Mental Well-being and Happiness
I like being happy. I like when I can share with others the happiness and good feelings of enjoying the day. I love to share the happiness with others, even if all it means is clicking LOVE on Facebook or Like on Instagram or a Thumbs Up on YouTube or Pinning a post on Pinterest. It makes me feel happy and I want to share that good feeling.
In the past though, I was not always happy. I was angry or sad and very, very anxious. When I worked as a geologist, I was cleaning up environmental waste, oil spills that happened in the soils and groundwater. I was outside more than inside. Being outside was great even in the worst weather. We could always talk about how bad the weather was but we did not have to deal with the office politics.
The only trouble was, geologists were considered a dime a dozen back then. I was hired for a big job and then let go after the job was finished. I went through almost 10 different jobs from the time I graduated college until 2000 when I jumped onto the Computer Training bandwagon. This see-saw of having a job or not wreaked havoc on my mental well-being. I went through periods of sadness and high anxiety.
Jumping into a new career that I was good at, still meant that I had to learn new software at a very fast pace. The first training company had a policy where they gave you a manual and told you that you would be teaching that class the NEXT DAY! I learned software VERY FAST. I did not have time to be anxious or sad or whatever if I was to keep the job.
But then September 11, 2001, rolled around. Sasha’s Sister is a flight attendant for United Airlines. We did not know where she was that day. My Dad was in Chicago and was supposed to fly back home to New Jersey that day. I had friends working in New York. The phone lines were down in Washington, DC metro area especially after the Pentagon was hit. My anxiety rose to serious levels and I took to crafting cards, writing, and journaling.
When I started my own business, Sales Through Technology, I worked with Realtors up and down the east coast, but mostly in the Washington DC metro area. I taught them how to use software and created marketing materials and websites. I had to bring in the business, do the work, and deal with the accounting. I was a one-person shop and managed to do that for four years. Even with all these digital and software pieces, I still found time to scrapbook, my newest hobby.
Anxiety and Stress and I AM NOT A DOCTOR
Anxiety and Stress are different, and I am not a doctor, but both times that they were high, I did not think of heading to a doctor or psychologist, the stigma was too outrageous. If you stated to the health insurance company that you wanted to see a therapist, they would increase the rates and I was just happy to have the price I did.
Once we got the Camper and started traveling, life was good for a quite a while. But then I started having health issues. It became so bad that I saw a Naturopathic doctor who realized I had stress and anxiety AND a gluten-intolerance. I fixed the gluten intolerance but did nothing for the stress and anxiety, as the health insurance I had would not pay for anything.
A Very Bad Day
But then, while working as a Park Ranger, I blew up at a coworker and yelled at her, in front of park visitors. It was a very bad day, and I made it worse by waiting to apologize. While I did not lose my job, I was not asked back. Our future of working for National Parks was in jeopardy.
A Ray of Hope
We went back east that fall, after we had finished out the season to visit family and friends. One of my ranger friends had told me about a program that I could apply to for reduced costs on therapy. I could see a therapist (not a psychologist) for free, for twelve sessions. It was covered because I was a seasonal federal employee. I jumped at the chance, and we found a therapist in Fairfax, Virginia, as we were staying with both sets of parents and going back and forth between homes. At this time, I was journaling, writing sometimes so hard the pencil broke through the paper. I had to get these feelings and emotions out of my head and down onto the journals.
My Kind Therapist
One of the last sessions I had with the therapist, she suggested that I might need medication. I was devastated. I did not want to take something for the rest of my life, I thought I was fine. I thought that with the right foods, exercise, yoga, and journaling, I SHOULD be able to deal with it.
She said, “Your brain does not have enough of this chemical and you need to give it just a little bit more.” She was a good therapist and knew the right medication for me. She worked with a psychologist and they prescribed the medication. But she knew of our cheap health insurance and told them to prescribe a generic rather than a brand.
No Jobs in the NPS
I was able to get a seasonal job as a National Forest Service Ranger but the living conditions were pretty stressful for the both of us.
That winter, after that job, we went into the desert. I wrote and hiked and looked for jobs not in the federal government. I had healed but not completely. Something was still missing.
My Planner Year - 2015
Because of the Forest Service job, we found a job working with retired Forest Service rangers. We got a job together in West Yellowstone, Montana. We worked for the nonprofit and learned what a nonprofit is all about.
The second year working there, I was promoted to program manager. I needed something that would allow me to see the month and the weeks in a better format than what I had on my phone. I bought a thin Monthly calendar and some FriXion Erasable Pens, because well, classes and groups and schools change their minds.
A friend of mine from the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce had an Erin Condren Life Planner. I saw how she used it and fell in love. THIS This was what I NEEDED.
What was so fabulous about this planner? It was colorful, and I needed color. It had stickers, and I love stickers…I had a serious collection when I was a child, so this was so cool.
And there were these groups on Facebook that I could talk to about planners. There was a community of like-minded people just like me! Living so remote didn’t matter anymore; this was what I needed!
Fast forward to present
I STRONGLY feel that this community saved me. The therapy and the medication helped. But the friends I found on Facebook, whom I met in person at meetups and conventions are the ones that helped me the most.
And that is why I felt I could give back to the community with this nonprofit educational organization.
To Read More about how PlannerScrapBook Association got started: