Just Finished My CE’s!

Completed My Continuing Education

Just completed my continuing education (CE) for my California Marriage and Family Therapist license (LMFT). To renew my license this time around, among the courses I took, I chose the following three timely and emotionally charged ones:  Older Adults and Mental Health,  School Refusal, and Chronic Illness in Children.

Yes, I’m firmly in the Sandwich Generation, parenting a sensitive adolescent while caring for aging parents. Here I am in the middle, somehow balancing it all even though I have bipolar disorder. I can hardly believe that I’m stable all things considered.

For those wondering, I do not see clients. Graduated with a Masters in Psychology in 1990. Licensed since 1992. Haven’t actively practiced since I was 30. But in recent years I’ve activated my long-time inactive license by taking the continuing education coursework, for I identify as a healer, as a therapist, even if I no longer make a living doing so.

I use my knowledge and skills elsewhere, like here, and in parenting my son (which I do imperfectly), caring for my parents (also trial and error) and loving my husband.

#IAmStigmaFree #namiocwalker

October 10th my husband and I are walking the 5K NAMIWalks Orange County 2015 with team STIGMA SMASHERS. NAMI Orange County has been instrumental in my mental health recovery. Please visit NAMIWalks.NAMI.org/KittOMalley to sponsor me. Thank you!

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Stigma Smashers (Telecare Wit)

Will you be in Orange County on October 10th?
Join our NAMIWalks team:

STIGMA SMASHERS

William R. Mason Park
18712 University Drive
Irvine, CA 92612

Registration begins 8:00 am
Walk begins 10:00 am

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NAMIwalk_small

NAMIWalks provides NAMI Orange County with 1/3 of their operating budget, enabling them to offer free mental health educational programs, meetings and support groups.

NAMI’s Peer-to-Peer course introduced me to the concept of mental health recovery and gave me HOPE. Though I don’t currently practice as a psychotherapist, I reclaimed my training and identity as a former mental health professional when I took their Provider Education course.

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NAMIWalks Orange County 2015 follows on the heels of The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church, which runs October 7-9 at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. I attended the conference last year and plan to volunteer for NAMI at the conference this year. Speakers this year include Thomas Insel, Director of National Institute of Mental Health, and Patrick Kennedy, Founder of the Kennedy Forum and Co-Founder of One Mind. Great conference!

Blooming Hope

Monoprints 1 and 2 by Kitt O'Malley
Monoprints 1 and 2 by Kitt O’Malley

The Blooming Hope Nursery is an art exhibit of The Expression Project for NAMIWalks Orange County.  The purpose of this exhibit is to grow seeds of HOPE.

To tell the stories of individuals who struggle with mental illness and their family members we are embarking on a journey of hope. The first leg of this journey is the sharing of stories and works of art by family members and individuals.

Here are my entries and story of hope:

Though I am a minivan-driving wife and mother, unlike most of my suburban neighbors, I live with bipolar disorder. On my blog kittomalley.com, I recount my struggle with mental illness, the two decades it took to get a proper diagnosis, and how my journey has ultimately given me a sense of purpose – and at times, a sense of religious calling. I find creating art and writing a good release for racing thoughts. Coloring, especially, helps to slow down my thoughts and quell anxiety.

When I go on walks, I like to take photos of nature, especially flowers and cloudscapes. The photos I’ve taken over the last two years. Walking outside in nature and taking the time to appreciate beauty helps me with my moods. At the same time, I must be sure to not overexpose myself to the sun, for it triggers hypomania.The monoprints I created almost two decades ago when I lived with a diagnosis of dysthymia, well before I was diagnosed bipolar type II. The doodles I’ve done recently, as I’ve found coloring and doodling helpful in grounding me, in slowing down racing thoughts and overcoming anxiety.

I am not creative in spite of or because of my mental illness. I simply am creative. Even when medicated properly and asymptomatic, I am creative. Medication does not turn my creativity off. Using creativity can help me to manage my symptoms, it can be a release, but it is not dependent on me having a diagnosable mental illness. What I want to get across is the importance of self-care, including medication, if needed, and psychotherapy. Art, photography and writing do not take the place of medication or psychotherapy, they are adjuncts to traditional treatment modalities.

Check out my fellow artists’ hope-inspiring work at The Blooming Hope Nursery.

Kitt O’Malley – STIGMA SMASHER – NAMIWalks 2015

October 10th my husband and I are walking the 5K NAMIWalks Orange County 2015 with team STIGMA SMASHERS. NAMI Orange County has been instrumental in my mental health recovery. Please visit NAMIWalks.NAMI.org/KittOMalley to sponsor me. Thank you!

***

Stigma Smashers (Telecare Wit)

Will you be in Orange County on October 10th?
Join our NAMIWalks team:

STIGMA SMASHERS

William R. Mason Park
18712 University Drive
Irvine, CA 92612

Registration begins 8:00 am
Walk begins 10:00 am

***

 

NAMIwalk_small

NAMIWalks provides NAMI Orange County with 1/3 of their operating budget, enabling them to offer free mental health educational programs, meetings and support groups.

NAMI’s Peer-to-Peer course introduced me to the concept of mental health recovery and gave me HOPE. Though I don’t currently practice as a psychotherapist, I reclaimed my training and identity as a former mental health professional when I took their Provider Education course.

***

NAMIWalks Orange County 2015 follows on the heels of The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church, which runs October 7-9 at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. I attended the conference last year and plan to volunteer for NAMI at the conference this year. Speakers this year include Thomas Insel, Director of National Institute of Mental Health, and Patrick Kennedy, Founder of the Kennedy Forum and Co-Founder of One Mind. Great conference!