Recovery Revival

Part….. 84? There’s been quite a few recovery revival Raquel moments lately, at least within this semester. I have officially come across another one. 🙂

Today, I hung out with Naomi, as you guys know about. From that conversation ‘The Conversation’ article was written. From there, I eventually went to my psych class. We spoke together in our groups about ineffective and effective coping strategies (which I’ll eventually transition to saying rather than positive/negative coping strategies) as well as what post-traumatic growth is and resiliency and recovery and all that jazz. It was also interesting to learn about emotion focused vs problem focused styles of dealing with a situation and how that translates essentially into the DBT principle of Wise Mind (from emotional and rational mind). That was exciting, especially.

Beyond that I had about 6 different memories or thoughts or ideas spring to my mind about recovery from the various treatment facilities I’ve been to before. I also want to re-watch the Brene Brown TEDtalk about vulnerability and shame, as I mentioned it in class. Then there’s the 300 list of effective coping strategies I got from my third hospitalization.

Basically, I sense a revival of recovery within myself. It is hope and inspiration and emotion so far lost that it’s brilliant and amazing and wonderful to feel again. We spoke about how resiliency and grit are about getting through a trauma, or other type of situation, and how thriving thereafter is frankly, possible.

I’ll likely be writing articles about this in the future, alongside these bloggery posts themselves.

I do need to attend to some hunger levels. But I feel lighter and airier now.

There’s still much left to do, but I may be able to hang with Naomi this weekend, depending on some other factors. That would be exciting 🙂


Also–did you know that PAPER HOUSES exist? They’re $10 at Michael’s arts & crafts store and I am totally going to get one because I want to build my #RecoveryHome 🙂


It’s time now for me to let off some steam to Craig. And then go to an Active Minds meeting and probably do some work again after that. And some fanfiction….


I was reading one of those marvelously 40 chapter long fanfiction’s yesterday and it was extraordinary and lovely. I hope to gather more writing inspiration to work on some new ones that I am working on now 🙂

Then there is reading for fun and maybe some artwork time I will take for myself tonight. And taking a shower. And I got to get $20 out of the ATM — hope I don’t forget again! And then tomorrow it’s more therapy. I should email some of my professor’s… it’s on my mind now whether I want to practice avoidance behaviors (ineffective coping) or approachable behaviors (effective coping).

I have to say, I absolutely love this. It’s like part of me has been shocked back into life. I even told the professor today that this class has such meaningful elements to it. As, I’ve genuinely learned and been reminded of multiple recovery based things today because of it.

And, it gives me hope.

Hope for today, for tomorrow, for the future.


The only battle is within my brain. Let’s hope I win.

❤ ❤ ❤

Say the Word Suicide: The Conversation | Article

By Raquel Lyons

Never underestimate the power of other people’s words.


This is a thought that’s been floating around in my brain today. In my psychological trauma class, we were told to think about some of the effective and ineffective coping strategies a person may engage in following a traumatic event or the presence of post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as when a person is motivated to seek help.


It’s important to note that you don’t have to hit rock bottom in order to seek help. When you start noticing problematic behaviors, or better yet others around you do and tell you about them, or that you’re unhappy or you’re not achieving as much as you would like or you can hardly function properly–that’s the time to seek an additional opinion. It may be that what you’re going through is some type of mental health condition to no fault of your own. It may be just a rough patch. It may be that you just need additional resources at your disposal, and honestly? That is a’okay.


You don’t have to wait until you’re “that bad.” Honestly? If it got to be “that bad”, it’d be so bad that you probably wouldn’t even realize it IS “that bad.”


You don’t have to wait until you’ve formulated a plan for suicide. You don’t have to wait until you are feeling unsafe to ask for help.


You can get help when you start noticing signs that something is amiss within yourself. It’s actually better to nip it in the butt early than to wait until it gets to that elusive “that bad” stage. You deserve to feel happiness, to live a healthy life and to enjoy the life that you live, so, if that means that right now you need extra support, reach out for it.


It can be hard to know where to look, and just know that there are places and people out there who want to and can help you. Most importantly, yeah, maybe you can do this on your own. But it may take longer and really, you don’t have to carry this burden alone.


There is always the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline you can call, living in the US, and their number is 1800 273 TALK. There is also Craig Bidiman in CC-3-3407 and the Counseling Center located on Quinn 2nd floor. There are crisis texting programs, online chat rooms, and other phone services in your particular state or lists of other countries resources. There are people out there who want to hear you, acknowledge your pain and help you through it.


It may be that I’m writing and saying the same things I’ve said before. And recovery is a cycle in which that’s necessary to be said and repeated. Sometimes the bully of our brains can drown out the help that is so very near to us. And it’s up to us to fight back and refuse to be taken down by an invisible force field.


It’s not easy, it may never be, and it’s often, maybe always, worth it anyhow.


So when you notice signs in those you love, things that are off about them, something that doesn’t feel right, don’t wash away the importance of it. Rather, challenge it. Bring it to their attention, tell them exactly which behaviors you’ve noticed that are causing you concern, and tell them that you are concerned, how it makes you feel. Tell them that they matter to you, that they’re worth something and how your life would be different without them in it.


Be brave when you talk about suicide. The person who is reaching out to you is doing so in a time of dire need, whether they’re smiling or crying when they say it. They’re letting you in, so please: don’t slam the door in their face. And for the person being reached out to, you are brave as well. It’s not easy to talk about suicide, and the more we choose to show courage in opening up the conversation, the more positive light we’ll be able to shine through the darkness.


Because having these conversations matter and the people struggling and the people being reached out to, matter. Because this life isn’t easy and it can be so tempting to want to let it all go.


So look out for each other out there. And hug those you care about, appreciate those around you and choose to live through another day. Because one day it will be brighter, and one day the world won’t be melting inside out, and one day you’ll be okay again. Live for that day, instead.


Stay safe.

A bonus article I just wrote up now. Something I need to hear today, and be reminded of. I hung out with a friend, Naomi, early today and we talked about life and school and stuff and it was really helpful to open up about shit and talk through it. The birth of these words were inspired by that conversation. ❤

Also, I’m totes working on some new fanfics 🙂 I need all the help I can get to channel my brain waves elsewhere today.

Hoping to make some points about this in class today. ❤ ❤

Hope you all enjoy! And that you are doing SPIFFY!

Written November 16.2016

My Return

I hath returned!

Pretty sure most of you didn’t know I was gone, partially my bad as I didn’t get the chance to update you guys on the relapse I had with self-harm last Thursday. But, I got my fifth hospitalization last Friday and just got out yesterday — for those who follow me in real life, I am back and I AM feeling much better.

Listened to some suicide prevention music this evening and blubbered like an emotional person, pffsht.

Here’s the link:

45 Songs for Suicide prevention

Some of the songs are ABOUT suicide so just be aware of that. But the article has a whole bunch of suicide prevention related information 🙂

I’m going to be working on articles about Inside a Psych Hospital Part V (based on the parts I had to split up for the paper) and misconceptions about suicide this week! And a stigma interview. 🙂

Took a nice at home shower today and paid off my bill for the library books, and gotta read through more books soon. I could go on and on, but I’d like to get to bed now.

I’ll update you all more tomorrow.

Although I have to see doggies tomorrow and go to a wake for a couple of hours (a cousin passed away last week).


Hope you all are well! Stay safe, peeps. ❤ ❤ ❤

I’ll do my best to do the same.

Say the Word Suicide: The Crisis Part II | Article

Trigger warning: Explicit mention of suicide.

By Raquel Lyons

Make sure to ask the person if they have a suicide plan, if they’ve acted on it, if they have a method, are they going to act on their suicidality NOW, and so forth….


You see, there’s a spectrum when it comes to suicidality. On one hand you have people who have fleeting thoughts about suicide–the people who think “Oh hey, I could totally jump in front of this train. Weird.” These thoughts could be distressing but they fly away without further consideration.


On a middle ground, you have a person who has a plan to die by suicide with some vague details and setting it five months in advance. This may be of medium concern, certainly the suicidality becomes more concerning as you go up the spectrum.


On the high risk end, you have a person who has a specific plan of suicide, who has intentions to act on their plan and is going to do so immediately, either today or tomorrow. Or, it is possible that the person is experiencing more frequent and intense thoughts about suicide with the plan or intent to act on them and therefore also falls under the more concerning category. That is a suicidal crisis. It is a medical emergency and it should be treated as such.


The person is at the highest of risk to complete their suicide.


Of course there are other factors involved that increase the risk of suicide such as previous suicide attempts (suicide attempts are prone to become more dangerous as they continue to happen), a history of trauma or mental health issues, a history of self-harm, previous psychiatric hospitalizations, more risk factors than protective factors and a few more.


For me it’s been my experience that I think about suicide, I consider suicide and then I act on a suicidal thought. Considering is higher than just thinking about it because for me it entails the finer details of planning. Someone who may be of a lower risk for suicide may say they want to hang themselves, for instance. In the same scenario, I could tell you I’m going to use my laptop cord to hang myself on the third branch of an oak tree. That’s a lot more specific! (I won’t be doing that, by the way!!).


But this shows what some of the language can involve when regarding suicidality. I have learned to become very open and very blunt about my chronic suicidality. Part of it is because the OCD’s got jokes, which are often more hilarious than they should be and part of it came with the secondary depression for me. Talking about suicide became like talking about the weather. In my dark days I was so consumed by always thinking about suicide that it lost its meaning and seriousness. Depression in one way gave me the ability to be very blunt with how I was feeling, but also took away my voice so that I didn’t tell people how I was feeling.


And, to be honest, sitting alone in a suicidal crisis with no one knowing what was going on made it much worse than if I had had a buddy with me to help me trudge through the slime.


Next, know where to get help–either to give to the person who is feeling suicidal or to make use of it yourself. During the hours they are open, the Counseling Center is available to you. They are located in Quinn 2nd floor all the way down the hall.


If they are not available, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1800-273-TALK. If the crisis is immediate (i.e. happening right now) you can also dial 911, contact Public Safety if you’re on campus, or bring that person to the nearest emergency room. There is also Craig Bidiman you can talk to; he’s located in CC-3-3407.


These are just some of the resources available to you. If you are ever in a suicidal crisis and are wondering what to do next–before you try to end your life, reach out to someone. Contact a hotline, text a crisis number, read about how other people have stayed alive through suicidality, find this article, use–just tell someone and be as honest and open as you can.


If you’ve never been to a psychiatric hospitalization before and are afraid they’ll “keep you forever”, find positive experiences people have had on the Internet, on Youtube or read through my series about my experiences with hospitalizations.


If you’re interested in learning more about what helpful things versus not so helpful things you can say to someone who is going through suicidality, stay tuned for the third installment of this series!


Until then, stay safe.


Written and Edited October 17th and November 2nd 2016

We shall see where this series takes us, shall we?

I’m thinking of misconceptions about suicide, maybe stigma, my recent experiences (maybe) or do something different for that, do’s and don’ts! (I’d love to hear your thoughts and if you’re okay with it, including them in the article!!) I’ll explain more of that later. And yeah. Some good shit, peeps.

I shall wander off now for my IOOV! 🙂


Entertain My Faith

This song is lovely and I especially love the second verse as of late. Plus the music video imagery is fantastic.

Remember the moment
You know exactly where you’re going,
‘Cause the next moment,
Before you know it, time is slowing
And it’s frozen still,
And the window sill looks really nice, right?
You think twice about your life,
It probably happens at night,

Fight it,
Take the pain, ignite it,
Tie a noose around your mind
Loose enough to breathe fine and tie it
To a tree. Tell it, “You belong to me.
This ain’t a noose, this is a leash.
And I have news for you: you must obey me.”

So I would have had 44 minutes of time to write with my laptop (I don’t have my charger) a couple of hours ago, but thought I’d save it for later (which is now). However, now I only actually have 26 minutes so, that’s great! *rolls eyes*

Any who, day #2 of my period and it’s gone remarkably well. I think my Midol might be wearing off which is shit but otherwise, I’m, really, really good.


I went to the OCD support group last night. We stayed LATE. Til 11p. Once I let myself feel it I’m going to crash exponentially. I napped on the train in the morning as usual but haven’t napped at all since.

I’ve been pretty safe today, although I did very loosely scratch myself once and bit at my skin. Besides that lapse, I’ve been safe. I’ve been FEELING safe.

I went to Advising and found out about other classes I have left to take, and I should be a’okay when it comes to graduating next fall semester, so that’s nice. I MIGHT take four classes next semester, I think the spring is a better time for me than autumn is, unfortunately. Then there’s all the grad school applications… *shudders* I’ll get to that bad boy much later though.

It’s … comforting and odd to plan so far ahead. It gives me more reasons to stick around, and in the uplifting of my mood I’ve been swiftly telling people how much I appreciate them today. I even professed friendship love to Craig. He really is my mental health hero, not sure if I’ve outwardly said that to you guys before. I’ve said it a few times in real life, at least.

Speaking of, tomorrow I have an IOOV presentation. Ohhhhh shit, I gotta work on that tonight. Or tomorrow morning, just read over the tips and tricks for that type of audience and write up what I wanna say and print it and I’ll be GOLDEN.

I didn’t see my therapist today but I did a phone call session instead. I’ll have another one on Friday at noon (saying this so I hopefully remember myself). It was tough to hear that I had broken a safety contract (via the general self-harm, biting, etc.) and got the dreaded question of ‘How doth one trust you now?’ question.

But we worked a LOT with the #RecoveryHome metaphor and that was pretty awesome. I’m definitely talking about where I am now in recovery during my presentation tomorrow.

I would have had a NAMI opportunity on the weekend, but I’m not in complete Recovery Raquel mode yet, so I may still send out an email and say that I’ll do it another time, next year. I have to rebuild a lot before I can add on more training’s for myself *nods*

But Recovery Raquel is in full blown force today. She is strong and powerful, bludgeoning her mind only metaphorically and NOT actually.

I also got some cookies and chocolate milk which is heavenly.

I did a drawing yesterday about #RecoveryHome and some not so positive drawings, but I’ll share those with you later tonight/this week. I have to hurry up now, dying battery and all. I await further instructions for the newspaper as well.

I’m reading a new book now, it’s quite good, all apocalyptic you know? 🙂

I’m basically at the path towards Recovery Home, I can see the stone sign that says Recovery Residence, and the path I am walking on is a cobblestone street with green trees tunneling the road, and sunlight drifting through the leaves. I see the light, and I notice the shadows and how they furl and whisper to me. I try my best to ignore them. They are insistent. I keep walking. As best as I can.

Stay tuned for the rest of my journey.

❤ ❤ ❤

Say the Word Suicide: The Crisis Part I | Article

By Raquel Lyons

You see someone curled up in a fetal position on the floor. Do you intervene?

You see someone sobbing by themselves in the hallway. Do you ask if they’re okay?

You hear a friend joke about suicide. Do you consider it’s more than just a joke?

You think you’re noticing warning signs of suicide–what do you do?


It’s not an easy situation to be in. I cannot claim to know all the answers. I will advise you in this article based on the resources I have integrated into my life, the sources out in the world that know what to do, and from the personal experiences I’ve gone through of being that person struggling with suicidality.


Because in this series, we talk about what society still considers the unspeakable: We talk about suicide. We learn about suicide and educate ourselves about it in a way that we may not have done before. Because it matters, because it is important, because you are worthy of living another day and you CAN make it through until then.


First: we have to understand what suicide is.


Suicide is not necessarily an act of self-harm. Sometimes people use a method of self-harm as a way of trying to kill themselves, but that’s not inherently what self-harm is about. Self-harm is the intentional act of hurting oneself for some type of response. Some people self-harm because they feel they deserve punishment, some people experience temporary relief, some people focus on the physical pain to avoid the emotional pain, some people…well, you get the idea. It’s a complex, negative way of coping with life’s struggles. Self-harm can include bruising, scratching, burning, punching walls, eating disorders and substance use, cutting, and more.


With that out of the way, let’s get back to what suicide therefore is. Suicide is defined as an action taken to end one’s own life. To die by suicide is to die by one’s own hand.


If suicide is about someone taking their own life and dying, what are some of the warning signs that a lot of people exhibit? You may recall my article at the start of the semester about suicide prevention awareness month (which is September). In that article I spoke about the acronym the American Association of Suicidology uses named IS PATH WARM?


If these are the warning signs you see with someone you love, care about, are acquainted with or in a full-blown stranger, what can you do to help?


First and foremost: Gauge within yourself if this is a situation you can handle. It’s important that when we choose people to tell about our suicidality we keep in mind (as best as we can) what their emotional response may be towards us. If you have a friend named Jerry who tends to minimize your problems, he’s probably not the person you want to go and tell you’re feeling suicidal. His response may exacerbate the symptoms you feel, which isn’t to say to not tell anyone how you feel, rather, seek people who you know care and love you, are compassionate, or are in a position to know what to do about your current emotional state.


What you don’t want to happen is that you tell someone you’re feeling suicidal and they make it about themselves. When you’re suicidal you’re in a place where YOU need help, not other people needing help to deal with your need of help in the first place.


Granted, the piece of advice here is more for those loved ones who are suspecting suicidality is at play in their loved one’s mind. But you need to be able to take care of YOU before you ever take care of another person–suicidal or not. So, can you be in for the long haul? That’s a question only you know the answer to.


Second: Talk about suicide with the suicidal person. You will not put ideas into their head (although I don’t suggest making “suggestions” on methods that will or will not result in death, it’s just unhelpful) that they likely haven’t thought of already. By saying the word suicide, you open up the conversation. By not saying it, you perpetuate the stigma and the terrible, terrible silence that surrounds this issue.


So, ask them if they are feeling suicidal. I have always found other people pointing out instances of my behavior to be helpful–i.e. “Raquel, I notice you’ve been missing classes lately and sleeping more than you need to be. Are things okay? Are you suicidal?”


Ask the person if they have a suicide plan, if they’ve acted on it, if they have a method, are they going to act on their suicidality NOW, and so forth….To be continued

Let’s ignore the god awful spacing here, shall we? 😉 Any who, next NEW article series!! I have officially received the new Health & Wellness section in the paper, woohoo! It went in with my Inside a Psychiatric Hospital part 2 series, which was RIDICULOUSLY long and I feel super guilty about it, but am trying to work through it and be comforted that my next articles are JUST 800 words and so are much better that wise (seriously, the piece took up the WHOLE page) ^^’

But that’s nice! I’ll have part II up for ye all tomorrow! And I’m getting ready for a general life update post now, too. 🙂

See you peeps soon!

Written October 17th and November 2.2016


My Current Stance in Recovery

Earlier, I had words. Now, I’m not so sure.

I have about half an hour to write this post to the best of my abilities as we’ll be heading out soon to go to the OCD support group tonight. *chews on lip* I worked on writing down some quotes for an old book review, and have just one last book to write down quotes from.

I’ve also found out that I’m doing an IOOV at BMC (a hospital setting for a bunch of the workers there) this Thursday. Figuring out the whole directions thing was a bitch, but my Mom’s gonna just drive me. A lot easier, lol.

I saw my psychiatrist today. I spoke pretty openly about what I blogged about here the other day to Craig yesterday. I kinda vented a lot. But it was good.

Speaking with my psychiatrist today pretty much as openly has given me a lot to think about.

My current status in recovery is … uncertainty.

I feel partially intimidated by my brain and what it will do to me if I don’t listen to what it tells me to act on.

I can see into the future a version of myself in recovery.

I can see a version of myself ending her life. (Or trying to).

I don’t know which one to follow.

I know what I SHOULD do, but what I want to do is different.

I feel more assured that I won’t be trying to kill myself this week–at least til Friday. I was thinking I could act on my plans on Friday. Go to South Station in the morning, buy the sleeping pills, ingest them there, then proceed forwards. I could even pass in my material to my drawing class then go to the hospital. If need be.

Or I could wait til next Wednesday, it’s a long weekend, that’d  be a good time to miss some school.

Or I could just stow away the plan for later.

Part of my brain’s enemy is time. Because I KNOW that I’ll change my mind about suicide. But my brain wants me dead (or near dead) or just numbed out.

I’ve been using my mental health issues and suicidality as a way of avoiding reality lately. I don’t want to think, I don’t want to feel, I just want to curl up and wallow in depression and not have to do anything. It’s not comfortable yet it’s familiar. It’s a twisted kind of comfort.

But it means I have to push away recovery Raquel. It means I have to self-harm and do bad things to myself, to keep myself in that suicidal state so that finally, finally I can act on it. I can follow THROUGH.

But I suck at following through.

And I hate it.

Partially, but hate it all the same.

I wish I could kill myself, and I can’t. Or at least, I operate on the thought that I cannot. I may be surprised one day if I actually die instead. Which would suck, inherently I know that.

But… it’s SUCH an adrenaline rush. I have so much POWER and CONTROL, it feels SO GOOD. It’s also incredibly SHIT but … I’m addicted.

But when I plan so much and there’s the concept of not following through by acting on my suicidality? Then I just feel like I’ve completely wasted my time. So to me it makes more sense to just finish the job–to ingest the pills. Or whatever it is that I’ve chosen that time.

It scares me that twelve pills could do me in. It’s also incredibly tantalizing.

I want to dance on that edge. I love the power, the control, the … twisted JOY that comes out of it. I like having the answers. I live for the rush.

Even if I feel terrible, consumed by uncertainty and NOT knowing what to do.


Safety contracts, they mean something to me. And if I were to act on my suicidal thoughts, I would HAVE to break a safety contract. I don’t feel comfortable doing that.

But if that’s what’s between me and acting on suicide… I know I could find a way to act on it anyways.

I just don’t know what to do exactly. There are other things I can do other than overdose, but, I don’t know how much I want to do those things instead.

It’s like, I’ve done the recovery bits before, I want to try the more dangerous routes.

But if I think too much about it, I won’t act on it.

It’s such a precarious balance.


Maybe what’s worse is that I don’t have to die by suicide.


But I want to.


For what reason though? Nothing good, nothing reasonable, nothing RATIONAL.

I could reach out for help, or I could act on it.

I can’t do both.

I don’t know which I’ll choose. I’ll likely blog about it before I do whatever it is I decide. Why?

It’s a dick move either way. Either I tell someone I’m suicidal or I don’t and either way, I’m acting like an asshole. I really want to overdose…if nothing else than to realize once again that my brain is full of bullshit and that I don’t actually want to die. I don’t want to die now. A few days ago I did.

How can it change so much just hours later?


My psychiatrist said if I broke a safety contract it would make it harder to trust me with other ones. And if it became a continuous thing that he’d kick me out.

So is this a one time thing or a continuous problem?

I have a lot to lose. Not even considering the side effects… I feel really stuck.

I don’t want to face the wrath of my brain if I go against what it’s telling me to do–telling me to kill myself.

Do I listen to my brain or the countless people who are on my Recovery Raquel’s side? Do I get help? Or do I try to have conviction this time? I hate that I can’t take myself seriously.

I have a lot to think about and consider here.

I am pacing at the top of Kill Yourself Road. I’m looking down the abyss and the light I see at the end of it, my brain says is suicide, my heart says is recovery’s freedom. I don’t know which is which, they look the same. But their results are very, very different.


So the question is:

Which will I choose?


Think of this post as a working understanding. Remember the song lyric I posted the other day? “Someone stop me please from hurting myself” If you want to, this is me asking for help. I clearly don’t know what to do, and am just waiting for the next crisis to come. You absolutely have the power here to influence me one way or the other. It’s my choice in the end. But, I am easily swayed.

Take care of that power, please.

I’ll keep you guys updated, tomorrow.


Thank you for reading. ❤ ❤ ❤