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).


My support system is amazing.

I didn’t think it was possible for me to stay out of the hospital that long. For a few years now, months were punctuated by trips to the University to spend time in their psych units because of my mental health recovery. I’m so thankful that those places were there for me when I needed them and that I have more than adequate health coverage to cover my multiple hospitalizations.

But if you asked me 11 months ago if I would be going back to the hospital soon after my pulmonary embolism experience, I would have said it was inevitable. I was emotionally unstable and didn’t know which direction was up. But I had such a strong network of people to help me through. My family friends, psych clinician, and other professionals helped me through the hardest days. I’m amazed and incredibly grateful for my support system.

I know that my life with mental illness will have its ups and downs; I’m not saying that it’s all up from here. But I know that I will always make it through with help from the amazing people around me.
Continue reading “My support system is amazing.”