Days two and three (and four!) of the Art, Recreation, and Worship Conference!

1. I just love that even when people are in the chairs in the dining room, there’s still room to walk between tables…ample room. Perfect.
2. People are funny. And I have exceptionally good comedic timing occasionally.
3. There are a few people who I’ve built good relationships with these past few days. I’m happy people are kind to me and don’t mind my babbling. ūüėā it happens, man. I’ve been doing the thing where I stare at people and just have no idea what’s going on and people are very gracious to me.
4. Apparently I’m going to marry a man named Barry who writes x-rated notes to girls in class and picks his nose in public. ūüėā
5. I am just really good at talking to people. I’m exhausted but I haven’t felt better anytime lately.
6. I am SO EXCITED to bring back these games to the youth. There are some that they will just adore..
7. I really really really want to come back next year. Hoping there’s a payment plan available or something. I’d love to do a games group next year but then do another workshop for something artsy.¬† I don’t know. There will also be ample time to plan and save and try to convince other people to come with me!!!
8. I have frequently thought my feet hurt really bad, but that didn’t have anything on how they feel now. So that’s interesting. ūüėāūüėā But I keep going!!!

9.¬† I’m terribly sad that today’s the last day for this conference.¬† I don’t know how this week has gone so quickly.¬† But I’m thankful.¬† Oh oh so thankful.


God is good all the time.  All the time, God is good.


Things I’ve noticed about the Arts, Recreation, and Worship Conference at Montreat so far (mid day 2):

1. The setting is beautiful. Mountain-y things. A lake. Lots of awesome trees. The buildings are pretty cool. 

2. The people are amazing so far. Very kind and don’t zone out when I babble (which has definitely been more than usual). 

3. The fact that I can talk to anyone and decided to completely go all in this week and push myself physically, mentally, and socially has already worked in my favor. However, it’s the first full day and I had to sit at one of the tables that only had three chairs because I needed to recharge. I usually ration out my socialization throughout any given week so having all of this awesome excitement is amazing but draining. But the people get it and encourage you to respect your limits. 

4. The food is pretty awesome. I had hella good bread pudding last night for dessert. And there was warm peach cobbler and ice cream for lunch today too. The non dessert food is awesome too. All of the salad fixings ate fresh and delicious. Just so tasty. I’m also glad that I’ll be doing lots of walking (up hills and stairs) so I can burn off some calories. Ha. 

5. The worship leaders are awesome. Our morning service was really good today. We’re going through a microcosm of the church year so we started with Advent today. We talked about creation and Christ’s birth and how in order to know our future, we must know our past (I think. My brain is a sieve right now). 
More soon. 


I’m doing something that, four years ago, I wouldn’t have even contemplated.

This sporadically updated blog has gone with me through lots of trips…starting with the NAMI Convention in 2013 (HOW HAS IT BEEN FOUR YEARS?!) and going on a couple trips to Colorado, the last for NAMI Con 2016.


But this next trip?  Bigger than all of that.  


I am taking a Greyhound bus to Montreat, North Carolina. ¬†That’s a 21 hour bus ride on the way there and a 24 hour bus ride on the way home.


Yes, Jamie “I hate public transit with everything in my soul” Raye, is going on a day long bus ride two times in a week.


Why, you might ask, would I do that?


I was doodling around on the internet (pretty standard) and ended up on the Montreat Conference Center website (It’s a Presbyterian (USA) conference center just a bit east of Asheville, NC). ¬†As you probably already know, I’ve been a youth leader at my church this past school year and I love it. ¬†The youth are great. ¬†The other youth leaders are the best. ¬†My week leads up to youth group on Thursday and it is the pinnacle. ¬†So I saw that Montreat was having an Arts, Recreation, and Worship Conference the first full week of May (it was November or so when I saw this) and that they had scholarships available to cover part of the conference fees. ¬†Me being me, I filled out the scholarship application and promptly forgot about it (because that’s how my brain works). ¬†I gave it up to God and focused on life (the winter was hard for me. ¬†I had to put my 14 year old kitty Buffy down and that just clouded my life for awhile).


Then early March came and I got an email that I was awarded one of the scholarships. ¬†Everything became¬†really¬†real and I went on a mission to figure out how to pay for the rest of the fees and my transportation. ¬†I appealed to my church to see if there was any funding anywhere that could help me out. ¬†My lovely supervisor-y person (she’s the Minister of Youth, Servanthood, and Adults at my church and is in charge of Youth Group!!) Anna advocated HARD to a fund at church to help me go. ¬†And the rest of the conference fee was given to me so I would be able to go to the conference and bring back new ideas for games and community building for our youth and perhaps for our entire church.


So I’m heading out on Sunday the 7th of May (aka in four days) on a Greyhound bus for a 21 hour bus ride to North Carolina. ¬†I’ve been having stress dreams about the trip since I was 100% sure I was going to be going. ¬†Last night’s was pretty standard- I missed the bus departure (despite the fact my apartment is right across the street from my apartment) because my suitcase wasn’t packed. ¬†I called my mom and begged her to come pick me up and drive me to a city 1.5 hours away where it bus will be hanging out for an hour and a half so I could get on it there. ¬†And then I woke up all terrified. ¬†haha.


I have so many people urging me on. ¬†They believe in me so hardcore that I have to believe in myself a little, right? ¬†They say that I’m going to be fine. ¬†That I have all the skills to face the world and this trip.


And I almost believe them.


Here’s to another adventure. ¬†I will¬†hopefully¬†be updating this blog on my trip (we all know how awesome I am at that. ha).

mental illness

14 Bleakly Funny Reasons Not To Kill Myself

For anyone who has experienced suicidal ideation in their lives, you may have some reasons like this. I know that if I died by suicide, Buffy would have to go back living with my mom and Kuki and that may cause Buffy a lot of anxiety and stress and could cause her to die and I can’t have that on my conscious (I know in this situation, I’m dead but somehow, I think I’d know).

The Belle Jar

  1. My cat might end up eating my body out of desperation and honestly I can’t do that to her. I can’t be the person who forces that beautiful, innocent creature to become someone who resorts to something that isn’t technically cannibalism but MIGHT AS WELL BE BECAUSE SHE IS SPIRITUALLY IF NOT PHYSICALLY MY DAUGHTER. I’ve got enough on my conscience as it is.
  2. My apartment is a mess and I don’t want the paramedics or whoever judging me my piles of dirty dishes
  3. I would probably somehow fuck it up and end up not dead. Just like I fuck everything else up.
  4. There’s going to be a second season of Stranger Things and I need some closure on the Barb situation
  5. I’m pretty sure my mom has already bought my Christmas present and I’m not sure if she kept the receipt or what the store’s return/exchange policy is
  6. I’m too…

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mental illness, NAMI Convention

All things come to an end.

Today is Saturday. ¬†During the summer, the Bustang doesn’t run their commuter bus on the weekends…so apparently people don’t work on weekends in the city? ¬†I don’t get it and I don’t want to ask Johanna to drive to and from Denver two days in a row just for one session (although it is a research update and bound to be interesting). ¬†I didn’t want to spend an extra $65 for a dinner ticket for Johanna to the closing banquet because (a) that’s an extremely large amount of money for a dinner and (b) that’s a lot of money to spend on dinner (not that Johanna isn’t worth it! ¬†I just think $65 is excessive).


So yesterday was a very interesting day for me. ¬†Got to Denver early-ish for the research update for Depression. ¬†Apparently the guy who was supposed to give the update wasn’t able to so the medical director for NAMI Dr Ken Duckworth came and did a on the fly update. ¬†He talked about a lot of things I already knew-ketamine may lead to amazing discoveries in the rapid antidepressant field, MAOIs are really good antidepressants if you can give up the finer things in life (like cheese and wine) and don’t mind looking at the ingredients label and expiration date of every food you eat while on them,¬†Transcranial magnetic stimulation works for some people but isn’t covered by all insurances at the moment,¬†Optogenetic stimulation that uses light (?) to stimulate parts of the brain through the eyes that helps with depression in animals, and he reiterated to us all that the field is progressing and finding more treatments and there is hope. ¬†He did a really good job for not actually preparing for this session.


The next research update was for Borderline Personality Disorder.

Continue reading “All things come to an end.”

mental illness, NAMI Convention

So, being in a place without all of my tools available and being on my own came to a head today.

Today was an early morning. ¬†I was up at 5:00a and we left the house at 5:40a-ish. ¬†The bus left Fort Collins at 6:00a. ¬†The reason I went on that earlier bus is because they moved Patrick J Kennedy’s book signing from the middle of the day (when I would be in another session) to before the opening plenary from 7:30a t0 8:30a. ¬†So I got there in time to buy a book and stand in line to have him sign it. Here’s the tweet when I stepped in the room:

I am in the same room as . No biggie.

So just being in the room with him was exciting. ¬†I saw other people getting their pictures taken with him and was like, “Yes, I shall do that too.” ¬†He’s done a lot for people with mental illnesses and, well, he’s a Kennedy. ¬†So I asked the woman behind me to take a picture with us (you know, me and Patrick J Kennedy) so she did. ¬†These are the pictures of us (notice I’m wearing a “Practice Reckless Optimism” t-shirt. ¬†You can get one here)-



We’re just adorable. ¬†And he was super nice.


So then I walked through the exhibition hall and read signs without making eye contact with any of the people in the booths.  hehe.


Mmm. ¬†Opening plenary was amazing. ¬†Colorado’s governor and Patrick J Kennedy spoke and I was incredibly moved. ¬†Lots of claps and cheers. ¬†Made me happy to be there. ¬†I believe that many people were moved by the speeches. ¬†I think I’m going to get a cd of that session. ¬†I might want to listen to it over and over.


Then there was a workshop about youth and young adults. ¬†I¬†may¬†have gone into it because I thought it was a group for young adults but it wasn’t. ¬†That makes me kind of sad because this year, without a young adult track or even just sessions geared specifically for the young adult population, I feel kind of alone at the convention. ¬†Like I’m sure happy to be in Denver for this convention and am feeling the spirit of advocacy to go back to Iowa and make a difference in my communities there. ¬†But I’m sad because, as opposed to being surrounded by young adults that I could identify with and got to spend quality time during and after hours of the convention, I’m not really connecting with people on more than a “Oh, have a nice day,” or “Can I sit here?” type of way. ¬†In addition to my depression and OCD, I also live with social anxiety. ¬†It’s hard for me to just approach people and connect, especially if they are older than I am. ¬†I have this constant feeling that I’ll be devalued because I’m young and my brain tends to make word soup and I think (mind reading, I know) that people would assume that I’m uneducated and don’t have anything to contribute. ¬†I know those are distorted thoughts, but they seem so real…as most distorted thoughts do. ¬†Tomorrow I’ll try reaching out more. ¬†But today, it was hard. ¬†I think it may have been because of the early morning.

In the afternoon, I was having a lot of pain in my body and it was making me nauseous to the point where I just went out and camped out in a bathroom stall because I felt like I was going to puke. ¬†I did not puke (thank goodness) but I still felt like utter and complete crap. ¬†So I made the choice to leave the convention and skip the last two hours of sessions I had planned to go to. ¬†One of them was the state caucus which I really wanted to go to but I really didn’t want to puke on or near anyone. So I took the Mallride back to Union Station and got a chai tea that the barista recommended, that had actual ginger juice in it, after I asked if they had any drinks with an above average amount of ginger. ¬†And guess what!? ¬†It does, in fact, have a lot of ginger. ¬†I sipped on it slowly and my stomach started to calm itself. ¬†My body aches were still present so I’m glad I headed to Fort Collins earlier than planned. ¬†When Johanna (and Hawkeye) picked me up from the bus stop, we went right to get some acetaminophen at Walgreens so I had some in my backpack for times such as this. ¬†Johanna and Brad are a strictly NSAIDS family and with my clotting disorder/being on warfarin thing, I’m a Tylenol only type gal. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†It all worked out. ¬†I took some pain reliever at 6p-ish and hardly hurt right now. ¬†Awesome! ¬†And I put it in my backpack so I have it tomorrow. ¬†And I’m sure Johanna has something ginger around her house for me to take with me if my stomach decides to rebel again.


Tomorrow’s going to be a good day at the Convention. ¬†Research updates in the morning (I’m so excited!) and a couple of sessions in the afternoon. ¬†I am very tired and am going to go to bed in nine minutes. ¬†So goodnight all. ¬†Sleep well and I’ll see you in the morning.


Bonus: Hawkeye driving ūüėČ


Hawkeye is such a good buddy. ‚̧

mental illness

Hey yo, guys! Day 1 of #NAMICon16 is in the books!

Got on the bustang at 0700 to head to Denver.


Right away, I realized I forgot my headphones.  Not good.  I need my music to decompress and distract.  So when we got to Denver, I rode the bus (!) to Walgreens and got a pair then rode the bus to the hotel where to convention is being held.

nami wall light thinger

yup I'm here

Got all registered. ¬†Went in search of a restroom and found one. ¬†It’s a very fancy bathroom with a sitting space with comfy chairs and a whole lot of mirrors. ¬†Hmmm. ¬†Then I looked around for awhile and went to the Program Fair and, among other things, got my pictures taken in a photo book. ūüėČ

photobooth pics

This is me working my angles. ¬†haha. ¬†Wonderful, right? ¬†A lady from Muscatine, Iowa. ¬†I said, “Hey.” ¬†And I talked to Darcy who was the director of the youth and young adult things at NAMI before she started her new position. ¬†She and Dana were in charge of the Young Adult Track at the 2013 National Convention. ¬†I talked with Darcy briefly and it was nice to see a familiar face.


I went to a session on a new wellness app/webpage called¬†my strength and it would be super nice if my insurance or hospital adopted the use of the app. ¬†You can’t, as a personal person, access it. ¬†You need a payer code. ¬†I’ll talk to my psych clinician about the U adopting it and I’ll write a letter to Amerihealth Caritas about it too. ¬†Many people on Medicaid would benefit from this app. ¬†The only barrier would be if they would have a smart phone. ¬†I think it’s able to be accessed just on a computer too. ¬†I’ll follow up with everyone.


After that session, my bum was tired of sitting all day (The majority of the last two days have been on trains and buses).  I got up and walked around and realized I was feeling a tad anxious.  So I decided to be done for the day.


I head to Union Station (on the bus) and waited inside and downstairs for the bus. ¬†The benches are segmented so that people don’t sleep on them, but the butt space would have had to be two inches wider to not squeeze my thigh/butt fat. ¬†haha. ¬†And every single bench on the underground bus concourse was segmented. ¬†Oh joy. ¬†It’s all good. ¬†I’m used to my butt fat being squeezed uncomfortably.


So I jump on the bustang to Fort Collins. ¬†Got super settled and plugged in. ¬†I was excited to see the mountains on the ride back to Johanna’s.

This was my view out the window-

beautiful skies

And these pictures are no filter all the way. ¬†I’m amazed at the beauty of God’s creation. ¬†I looked at the sky and mountains and just cried today.

Johanna and I went to Sprouts (and grocery store with good cheap produce) then went to her house to make zucchini boats. ¬†They were steamed, cooked onions and sausage and bread crumbs as a topper. ¬†It was definitely a good, filling dinner. ¬†Then we went to Trader Joe’s. ¬†And I got two different mango things and Johanna got one too. ¬†We enjoyed mango sorbet mochi when we arrived home. ¬†Packed my lunch for tomorrow (and it has tomatoes in it…surprise!!!!). ¬†So, as I’m typing this, my eyelids continue to get heavier and heavier. ¬†So it is time to rest my head. ¬†I’m¬†leaving at 0600 on the bustang and…well, that’s earlier than usual for me. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†I’ll update tomorrow. ¬†You can follow my instagram at jamieraye46¬†and I’ll be posting picture updates there throughout the day. ¬†I’m excited to hear Patrick Kennedy speak at the opening plenary session. ¬†And there’s a YA group tomorrow that I’m looking forward to.