

After my initial diagnosis in August of 2004 and being alienated and estranged from my four girls I allegedly made a handful of phone calls that resulted in my being arrested and charged with violating a temporary protective order by placing the alleged phone calls. Even given this was a man that I had never even met. Not once and still have not to this very day. I was incarcerated in Newton County in September of 2005 a year after my initial diagnosis and alienation from my four girls. I was incarcerated for 6 months while I waited on a bed to become available at Georgia Regional on the Forensic Unit as ordered by the Honorable Ozburn. I was a wreck when I left the jail headed to Georgia Regional suffering daily psychosis and set – backs that I thought I would never recover from and never see my girls again due to “my mental diagnosis.” I thought that being on the Forensic Unit only made things worse and compounded my problem since the judge would not allow me to see my girls due to mental diagnosis to begin with. I told myself that in order to fight for my rights and my girls rights in the future that I had to be found competent and stand up against the stigma of mental illness. I began my classes at Georgia Regional on the Forensic Unit and was determined to be deemed competent to stand trial so as a label of incompetency would not ruin my chances in court of seeing my girls and being an active part of their lives. I wrote to the judge that had handed down the no contact with my girls due to my mental diagnosis as he was made aware that I was incarcerated at the time of my divorce and assured him that I would be found competent and that I would be filing back against Mr. Sasser pertaining to my four girls just as soon as I was released from Georgia Regional. I knew then that I had to step up and take responsibility for my mental illness and claim it and embrace it. So I embraced it and learned how to grow from it instead of fighting the fact of it. I made certain that I was held competent and was released after 90 days on the Forensic Unit at Georgia Regional. I had a job within a week at a grocery store in Atlanta working as a cashier and soon to advance to customer service manager. This is when I filed my Pro Se case against Mr. Sasser and began my plight to be reunited with my girls. I completed all the necessary requirements of the arrest early and worked day and night at my place of employment to include working diligently on my Pro Se case filing back against Mr. Sasser claiming my rights to my children with The Honorable Nation presiding. While incarcerated my mother passed away and I felt traumatized all over once again. Being left to regain control of my life alone with on the Forensic Unit I reached out to the church that I grew up in being Oxford Baptist and was sent a care package from the ladies group which helped me focus on becoming competent and owning my mental illness. Embracing my mental illness while on the Forensic Unit was one of the greatest gifts I could have ever given to myself while incarcerated. I was released in September of 2006 and have not spent any more time in jail since. I completed all the requirements of my release and the probation and arrest were terminated by The Honorable Ozburn several years earlier than anticipated. I have since interviewed at The Newton County Sheriff’s Department to minister to and fellowship with the ladies of the same jail where I was incarcerated. I have had my initial interview and am now on a waiting list awaiting visitation to the Pod to deliver my recovery story along with biblical materials in hopes of giving someone a ray of light to hold onto. I am so pleased that I passed the interview process at the Newton County Jail and will be able to share my story of recovery with the ladies in the very near future.

I have suffered a great deal of anxiety, stress and pain from chronic homelessness throughout the last several years prior to becoming a View Point Health housing client. I have single handedly survived with little to no support other than the ladies of View Point Health and my private psychiatrist. I was so full of shame and despair during my times of homelessness. I feel that I have worked extra hard and long hours to fill the big shoes of the ladies of View Point Health in fulfilling the desires of their hearts for my life. I feel strongly that I have given my all and my best back to the ladies of View Point Health, my community and to my patients as caregiver. I have continued to tell myself “I am good enough.” I have also helped and assisted several other individuals with safe, secure and reliable housing helping out other homeless faces I have met and come to know. I was homeless during the summer of 2012 and came to know Ms. Jennifer Speights of View Point Health who helped me secure housing for myself as I had been staying at a camp ground site in Covington with a friend with no where to call home. No shelter and no security. No comfort in which to cry sanctuary. I will include a photograph of the summer 2012 that I spent homeless in Newton County as I was struggling to make a life of my own all alone. I prayed extra hard every day and took as good as care of myself and my health as I possibly could given my circumstances and worked closely with View Point Health to secure my housing. Of which I will forever be grateful and indebted to Mrs. Jennifer Speights for assisting me in getting off the streets and out of the camp site at Factory Shoals in Covington, Ga. Living in the great outdoors was a beautiful site considering my state of mind and health but I would not have survived much longer had it not been for Mrs. Jennifer whom has been encouraging me to become a Certified Peer Specialist for years now. Mrs. Jennifer has also used my photographs and story in her Power Point presenetations through View Point Health and in publications for View Point Health. I have felt very honored to be so esteemed by View Point Health and pray for their continued support and uplifting daily as I live my life as strongly as possible in order to make proud my mentors and my community. I have been a View Point Health patient since August of 2004 and a residential client since the summer of 2012. I have taken care of myself for the last ten years and paid my rent timely and cooperatively as I have stretched my dollars far and wide in order to take care of all my responsibilities juggling day to day life as best as possible living in the moment for the moment.

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 worked now for several years with my peers at New Rock through View Point Health. Sharing in individual and group discussion while teaching and lecturing to my peers as well. I have volunteered at Social Circle Retirement and Rehabilitation Home for several years now through View Point Health as well assisting in cooking and crafts. I have spent the last ten years of my life advocating for the mentally challenged as that was the entire reason that the judge had set forth that I was not able to see my four girls until such a time as either party presented the case to the judge. That party being me. I have fought for my children’s rights to have their mother in their lives and for my own personal right’s to continue to be a mother and primary care giver even though I suffered a mental diagnosis. I did not feel that suffering from a mental diagnosis and being a family violence victim should keep me from my children. I have written to many different children’s groups and women’s groups with regard to my story throughout the last ten plus years along with letters and correspondence to several judges on our behalf. I have brought back The Respect Institute from St. Simons Island to New Rock of View Point Health and graduated The Respect Institute and have shared my story publically with my community on several occasions under the direction and guidance of The Respect Institute. Recently speaking to the Mayor of Covington and a group of View Point Health employees. As I have mentioned I have been a full time blogger for The Covington News for nearly 4 years now and will celebrate my 4th anniversary this November. I attend many community events held and share in my day to day life with my reader. My readers have been made fully aware that I have a mental diagnosis and that I have spent the last year working as a Certified Nursing Assistant assisting the physically, mentally and behaviorally challenged and the elderly.

You may see the last 4 years of my life as spent in recovery at The Covington News:

http://community.covnews.com/accounts/view/6373/

Please take a moment to visit my blog as it covers the last nearly 4 years of my life to date and all the great works I have been able to be a part of in my community and daily recovery.

I have been specific throughout my application as to all my community and work involvement.

I wanted to take a moment and list just a few community events that I have blogged of since the beginning of this year to current. In August 2015 I will be taking Stephen Ministry classes at Eastridge Community Church. I have also blogged of the following already this year:

1100 CPS since 2001

Independence Day with Mayor Mr. Ronnie Johnston

Sheer Will Power – “As She Paces” A blog to book endeavor

Celebrate Recovery Eastridge

The Respect Institute of Georgia

Thrive Global Radio Network guest speaker

Town Square Olive Oil

Memorial Day in Newton County

Mental Health Awareness Month with Mayor Mr. Ronnie Johnston

View Point Health Art Banquet speech

View Point Health Leadership Training Academy speech

The 20 D Morgan note cards for Mental Health Awareness Month

Chimney Park Festival 2015

Pin Wheels for Child Abuse advocacy

The Loving window views. A photography session for my patient to see his gardens.

Vines Botanical Gardens with my best friend and stroke victim Mr. Mark Burton

March is Reach the World Month – A spiritual enlighening

Rare Disease Day

Healthy in Newton

The Monastery of our Lady of The Holy Spirit Conyers, GA

There should be no discrimination in mental illness

Writing your way to happiness

Salt and Light of the World Honorable Samuel Ozburn

MLK fought for causes beyond Civil Rights

Clover Bridge Housing Newton County, GA

Mental Health Day at the Capital. Where I was in attendance last year.

2015 My voice. My participation. My board. The GA Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities

The Covington Fuzz Run 5K

Also featured at Thrive Global Radio Network for my coverage of The Fuzz Run

Why do you think it is important for CPS’s to tell their recovery stories?

By telling your story you begin to feel better physically and emotionally. You have less stress. You have more time to do the things you enjoy. You have time to take good care of yourself. You feel more fulfilled and you certainly improve the quality of your life. Recovery through self – management brings you several levels of wellness. You will grow and learn to implement the following in your life by telling your recovery story in writing and in a large group setting. Focus, consistency, goal – setting, cooperation, self – control, perseverance, confidence, respect and leadership. The best leader is a good follower.

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 seems to be the financial hardship that the training classes bring to the table. I am intending on applying for scholarship for the training classes to help me achieve my desired goal of becoming a CPS but just feel that without a scholarship it will be impossible to null for me to participate. I anticipate applying for the scholarship and being accepted as a scholarship recipient and being able to attend the training in Albany with my peers.

 

Describe your current employment situation or volunteer situation. If neither applies, how do you spend your time?

As I have thoroughly described above I have spent the last year working as a personal care assistant  and nursing assistant for Home Nurse and Because We Care in Rockdale, Newton and The Atlanta Metropolitan area. I have listed above all of my daily duties and tasks performed for my patients. I also spend my off time in my community by attending for example the Health Expo for several years now and blogging of each individual company that has been present. You may see some of my work at my community Covington News blog at:

http://community.covnews.com/accounts/view/6373/

Is there anything else you would like us to know in considering you for the Certified Peer Specialist training?

    • Just as in A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quendlin There is a “Before” and an “After” Me.

Before August 2004 and afterwards. I came across this quote author unknown and it reminded me of when one is in need of a support system.

I am homesick for a place I am not sure exists. One where my heart is full. My body loved. And my soul understood. This is what it often feels like when you have no constant support system. With both parent’s being deceased it is very trying.

I wake up every morning with the though this is a “Fresh” Morning, Day, Plans, Hopes, Efforts, Successes, Feelings.

Hoping to have a fresh and successful day every day.

Because negative thinkers always have a negative vision and give off negative energy.

If you become off track or off purpose you lose Divine Order.

When you come to a fork in the Road you should take it. My works human nature. Real Life is really all I know. Anna Quindlen

You are the only person who has sole custody of your life as she speaks of “Looking at the View.”

My “View” consists of:

1972 Birth

1974 Abandoned by natural father and all biological family

1974 My “father” Mr. Mayron Fuller being introduced into my life

1976 Adoption by my father Mr. Mayron Fuller

1982 Death of my maternal grandmother from Cancer and my parent’s divorce.

1986 Freshman in high school for the first time

Family dysfunction and my being in the custody of The State of Georgia brought Honorable Ozburn into my life as my family law attorney and mentor. But  not before I lived at The Georgia Baptist Children’s Home, The Alcove Shelter, Palmetto High School, and Hartwell at Harwell High School before my aunt and uncle Mr. and Ms. Jerry and Roxie Nunley being allowed to have me live life with them. My mother’s sister and uncle by marriage.

Even with two high functioning parents.

1987 Freshman for the second time

1987 Suicide Attempt with no follow up or mental health counseling services after I tried living with my biological father for a while and it did nothing but ruin my life even further and trigger more bad memories.

Leaving me with burdens, sorrow and suffering. My afflictions great and painful. Left with broken hopes.

This was one of Life’s Tests for me as the “After” me discovered I have Codependency as the caregiver to those with bad habits such as drugs, alcohol and gambling and mental or physical issues of their own.

I was left in dire despair to return to Newton High once again was a huge challenge as living with my natural father did me no good it only led me to attempted suicide. And left with much spiritual discernment that I never thought I could consider would ever hurt that intensely again. I was very wrong as you will learn.

I set goals for myself after being represented by Honorable Ozburn and moving in with my aunt and uncle and achieved the goal of graduating and marching with the class of 1991 from Newton County High School. 1 year off course with my history being right here in my hometown at

The Little Red School House private Kindergarten

Ficquett Elementary

Sharp Middle

Newton High

Dekalb Technical College Business/Legal Office Program and Paralegal Program

American Realty Professionals

View Point Health and The Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network

Honorable Ozburn and my aunt and uncle took great measures to have much patience with me. In the summer of 1990 I worked as a day – camp counselor at Ridgecrest Baptist Conference Center for the entire summer still visiting Ridgecrest today.

I thought at the time of my attempted suicide in 1987 I was a completed failure full of misfortune.

I went on to graduate and march with the class of 1991 and then straight into parenting with the birth of my first son in 1992.

1992 Birth of my son Tyler – I was 20 years old

1994 Separated from Tyler’s father after many years and growing up at Oxford Baptist Church together and moving in with my ex-husband Chuck Sasser.

1995 Marriage and raising four children including 3 step daughter’s that I would adopt in 1999.

1999 Adoption of my 3 step daughter’s after much advocacy for them in the court system in Rockdale County as their natural mother has been investigated and charged with much remiss, neglect and abuse.

Independent Adoption Report – State of Georgia

Verification of allegations contained in the petition

Circumstances under which the minor children came to be placed for adoption

Whether the proposed adoptive parent is financially, physically and mentally able to have the permanent custody of the minor child

The physical and mental condition of the minor children to be adopted

Whether or not the adoption is in the best interest of the minor children

Suitability of the home to the minor children

Other information – References

Four references were obtained on myself, Leslie Syles, school counselor, Julie Manders, school counselor, Mark Zielenske, family friend, Charles and Dot Sasser. All of the references support the adoption of the minor children by the petitioner, April Christina Fuller Sasser

1999 Birth of my youngest daughter

1999 Enrolled in school at Dekalb Technical College

1999-2002 A student at Dekalb Technical College where I also picked up the Paralegal Program of study with the Honorable Virgil Costley of my past allowing me to write the introduction to the Paralegal Program for The GA Association of Paralegals “The Paragraph.” Along with receiving the Velocity Student of The Year Award and working as a juvenile probation officer reporting directly to Honorable Waters and Honorable Schneider and working closely with Esquire Mr. John Strauss, Sr. of The Newton County Public Defender’s Office. Which Mr. Strauss was the first District Attorney and first Public Defender of The Alcovy Judicial Circuit my being his very first intern ever. I then went on to do some motivational speaking for The GA Department of Labor. We hold the power to create masterpieces; we are the sculptors of our lives.

Growing up at Oxford Baptist Church from about the 5th grade until 21 years of age. I always found myself seeking spiritual insight and guidance. As God has been the Architect of my life and never left or failed me during hardship.

June 2003-June 2004 I worked as a Leasing Office Manager, Contract Paralegal to The GA Force indoor arena league football team and Turn Key Manager for an up and rising new apartment community. As is documented through The GA Department of Labor I left work early one day without full permission to care for a sick child.

February 2004 The divorce was filed as irretrievably broken or Irreconcilable Differences.

No hint, question, suggestion, implication nor accusation as to any wrong doing on my behalf neither as a mother nor as a wife has ever been brought up nor brought to my attention.

June 2004 I bought my own home in Covington taking chances that I could provide for myself and my children as I had custody of my youngest daughter and son at the time. I began a journey of self – discovery.

August of 2004 The “After” Me.

I was hospitalized at Northside Hospital and a voluntary admission to Peachford Hospital for family violence, the victim of battery and codependency as the caregiver. As well Honorable Bills had typed up her prepared proposed Opinion to the courts of Rockdale County giving me custody of our youngest daughter, visits with my older adopted girls at any time we so choose to and for Mr. Sasser not to interfere in our relationship and for me to continue with counseling as the codependent caregiver as I have never had addictive diseases as an issue in my life’s journey.

September 2005 -2006 It was my word against someone else’s in the courtroom and I was incarcerated for making alleged contact with an individual I have never even met nor laid eyes on until that day in court. Neither of us have ever had the pleasure of meeting the other. Never even being alone in the same room together. Never knowing where this individual lived and never having face to face contact in any fashion whatsoever and spent 90 days on the forensic unit at Georgia Regional and was then given time served and released. Which all matters have been resolved and the case closed since which only involved a handful of alleged telephone calls to the individual. Along with the death of my mother while I was incarcerated. It nearly killed me as I only needed someone to talk to. Someone to help me hold my home and children together. My mother’s passing was very troubling for me and I grieved her daily and never got to attend any of her funeral services and still have no closure from my mother’s passing. Along with the illness of Esquire Mr. Strauss from Cancer. As I do not discuss this matter very often but have been most honest and upfront with therapists, attorney’s, Judge’s, The Covington News and my community there is a greater and deeper more fragile issue at hand that I take into account and consideration of the other party before I mention this issue that I feel great compassion and respect for.

September 2006 Brought “New Life” for me and “Seeing the daylight” once again. I began filing back regarding my four girls and filed a Pro Se case against Mr. Sasser and won the hearing handled by Honorable Nation. In great anticipation of once again seeing my girls and delivering the truth to Honorable Nation. With a steadfast heart began the “New Life” of the “After” Me in pursuit of a full, open and living relationship with my girls that we had once shared. Which has been fully delivered and granted with much success in the Rockdale Judicial Circuit and The Alcovy Judicial Circuit to present date. It was an uphill battle as I have continued to move upward in the courts of Rockdale, Walton and Newton in the Juvenile Courts and Superior Court.

Honorable Ozburn had a great influence in my life once again and held the hand of my daughter in his chambers.

2006-2013 Court hearings whereas I have lived up to the standards and responsibilities the court would expect of me. Being independent and self – reliant yet still very shaky and feeling as though I had lost all hope and talents of mine. Living with lost talent.

2004 I became a client of View Point Health and Dr. Asaf Aleem Director of Peachford Hospital

2010 I began my WordPress blog

2011 I began my Covington News blog

http://community.covnews.com/accounts/view/6373/

I was little but mighty. I was using my imagination and journaling and attending many community events and photographing these events and blogging for my community. I feel as though I gave the voiceless a voice in the O.C.G.A. that will forever be left behind in the law arena and forum.

For family violence victims, those parentally alienated and the mentally challenged. Standing up against the Stigma of Mental Illness for this state of GA.

2010 I began group therapy once a week at View Point Health as I was living with a roommate at the time in Covington. Barely able to get out of bed once again with burdens, sorrow and suffering. Wondering and left shattered not knowing I would EVER be ME again. I knew then I would never attain the “Before” me again.

She was lost.

Dwindling away into nothing even though the winds in court yet still with no relief as Mr. Sasser remained in a constant state of contempt. Wasting opportunity after opportunity as I felt numb, lsot, betrayed and helpless and hopeless. Except on Thursdays when I attended group therapy at View Point Health for one hour for the grieving.

Family had abandoned me to care for and raise my son alone as at one point his father had kicked him out of his home. Living with false hopes, dreams and no friends.

I kept attending on Thursday’s and with my Covington News blog became a Star Gazer once again.

With many a fortuitous thought. I was numb still but had one again found my conscious due to View Point Health and the many wins in court of The Alcovy Judical Circuit and Rockdale Circuit.

I did not long for worldly riches only for peace and my girls and the “Before” Me again to come back to life.

I kept telling myself If I had the time but in reality that was all I had as I slept the days and nights away writing letter after letter about my girls and our rights.

I would say be still my heart and rest and be gentle with yourself as I was being taught by View Point Health.

I felt so undeserving. I was making progress and in a time of growth but not fast enough for me.

I expected miracles.

Never dreaming or realizing that yes they would come to pass.

I was so discontent as I searched for the answer to be the “Before” Me again before the battery of August 2004.

Hearings gave me self – control, discipline and Justice has been served. But not without a road of enemies such as my ex family and estrangement of my very own family and four girls.

I knew I had future potential I just did not know how to find it again. All the joyous moments gone and left with fruitless worry.

I had a very beautiful and understanding roommate for years.

After leaving her home I have found myself homeless on several occasions once staying at Factory Shoals Camp ground several summers ago. I found myself inside a panic attack and homeless so I drove myself to Peachford to consult with my private doctor and on my heart disease that was giving me much anxiety. He admitted me under a voluntary admission. After release I had nowhere to go. I found myself at the door step of View Point Health and Newton Medical Center.

Hospital release paperwork and clearly and evidently my eyes were communicating I was trying but needed help.

I thought while sitting with the power out and in the pouring rain at Newton Medical where I had taken shelter you get a thorn with every rose but every rose is sweet.

I continued to follow up daily with View Point Health and that is when I met and came to know Ms. Jennifer Speights of Newton County View Point Health. Where I learned from her; that once again that God’s existence is best shown in human expressions of Love.

She had me attend New Rock day services classes and helped me obtain housing that I could afford and an apartment to call my own. I began the day classes of New Rock taking classes and teaching classes to my Peers at the school in Newton County of New Rock. I have attended and taught many classes at New Rock where I have also became close with Ms. Quianna Sydnor and have graduated New Rock along with graduating The Respect Institute, The GA Peer Support Institute , The ACT Team and The Supportive Employment program and onto becoming a CNA for the GA Dept. of Human Resources and a company in Covington.

I have had many teachers and excellent mentors at New Rock to enrich my life and many individuals namely Ms. Jennifer, Ms. Quianna, Ms. Brenda and Ms. Judy who have had open arms for me and given me love and support and friendship. Things have not always been perfection but I have been very happy.

It had been years since I had sat and read an entire book so I read To Heaven and Back by Dr. Mary C. Neal given to me by a friend which I treasure this story as I feel I have lived a similar life experience in 2003-2004.

I am working as a Certified Nursing Assistant and am planning to continue by applying for Certified Peer Specialist in the State of Georgia.

The requirements being:

> Candidates must have diagnosis of mental illness or a dual diagnosis of mental illness and addictive disease and must desire to identify themselves as a person with mental illness current or former consumer of mental health services.

> Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED and may be requested to provide a copy of this document.

> Must demonstrate strong reading comprehension and written communication skills as indicated on their responses on the pre – test which is part of the application.

> Must have demonstrated experience with leadership, advocacy or governance.

> Must be well grounded in recovery

These facts are taken directly from the Certified Peer Specialist brochure.

The motto of the CPS being “Each One Reach One.”

I plan on making application this July to The Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network after working so closely with the physically and mentally challenged. A goal of mine just as working as a CNA was and accomplished.

As Ms. Brenda Williams of my life acting as my CPS has had a great influence in my life as she is so very patient and her door always open and a big hug for you and all the support you could ever ask for. Along with her heart always big and considerate.

She has taught me to take the sum of my past experiences and turn them into one big joyful noise of a Masterpiece.

Working towards my CPS Certification, living independently and putting a roof over my heard for over ten years now supporting myself fully making more progress with each passing day as I have helped to raise my son and at times been his only parent and friend.

I have been attending Eastridge Community Church that is Elder led and was re baptized just a few short weeks ago as a re dedication through Celebrate Recovery and attend Honorable Ozburn’s lectures on Sunday mornings when I am not working along with Celebrate Recovery on Thursdays.

New Rock has taught me

Sacrifice, Discipline, Breaking barriers, self – reliance and gave me back my mysticism.

In 2013 featured at Skyland Trail was my Covington News Blog. Honorable Ozburn once again mentor and teaching me what to and how to pray fervently for myself and others. Giving me back my cheerful heart bearing much fruit and defining charms and along with the support of View Point Health.

Just last week I was a guest speaker on Thrive Global Radio Network with Mary Nichelson and Kellye Davis Williams discussing bullying, taking care of yourself as the care giver and spirituality. My boyfriend Ken joined us on the show.

http://thriveweekly.weebly.com/

I am currently reading

A short guide to a Happy Life Anna Quindlen and Wisdom Meets Passion When Generations collide and collaborate Dan Miller Jared Angaza and Mentoring Confidence in Finding a Mentor and becoming one Bobb Biehl

Thank you all for allowing me to share this synopsis of my life. Only those who dare to fail greatly can achieve greatly. Robert F. Kennedy

My recent speech for the Mayor and guests of View Point Health.

Currently working as a Certified Nursing Assistant and anxiously awaiting the essay application in May for the CPS Certified Peer Specialist application.

So even with a past or a past of baggage one can still learn how to obtain success, integrity and character and build an exceptionally wonderful life. Do not give up so easy on others or yourself for that matter. As a beacon in the night is strong my Lord has shown me his purpose and will for my life. I fervently pray I continue to bear good fruits.

I have studied, taken notes, had discussion on and lectured on the following sources:

Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) Mary Ellen Copeland PhD

The wounded woman Hope and healing for those who hurt Dr. Stephens and Pam Vredevelt

Developing A recovery and wellness lifestyle A self – help guide U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

I have included photographs of myself representing the Month of May as Mental Health Awareness Month and with Mayor Mr. Ronnie Johnston of Covington, Georgia along with photo collage of the summer of 2012 when I was homeless and living at Factory Shoals campground in Covington Ga. Growing, learning and striving for a better life. Also included is my best friend Mr. Mark Burton son of Mayor Mrs. Allene Capes Burton and retired life flight nurse and stroke victim whom I have been a primary caregiver for and shared many great memories with.

Thank you for your time in allowing me to share my story once again with The Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network. Please feel free to use my name and story as you see fit with any way that may help or further any individual or future generations of those suffering from the stigma of mental illness.

It has been my pleasure.

Respectfully,

Ms. April Fuller Sasser

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