by Howard Diamond

(October 23, 2021)

man jumping into water from pier
Photo by Dmitriy Ganin on Pexels.com

Okay. Ready, Set, Go! Let’s cool off and jump in the pool. Of course, in many parts of the country it is too cold, but there are indoor pools. Does everyone know how to swim? If not, it is time to learn. Maybe we remember the strokes that are necessary and we will just practice what we have been taught. Others do not care to pick up the knowledge or are somewhat afraid. Anyway is fine, but it might  be a good skill to acquire. Perhaps, we will get wet and feel the water splashing on our bodies cooling off from life’s stressful situations. Listen, I still hear music playing, many people laughing and can smell food cooking in the distance from the local restaurants. Spending each day as it comes and it is wonderful.

Most of us enjoyed the recent holiday weekend, without a care in the world. Suddenly, without advanced warning reality begins to set in. Bright skies turn gray, then black and within a second everything stops. No more music, no more smells and especially no one in the outdoor pools. In the distance, I see up ahead something familiar. It is definitely not the signpost from “The Twilight Zone”.  As I awaken, I realize this was all a dream. But what does any of this have to do with being a Peer Specialist? Please read on.

Here my day begins. Time to jump into my situation. It is eight o’clock am and I hear the TV that I left on again and they are still talking about COVID19 and the current stats of vaccination successes and other related information. Although, I am not currently employed as a Certified Peer Specialist, I assist myself and others exploring my skills. Using my tablet, there are many days I attempt to connect with people from other countries with their unique English pronunciations and spelling. Of course, I respect their different cultures. Like most individuals, they are dealing with their issues and current situation the best way they can. My role is to do some “active listening” and use different techniques to assist them.

One person I connected with stated that he is drinking too much, so I tried my hand doing Harm Reduction. On another occasion I employed different types of relaxation techniques to a man who barely leaves his home because of the stress of both COVID19 and his many anxieties. Other people are my local residents so it’s time to schedule an appointment to work on their budgets or other options to assist them to stretch their finances each day . Each individual needs to be heard and Peer Specialists, like myself are there for support.

For many years, I believed it was my obligation to help all sorts of people where and when I can. Since 1994 and probably earlier, I have been assisting individuals with mental and or physical health issues as my livelihood. In 2017, I became a Certified Peer Specialist, where I feel it is my responsibility to  help others. Now that I am not working, most times, no payments are given for my services. What I get is a rush of satisfaction throughout my body which serves as an internal reward and drives my work forward. Other Peer Specialists can think of many various volunteer opportunities to find a way to give back. So jump in and try something. Also, this may possibly be a springboard to paid employment and even a career. Like jumping off a diving board. Only kidding, everyone. Let me get back to being serious. One paragraph left.

Furthermore, I write these articles to promote what PEER SPECIALISTS CAN ACCOMPLISH! Yes, in fact, PEER SPECIALISTS DO ACCOMPLISH!!!

We are continually growing in numbers and in many more avenues of life. Let’s do our part, too. One Peer Specialist at a time. Over there, do we see that guy? He is jumping in the pool. Do we surmise that his profession is possibly a Certified Peer Specialist or wants to be one? Mmm, probably not. Maybe some people out there want to be one. Jump in and enjoy everyone

See you in the NewsBlogs.

Howard Diamond is a New York State Certified Peer Specialist from Long Island.

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