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.  😉  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 😉


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. 😉

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.  😉  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.



mental illness

I am in Colorado & on the bus (gasp) to Fort Collins!

My train ride was (thankfully) uneventful. Fell asleep around 11p cst and slept till 315a cst. Took a walk up and down the aisle then settled back down. Slept another 45 minutes. Woke up. Read a little from an anthology of historic feminist writings. Gained a seat partner. Fell asleep for another 45 minutes. Woke up and it was light out and the sky was beautiful. 

The Colorado sky just within a few hours. 
Got to Denver on time. Grabbed breakfast at Snooze and decided against pancakes because I’d probably want to take a nap after that and my bus to Fort Collins didn’t leave till 1300 mst. 

My breakfast and how cute Snooze is. 
I got a latte and settled down in the great hall at Union Station and watched the last episode of the first season of Downton Abbey (which I started at about Ottumwa last night). It’s a very interesting show! Then I wandered around the station. Lots to see and observe. 
Then I got lunch-a short rib sandwich and lots of delicious water. Heh. Then I picked my suitcase from checked baggage and went to hang out in the underground bus concourse (and got zero reception!). Then I got on the bus!!!!!

I’m on the busssssssss! 
Update later tonight when I get settled. There will probably be pictures of Hawkeye involved. 🙂 

mental illness, NAMI Convention

So everyone, today’s the day!

I am leaving on a train at (hopefully) 5:59p from Mt Pleasant to head to Denver!  Everything’s packed save my computer (because I’m currently using it to type this up!) and my water bottle (which is in the fridge chilling).  I have an alert on my phone that will remind me to get my water bottle before we head to the train station.



I’m so thankful for this opportunity to go to the National NAMI Convention again.  I hope to learn a myriad of things and meet awesome people. This is my chance to become an even better and more informed advocate for people with mental illnesses.  The sessions I’m most looking forward to are the research updates and the opening session in which Patrick Kennedy is speaking at.


So just follow along with this blog because I’ll be posting pictures and stories of my time in Colorado!  The good thing about riding the Bustang to and from Denver every day is that I’ll have time to update this blog on the way to Fort Collins every afternoon/night.  The bus has wifi!  If I have to ride on a bus, it for sure needs wifi. haha ♥