A BRAND NEW ADVENTURE – WENDY BLANCHARD, M.S., CHHC, CPS

The saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.” Yes, and I like to think of an ending as an opportunity for a new adventure, and new experiences that provide opportunities to further enhance my growth, so that I may offer my experiences and information to others to offer loving support. It offers new people, places, and things, yet always keeping close to my heart all of the people, places and things that have been a loving force of guidance, friendship, and support all along my path.

For the past seven years, I have been thriving in my recovery from Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Disorders, and for the last three of those years, I have worked in the field of mental health and substance use disorder as a recovery/peer specialist, an advocate, and a mental health/suicide safety educator in our community, most especially to educators, students and families, and always longing to one day work specifically with youth. It is important to me because as a youth myself, having lived through severe trauma with no support, and nobody to help me as a young girl, and subsequently turning to prescription drugs to numb my emotional pain, I feel compelled to work with young people to not only be a support, but to offer them all of the new and exciting, AND VERY AVAILABLE, resources that NYS, through the Mental Health Association of NYS (which I’ve worked very closely with to help to create curriculum in Mental Health & Wellness to support our new Mental Health Education Law in NYS), and the New York State Education Dept. have created.

I am so excited to share that in two weeks, I will begin a new adventure and realizing my dream of working specifically with youth on the high school level as a teacher, and offering wellness strategies into the curriculum. The years that I have been working in the field of mental health has prepared me for this next exciting adventure, and I cannot wait to get started!

To those of you who know my work and who have validated my somewhat nervous (in a good way :)) anticipation of this major change by saying things like, “You’re going to be amazing, You’re going to help so many young people and by extension families and communities,” I want to say how much that I appreciate your continued loving support. When others have said, “I hope it works out for you,” that tells me that those are the people that do not have faith in my work, or in my continued successful journey. The take away here is, “Surround yourself with people who are like minded, and those that are as dedicated to your journey as you are to their journey.” I make room for anyone and everyone in my life, that is, until I decide that their presence is not enhancing my life and my journey. Most all of the people in my life are a sincere and loving presence, and I like to think that I offer the same to them in return.

I am eternally grateful to have had the opportunity to work in the field of mental health under the supervision of, and working alongside of, some of the most inspirational leaders in my field in my community and across New York State who have taken me under their wing for so long. I am now prepared to fly, and they are all sending me out, with love, and with encouragement, to spread the lessons that I have learned. I am so grateful for the imparted wisdom and loving insight provided to me along my journey that I now take with me to offer to students, educators, and families.

This is a new adventure. I am so blessed to have been given this next opportunity, and I cannot wait to get started!

In addition, I am preparing to send my final edited version of my upcoming book, “Write Pray Recover: A Journey to Wellness through Spiritual Solutions and Self Care,” to my editor. I am hoping that my book will be published in late 2020. Stay connected to my blog (still under construction), Write Pray Recover, for updates!

Lastly, I want to take this opportunity to highlight that the most beautiful blessing of these past seven years of my recovery is that I have been able to rebuild my life in the way that I have wanted for myself, and for my adult children, and granddaughter. The most important part of rebuilding has been my relationships with my children, and my granddaughter. My children, Matthew, Nicole, Olivia, Sarah, and my granddaughter, Rosie, have been exceedingly supportive and loving, offering me constant loving encouragement along the way, and being so ever present in my daily life.

My son, Matthew, said to me the other day, “Mom, I’m super proud of you! I’m behind you all the way. Nobody deserves this more than you. You have worked so hard these past seven years not only physically, but spiritually!” My son has inspired me in so many ways, and he and my daughters, and Rosie, were the sole reasons that I had asked for help to save my life in early 2013. I wanted to be the mother, and grandmother they deserved to have, and to leave a legacy that would inspire them, and make their lives meaningful and purposeful. This coming from a woman, me, who lived most of my life, 40 years, with mental illness and substance use disorder. WITH DETERMINATION, DISCIPLINE, AND DEDICATION TO WELLNESS, I HAVE RECOVERED, AM THRIVING, AND EXCITED TO SEE WHERE THIS NEXT PART OF MY JOURNEY LEADS ME IN HELPING AND SERVING OTHERS.

My daughter, Nicole, said the other night, “You’ve done the hard work mom, and this is an exciting new start for you. I’m so happy for you mom! I love you so much!” My daughter, Sarah, said, “Awesome! This is so rad! I’m so excited for you!,” and my daughter, Olivia, said, “This is so great, congratulations!” In addition, I have countless messages and phone calls from friends, family, and colleagues, with similar loving support. Yes, we ALL need validation, and this loving validation has helped me to manage my anxiety, and given me a little extra courage through the changes that I am about to undergo with new people, new places, and new things.

In closing, I want to express my sincere gratitude for it all. I am deeply humbled, and deeply grateful for all of the experiences, and for all of those that were a part of my journey. And, I am as humbled and grateful to those who have so much faith in me and have given me this new opportunity.

On this day where we give thanks for our blessings, I consider all of you a part of the blessings that the Universe/God/Spirit has bestowed upon me in so many gorgeous and profound ways.

Always in my heart, and wishing you and yours a beautiful and blessed holiday season.

With love and deepest gratitude,

Wendy

 

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