Why Use Trigger Warnings? Part 2 | Article

Articles THUMB

So, in the first part of this article I explained the depths and fissures all about triggers and what they are versus what they are not, but I began that article more so because I wanted to talk about why we use trigger warnings at all and why we should be using them *more*.


Trigger warnings give the reader or the viewer the choice of backing out. If you are never presented with the *option* at all that is one thing, but if you are presented with the option, the heads up if you will, than it is up to you how you handle your own reaction to it. Because, maybe you will respond without much of a hitch or maybe you will tumble into the abyss of a crisis. It all depends on where you are in your recovery and your coping strategies and whether those strategies are, and whether you yourself are, at a point where that is enough to carry you through the rest of the day without significant destabilization.


That is why I vote that more things should come with a trigger warning. I think movies, you know those Netflix shows, books and online articles should come with a trigger warning. I think even, if the site is compatible with it (and if it isn’t, maybe that is something that can be introduced into the website) individual works of art should come with a trigger warning. For instance, on deviantART there exists a checkbox for if your work contains mature content, one of those being ideologically sensitive and it is graded on a spectrum from no mature content to heavy amount of mature content requiring being over the age of eighteen to view it.


In these circumstances, trigger warnings are helpful for all involved, there really is no downside to including one “just in case” versus how everything could go wrong if you do *not* include one when it was necessary. Trigger warnings can include anything from specific traumas like verbal abuse or sexual abuse, suicide, homicide, substance use, self-harm, the list could go on and on.


I do not think it is possible to cover every single possible trigger out there, but the hot potato one’s like suicidality and self-harm are pretty important to mention, especially if the content is very explicit and specific. Websites featuring online articles like “The Mighty Site” often have trigger warnings as far as I have read.


There is the possibility that something out of the ordinary may trigger a particular person more so than the hot potatoes, but I do not think that trigger warnings are meant to be a one size fits all. I think the broader a warning of topics that may arise in the work is important and necessary for the reader or viewer to allow control on their part as to whether or not they wish to view the material. I think trigger warnings are like a courtesy call. They are like saying, “Hey, I know you may be more vulnerable right now and this content contains X, Y and Z–just so you know. Okay, have fun.”


The argument against trigger warnings can often be: how do you place a trigger warning on life? Life situations that maybe are not avoidable include road rage from other people, words someone is speaking aloud, times of day, etc.


And those are definitely harder situations to handle carefully. And, I think, personally, that if you can put a trigger warning on something do it, and if it is a case of misuse in terms of life itself, no, there may not be a trigger warning and it is okay to voice that concern to people who are willing to listen and accommodate for you.


Essentially, where life can have a trigger warning, it should and where life cannot, we do our best to handle any ruckus that upsets our system and we know from our relapse prevention plan who to contact, where to go and how to handle it properly.


I think most people tend to be level-headed and aware of mental health conditions enough where they will take what you say into account. If you approach someone and they do their due diligence to accommodate you, great. Some people may not, unfortunately, and it’s important to know what your resources are and what you can do about it from there in dealing with this particular person or situation.


I think it’s just important to know your options. Because there are many of them and the more you practice your coping strategies, the more equipped you’ll be to handle upcoming and unpredictable triggers or situations.


Stay safe.

This piece was written February 27.2018

It’s pretty self-explanatory. I was working on a new article today and will have to finish it over the weekend. I got lost in Youtube for the evening, oops!

Let me know what you think! 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤

Defined By the Struggle | Article

Articles THUMB

I have been seeing a family therapist we’ll name “June” for a handful of times, about four sessions, alongside my main therapist. As I wrote this article I had just met with June again and my Mom had come along with me. It is a funny thing having my parents involved in my treatment. I live with my parents still, I have for all of my almost twenty-five years of life, and I’m still largely dependent on them. I’m not an “adult” by most strokes–I barely do my own laundry and I certainly can’t hold down a job (or at least, I tell myself I can’t) long enough to be both stable and consistent.


No, instead my full-time job with almost no payment is working on myself and taking care of my mental health. It’s not exactly the most uplifting of work, either, but the payoff is supposed to be living a healthier and happier life.


But there are these thoughts and expectations that are strewn into the mix that just makes everything messy.


For instance, I find myself wondering now, “Who am I without the struggle?” I’ve defined instances of my life as different blocks of struggling. As a child I struggled with deep bouts of loneliness, a dark time in retrospect where I would be lightly bullied and wouldn’t say a thing about it. I used to bottle up my emotions back then and I can say with certainty that behaving in that way never truly helps.


I remember that I spilled all my secrets out one night to my parents, accidentally mostly, and then the world grew brighter and I recognized how many friends I had and my utmost worth.


Only for the next struggle to come in my teens where the scoliosis I was living with reared its ugly head and I became consumed by the shame and baggy clothing that wouldn’t hug my imbalanced waist and took a damper on my self-esteem. I crawled further into myself and refused to talk about the issue with anyone. I thought if I just pretended everything was okay than maybe they would be. I thought in black and white, if my spine could never be straight than I didn’t want to try any of the meager options of treatment. I used to hate showering because it was the time I had to be the most intimate with myself and I avoided the reflections in the mirror so I wouldn’t stand there and point out my every flaw.


But then there was surgery and gradual self-acceptance, self-love and then college. College was great the first couple of years, even as my mind were slowly starting to show symptoms of things far more sinister.


And then, eventually, the next struggle came: OCD and its friend depression and suicidality and self-harm. I was sucked up in a whirlwind that I could not control and whose flight took off faster than I would have thought it would. Then came chronic suicidality with most of my time spent being actively suicidal. There were rounds of psychiatric hospitalizations, different medications, therapy weekly (even twice a week for a year), advocacy and inspiration and hope to recover.


And now, I’m here. Right in this moment, I’m here. Maybe, after all, the reason I struggle so much is because I’ve always defined myself by the struggle. June suggested I look at who I would be if I could take out the puzzle piece of struggling with mental health conditions.


And, I’m pretty sure that I’ve gotten so used to being defined by those struggles that I don’t know who I would be at all without them. I guess, after all, I still have my identity to figure out.


Like, it’s actually really rather terrifying to think that I can be someone without a struggle. Maybe I don’t have to always be struggling; maybe I can achieve my own form of homeostasis where things are just okay. Life isn’t always about life and death, death and life, over and over again. Life is the little moments of smiles, laughter, rebirth, growth and change.


Life is ever evolving, ever moving and ever changing. Life, sometimes, just happens. And sometimes in life we struggle and, at the same time, a lot of the time we just live and find meaning and reasons to live so that we can try to encapsulate our best life.


Because struggling is just a small part of the big picture and there’s more to life than just struggling. It doesn’t make the struggle go away completely, it just gives us room to embrace our own meaning and make the struggle a little less difficult to bear. So, let us share our burdens to the night sky and maybe the twinkling stars can remind us of all that we have yet to experience.


Stay safe.

This piece was written around 5:30-6:15p March 15.2018. I’ll probably be making another blog post tomorrow regarding some thinking and processing thoughts about the session with June from today, too. I took notes 😀

I think I’m starting to find the root of these issues of mine. I suppose there’s something liberating about that even though it’s gonna take a lot more work to really, really be free of it. Ah well, I suppose we’ll enjoy part of the ride. 🙂

❤ ❤ ❤ Thank you for reading!!

Why Use Trigger Warnings? Part 1 | Article

Articles THUMB

What are these things we call “trigger warnings?” And what does it *really* mean to be triggered by something? These are the two questions that I would like to explore the explanation of in this article.


Firstly, to be triggered by some form of stimulus is *not* synonymous with being offended. The Internet, especially, tends to confuse these two terms as the term “triggered” became equivalent to being offended by something online and, as a result, was turned into a meme.


But really, being triggered by some either external or internal stimulus is a term most often related to mental health issues. Triggers can be literally anything. Our amygdala’s are the center house for associations, as in, if I experienced some form of trauma by someone in a yellow jacket, my amygdala may form an association between yellow and being harmed and therefore make me very uncertain and triggered by seeing yellow again in the future (because I would be gearing up to being injured again). Triggers, like mental health conditions, do not have to make sense. I may be able to logically understand that the color yellow was coincidental in my experience of being harmed, and I could still get incredibly triggered by it.


Triggers can be words, phrases, objects, colors, experiences, topics, and the whole shebang. Triggers elicit some type of response; for a while I associated snow to my crises, so when I saw the snow falling outside I would be mentally transported back in time to crises I had that just so happened to involve snowfall. Triggers are pretty common place for conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder and still can be affecting people without that specific condition. Some of my own triggers involve night-time, not being able to fall asleep within ten minutes of going to bed and, a little specific, veins because my brain in the last two months has linked that with suicidality which results in me getting urges.


And urges can arise from triggers themselves, too. Urges are like cravings, like when you are on your period and you’re craving chocolate. Urges can be like wanting to misuse substances, self-harm or act out in other self-destructive ways. For me, it is almost like an internal build-up of excitability, something I really want to have (or think I do) and act on even though in the long-term it’s a very bad idea. Equally important is knowing that having urges does not mean you are inevitable in acting on them and, technically, it is an opportune time to test out your coping strategies (I know, probably not what you want to hear) so as to practice them and hone in your skills.


But back to triggers! Triggers are legitimate, valid reasons that a person may, if they encounter them and it’s likely you will at some point in life, act out with an old behavior that may not be healthy or self-preserving. Triggers are different and unique to each individual and their psychiatric history, someone I know at my day program has issues with swear words, and time of day and anniversaries can be particularly difficult.


So how do we prepare for an instance where our trigger may come up? First, it’s important to know what your triggers are, so I would suggest making a list of them either on paper or in a digital format. I would also encourage you to have a physical copy with you wherever you go.


Second, know your safety or relapse prevention plan. Spend time with your outpatient provider (therapist, psychiatrist, etc.) to come up with both a list of your triggers and more importantly your specific coping strategies for combating those triggers, your resources available to you (your therapist, hotlines, friends, family) and what you can do if the situation overwhelms you and you no longer feel safe (which is a crisis that may lead to hospitalization).


Another way to prepare for coming face to face with a trigger is if the content you are about to observe contains a trigger warning itself. This is synonymous with a “content warning”; picture one of those black screens that come up before a TV or film that has little abbreviations for violence or adult content. It’s the same thing but for psychiatric hot potatoes.


I actually believe that more content should have a trigger warning attached. I’d say ninety-five percent of the time my articles have a trigger warning and books should have them too. The amount of times I’ve been triggered because some book wanted to explicitly discuss suicide without having pre-warned me about it is absurd. Two of the most recent books were actually ironically from a psychiatric unit of all places.


This is the moment where I would complete my circling back to the start of this article but I ran out of room. So, stay tuned for part 2!

This piece was written February 27th 2018.

I had a lot of things to say 😀 Please consider sharing this around with your social media platforms! I’ll probably put up Part 2 tomorrow, unless after I take my midterm I feel frisky enough to upload it here today, too. :3

Hope you’re doing well! I will have more articles to come soon 😉

Stay safe, ❤ ❤ ❤

PS I forgot to add that I totes used my brain to write this article and the amygdala portion was inspired from my DBT group at the day program I’m going to–which is awesome because it shows I was actually paying attention! Ahaha, 🙂

In Which I Say Hello, Briefly

I’m in a really, really good mood and my back-up goal for this week is to make 2 new blog posts that do NOT include articles (which I’m considering scheduling for Tuesday and Wednesday again, like last week).

I don’t have a lot of time right now but I figured that could be its own life update, in a way.

So, before I forget:

Life Update Thumb

I basically just came in here to say hello very briefly. I figured I could make a blog post that’s short and sweet, as I’m always thinking to myself when others haven’t updated in forever that it doesn’t have to be a super long post, it could just be a simple, hey, yo, what’s up, I’m still alive and kicking just busy and shit, you know?

So at least, in some way, I’m fulfilling my secondary goal of the week, already. Man, I could totes go for some orange soda right now.

I have some lovely plans for this week featuring blog posts. Yes a few articles, and also some note taking ones and fanfic updates and all of that jazz. I’m feeling uberly creative for this week so that’s awesome, and I’m doing well, speaking of that! I’m still doing my day program MWF 9a-3p. I’m extra happy today because I JUST finished reading a month old assignment for school that was actually pretty interesting and I quoted a couple of my readings on Twitter this evening, too.

Speaking of reading, I’ve been able to do a shit ton of that lately. And writing fanfiction (I finished up 8 handwritten pages today for “A Little Unsteady”) I have the loveliest of book reviews to spread around the web on this baby blog 🙂 Legit, I’ve written out 4 book reviews for this year so far (not including all the ones from 2017 I have handwritten out and just have to type up).

So, I mean, there’s that.

What else has happened? Just alternating with artwork and trying to keep up with social media. I think today was so good because I got a lot of variety of things done, you know? God, I’m starting to sound like a few of my old roommates while I was on the inside XD

Any who, I still have to do my Score of the Day for today, my accomplishments list, pack up my things and something else I’m totes blanking on right now. I hope this update has sufficed for now. Man, I’m exhausted.

Good night, peeps!

❤ ❤ ❤

How to Get Better Part 2 | Article

Articles THUMB

Previously in this article segment I mentioned the following tips to how I got better and stabilized with my mental health by: throwing myself completely into other tasks (like reading books), reaching out for help to someone I know and trust, being listened to, going to the hospital (and knowing the difference between needs and wants), getting my medications adjusted, recalling my values, journaling and making a list of accomplishments, goals and scores of the day.


With that said, if you happen to have recognized for yourself that you need to go to the hospital and you are embarking into that journey, I recommend that you expose yourself to a return to the world plan before your discharge. Basically, you want to know what aftercare steps are you getting involved with. Appointments, day programs, housing, a return or break from college, etc. Be reassured that you can handle things and have a plan when things hit the fan, if they do.


Similarly, have a relapse prevention plan. This is a lot like a safety plans–you want to learn your triggers, know your specific coping strategies, who you can contact and their relevant numbers and what resources you can access.


Rediscover your dreams. Dreams, hopes and goals are the flags we see at the top of the next mountain before us. They are critical to have a vantage point of as they give us responsibility and accountability to achieving all that we want to in life. Life can be cruel and life can be short, having both small and large goals can keep us afloat in an otherwise tumultuous sea. I will be writing an additional article I have actually waited two years to work on titled “My Dreams in Recovery.” Coincidentally it is also a Youtube video I have prepared to make but haven’t actually made yet, but the notes are there and the execution is just backlogged. One of the important ways I got stabilized this time was finding a lovely book by the editors of Conari Press from 1993 titled “Random Acts of Kindness.” There are a few quotes I’d like to pull from that book review (which will go up on my blog) to create more articles on. The book really spoke to me at my most intimate level. I also read all of it in the span of a few hours.


Play a video or board game. Video games are not entirely my forte–but getting re-engaged in them by my parents intentions has really helped. I have a really old Wii system that still works and we are still on the search for a few additional games that can be played on this console that are relatively interesting. I have found that Mario Kart and Wii Sports baseball really require all of my attention so it’s a great way to be mindful and in the moment.


Use your mantras. Mantras are something you’re going to want to have an endless supply of. Whether they are words, phrases, quotes, song lyrics–expose them to your eyes and keep bits and pieces of them everywhere. A lot of mine are phrases I’ve used since the start of my recovery back in 2015 (“It gets better”, “This crisis is temporary”, “Feelings are meant to be felt”, “I always have a choice”, “I control my actions”) and most of them are noteworthy song lyrics that I have incorporated through and through into various artworks.


And, actually, an additional idea you’ll probably want to keep in your gold fairy dust pocket is inspiration. Find things that inspire you over and over again. I love taking the backroads versus the highway when I am traveling (and am not the one driving) because I find it so fascinating and enjoyable to see the different designs and color choices people have in and on their homes. It gets my brain thinking of the creative endeavors I wish to explore for myself–things that the book of kindness reminded me of as well. There is so much I want to do, so many things I want to come into my life as a formidable and concrete object, and the only way I can ensure that that happens is by not getting hit by one of those rogue buses.


Again, these are all things that I have used in my own recovery to get better. I encourage you to brainstorm your own ideas and hope that my words may have started a domino effect for you.


As always, stay safe.


And know that you are loved, you are important and your life matters.

Disclaimer: All of my advice comes from my own lived experience struggling with mental health and is not meant to replace the help you should seek out with actual mental health professionals.

This was written 2.18.2018 and typed 2.26.2018 with the last inspiration blurb newly written on the 26th as well. 🙂

I hope it helps in some way!!! Let me know what ya think, peeps! 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤

How to Get Better Part 1 | Article

Articles THUMB

Have you been struggling with your mental health? Me too! You are not alone in this, fellow reader! So let’s jump in on some of my own made up suggestions for how we help ourselves to get better. Some of these may not work for you as we are each unique individuals so you are encouraged to come up with your own brand of suggestions (and you get an extra virtual gold star if you share them in your own article).


Throw yourself completely into something else–preferably *not* a bus. Do this more figuratively than literally and we should all be okay! By this, I mean really immerse yourself into some other task; whether it is reading, watching movies or TV or just completing a word search, aim to be mindful and in the moment as much as you can be. If socializing works for you, get your mind off your own problems and focus in on someone else’s.


Reach out for help. I am always saying this and only recently in 2018 did I stop doing it and it landed me in two new hospitalizations (so clearly, it didn’t work for me to ignore this tip). Reach out to someone who is supportive of you whether that is a friend, family member, the Counseling Center located on the second floor of the Quinn building, a stranger, a hotline, almost anywhere and anyone. Talking out your struggles to a piece of sandpaper can help too, although you’ll probably get more resources out of a living person.


Be listened to. This is an important distinction, when you don’t want advice from people (like me in this article) tell the person straight up that you just want to be heard and given their attention. That way this person whom you trust and know will know when to zip their lip on any advice that you really don’t want to hear.


Go to the hospital. I know, I know ‘But, Raquel, I don’t *want* to go to the hospital!’ I can already hear your dismay, but sometimes our wants are not our needs. Take me, for instance, I was handwriting this article on my twelfth hospitalization. It was a new record, one I didn’t really want to get to, and even though I really, really did not want to go, I knew that I needed to. I put my needs first and I can officially say that ‘Recovery Raquel’ is back in the driver’s seat! (I even opened up to my psychiatrist saying that I was as content as a butterfly sunbathing on a rose petal, so, I’m pretty darn stable now!)


While you’re at the hospital, get your medications (if you’re on any) adjusted! Be wary if people there actually *lower* your meds and also try to be as compliant as you can. If you already have an outside prescriber the med change will be for a few days until you can get them straightened out on the outside.


Recall your values. If you are going to be staring blankly at ER walls you might as well ponder your values, your hopes and your dreams rather than thinking about suicide. That is the mission of my #RecoveryHome idea (which I’ll explain in greater detail in a future article). Remember what it is that you value in life. Me? It’s honesty, openness, hope, creativity and positivity. Brainstorm all the ways you can return to this level of homeostasis. Maybe it’s keeping busy so your brain can’t possibly play other loop tapes, maybe it’s finding a new film or book you really enjoy, or visiting a local shop. Whatever it is that reminds you of your values, make small steps into working them into your day to day life.


Spend some time journaling. Do this in whichever way your heart desires. I have started a blank journal for all my noteworthy recovery journey drawings–Recovery Restoration Volume 3–that feature a snapshot of a significant moment (think the butterfly on the rose petal) that I then put onto paper both for my own reference and for a future book. I have also continued to journal in a silvery rainbow one with lined pages as a way to dump my art ideas and mention my thoughts.


Along with journaling, list out your accomplishments and goals. In my planner I write a SotD or score of the day from one to ten where ten is amazingly fantastic to one being really, really pants. I tend to average an eight. I’ve recently started to also list up to ten accomplishments of my day and then plan forward with goals I have for the next day–a good range being three to five. Some days I can have really huge accomplishments and others little ones–both matters!

Disclaimer: All of my advice comes from my own lived experience struggling with mental health and is not meant to replace the help you should seek out with actual mental health professionals.

This article was written on February 18.2018, and typed on February 26.2018.

I will be uploading this piece tomorrow, February 27th to let my other article sit and be soaked in and for my additional blog post of my return to be held on center stage, too. Does that make sense? I hope so. I’ll probably have Part 2 of this piece up by Wednesday. 🙂 Thank you for reading!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

Starting Over | Article

Drawing: “Content Potato” & Article by Raquel Lyons

IMG_6186 --

There is a point we can reach in our recovery journeys where the best thing for us to do is to start over. Cut the bread, clean the slate and begin again from Day One.


Except it is not Day One, it is just Day Whatever-Arbitrary-Number. We do not start from the very beginning again just because we are heading in a new, uncharted path. We start over so that we can take time to heal ourselves before we swing into action to attempt to heal anyone else. We start again because that’s what we’ve been training ourselves to do. We start again because it matters.


Our recoveries matter, our lives matter and above all, you, reader, matter so very, very much. It is “easy” to give into the thoughts of hopelessness and helplessness. But it will always be a sign of immense strength to realize you are not alone in your struggles and that you are not okay. It is okay to not be okay. Saying the words can be frightening, and I promise you that if you say them it will get better.


I know your brain is telling you laundromats filled with BS–and I know going along with your brain to your ultimate demise is very, very difficult for you to cope with alone.


Friend, I have been there. I know the lies my brain told me may be the very same ones you’re hearing now, and most importantly you need to remember that they are *not* true. As an external human being to someone who is currently struggling, these lies are *not* truth. You do matter–now and always. You are a force to be reckoned with. You are a strong warrior who can win and thrive in this battle.


It will be hard. You will sometimes want to give in and I believe that you will be that person who refuses to go down without a fight. I believe that I, too, am this person.


So when we both feel like giving up and giving in, we need only to look by our sides to realize we are not alone. We are in this together. We are capable of much more beyond our suffering. And I’ll ask you this, if I choose to start over, will you choose to start over with me? Because it would be great to have some company and it would be great to sip some tea together as we watch the enemy falter and fall before our propped feet.


Because sometimes being in recovery is like chewing on a well-cooked face together (if you’ve seen Llamas with Hats you will understand this reference). It’s not always difficult–there are valleys and plateaus and large mountains. And sometimes it is peaceful and quiet and it is up to us to sit back and enjoy the view. Because there is happiness in the hell, there is kindness in the sky and lights in the darkness. There is gray area between the black and the white. There is hope. There are better times. There is possibility.


So, I advise you, friend to tell someone today of your struggles. Maybe, if things have gotten that difficult and severe, you will be like myself in a psychiatric hospital writing these words with a dull pencil. Or maybe you will not need to get to that point.


Either way, it is okay. Suicide isn’t really worth it. The best way I stabilized out this time was to shove my face into new books for about three to four days. That way I got to avoid the circumstances and unanswerable questions the outside world provides. And in that time of distraction, healing has taken place.


I feel now renewed with hopes and dreams and accomplishments. If I could go from being severely depressed and suicidal to a content potato wearing a rainbow wig, then there is hope for you, too. The thought of living and fan fictions sounds exciting again. Seeing my Mokeys (my doggo) and being on the outside sounds so welcoming. I think I am ready. Are you?


Stay safe.

This article was written February 18.2018 around 2pm and was typed on February 26.2018 around 6pm. I’ve started writing out the circa times that I do things to help me remember stuff about my arbitrary days so that I can record them into my planner (and have as a reference point in the future for whatever purpose).

I will have a future post about the drawing later in the week, if I can manage to do that for myself. I will probably write up a new, updating blog post after this one and publish my second new article tomorrow (probably gonna schedule it in). So, hooray. 🙂

See ya, peeps! ❤ ❤ ❤

The Panic Hurricane | Unpublished Raw Article

Articles THUMB

Hurricanes are messy, chaotic and disorganized by their very nature. I feel as though panic is the same way–it just scatters everything around in its wake and leaves you disheveled and wondering what in the world just happened. Like hurricanes, panic is a force to be reckoned with and it probably does not go away quickly but rather gradually. I do not actually know how long the average hurricane lasts and what their characteristics are for certain. I just know what panic feels like and because anxiety is something I do not often experience, when it happens it happens in a *big* way for me.


I also do not know who I am writing these articles for anymore. I think, largely, they are just for me and they are a good way of updating my WordPress friends –if they are out there and still reading my work. It is similar to a life update post but with a more honed in reaction and sandbox playtime that achieves a specific purpose and entails a story and a continuation that happens off the page. Writing these articles is a way for me to journal in a specified way that allows me to not only vent but capture this moment as it is, unfiltered…well, somewhat unfiltered is more accurate.


Because sometimes I need to filter through my unfiltered writing, otherwise, panic occurs.


I wrote an article recently, one of six, which caused some chaos and hysteria–external to me. As my panic dissolves away from this heightened emotional state, the guilt is starting to take center stage. I really liked that article, too. I think I am harboring feelings of being more upset that it will not be published (and I know why that is) because I really liked how it came out. It finally had a positive tilt to it, something my previous five articles were extremely lacking in. There are now three articles that will never see the published version of this newspaper. I suppose, in a way, I am beginning to grieve that loss.


This one article I am talking about right now had a concerning couple of paragraphs. Unfortunately, those chosen words had an undesired impact on those who read it. I knew I should have added an update sentence or two that I had reached out to a friend and spoken with them about my, at the time, current circumstance and also decided for a week to fully propel myself into my recovery journey.


Alas, that update never made it to the final cut and so it was cut off, completely. I feel silenced and I understand why I was, it does not make it fairer or okay to me, but it is a start. I feel like I am only allowed to represent the positive, hopeful and shiny side of recovery and not all the doubts, darkness, hopelessness and grimy parts of it.



That does not sit well with me because both exist. It is not fair or possible to cut out all of the good and all of the bad out of a given situation. Life is a murky, gray filter. There are exceptions to rules and outliers.


I understand, at the same time, that I should have been clearer about the changes that occurred after I had written the article and how I had reached out for help. Again, however, I would have felt guilty for lying if that was not what I intended to do. It is not a simple solution answer, is the best way of describing it, I think.


I also understand and can hold the weight that people external to me were very worried and concerned for my safety, and the questionability of that safety is why the article will never see the light of day (except on my blog and my own personal social media accounts). I really did not write it as a “goodbye.” I purposely left it open-ended with a positive tilt because I started reaching out to my support network soon after I stopped typing it.


But other people did not know that, and it would have been more responsible for me to go back into the article to add in that change. I appreciate the caring and I apologize on the panic that traveled out like an earthquake because of my own actions and inactions.


I do not know where my story goes from here. I guess I will probably write more than I publish. It is a good coping strategy for me. And I also keep in mind how what I do impacts those around me. Maybe it is time I start thinking about my responsibilities of writing in a university newspaper and how what I say or do impacts others. I had been avoiding that lately, and now that I know though, I can bring more self-awareness to the issue.


Stay safe.

This article was written February 9th 2018 around 3:30/4pm.

I just tried signing into my account for the newspaper’s website and I think I’ve been banned. So, I’m trying not to cry about that. I’m charging my phone and haven’t heard from anybody about anything. Again, trying not to cry. Probably gonna continue writing, but this might be it for my writing in the paper and I fucked it up with the most ironic article, my last one about “Recovery Raquel is Under Construction.”

So, you know, that’s great. Not upsetting at all. If you have any support or tips to offer me or cognitive reframes, that’d be great. If it is the end of my writing for the paper I will likely continue doing them on my blog, Twitter, DA, etc. Maybe people don’t want to hear about me anymore. Being silenced by the man, for sure.

Stay safe, my friends. ❤ ❤ ❤

Recovery Raquel is Under Construction | Unpublished Raw Article

IMG_1400 --

Article & photo by Raquel Lyons

Trigger Warning: Suicidal themes


How do you get help when you are so convinced that you do not want it?


This is the question that has been lingering in my mind as I loosely participated in my first day at a partial hospitalization. The partial that I am attending for this first week is five days of various groups including goal planning, dialectical behavior therapy, expressive therapy and check-ins with the mental health professionals. It goes from about ten in the morning to three in the afternoon. Then, I come home to settle in for the rest of the evening until the next day where I start the process all over again.


For what is relevant in this article, I have ended the first day with a new direction worming its way into my brain. I am reminded of the possibilities of life: all the good, all the gold specks I had forgotten about, all the brightness and color and glitter.


I want to practice, for this moment, what I have discovered today. There was an individual at this partial that was open and honest about their suicidal ideation. We are not allowed to go into detail as it may trigger others, but the candidness and hard-worked ease that this person displayed in discussing their issues had me not only marveling at them but also sparked rivaling jealousy.


I remember when I used to be open and honest about my struggles, it was most probably my greatest asset in my recovery. But since January of this year, I have become silent in the shadow of my struggles.


My current experience is one without depression, and yet, I am afraid to say that I have a suicide plan. As of twenty-four hours ago, to the time that I wrote this article, I had intent. My thoughts both increased and got worse than how they were before my last hospitalization.


I know what I would have used to kill myself. I had accessed two methods that were within my possession. I wanted to send the song lyrics to “One more light” by Linkin Park to a group of friends as my final farewell. Depending upon my location I was planning on sending the texts then turning my phone to silent as I completed suicide.


Every time people have asked me how I am doing, I have lied. I have said I do not have any suicide plans, no intent and I do not feel unsafe.


It is true that I do not feel unsafe, but it is because I have decided to die. It is strange to come to this conclusion–I do not know why I am writing this article or why I have tweeted the things I have if I am only going to follow through with my plans.


I guess it is the same reason that I am still breathing, that I am thinking of fan fiction, that I am watching movies–because there are better alternatives to my struggles than suicide.


Suicide would be a very painful and lonely experience. I have so much to offer the world, so much worth and so much left to say. Losing a limb really is not all it would be cracked up to be. The pain, physically, would be daunting. It does not have to end this way.


I could get help. I could let someone help me; I could let myself save me.


Because it could get better and it probably would, even if I do little else but lie in my bed and wait for it to come. For right now, the thoughts are gone, and these moments of peace will come to fruition if I do nothing else but wait for it.


But, it is scary moving forward to abandon the suicidal thoughts. They seem like friends now, and the lies and contradictions of being suicidal have pierced through me so easily and messily even while my eyes plead to be caught and captured. I am caught between weaving a well-played showcase of lies and spouting the truth from my innards into the air around me so that someone, anyone, just truly knows what is going on.


I feel like I need to preach my sins in confessional. Maybe what I do is give myself time; time to think, to reflect, to reach out, to get help–fully and completely–and to rebuild my “Recovery Raquel” persona. Because maybe Recovery Raquel isn’t gone, maybe she’s just under construction.


And so I find myself asking again, if reaching out to someone is not for a cry for help, attention or because I am ambivalent, can I reach out for the future me who will be grateful to be alive when the beacon for recovery returns to this night sky?


I guess we’ll find out.

So I hope that positive spin in this article is boosting and helpful, rather than still depressing and sad. I tried!! I just wrote this article today, February 5th 2018. I have also texted a few friends and hopefully will be meeting up with Kaiden tonight and if that doesn’t happen, then I’ll be venting to a hotline. I should make it clear, I am no longer suicidal at the moment, though I still have to get rid of my chosen methods. I feel really energized and back to my Recovery Raquel roots, so I hope this lasts because I feel really committed to treatment again!

I have an appointment with a family therapist tomorrow, plus more partial! And there’s a drawing that I started today in the open art studio group that is all about repairing my Recovery Raquel side of myself, it basically has our Recovery to Wellness slogan and the world and is still a work in progress. I’ll take a picture of it later and make an update blog post later in the week!

Stay safe!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

Fun Fact: I listened to “Too Good At Goodbyes” by Sam Smith when I wrote this. 🙂

My Sandbox | Article

Articles THUMB

Trigger Warning: Depression and suicidal themes


There was an article that I wrote before my eleventh psychiatric hospitalization that may never see the light of day in regards to this newspaper. At least, never as it once was in all its raw formalities. To describe the article as weird would be the greatest understatement of the century.

It was the first article I ever wrote that in its rawest form was edited to attempt to represent a past occurrence of a few months ago rather than a few days ago. But it never really flew right. I knew if I published it I would get one of two responses from staff, either no one would notice its red flags or someone would be giving me an intervention.

Even my end of the article spiel about suicide prevention was written more out of memory than actual truth. I no longer believed the words I was writing and they felt hollow and unreal to me.

I thought maybe I would get away with writing a foreboding article without anyone raising an eyebrow. And maybe I secretly wanted someone’s attention to fall to my wayside–I do not know for sure. All I know is that it was written as a goodbye rather than an actual article.

I had never done that before. I had never, well, almost, written such a potentially public suicide note. I say almost because I have written blog posts and tweets that have ebbed along those lines–especially during that time.

But this was different. This was…wrong. And yet it felt so right. I never had such a heightened suicidal crisis before that my terror of dying transformed into adrenaline and I felt so utterly and absolutely happy. Everything felt like it was going to be okay. I no longer felt the emotional turmoil that suicidal crises have plagued my life for for three years. I finally felt as though I had entered some new form of acceptance. I felt calm and blissful.

It was honestly the strangest paradox of being so suicidal that I no longer felt suicidal. I would have strolled my way into the start of the semester if my parents had not called a suicide prevention hotline while I was out of the house on a Sunday. I do not know if I would have been able to keep up the charade of overcompensating happiness for the two months I planned on staying alive for. I did discover that overcompensating happiness is like genuine happiness, just with a shadow.

Instead of going to school, my parents held an intervention. They gave me the choice between voluntarily going to the emergency room or being sent by ambulance. I decided to pack my bags even while a part of me inside wanted to give them hell.

I stayed a week inside the same psychiatric hospital I had been in last September. I learned while being there how to throw all of myself into other people’s stories whether that be through reading books, writing fan fiction, or watching TV and films. In this way, writing articles again, after about three months of silence, I find myself moving towards a path that will lead to healing rather than one of self-destruction. By writing articles, I am given the opportunity to play with my thoughts in the metaphorical sandbox. There is almost no danger with doing this and it causes me to provide self-assessments and insight into my struggles.

By playing in the sandbox I can recognize the irrationalities within my thoughts that I am unable to do while they are holed up in my head. As I build sandcastles I am reminded that I do not know yet where this path will take me. Depression whispers reasons why I should still kill myself; its abuse is seemingly never ending. I know that I hold more trepidation to reaching out for help more now than ever before.

I am afraid of being hospitalized, of re-entering the revolving door of being inside and then outside of them. I do not know if my story continues with a semicolon or if it just ends abruptly.

I wish I could say and believe that it gets better but the words still feel hollow. I can say that as of right now I do not have any plans to act on my thoughts. And if that should change, I know where I will be heading–a hospital rather than a casket.

I guess I just keep living for now. And I take another week off school to attend a partial hospitalization. And I learn how to cope more effectively, and maybe, maybe it gets better before it gets worse.

Stay safe.

This article was written February 2nd 2018. It was another vent piece as all my articles have been the last 3 days (all four of them). I’m basically saying the same thing in every single one of them but writing them makes me feel safe so I guess I’ll just keep doing it. Not all of them may make it to the newspaper themselves (this one in fact is a rebuttal to my “The Calm Before the Storm” piece) but they will all find their home on my blog and Twitter account.

If you would happen to leave a comment, that would be great. I may not be able to respond right away, yet it’d be nice to find some other human connections out there rather than just radio silence. Be well, friends. ❤