Halloween Costume Prep + PANTS (*TW*)

And a general life update!

Jamming to this song at the moment:

This lyric at the moment sticks out to me:

“Somebody stop me please from hurting myself”

So, it’s time I got back into some blogging, hence why I’m here right this minute! I also want to download a few new songs soon to my iPod before I head to sleep tonight. Just in case you wanted to know 😉

So, tomorrow is Halloween and I decided because I have no money (even though I totes just purchased two things from Amazon *sly smile*) to dress up in a fancy black suit to be Loki for Halloween (because it’s my third YEAR in a row I’ve wanted to do something special for Halloween (as Loki)–but next year..next year will be the year I dress up as him) anywho I figured, even in September, that I could TOTALLY PULL OFF being a psychiatric patient. So, that’s what I’m doing, lmao.

IT MAKES ME LAUGH AND THAT’S WHAT MATTERS.

So here’s my prep for my Halloween costume!

Some of the stuff you don’t see just yet include:

  • Hospital bracelets
  • Slippers
  • Full outfit sneak peek
  • Labels on the clothes
  • Teddy bear
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Yes, that’s a blue bra, shut up. Includes the clothing I’m wearing underneath, the jeans, and the scrub top/bottoms (two different blues). The hospital bracelets (ER and psychiatric hospitalization) are behind this pile.

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Label Series #1!!!!

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Label SErIES #2

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Not sure why this got a little blurry but it kinda works? Let’s go with that 😉

I’m bringing extra labels and my Sharpie to school tomorrow so I can make more if I think of other things. 🙂

If YOU have any ideas, send them along and I’ll add them to my outfit! 🙂

I also got some Dum Dum lollipops today 🙂

img_00003486 Yes, there are 3 acorns on my bedspread. Just…biology homework. *sigh*

I also had to stop by Michael’s arts & crafts store today and got this color to be “R” (for Recovery Raquel ;))

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I think, as long as I’m feeling well tomorrow, that I will attend this Halloween party the school is having. And, I’m charging my camera now too so I’ll bring that buddy along for some photo possibilities. Maybe my tripod, too. Maybe. *squints*


I’m working on some material for articles this week to edit and break down into 800 words, as well as uploading photos that I’ll share with you guys later this week.

I also have some drawings and IOS I can show you guys, too.

Today I was feeling pretty pants so I ate some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream pint here:

It was mocha and caramel ice cream with fudge flakes and a chocolate cookie core and chocolate cookie bits. IT WAS AWESOME. I ate it all. And felt terribly sick after but took a nap and only felt a little residual sickness when I woke up again, but yeah, it was good.

I went and saw dogs today too, that was nice! It was lovely, LOVELY weather out.

I finally finished my essay on Saturday and passed it in late. I’m planning on visiting my professor tomorrow during office hours to check-in realistically with how I’m doing in the class.

I had another opportunity to get trained for something with NAMI but I’m not sure that I will do it just yet. I’m sure there will be others, and I’m not in such a good place right now.

I self-harmed generally speaking (you know what I mean) on Saturday twice and on Thursday once. It made me feel like utter shit. I would genuinely rather scratch myself than do that method of self-harm. That’s saying a lot.

I was procrastinating a bunch with the essay on Saturday, too. I finally got myself to do it from a friend that gave me a writing deadline, which was super helpful.

You may have read that in my ‘IAPH’ series of articles that I realized at the end that since my last hospitalization I’ve finally accepted that I’ve been dealing with severe depression. It’s passed in the week previous, but this past week not so much.

I’ve been wanting to blog more cryptic messages–you know the ones I mean. Negative behavior is hard to break.

I suppose a part of it is attention seeking, and part of it is just…leaving a note behind. The day I left two of those messages I went out and bought … well, it’s probably best I don’t mention spe–ah, fuck it, I bought (TRIGGER WARNING) sleeping pills. The plan was to take 6 for self-harm or 12 for suicide (which I imagine wouldn’t kill me anyways but for me it’s a big deal (and any intention/action taken is serious regardless of the intensity of the threat)). I went to class with them, I hung out with them for a bit, I almost called a hotline, I tried to call my psychiatrist and it was such a RUSH. I mean, it was sucking horribly as well but it was also such an adrenaline rush. But I didn’t know what to do, and Summer’s words really stood out for me “Final actions are very final, Raquel” (I want to incorporate that into a drawing for sure). So I went to Craig’s office and gave him the pills and later I told someone else about the situation (by the way, I had relapsed exponentially with scratching at this time, I had self-harmed for four days, almost straight through. My arm is a mess-the worst I’ve done. My thigh’s a bit better) and that got me to be convinced to go to the counseling center for a crisis appointment which is what I did.

The guy I saw spoke about the hierarchy of needs and I made a version of that here:

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It was very helpful, actually. And, the two times I’ve been to the center this semester I’ve been potentially OVER happy about not being hospitalized lmao. But I’ve been able to safety contract.

This past weekend, I’m not sure.

I feel that I’m sitting at the top of the street for Kill Yourself Road. I’m pacing back and forth there considering my options.

I’m at a crossroads with recovery.

Do I move forwards and continue my recovery or do I move backwards and regress?

I can’t do both. (Especially not if I achieve suicide)

I haven’t acted on anything else since, minus that general self-harm. My brain is telling me how I can progress forwards (backwards, really) with next steps for attempted suicide and part of me is stuck because I’ve safety contracted and if nothing else, that MATTERS to me.

I would be knowingly going against my values and the trust that others have placed in me. If I’m feeling unsafe I’m meant to tell someone and go to the hospital.

But it feels like I’m “not that bad”. The crises do pass… And I feel I’d rather get caught up in schoolwork before I go back to the hospital… but I don’t know how possible that is if I’m having such a hard time.

I really just want to numb out. No thoughts, no feelings, just numbness.

I’ve even used my mental health issues as an escape from the reality of my procrastination and not doing work. And being an asshole about not following through on other expectations of me.

It sucks to wallow in depression but it’s more preferable over dealing with the stress in relation to things I don’t care as much about.

I still care about classes if I want to catch up and if I procrastinate on assignments. But long term? I just don’t have that perspective anymore. There’s 6 weeks left of the semester and it means nothing to me.

I think autumn is a difficult time for me mentally. This has been a theme for the last few years.

Even with Photo club, it’s just falling away from me.

My brain just wants me to push away the positives and focus on the negatives and the reasons why I should try and kill myself. Better to try than not at all, is my brain’s motto.

But then there’s the Recovery Raquel portion.

I’m being pulled in two different directions and I don’t know which one to choose. I’m stuck in a lack of a suicide plan because I physically don’t have access to my chosen method.

But it keeps feeling like I have other things-activities- that I want to do and therefore can’t go to the hospital because I’ll be missing those things.

I don’t know why the rationality of that doesn’t cover further into, if I die by suicide I won’t ever be able to do nice things but, it doesn’t.

I can feel not unsafe and still be unsafe. I can feel unsafe and yet still be safe. I don’t know when to go to the hospital. I’d rather go when I really need it, but is that before or after I act on a suicide plan? (I know the answer to this and you better know it too, it’s before!!!!) I feel like I can’t take myself seriously.

And if I decide to follow through, I can’t tell anyone. I’m not good at not telling people things.

I wish I could scratch myself to …. feel better. But it won’t help.

 

I can’t say that I won’t make another suicidal post in the future. I can say that if I do, I need you to tell me the opposite of what my brain says. Remind me of who I am and not what illness I am. That’s what Summer did and it really helped me. If nothing else, just say something, even if it’s an emoticon and if you’re also feeling SAFE enough to read them and do so.

I’m going to go back to putting my energy into focusing on recovery and some stuff I want to do before bedtime (which is very fast approaching).

I hope you all are well and you’re punching the face out of your struggles. ❤ ❤ Again, any ideas for labels and I’ll add them to my costume tomorrow! ❤ ❤ ❤

 

I’ll have pictures and more updates later this week.

Love you peeps. ❤

14% Remaining

Whooops, my laptop is about to croak because it’s dying a slow and painful comatose state into oblivion because I have only about 15 more minutes to be on campus and 5 of those minutes are going towards using the restroom and the rest for well, typing this here and now!

So, I started a new series for articles today 🙂 Technically I liked the name of one I was starting last week so now I’m making it into a series. It’s called “Say the Word–Suicide” Fuck yeah!

God, it’s been a while since I said a good old fuck yeah D:

Speaking of, I was reading over some other blogger posts last night and I was realizing I haven’t properly informed you all about what’s been going on, although some words have been spat regardless. So I plan on doing that more soon.

Except my laptop is nearly dead and my phone is nearly dead so maybe tomorrow or later tonight will be the time.

The first article I’m doing is about Recognizing a suicidal crisis. YAY. Then misconceptions about suicide, do’s and don’ts for suicide, and a few pieces about my own story as of recent events.

 

Okay, danger levels for the laptop.

Let me just say that I also have a PAPER MIDTERM to do this week yuck and that I’m feeling BETTER. Pugs, yay.

I’ll talk with you all later.

 

Stay safe ❤ ❤ ❤

“Two Or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You” | Book Review

Two Or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You by Joyce Carol Oates

TRIGGER WARNING: This book contains an explicit amount of description involving suicidality, suicide attempts, death by suicide, cutting, eating disorders, implied depression, and general fucked up-ness.


SUMMARY:

It’s been a good two months since I last worked through and read this book, but from what I can recall, it wasn’t worth the read. Let me explain and when I remember more of it through the quotes section, I’ll be sure to add more to this section as well.

The book covers a large range of topics. There are three parts to it, although the third part could have been unmentioned and it would have made the book stronger, but that’s just what I think. (It was a weird direction the rest of the book took having kept that third part and didn’t add much to the story other than how fucked up it was.)

The book covers a girl named Tink who dealt with a mother who was famous in the acting industry and who was neglectful at best and potentially abusive at worst. Her mother told her things like Tink should ‘kill herself’ and that she wouldn’t care if Tink died. That’s fucked up. I won’t even go further into that. Her mother also slapped her once too which was just appalling. I didn’t like the mother character.

Any who, Tink suffered with cutting and multiple suicide attempts and I believe it was mentioned that she suffered from bipolar I disorder. Well, unfortunately she died by suicide and had sent a last text message to her closest friends whom which the book focuses on.

One of Tink’s friends also begins cutting and borderline has an eating disorder and attempts suicide once but “sees” Tink and that stops her from dying… I don’t know if Tink being seen was to be ghostly part of the book or all the friends were hallucinating her. I really don’t know. It’s fucking weird and never explained.

Tink’s suicide is mentioned in the book, I believe, as one chapter switches to the first person point of view. It is QUITE GRAPHIC. The whole book was a trigger fest for me. I’m surprised and disappointed it didn’t come with a trigger warning.

However, I will say it was good for me to read about another perspective, even fictional, regarding what suicide leaves behind. I feel more inclined to read about that in the future.

Any who, the very last part of the book is where everything tries to tie together but I don’t think it really worked out right. Another friend of Tink’s, a “”fat”” girl, whose name began with an ‘S’ I’m sure but otherwise I can’t remember, starts to have a one-sided delusional relationship with her freakin’ science teacher in high school. She gets in trouble for it and gets him in trouble but everything works out all right. Fucking weird though, ’cause it has no relevancy except the bare minimum to the freakin’ story.

If a book could make me ‘cringe’–it’d be this one.


RECOMMENDATION SCORE:

1.5/5 pieces of shit.

If you’re someone who has gone through mental health issues, I genuinely only recommend reading this book (if you so choose to, it’s not really worth it to be honest) if you are in a STABLE and SAFE place in recovery. This book got me SO triggered multiple times reading it, due to how explicit and detailed it was at points. I genuinely felt nauseous twice while reading it and had to put it down to do other activities more than once while trying to get through the book.


QUOTES:

  1. Don’t touch! My body is my own secret. She’d learned from Tink: Don’t let the Enemy near. Only friends–who had proven themselves loyal–can come near. But even friends shouldn’t be entrusted with some secrets–. A secret can be too toxic to expose to a friend” – p. 31

I don’t like a lot of the words and their implications through this novel but I will select some from my page flags to mention here, if only to mention why I disagree with them. For this bit, it was Tink who didn’t tell anyone she was going to kill herself, which I feel needs to be said again and again: If you’re feeling suicidal or unsafe or you think you may act on it, PLEASE reach out for help!!! There’s only so much us folks on the Internet can do and believe me, I realize that (if you take into account this past week). Please get help though, people are out there to help you and WANT to help you and can get you to help you. Don’t ever let your brain bullshit convince you that you are alone because you are NOT. The feelings WILL pass. Right now may be shit and tomorrow can be better. ❤ ❤

2. “Merissa was stunned; she’d been such an idiot. Texting such a message to Hannah! Revealing too much of her private life and actually saying I will kill myself which was really a stupid and gauche thing to say, after Tink. She’d have to tell Hannah that of course she was only kidding. Wasn’t serious.” – p. 37

But Merissa WAS serious, she was. Just like in this part:

3. “there was a kind of red alert… If anyone you know speaks of suicide, please do not keep this information to yourself but tell a parent, a teacher or your guidance counselor” – p. 37

Take any subtle (I wish I wasn’t born; I’m better off dead; who would miss me?) hints of suicide seriously as well as any blunt hints of suicide (I want to jump off a building; I want to kill myself) SERIOUSLY. Any person suffering from suicidality may use either subtle or blunt ways of communicating to you and those around you that they are hurting. Please, do not let those pleas of hurt go unheard. Ask them if they are thinking about suicide, if they’ve made any plans, if they have a method, etc. And if you’re comfortable, help bring them to a place of safety if you determine they need higher up help than what you can possibly provide. Stay with them, treat them as your loved one if they are your loved one (and treat them respectfully all the same if you don’t know them) and be by their side as they go through this hard time. ❤ ❤ My two cents. 😉

4. “Even on lovely, sunny days the ghost-cloud hovers. It is not suggested that there is a reason for the ghost-cloud–depression–for the ghost-cloud just IS” – p. 41

I don’t have much of a problem with this point.

5. “Strange. How easy. Quitting the play, which had meant so much to her. And by quitting, erasing its significance. So that what had once meant too much, now meant nothing” – p. 65

I feel this is a relatable quote. When mental health issues start to take away the things you love and you don’t really seem to care about it, yeah…relatable. :S

6. “Strange how you can lose interest in your friends. You still like them–love them–but just don’t want to see them. Merissa had to wonder if Tink had felt that way. Just didn’t want to see her friends anymore. Not minding that she was leaving them and would not ever seem them again” – p. 68 to 69

I think this captures the questions left after a loved one passes away from suicide. RIP to those who have.

7. “Not seeing friends you’d been seeing almost every day for almost all your life that matters is like not breathing. Except you can’t live without breathing. But you can live without your friends.” – p. 70

😦 Who would want to, though? At what cost?

8. “But why not? What would have been so hard about that [asking for help from friends], to ask someone who loved you to do something for you? Maybe you’d be alive right now, Tink–if you had” – p. 131

Another sad, heartfelt and sinking feeling comes from this bit here. Again, capturing the grief well.

9. “And now there was a siren–I was inside the siren. Like a wild, high laughter it was, but I don’t think that the sound was me. I was fourteen then. I didn’t think that I would ever be older, but I am older now and I promise I will not make that mistake again” – p. 144

The chapter in the perspective of Tink. Unfortunately she kept her promise, she died. *heavy sigh* I’m sorry to hear that this character felt so suicidal and thought that her attempts to die were mistakes rather than chances at finding recovery. However, I’ve been there too. So, I get it, as well. 😦 (As I’m sure most of you do, too).

10. “In an undertone, Anita Chang said severely, “Tink is suicidal. Her destiny might be nowhere.” – p. 146

Ouch.

11. “We hated Anita for saying such a thing. We did not–we DID NOT–want to believe that Tink, who was our friend, was suicidal” – p. 147

Oh, denial…such a bitch, isn’t it? 😦

12. “We tried to think. What could we do? What could friends do? ‘Just be really nice to Tink. If she lets us down, if she’s weird sometimes–just ignore it, and love her. Just love her” – p. 151

Truer words have never been spoken. ❤ If you have a friend who can be difficult at times, just know that there’s probably something going on behind the scenes that you are either unaware or aware of, and cut them some slack. Be kind to one another ❤

13. “Senior year means doing everything for the final time. Except Tink’s final year with us was our junior year. When no one was prepared for an ending” – p. 152

I suppose there is NO way to prepare for a suicide. Harsh realities.

14. “Most of all she dreaded something cruel and stupid posted online, where everyone could see it–including her teachers. I will kill myself. By now, I should have. Except I am not brave like Tink” – p. 217 and 218

Suicide is neither cowardly nor bravery. Shining the conversation either way is inaccurate and only perpetuates the pain one who has lost loved ones to suicide, suicide attempt survivors and those still struggling that they feel. It adds to the stigma. It is inaccurate and a way to glorify the act of suicide–something that should not exist. Suicide is a serious topic, treat it as such. Casting blame only brings shame. Don’t do that to a person.

15. “‘Because there are things we have all forgotten–suppressed. And there might be good reasons why.'” – p. 220

Thought this quote stood out a bunch 😉 Hope you like it too!

 

Any who, that’s it for this book review! Meant to get this sucker out for AGES but still hadn’t, I’m pretty back logged for book reviews, got 2 more to go! Might just type them up rather than writing them all down again…we’ll see.

Blah. Now back to my homework…ooof.

I’m doing better this weekend though 🙂 Makes therapy seem questionable for tomorrow but I’ll try not to listen to that part of my brain.

 

Hope you guys have a lovely week!! ❤ ❤ ❤

 

Inside A Psychiatric Hospitalization 3 | Article

By Raquel Lyons

So, you’ve made it to the final part of this series. The glitter is falling, the confetti is springing into the air, and this is the heart of the series–what is it like inside a psychiatric hospitalization?

Number one: The people inside a psychiatric hospital are the same as you and I. Just as we college students interact with each other by asking what major we are, what year; we, too, in the psych hospitals ask each other: “What are you in for? Unless you don’t want to talk about it, that’s fine. I’m here because…”

Number two: You’ll likely hear stories of other inpatient units’ people have been to before. I’ve heard from the grape vine of a patient hiding from the staff in a cupboard (which is funnier than it should be).

Number three: You may see or hear things in an intense manner. For instance, I heard about some interesting action happening on the ward before I got there (“Never a dull moment” is a common phrase said), people yelling in expletives about getting their medications, people yelling otherwise at each other in an unfortunate spat and so on.

This can be very triggering and can be scary. I can’t tell you what your experience will be like going into the unit. It depends on where you go. There are some amazing places in Massachusetts where you are treated as the human being you are and taken well care of, and there are places that are utter crud. Unless you know of the good places before you are transferred there, it’s a bit of a toss-up for where you’ll end up.

At the same time, psychiatric hospitalizations are not like how movies portray them. Psychiatric hospitalizations are a place of safety, where people who are unsafe to either themselves or others go for, essentially, a refuge for a few days. The length of time someone stays there depends on many factors, such as where they are in recovery, what they’re dealing with or if there are other programs nearby that better fit what issues they’re having. My lowest stay was my first hospitalization at 5 days, my average is a week, and my longest was 8 days.

You will likely find some of the most amazing, creative, wonderful, sweet, compassionate people within a psychiatric hospital. I’m talking both patients and staff. Granted, people are people so you may not mesh with everyone the right way–there were a few people I met that I wanted to punch in the face, I didn’t though, and it was a good time to utilize some more positive coping strategies. Sometimes I would get really irritated with the staff, but I kept my head cool because I knew acting out would only escalate the situation. Advocate for yourself and maintain patience and understanding are my best tips.

I have met people who inspire me within a psychiatric hospitalization. I met people who were so creative that I got into drawing for mindfulness and art therapy. I met people who shared with me their stories–their other inpatient experiences, their struggles, and their vulnerability.

Never forget that vulnerability is a strength. People within a psych unit are often very vulnerable, they’re going through absolute manure and they’re struggling, yet some of them are there for help and to get better. I encourage you to be an active participant in your own recovery journey and for you to be one of those people struggling who puts as much as they can into getting better. I didn’t always want to be in the hospital–and I set aside my anger, my irritation, my sadness, and I attended groups they had throughout the days and I made new friends or got to know other people whom I still think about from time to time today.

The staffs in various psych units are often doing the best they can. There’s probably going to be someone you don’t like as much and that’s pretty normal. I didn’t like all of the staff every time I’ve been hospitalized and I connected differently to each one–so, I had my preferences. But the psychiatric unit isn’t always super serious all the time.

In my second hospitalization I watched “Guardians of the Galaxy.” In my fourth we played corn hole (where you throw sacs of sand to a wooden box with a hole in it and try and get it in). I’ve played ping pong a number of times. I played some video games in my first hospitalization.

Next, how each unit structures themselves is different. I’ve been to a place where the only groups they had were art therapy. I’ve been to places where there was more variety–art therapy, DBT (dialectical behavior therapy), CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), mindfulness, interpersonal relationships, social skills, positive coping strategies, learning about different teas and yoga and exercise, and more.

Every time I’ve been hospitalized it was because I needed time away from the dangers of the outside world in order to remain physically safe. From my first hospitalization I learned about positive coping strategies. From my second, I received a psychiatrist (they came in a bow and a box and everything), and began my recovery journey. From my third, over time I regained my identity and took back my life.

From my fourth, my most recent one, and the one that started this series…I’ve learned more about self-care. I don’t get stressed out from my drawing class anymore! I know it’s important for me to take breaks and to listen to my body and my mind when it’s time for me to NOT listen to my mind.

I’ve also been learning that despite how highly self-aware I am, I have my limits. I struggle still with recognizing and blockading my brain’s manure when it comes to having genuine feelings about anxiety or depression. I like to remain firm when people tell me how I’m feeling or guess at my feelings that no, I’m not experiencing those feelings (and, often, I’m not), but when it comes to the times that I AM–I won’t admit it either.

Such steadfast, stone cold denial has left me missing the dozens of warning signs I’ve been experiencing of the depression since my last hospitalization. It may even be the reason why I get hospitalized again soon.

 

Because as of mid-October, I am really, really struggling. The past month I have been at an all new low, a low reminiscent of my dark days yet also different from them.

 

I began this series with the open letter that writing these articles brings me accountability and purpose. Yet I feel during my struggles that I’m no longer the face plate of recovery or wellness, not in the same way I once was when I began writing for this newspaper. It feels like there’s a huge loss in that, yet I suppose the next thought is, is it rational?

 

As someone in recovery from mental health issues, I’m not always going to do the right thing. I’m going to make mistakes and I’m going to learn from them. I am my first priority and so is my safety. To echo Spongebob Squarepants, I AM number one.

 

Relapses and lapses are a part of the recovery journey. I’ve said that how many times now? Yet recovery is still a continuous circle of reminding yourself what you inherently know but what feels like is no longer true.

 

So I may not always have my recovery to wellness items together. I may not always act in line with my recovery goals, yet I’ll still be here writing these articles because…my story is worth sharing, and you’re worth reading it, and we’re both worthy of being alive and staying alive. Writing these articles gives me a sense of responsibility to hold myself accountable to myself and to the people I reach with these scrawled words.

 

And I say this to you as much as I say it to myself: Going to the hospital because of psychiatric issues is just as legitimate as going to the hospital for medical issues. You are everything far from “weak”–asking for help takes a HUGE amount of strength, courage, faith and trust. You are absolutely amazing and you have so much to offer this world.

 

After all, I won’t be at UMB forever, so someone’s going to have to pick up the mental health conversation in this newspaper while I’m frolicking in meadows of homework with graduate school.

 

Just remember: You matter, you are loved, you have so many people who can, who will and who have yet to support you, and your life has so much purpose. If you haven’t found your purpose yet, it’s coming for you. Please, stick around another day to receive it.

 

Stay safe.

 


Article 3! FINAL PART!

What did you guys think of this series? Are there things you can relate to? Things that have been different for you yourself or for friends you know? Let me know what you guys think!

 

I’m going to work on posting once a day for maybe a week, depending on how everything else goes. 🙂 Thanks for supporting me and being there for me you guys! You keep me inspired and loving. ❤ ❤ ❤

 

Inside A Psychiatric Hospitalization 2 | Article

By Raquel Lyons

Trigger Warning: Explicit mention of suicide and self-harm.

It’s to no one’s surprise that the general public is lacking in its awareness about suicide prevention, suicide warning signs and mental health awareness. It may be that this is a product of how some conversations in our society are still labeled as too taboo to talk about openly. Stigmatization of mental health issues is an article for another time, however.

I bring up this issue because when I tell someone of the general public that I am suicidal, I get more of a nervous laugh or an ominous, “Me too!” response. Setting aside the secondary response for a whole other conversation, the nervous laughter doesn’t exactly help me. I understand that suicide is…a complicated subject matter. But when I feel suicidal I am often not validating my own emotional experience, and thus rely on other people’s emotional experience to identify how “bad” things have gotten for me.

This is the conversation I was having with the EMT on my way to the nearest emergency room. As we’ve seen with the first part of this series, my telling a police officer I was feeling suicidal brought me to that very same gurney. Accompanying my trip was Emily the moth, who had snuck in for a free ride (which is not what I can say about my own trip).

When I got to the ER I was transferred over to what would be my ‘chambers’ for the evening and until 3:30p on Saturday September 17th. It was a walled room, with a simple chair, a bed, blankets and a moving table. The black object placed behind plastic turned out to be the TV, with its accompanying remote control on the wall itself. Below the TV was the window and the door itself had a window looking in as well. I read the “this room is under video surveillance” sign a good two hundred times during my stay there.

Bodily fluids were sampled, and I was to shed my civilian clothes and change into the Johnny they had there (at other times it’s been scrubs). After some time, I met with the crisis team there at the hospital. I was lucky; this woman had attended one of the International OCD Foundation conferences and so was more educated about OCD and therefore understood more of what I was telling her about my own experiences.

Due to the action I had taken of speeding, and my previous history of suicide attempts, it was ruled, unsurprisingly to me although I was reluctant, that I’d be hospitalized. The next action was to wait for a bed to open up at a nearby psychiatric hospital. And so, began the countdown.

Here I was, alone in a room under surveillance, a remote control for some unimpressive TV channels on the wall of my room (which meant I wasn’t getting up to turn it on), with limited staff in the evening shift, and with all the time in the world to obsess and fixate on my thoughts.

It should come as no surprise then, that at some point the following morning I was twice as suicidal as when I had gotten in.

I got to continue texting friends up until 11p, which helped, until I had to hand my phone over. It was also helpful that I received a couple of loose coloring pages, a word search and some crayons. I got to scrawl out the phone numbers of friends I could contact while in the hospital on the back of the word search page (which was a Finding Nemo based one).

But once without a phone as some contact with the outside world, I was left to replay the incident with the police officer over and over in my mind. I was shrinking internally from sheer boredom. My brain would not shut up for the life of me, and over and over I thought about the ways I could hurt myself based on what was available to me in that small room. I could slam my head on the table (or the wall), I could strangle myself under the bedsheets, and I could scratch myself, and so on. I spent hours thinking of this, being so wide awake at two in the morning until three AM when I played five questions with one of the nurses and got a melatonin (sleeping aid).

I spent most of Saturday sleeping, and some time watching “Horrible Bosses” on the television. Around seven in the morning on Saturday I cried to myself because I was so distraught from the cruel heaviness that the OCD was lacing venom through my brain. I thought over and over all the reasons ‘why’ I should hurt myself and the idea grew more and more appealing…

 

 

I don’t even remember what manure my brain was feeding me, but I know it had to do with the concept of reasons why I should let go of my life and just kill myself. Looking back on it, it may have also been some depression at play there, too. I didn’t want to feel like I had to act on it, but I couldn’t validate myself for being serious if I was feeling suicidal and did NOT act on it. It seemed to lose its seriousness if there wasn’t any action taken. Like, it didn’t matter and was “no big deal”. And it was something I had to prove to myself–I could kill myself, or attempt to, even if I didn’t want to actually die.

My brain told me that life wasn’t worth living with the OCD and I would be better off dead, without anyone to find me and no one to find out what I had done. So in response, I cried. Because there was no one around to witness my pain and to acknowledge how badly the situation sucked and how, even despite this, things would get better.

After some time, when I felt defeated and like the only way I could talk to someone was if I tried to hurt myself within that room, I got my breakfast tray. It was this super soggy blueberry muffin and I didn’t eat much of it because I was so disgusted with myself at that point for still being alive. My appetite from four AM had faded with the oncoming cruelty of my thoughts.

One of the staff had asked me if I’d like to speak with someone from the crisis team and I agreed that I would.

For the next hour, I waited for someone to come and talk to me. I still contemplated all the ways I could hurt myself, and arrived at the position that I’d scratch myself ever so slightly.

I never did speak to someone again during the time I was twiddling my thumbs trying to ignore the brass nature of my brain.

I did get to make a couple of phone calls though, and that helped me out a lot. Getting to hear some of my friend’s voices really helped pull me through and have something to look forward to as one of my friends, “Jeanine” would come to visit me while I was in the psychiatric hospital. That gave me the happiness and motivation to color in a Squirtle picture for her and write a little note on the back of it.

I know you may be reading this and are wondering where my point is going with all of this background information. To that, I say don’t worry; this is likely the most background information we’ll get out of this series.

I wanted to set the scene properly for what my experience was like in the emergency room and how it may reflect other people’s experiences in a negative light. I’m saying it because it needs to be said, it needs to be known and it needs to be addressed.

I will always recommend the emergency room for someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts. If you are suicidal and you think you may act on it, you NEED to go to the hospital. You NEED to keep yourself safe, and the safest place you can be is at a place where you’re able to rehabilitate until you feel better–which will be approximately a week later. Granted, you may not exactly feel like yourself again once you get out of the hospital, but it’s highly likely that the suicidal crisis will have passed. Another may arrive, but that’s beside the point.

I do not want the takeaway of this storytelling to be that the emergency room is always a cruddy space and for that to be a reason someone decides against their better judgment to not go.

Sometimes the emergency room is a cruddy experience. But the ER is the place you go to before you get to the treatment facility. It’s the annoying step in between.

I want to make suggestions on how to improve the quality of an ER visit for psychiatric issues, rather than discourage people from attending them if they need it.

For one, advocating for yourself is huge. Ask for crayons and some coloring sheets. Or if you’re able, and you know you’re going to the hospital, bring a book to read.

Write out a list of phone numbers of friends and family that you can contact during your stay within the ER and the psychiatric hospital. Having social supports is a HUGE part of recovery, and it’s nice to get to see some familiar faces who know the real YOU and not just the disorder you’re struggling with.

If you’re able to, have someone accompany you to the ER, whether that’s a friend or a family member. This will stave off some of the boredom and sheer emotional weight that you may experience while staying in the ER. I know in my first hospitalization, I had my father with me in the ER and that helped out a lot, compared to the times where I was alone.

If you’re able to plan even a little bit ahead for your hospitalization, I recommend bringing some type of backpack where you can have some books to read, coloring utensils, and coloring books, as well as some clothes (but without strings) for when you get to the psychiatric hospital. They’ll keep your stuff away from you and it’ll come with you during transport but at least you’ll have some clothes to change into when you get to the psych hospital.

I also recommend bringing something that reminds you of better times–for instance, I totally brought my stuffed animal with me while I was in the psychiatric hospital because it was something physical for me to hold onto.

Additionally, as I’m writing this within October 2016, I have come to find out that only thirty states in the US offer legally recognized mental health directives, although Massachusetts is not one of them. However, there exists a mental health directive that you can use as a working template that covers multiple facets involving what medications you’re taking, your treatment providers and their contact information, someone they can contact to vouch for you, and more. It isn’t legally binding, but it’s a resource. If you can’t find it online, you can try and track me down and I can make a copy of it for you.

Lastly, referring back to the first tip: advocate, advocate, advocate. I’m not the type to lash out when my treatment isn’t being respected or I really, really want to get out of the hospital. I know from seeing others practice such behaviors that it only makes the situation worse. However, I absolutely hate and loathe that I felt in my ER visit that the only way I could receive help there via talking to someone is if I acted out. I did not act out and I did not see that crisis team personnel. I wish I could say that I did, but it just wasn’t the case for me.

My tip is to be patient, be compassionate and be persistent. If you feel unsafe, tell someone. Before you act on the thought, tell someone. This is true even outside of the hospital. The length of your ER visit depends on when the nearest psychiatric bed is open. I’ve had the process take five hours to the next day at times. If you can talk to someone who knows the good places to go to versus the not so great ones, utilize that information to create a list of places you can refer to if you ever land in a hospitalization setting.

Remember though that the ER stay is time limited. Eventually you will get to the real part of treatment, which lies within the psychiatric hospital or psychiatric ward. Just keep breathing, safety contract for five minutes and soon you’ll be out of there.

Stay safe, people.

 


Part 2 done up on this past Monday!! Awesome news: The newspaper is creating a ‘Health’ section for Craig and I since our articles fit more into that category! YAY!

I wrote up part 3 just now and will post it tomorrow. ❤ ❤

Feeling BETTER now that I worked on that for a bit (don’t burst the bubble and ask about homework please). Working on things, ❤

 

BE WELL PEEPS!

 

Dead End (*TW*)

Part 2 of “Planning.”

The wind is choppy.

The ocean is ravenous.

My soul is faltering.

My breath hitching.

 

Should I tell someone?

Would they rather know?

Or should I keep it to myself?

 

They’re better off not knowing.

No one should know about the nothing.

 

Don’t follow in these footsteps.

This is not the way out.

Forget me from your memory,

Remember me in a better light.

 

I am being pushed to my limits

By the brain within my skull.

I have no way out,

Just a blissful sleep to come.

 

Don’t follow in these footsteps.

Don’t linger in the fog.

Maybe I will tell someone.

Or fall like a log.

 

 

No words.

 

Only final actions.


USA HOTLINE

1800 273 TALK


I don’t know what to do.


help me. save me from myself. 

Welcome Back, Recovery Raquel

At the very least, she’s peeking through the window shades.

Writing my article up for the ‘Inside a Psychiatric Hospitalization’ part 2 reminded me of all the work I have to catch up with for the newspaper about recent stuff that’s happened as well as the responsibility I have if not just to myself than to others who read my articles.

With that said, I think I may make the choice to pack up my items and walk away from the campsite.

It’s gonna be pretty shit, I know it. But it’s the better thing for me to do. The right thing, the more recovery based thing to do.

I’ve only got a few minutes before I leave campus, but I just wanted to fill ye all in on this new revelation.

With many article ideas to come and the need I have to use the restroom, I shall sign off for now.

I’ve got much catching up to do…. phew.

Wish me luck!!

Stay safe peeps! ❤ ❤ ❤

(Also returning to blogging feels so very, very VERY good)

The Wonders of Breathing | Poem

Today’s Prompt *URGENT*

Hunched over,

She sat.

On the curb,

The dark green grass budding from the rich, thick soil

Near where her pink blouse meets the tips of them.

She breathes iiiiiiinnnn……

 

She breathes ooooouuuuuuuttttt……

 

There is a shadow to her left,

And a stranger to her right.

The shadow whispers to her,

That she is worthless, that she is not needed, that she is nothing.

The stranger-they hiss that she is better off dead,

That suicide is her answer, her pull to the edge.

That self-injury is her calling,

Her code to feeling “better”.

 

It is her brain that sits by her side–either one.

Her brain that breathes life into her soul,

That produces artwork so magical

She rides upon her unicorn named Elisia

And trots down the golden pathway of

Her sparkling frosted forest.

 

It is her brain that tells her

To hurt herself.

It is her brain that whispers to her

To tell the townspeople in her life

To just let her go.

 

But it is her soul that

Shines with sparkles and a rainbow,

That convinces her to stay alive.

It is her soul that shines brightly,

Like the lighthouse upon her home,

That says to her,

This too shall pass.

 

It is her soul that beckons the light forward,

That expels it to the rest of the world,

So that others, too, may find their way.

 

It is her voice that echoes in the evening sky,

Where faith and trust dance together

Like fireflies in the setting sun.

It is her voice that while crumbling in emotional pain,

Rises higher than the stars,

Shining brighter than the moon,

Spreading hope to all those who wander, lost.

 

It is her voice that may tremble,

Her eyes that may be teary,

And her feet that carry her forwards,

Time and time again.

 

She is stronger than she feels,

Stronger than she thinks,

Stronger than she realizes.

She is mighty and she is strong.

 

Her soul glimmers with a brighter future,

A journey through heaven for which

She will be a witness to.

 

But for the moment,

For the moment,

The fire by her fallen form flickers.

And her brain sits beside her every side,

In the form of creatures who wish to do her harm.

 

For the moment,

She is in dire need of aid.

She needs to be reminded

How important her life is,

How desperately she is needed,

Again and again and again.

 

Because her brain beats her.

Her brain abuses her light.

And now she feels as though

Taking each and every breath

Is a sin and a waste of space.

Every breath brings tearing pain through

Her lungs,

A heart she wishes would stop beating,

And skin that lays red and raw,

Having been pulled apart from its rightful place.

 

Because now,

Now she wants the pain.

She wants to feel the sting and the electricity through

Her veins,

She wants to have the scars as reminders,

She wants to do damage.

Real damage.

 

For what purpose?

She doesn’t dare think it through.

She pushes away the thoughts

By the product of more pain.

 

Lies fling from her tongue

As the warmer days unusually roll in,

And she stands with one sleeve up,

One sleeve down,

Tempted to show her markings

But only for a certain set of eyes.

 

It is urgent,

Her soul beckons of her,

To ask for help.

 

But her brain mutters not.

The situation is not yet dire.

 

And it is with this ambivalence

That she so breathes,

Ponders,

And imagines.

 

Her eyes gaze up to the clouds above,

Seeking some signal from the universe,

That she may utilize the strength within her soul

To stand up to her enemies,

And walk away from her brain.

 

But for now,

She breathes iiiiiiinnnnn…..

And dares not to

Breathe out.