As a Beacon Health Options Peer Support Specialist raising a child with multiple disabilities, I never fully grasped that recovery is an inside job – until I had to recover myself.
Many Beacon locations employ peers, people with lived experience of mental illness or substance use disorder, to empower the individuals we serve to live their lives to the fullest potential. We might help them to navigate the health care system, or to define their own paths to recovery.
As a young person, whenever I saw a “coming of age” movie like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” or “The Breakfast Club” or even “Footloose,” I would become angry rather than entertained.
I never knew why. I now believe it was because, as a young, closeted gay person living with a newly divorced mother, nothing could have been more inconceivable than the idea I would one day “come of age” and live my own life.
One of the main reasons I love my job is to have the privilege of being involved in all of the fun happenings at my company, Beacon Health Options. Don’t get me wrong; there is a LOT of blood, sweat and tears that go into each event, but I’m lucky to be part of it all. The Awesome Beacon Bike Ride is a perfect example.
Serendipity made me a barbecue judge in Memphis, a martial arts student in Little Rock, and a psychiatrist/epidemiologist in a conference call about the implementation of measurement-based mental health care – this in the last several weeks. This serendipity also made it clear to me what all of these activities have in common: the need to quantify quality.
I first planned to ride the Awesome Beacon Bike Ride from Woburn to Boston.
I know well the bustling roads the route would take – where a rider would have to negotiate cars, rotaries, and the obstacles found riding busy city streets. As much as I wanted to clip in and ride, I determined that supporting the riders by leading them as a safety driver was my best contribution.
Last Saturday, I, along with three coworkers, rode the 82-mile segment from Boston to Sterling, CT.
I had no choice in the matter for several reasons: My boss, Emma Stanton, spearheaded the event. To say no would have been a bad career move.
This year, as my wife and I celebrated our 25th anniversary, I could not help but reflect on how fortunate I am that our relationship has thrived despite both the normal stressors of life as well as the unexpected and more challenging curveballs one can’t anticipate in life.
We often naively believe that our partner relationships will always remain the same. Unfortunately, they don’t.
After almost a year of planning, the human-powered Beacon cycling train, also known as the Awesome Beacon Bike Ride, leaves the station today in Woburn, MA and starts heading south to Miami, FL, arriving on Oct. 17, 2016, with 30 stops along the way.
We look forward to sharing Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn-like stories of adventure as the intrepid riders take on daily routes of 15 to 85 miles, riding through rural and urban America.
Resiliency is one of Beacon Health Options’ core values: “We overcome adversity. We embrace that our work is hard, and sometimes does not go as planned. We meet these challenges head-on and constantly strive to better ourselves and our services.”
The last two and a half years have been my most difficult. I have been blind-sided, shocked, confused, and unsure of the future. And I have made many mistakes in my journey to cope, adapt, and thrive in the midst of uncertainty.
It’s been called the “Iron Triangle of Health Care,” but sometimes I call it “The Panera Pick 2 Rule ” – whereby you have to choose between sandwich, soup, and salad, but you can only have two.
I assume you are familiar with Panera Bread, so let me tell you about the Iron Triangle and how a recent article in The Lancet may provide clues on how to disentangle that nearly legendary triangle in mental health.