Reliving desperation and admiration

I interviewed with a BBC Radio show today. (It won’t air until next week. I’ll let you know when.) The topic for the host started out as basically, people being almost addicted to their cell phones. Then by chance during an internet search she came across my story.

If you somehow aren’t aware yet, I first joined Twitter and social media in 2009 while I was homeless. What started out as me not knowing a thing about Twitter or how to even use it, quickly grew to experiences that I’d have never dreamed of ever having! I could use computers at the library during the day, but other than that, I mostly tweeted by SMS/text message from my phone. My phone was my life — my dire connection to the world in my times of need. I could call someone, text or email by SMS. I didn’t have a smartphone. Just a simple, basic phone. A dumb phone. In fact, that’s the type of phone I use now.

I had unlimited texting so I could post messages to Twitter as much as I wanted, anytime I wanted, all day and all night. Whenever I had a need to say something. Which, back then, was quite a lot! I posted about my activities, shared thoughts or information on jobs or things I heard about, and wrote volumes of tweets from my emotions.

Fear, anxiety, and prayers dominated many of my tweets. I shared a number of hopes and wishes, too. There were many nights I lied on the ground, afraid and paranoid that someone would come up to me in the night. Is someone watching? Is someone here? Who is here watching me? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affected me severely. There I was alone, but I couldn’t tell because my mind conjured up invisible people who might have been lurking.

I kept my “security blanket” tightly in hand all night. My phone was my connection to the world. Anytime I needed to say something, to vent, to express my fears, somebody was able to hear me. I couldn’t get their replies until I went to the computers at the library the next day, but they were there. Somebody cared. Another person suffered the same plight of PTSD once. I’m really not alone.

The tweets from my phone led to development of virtual and real-life relationships with people and businesses. Through my sincerity and openness of my life, stigma changed to acceptance, understanding, and kindness. I got to see God’s love in action, and emotion. These people — my social media followers — said that I changed them for the better. What I saw is how they changed me.

Sharing my story online and in real life at speaking engagements has helped me to open up. I am still shy and very socially awkward, but I am much more open with my emotions. Having constant access to my phone and being able to tweet by text has been extremely therapeutic.

I still tweet Clint Eastwood style — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes I feel that I share too much. But I need to get things out. Sometimes I need to vent. In a way, being able to tweet and vent my emotions is more than emotionally therapeutic. It can also be protective against bad thoughts so I don’t try to self-injure. I haven’t done any cutting in however many years. It doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes still have those thoughts about doing it. So I greatly appreciate the kindness and compassion from all of you, my followers. A small gift, a kind word, a hug. It means the world to me! God’s love in action, indeed.

I discussed all of these areas and more on the BBC Radio show. (Again, I will share the link to the broadcast after it airs.) Talking about these things have so much effect on me emotionally! Ever since then my thoughts have been on all of my followers and how you have affected me, the place you have in my heart. I am reliving the desperation of my past and the admiration and love for the compassion I have received. Thank you all so much!

PS: Side note to Joan of Real Time Paradigm, my blogging teacher at NextDoor:  I clicked “Publish”! 😜

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What was that #Weiner thinking?!

He finally admitted it. Rep. Anthony Weiner, (D) NY, admitted today that he tweeted provocative photos of himself to women over Twitter. I give him credit for coming forward and finally admitting it. I really do. But what the heck was he thinking when he thinking sending photos over Twitter and having online and phone relationships with these women?! Obviously he was thinking with his penis. It must have been a very hard decision for him to make sending those photos. I bet he is going to pay a stiff penalty now. And his poor wife! I can’t imagine how she must feel! They have only been married for one year. Still basically newlyweds. She is a victim. She has got to be devastated and angry over this. I have to wonder and wouldn’t be surprised if there is a divorce. What made Rep. Wiener think he could get away with it?!

Sleep is overrated

It’s going on 2:00am Monday and no, I don’t know what I am doing awake at this hour. I’ve been trying to catch up with and do too-many-things-at-once online. Multi-tasking in a good/bad way. It’s been a couple days since my last blog post, though I did start one yesterday. I should go back and finish it later. It will be a little more complicated than this post. After this post, I am going to bed! Thought I might get this easy one out of the way. Okay, I admit that I am doing this not just to take up space in my blog and give you something to read. I am also doing it because it will help my price/score and Empire Avenue. It’s a fun game. As if social networking wasn’t fun already? Heh. Now it’s even MORE fun! It’s been around for a little while but I signed up there just a couple weeks ago. Anyway, besides Empire Avenue, my night has been filled with new Flickr uploads, making a couple friends on YouTube, checking my Linked In groups, Facebook, Twitter, and checking out Google stuff. Oh, yeah, and a few emails and reading news. I don’t know how to do just one thing at a time! It’s a quiet day if I have less than ten windows open on my laptop. I better finally get some sleep. Good night, tweeps!

 

Hurdle jumping

Life is like running a race. You run fast as you can, jumping hurdle after hurdle. I have endured many obstacles in my life. I have tried to run around them, but even if I reach the same finish line it is never successful. Nothing is learned or gained by avoiding. One must run head on toward any obstacle, plan for them and what to do about them, and leap over them.

I have considered giving up in situations many times. It seems so much “easier” when in reality, it is not. Stepping aside from the problem causes it to recur. By executing a plan of action, a person can leap over obstacles. If the leap is a bit short and the hurdle is hit, learn, plan and run again. I keep telling myself this when the barriers in life impede my way to the finish line.

I was recently discouraged by the disrespect of someone who rained on my parade, so to speak. I lost interest in being around others and had no motivation. I couldn’t live with myself and reminded myself that regardless, the outcome that I helped make a lot of people happy was the same. I looked at what happened from a different perspective and moved forward.

I joined Twitter and social media first out of curiosity. Then it became a tool to help me learn to socialize more and to improve upon my life by exchanging in conversation with others, and sharing information and resources. Social media became my connection to others. I vented my frustrations and emotions, I educated the world about homelessness and social issues, I shared information that others might have been able to use. My passion was to find hope and to be hope for someone else. I crave that influence, to know that I have made a difference in someone’s life. I have inspired thousands of people thus far, including myself. I have gone from sleeping homeless outside in a vacant, grassy lot in the suburbs to social media events to a supportive transitional housing program with a focus on developing a successful life! It IS happening NOW! I am richly blessed by the Lord for all that He has given me, and thank Him for all my social media friends and real life friends and family. I thank you for sharing your lives with me. I am grateful for every opportunity to discover and use my strengths and weaknesses and overcome the hurdles with you.

I hope all of this makes sense. I am really tired and rambling now. LOL! Good night!

Misbehavin’

Oops. Sorry, LOL! My apologies to a certain case manager at Northwestern Satellite Clinic. I sorta know him from Twitter and I’ve tweeted him a couple of times (or “perhaps” more, LOL) since becoming a client. Its a No-No! Ok, so I get impulsive and have to say something sometimes. I understand why and all that and I expected it when I became a client. But like I said, I do get impulsive. If I can get some medication again for ADD that may help the issue. I kinda have to laugh because of my misbehaving. Yeah, my bad. I am a rule-breaker. Its hard to keep out of trouble this way when I am impulsive. Medication should help that. I’ll have to ask about it if the new psydoc doesn’t offer first. I really would like to focus better on things like I used to when I was medicated for ADD. Life was better. Well, it was better until I started working at a certain place that triggered my PTSD because of memory of a certain homeless person who stalked me and…more. He knows who he is. He is still a major trigger. I was warned by the psych people against having any contact with him–even on Twitter. They are cautious. I view my newly following him as an exposure therapy, plus I feel it is fair and appropriate that anyone who needs and wants my help can get it. I will not get in the way of a legitmate request from someone seeking help–I don’t care who it is or what I think of the person! Everyone deserves a chance to get help they need! This brings up a future blog topic about social services agencies that ban a person from getting ANY and ALL services–including food pantry and clothing closet…

2010 – This is my year!

This is it. 2010. My year to remember! I can promise it. This is going to be a great year–the BEST year–with amazing experiences and achievements! I can honestly feel it in my blood, in my mood, in my body, in my pain, in my every heartbeat. No wonder I have palpitations where my heart skips a beat sometimes, LOL! If attitude is everything, then I have it ALL. You know what I have been telling myself lately when something bad happens or when I have pain? I tell myself, “Smile”. Such a small, simple word. But it works! I love that word. Even more, I love to do it, and to receive it. I have faith that what I do this year will provide me with incredible opportunities. I will change my life, and create new foundations of hope for others in the process. I am excited to discover so much good in my life–there is a reason for me. I will trade my pain and sadness for something so much better: happiness! With the right attitude, anything can be done. Goals will be achieved. It is all a matter of perspective. Turning things around and seeing from a different view. Any negative can be thought of in a positive way. Take my pain issues, for instance. I have mild to severe pains that even narcotic pain medication doesn’t always help. Of course, I hate to have pain and with it the limitations and discomfort it can cause. But also, I am grateful for it! For without these rheumatic pain issues, I couldn’t understand the suffering of another person with a rheumatoid disease, or another painful condition–like the nerve pains and headaches I also experience. Having chronic pain can also teach tolerance. The nausea and food intolerances from kidney disease have taught me nutrition and to watch what I eat. Palpitations and chest pain have taught me to be prepared and set physical limitations if I need them instead of trying to over-do as I used to. Unfortunately, I have run out of time. But I am still with you…on Twitter! @padschicago  I love you all and can’t wait to be with you in Twitterverse! Tweet you from my phone. XOXOXO

Creating change

I have posted on Twitter about fun, new projects. Tell you, I am honestly excited about this! Through the place where my caseworker is in Chicago, I am starting a class in advocacy–perfect for me! The class works with legislative issues and writing to representatives (what we are working on right now), volunteer issues, and more.

This class will help me to develop my advocacy skills. I have never written to members of senate or congress before or had much of anything to do with legislation. I am sure the advocacy training will inspire new ideas how to help homelessness issues. The interaction with others in the class will help my social skills also.

I am also about to finally start the counseling, and am already on psych med. Amazing things have been happening in my life the past months! It is easy to see. A new life is waiting for me just around the corner.

The Spirit of Giving

This is the time of year when everyone looks to give to others. The holidays have a dramatic effect on people and I am no exception. I celebrate Christmas and my birthday is coming up very soon. Recent tweets by Jeff Shuey and Lotay Yang have inspired me! My mind is racing, contemplating what effort I might be able to do in celebration of my birthday and Christmas?! I would give anything to be able to organize an effort for a van to be donated to Cross and Crown Church so they can help the homeless! But that sadly is expensive and probably not as realistic a short-term goal at this time. So then what would be?! Perhaps I could organize a Christmas party and/or gifts for the homeless–maybe local businesses might be willing to donate? Gift certs and gift cards, free meals, gas cards, auto repair, clothes, shoes/boots…??? Maybe I could open a special PayPal account? I want to do something special for everyone! What can I do?!

Life is good

I’ve been having some great tweeting and text messages today and its hard to break away! I thank you all for the entertainment! LMAO! Gosh, what a great time I’ve had in the recent weeks! Thanks to all my Twitter and RL friends, so much  more has been happening in my life and I really feel that I and my site am more worthwhile!

I met @geogeller and @sioksiok who are filming the Twitter documentary in Chicago, and ended up leaving with them that night for the #140conf in LA! What an awesome time that was!!! I connected with so many new people face-to-face–it was like a live version of Twitter. I am not used to such non-stop activity though and by the end was more than ready to come “home” to Chicago! This is really down-time in comparison. I actually prefer the fast-paced lifestyle, but like I said, I am not used to it–nor am I on psych meds yet. But that will happen soon! I am still going through the intake process.

Gosh am I tired! Plus my body is sore, and its hard to think. I’m having headache problems off and on today as well as other aches and pains. Part of my issues. Even my fingers hurt typing. I am surprised that I am more awake today than yesterday. Yesterday I was falling asleep all day. I could really use some coffee.

 

Long day

I admit, I am becoming a Twitter addict. Should I search for an online tweet therapy? I just started using @HootSuite today and I am loving it! So far, I have to definitely recommend it to all Twitter users as a must-have–especially if you are the type of person like me who tends to try and do too much at once!

I have been bad about posting in the blog lately and I apologize for that. Yesterday I promised a blog post about why I am homeless and writing it is in progress! Keep watching for it with excited anticipation! 🙂

Sorry to cut this short today but I have walk to the shelter site now. Luckily, its only about 1-1/2 miles, maybe 2 at most. Tomorrow on the other hand, I’ll have to walk maybe 8 miles or so to get to the shelter site–and the weather forecast is rain! I may get a little muddy and wet. There is no sidewalk most of the way and a small portion may be in the road during rush hour.