My, Oh my 2016 + 2017 Plans

IT’S STILL DECEMBER 31ST IN MY TIME ZONE–LIVING IN THE PAST LEGASP!!!

🙂 So, a time to reflect on the past year in about forty-five minutes….sounds about right. I’ve already started to plan what I want to achieve in 2017 so that part is a little bit easier. But before I get there, I have to work my way up. As we all often have to do.

So, what made 2016 on the list of honorable mentions?

  1. I completed about 40 days of a 365 daily prompt book.
  2. I became and got trained for NAMI’s IOOV presentations. That was actually inspired in part from #1.
  3. I got training for being a peer to peer mentor in a recovery class for NAMI. Haven’t presented yet, but will in 2017 (I’m making the goal of teaching one class for now in the new year).
  4. I worked a couple of jobs (NAMI and Mass Media).
  5. I began writing new fanfiction stories.
  6. I read a lot of really, really good fanfiction stories.
  7. I read my goal of 10 books! And surpassed it by reading twenty-two!!! (I’ll list these below).
  8. I made this recoverytowellness blog.
  9. I made it to 100 followers in August 2016.
  10. I made a very unexpected yet very fun Youtube account (so far!).
  11. I met Craig. And hung out in his office a lot. A LOT.
  12. Craig became my mental health hero.
  13. I wrote articles about mental health for the Mass Media in spring 2016 and then became a staff writer in fall 2016.
  14. I’ve been spreading my mental health story and awareness across the board, the university, the world for the entirety of a year, by various outlets.
  15. I gave out positive messages to random strangers each month starting from February and found it was a great coping strategy for me. I gave out I’m estimating 200 in the 11 months I made them. (I will do the actual calculations in the new year in a post) I want to continue this and go even bigger in the new year. Especially making it with January as a month of them given out because I skipped January this year.
  16. I survived the year, whether I’m glad about that or not. 🙂
  17. I had hard semesters but I made it out alive and with decent grades.
  18. I got a lot of new stationery.
  19. I spent money I didn’t have LMAO
  20. I began constructing the idea of #RecoveryHome.
  21. I made book reviews! (I still have more of these to catch up on!!)
  22. I helped people.
  23. I will continue to help myself.

 

Now, onto the list for 2017!!!

In 2017 I plan to, hope to, and have goals towards….

  1. Getting ahead with creating positive messages and giving out even more positive messages than I managed in 2016 (particularly through the summer to the fall).
  2. Do 2 internships.
  3. Complete my directed study on BPD. (Unless I can figure out a way to do it on recovery/advocacy).
  4. Read 20 books!
  5. Create a vlogging/blogging schedule.
  6. Become more organized and structured.
  7. Find a DBT therapist.
  8. Create an artwork schedule.
  9. Practice my own self-care.
  10. Continue writing articles in the Mass Media.
  11. Make it to 1 month self-harm clean. (and increase this each month)
  12. Finish writing 3 fanfiction stories.
  13. Further build up #RecoveryHome.
  14. Attend a NAMI MA Convention
  15. Attend a Pride Festival with friends.
  16. Go apple picking in the fall with a friend.
  17. Do 20 IOOV presentations
  18. Create a vision board.
  19. Go see Thor Ragnarok
  20. Participate in either Inktober or worldwide watercoloring month

 

That’s certainly enough! hehehehe

Now, that book list I was talking about!!

I want to go back and reread some of these just to do a book review. 😉

2016 Books Read:

  1. Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto (Book #1) January
  2. Lady Injury by Melissa C. Water February
  3. The Wicked and The Divine Vol. 3 March
  4. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer March
  5. The Dead and The Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer April
  6. You Came Back by Christopher Coake May
  7. Creature of the Night by Kate Thompson May
  8. The Piper by Lynn Hightower May
  9. This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer June
  10. He’s Gone by Deb Caletti June
  11. Living with Severe OCD by Marie Gius June
  12. Perfect by Natasha Friend July
  13. BPD Demystified by Robert O Friedel July
  14. The Intruders by E.E. Richardson August
  15. The Shade of the Moon by Susan Beth Pfeffer August
  16. Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer August
  17. Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell you by Joel Carol Oates August
  18. Cut by Patricia McCormick September
  19. After the Snow by S.D. Crockett November
  20. Tumble And Fall by Alexandra Coutts November
  21. Bird Box by Josh Malerman November
  22. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous December

 

Pfeff!!! I mean, PHEW! That’s all I got. Now to switch back to vlogging uploads… gwah!

Hope you guys enjoyed all that list making!! 😀

That’s all I got, I swear.

 

OH. and HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU BEAUTIFUL AMAZING SURVIVORS RADIATING BADASSERY OUT THERE.

I could NOT have made it this far without all of your AMAZING SUPPORT. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ xxxxxxxx

In Which an Anonymous Reader wrote an Article About Me

I have the video of me reading this article here (but I will also be writing out the text here too):

 

It’s titled:

In Response to Campus Advocate Raquel Lyons

Dear Mass Media,

For over a year I’ve read the column of your writer Raquel Lyons as she chronicles her life with obsessive compulsive disorder and suicidal ideation, a personal journey she leverages to encourage wellness on campus. Besides Craig Bidiman from University Health Services, Raquel is probably the most prominent mental health advocate in our student affairs.

Significantly, she explains the counseling services specific to the University of Massachusetts Boston, thereby drafting an action plan for any student afflicted with a disorder, or stretched too thin by lack of sleep and stress of deadlines. Because Raquel shares her experience, she provides context to more comprehensively understand the nature of the different support services.

Over the course of many installments, Raquel has broadcast that recovery is a process and not an outcome; therefore, her column works to dispel unrealistic and damaging expectations. There is no permanent or total cure, but people can get better. Furthermore, she expands awareness about the treatment toolkit, crucial because an individual’s needs fluctuate according to their recovery status, and because comorbid disorders interact uniquely.

But the most powerful aspect of Raquel’s work is the simple fact that she braves the public eye to vocalize her issues, breaking with a media tradition and overall discourse that caustically vilifies this type of candidness, thereby keeping mental health in the shadows, not only preventing healing, but compromising it through the perpetuation of stigma.

Yet in this changing era when people publically identify as being in recovery, there are also new questions we must consider. When does lowering one’s filters to become a role model ever come at the cost of personal recovery? How can we as a community help keep these pioneers safe?

I’ve read Raquel’s column passively for over a year, but something I saw recently at South Station inspired me to respond. Fellow commuters flitted in every direction. A homeless woman sat against a far wall, ignored by everyone except for another crouching woman. The homeless woman’s eyes were wide and wet, and her face bore an expression of catharsis that only comes from finally being heard after living invisibly for too long. I walked closer and saw that the listener was Raquel.

The greatness of a public leader is measured by how they act in plain view, and by the good they engender when no one is looking. Because of people like Raquel, there are leaders in recovery that we now measure in both of these ways. During that moment in South Station, I realized that beyond our university, the whole city of Boston should be grateful she is here.

Sincerely,

  • A Reader

 

*sly, slow grin spreads across my face* Now, if this doesn’t stroke my ego I don’t know what will!! XD

Truly though, I am as flattered reading over this anonymous writer’s article just as I was the first day I read it!!! It was such a pleasant surprise that I was not expecting, a true little gift for the holidays and especially during the rough times of finals. 🙂

I’m glad to be able to fully share it with you all now. Both through the vlogging format and through the BLOGGING format, as this is my first home, for sure.

Stay tuned for some further posts about well, you know what. 😉

❤ Thank you everyone!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

PS This is my congratulations twice over for this is my 200th post!! 😀

Uploading Articles in Audio Format

That’s right, folks! I’m uploading onto my Youtube channel videos of me reading out my articles! 😀

The 4th one has a SHIT TON of bloopers and jump cuts at the end. It’s actually pretty amusing.

I can understand now how much a Youtuber has to watch themselves back to edit videos. My oh my!

I’m surprised with how at ease I am with it though, so that’s good!

 

I’d love to hear your guys’ feedback! I know I’ve got to work on preparing better thumbnails that’s for sure, and improve a bit more on my editing cuts but anything else you have in mind, I’d love to hear! If you don’t mind stroking my ego, that is 😉

 

I hope your holidays went well! Can’t wait for this week to finish up 2016!!!

 

See ya guys soon! ❤ ❤

 

Couldn’t Sleep–Got Creative!

“Green is not a creative color” — bonus points to you if you get that reference 😉

 

Any who, I’ve been having trouble sleeping for the last few hours, as I am tired, my eyes were tired, but my brain was NOT tired, so I decided to play around with the photo slideshow feature and well, make a new video! It’s creative and it’s got SNAZZY MUSIC.

 

Please do check it out! 🙂 It’s all about my 2015 IOS stuff! Warning, some pictures may be blurry. ^^’ (oops)

 

I am excited to do more of these artsy type videos–next with 2016 IOS and drawings. 🙂

They’re in no particular order either, it’s all a scrambled up list of 2015 IOS.

Any who, here’s the nugget:

Thanks folks!! 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Finished + Youtube Doubts

So, I finished my finals earlier today.

I sort of couldn’t take it anymore and just finished up what I could and scrapped together the rest and sent them in. I don’t feel so great about it in result but I haven’t been feeling so great anyways these last few days.

I’ve never been more uncertain of making an account than I have been with that Youtube account. I know for one thing that I don’t want to nor expect to become a top Youtuber or very popular. I’d like a close knit little community though, you know like 50 people or 100 people but not thousands and definitely not millions! I’m just very uncertain about it, I realize that it DOES take courage and I’ve been questioning whether I have that courage to do it or not.

For instance, I’m far more likely to run across trolls or people who are malicious in their intentions and actions on Youtube than on this blog. Probably because my blog has only gained some traction yet not loads, so that the exposure is still contained rather than unlimited.

I’m also afraid of how much information people can find out about one another, and whether I’d be outed on that platform.

I’m not even sure I have the courage anymore to talk about mental health related topics on there….it’s just so different.

I’ve really been flip flopping on whether to keep the channel or not, and because my family isn’t supportive of the idea, it only fuels more doubts in my mind.

I think the Youtube channel also just came at a bad time, smack dab in the middle of finals, so it fueled a lot of the guilt in taking breaks and spending time on there rather than working–burned out and emotionally spent–on the papers themselves. I think that’s soured my opinion of the account, too.

I just don’t want to get hurt, you know? And it’s harder to control for that on Youtube I think, it’s a more…dangerous, rickety-rackety platform than blogging is.

I don’t know, I can’t properly tell though as I’ve slipped under the covers of depression lately. I do like editing the videos, I’m getting more practice with that and it’s actually quite enjoyable. Maybe I just need to expand with what I’m creating (I like doing the self-care cards and the stationery sharing) and use my camera too. I would love to get into some filmography. I’ve always had the idea of it in my mind but never tried it out. It would be nice to do so.

I think I’d also like my channel to be more focused on my full identity and recovery, too. But I’d also like to challenge myself creatively and share artwork and coloring… Again, I just don’t know if I have the courage to continue speaking out about mental health on to that channel as well.

At the moment everything just feels exhausting. I’m very depressed and I’ve lapsed again in SH. I’ve wanted to randomly delete the Youtube account a few times but I keep holding on to it as well. I don’t know, maybe with a little more exposure it could do some good for someone? I don’t want to lose my focus here on the blog though. I really like this place and DA and want to keep up with them… maybe the Youtube will be good for the winter break. I could select some days to do videos (rather than just doing them multiple times a day so far) and some time to set aside for editing and then keep working like that.

 

What do you guys think? I’d love to hear your thoughts, plus any ideas you have for Youtube content. 🙂

Any who, I’m going to get something to drink and go to sleep soon. I hope to be back on and writing some more positive stuff tomorrow and over the next week.

 

Stay safe, peeps. ❤ ❤ ❤

Oh PS by the way, I actually reached out to someone on the Youtube account and talking with them as well as an IRL friend was actually quite helpful. I’ve also chatted with one of my subscribers who’s quite lovely so that is some positive stuff on the Youtube front as well.

Progress + Good Music

Pretty sure this is the new album that The Dear Hunter recently dropped, so here’s that wonderful nugget:

I really loveeee the album art, I think I’m going to try and draw something like that one day (when I’m not drowning again in finals work) XD

But I’ve made progress!!! I’ve started the whole outlining process and just have to finish up two little bits for the LR outlining and I’ll be done! Here’s what it looks like:

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Annnnnnd this one!!

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Thank goodness for progress! 🙂

Hopefully the writing process comes as easy tomorrow! I’m hoping that if I plow forwards through Wed, and go by the local library, that I can be halfway done by the end of tomorrow’s evening and that by Thursday I’ll be all done!! Here’s to trying for it!!

My Mind is a Blank Fortress

And my papers are even blanker.

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I am stuck, my fellow peeps.

The rock hard concentration and motivation I’ve had these past 6 days has slipped away from me and I’m not sure how to get it back… The only thing I am wishing for is this day to end so I can make tomorrow more productive.

I’m now facing the prospect of passing in two papers late. 😦

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So basically these are all my resources as the last few days. I totes wasn’t showing you just to show off my stationary, whaaaaat, noooooo pffffff. XD

It has been helpful though! I have the textbooks and my class notes above as resources (oh which the textbooks I’m just gonna BS the info I put out (i.e. Resick (year) says blah blah blah. Even if she didn’t say it. I don’t have time for that!))

I had to change my topic for the LR, so I went from mindfulness to torture, so that’s pleasant. It’s a lot better though since 4 of my sources out of 5 overlap with each other so that’s good.

Maybe by reading over the last source for the LR I can get some juices flowing to write outlines for these papers. It’s gotta help, right?

Either that or I may just dick around for the rest of this evening because I’m at a loss. I don’t have any writing bugs right now, I could barely even write THIS post! 😦 I need a soundboard and feel like I have zero. *sigh*

Any advice, peeps?

Here’s hoping I’m finished by Thursday evening. I swear to god if I’m not…..

 

Hopefully we shall meet again under  better circumstances. 😦

The Allure of Patience During Finals

Today’s Prompt ~ Relax

I have to believe that I’ve learned SOMETHING over the nearly two years I’ve been seeing my current therapist. I have to believe that I am strong enough, dedicated enough, passionate enough and patient enough to utilize all of my learned skills to plow through this difficult time of–you guessed it, FINALS.

Inherently the finals themselves aren’t so bad, they could be worse, after all. Like having to study. Instead, I have to write two papers–one 5 pages and the other 10 pages. 15 pages total. The 10-pager is my first ever literature review to write, which makes me a little more concerned as I’ve never written one before. The 5 pager is my final exam, the one I believe I’ll be able to actually pass in on time. The second one? Eh, probably on Thursday evening. Friday at the worst.

Technically the LR was an assignment I was meant to work on throughout the entire semester, but well, we know how well THAT turned out.

Which leads me back to my decision: I felt that the three hours for therapy were three hours too long for me to rationally do away with. Even if, in reality, I probably won’t get that much further ahead KEEPING those hours.

You see, I haven’t even begun the WRITING process yet.

Which is disappointing and annoying without actually feeling annoying. I mean to say that I’m already done and spent and tired, I don’t want to do my finals work anymore even though it feels like I haven’t even started anyways.

Which isn’t true–I’ve done my reference pages, I’ve picked out my sources, I have my notes from class to utilize for the 5 pager (albeit not with me today), I’ve delved into SOME of the readings–but that’s the thing.

The readings are what’s putting me behind.

I can do the writing portion, probably even the outlining portion, but the reading? My expectations of normal pre-mental health issues and my actual capabilities post-mental health issues just do NOT align. I can’t output as fast as I used to. And readings have been extra difficult this semester.

I just can’t get myself to read them. Maybe it’s because they’re PDFs on my laptop, maybe because it’s schoolwork, maybe because I can’t concentrate, maybe because I have higher expectations than I can output when it comes to paying attention to the details rather than the whole picture–let ALONE having to take notes…

*sigh* I already feel exhausted.

I’ve been working on finals work (including biology) since last Wed. I’m done!

I don’t want to keep working, I just want to RELAX.

I have to take more breaks than what I can do via working.

I’ve amazingly NOT had any mental health issues over the last 5 days? Except of course I mentioned it out loud today and now they’re rearing their heads.

Somehow I just have to find patience. I have to make time for relaxation. To lower my standards to an achievable layer.

This is why I think today I will complete my readings, why I will finish my 5 pager by 8p tomorrow, and why I’ll finish the LR by 8p Th. Friday, at the worst.

The LR may have difficulties with the writing but honestly, I just want to get it over with. I’ve utilized so much focus the past few days, and I’m just burning out.

This is why I have to believe I’ve learned something in therapy all this time–something I can utilize now. That’s half the battle, isn’t it?

And, this is not to say I’ve been working 24/7 since last Wed–rather, I’ve taken my breaks. Watching House S4 episodes, organizing my room, throwing out stuff I no longer need, picking out notebooks for next semester (I just SO want to be done with this semester), seeing dogs, chilling with my hamster, listening to some good music, things like that.

My lack of writing here has been from trying to write and not succeeding and being busy with work. *rolls eyes*

I’m going to just keep re-repeating the song at the beginning here throughout the day. ‘Cause it’s all I can do, you know?

Wish me luck, folks!!

I can’t possibly hate my life more than this moment. lmao

 

 

Rebuilding Recovery Raquel | Article

By Raquel Lyons

 

“’Cause my mind won’t stop, it’s just 11 blocks, I know that you’re home….Someone stop me please from hurting myself, ‘cause I’m two blocks away and you’re hurting my health…Somebody stop me, I should be going home” – “11 Blocks” by Wrabel

 

My #RecoveryHome lies amongst Hope Avenue and the Recovery Residence stone marking. My Recovery Home houses a rainbow lighthouse to the right of my home’s property, and a gazebo to the left of the house. The house has heart shaped skylights on the roof, and a green front door with a pastel yellow, pink and green iris in the center. There’s a stationary room within my Recovery Home and the hilltop residence overlooks a small town down below. There’s a Barnes & Noble, a Target, a Paper Store and Michael’s Arts and Crafts store down there. There’s probably a café, too. And there’s definitely a library–probably one like the Thomas Crane Library in Quincy, MA, where there’s apparently some awesomely hidden stained glass hallway. My Recovery Home features the best of the best.

 

Down the front path, where there are a tunnel of trees shifting from spring, to winter and autumn there is Lapse Circle, Relapse Boulevard, and Bloomingdale Cove and then where the mental health conditions I live with reside. You might think they would reside within my Recovery Home themselves, and, maybe to an extent they do, but really they are housed all on their own on Kill Yourself Road. Recovery isn’t all rainbows and sunshine, and my imaginative plane of #RecoveryHome keeps that thought alive.

 

Where OCD, depression, self-harm and chronic suicidality reside, is a broken down home that once saw better days. Now, it’s old, dusty, filled with creepy crawlies and not a place apt for housing life. That’s why I’m building my Recovery Home eleven blocks away. It’s a bit of a walk, I’m sure, and as it should be.

 

My mental health conditions paint their home in a shadow of disillusionment. They make it seem like a home worth living in, but really, they’re awful, hideous roommates. They leave their dirty dishes sprawled across the kitchen, there are several openly and blatantly obvious suicide methods lying around the home already set up and “ready to go”, there’s food decaying in various corners and the floorboards are barely held together. The air is putrid and I think the septic system is busted.

 

And still, they make it seem like the house is in tippy top shape.

 

But, in reality, it isn’t. And I just can’t stand living there any longer.

 

So, I’m packing my bags and moving out. I’m moving eleven blocks up the street, and I’m telling all my friends, family, supportive networks and the community that I’m heading on this journey. I refuse to be silent about my story.

 

I’ll be walking past Coping Lane, and stopping by the Coping Tree to collect my keys of coping strategies. It’s time for me to re-recognize that I don’t leave these keys just on the tree; rather, they come with me upon my journeys and I use them to unlock higher levels in recovery.

 

I’ll be visiting Life Worth Living Alley, a golden walkway which sparkles in the sunlight. I’ll spend time at the Resources Reservation Park, to guide you through your own potential pitfalls and struggles. The park features a platform from which I’ll interview our community’s resources, what they do and their role in all of our journeys. At the Community Center, I’ll ask questions to our community and receive responses to their views on stigma, advocacy and the outlets that exist within our world to promote mental health awareness.

 

Together, we’ll clear up misconceptions about suicidality and how to continue talking about it through the Say the Word Suicide presentations in the large, white building dedicated to all those who we have lost to and whom have struggled with suicidality. The building is a memorial and an avenue for change in our future.

 

Lastly, upon my journey I will take a very important, very crucial lock. This lock is metallic silver, and there is no external key for it.

 

This lock represents the promise I am making with you all through this article. I safety contract to returning in the spring 2017 semester to explore all of the writings and streets listed above. I safety contract to not returning to the battered home eleven blocks away; I safety contract to not acting on any of my suicidal thoughts and self-harm from my writing this article December 5th to January 23rd 2017.

 

The key for this lock resides within my soul. And, I don’t say my soul is the color of a sparkling rainbow with a bright white light for nothing.

 

Stay safe and good luck.


 My kick ass final article for this semester!! Today’s been a weird day, been sleeping a whole lot on and off, so I meant to upload this hours ago but it just wasn’t coming around *i.e. I couldn’t focus*. Background music used while writing this piece: “Hold back the river” by James Bay.

I love that I was able to use another music prompt and went on a very creative journey with it using the #RecoveryHome theme. It’s also awesome because I created more to my #RecoveryHome and the town below it and that’s going to help fuel the rest of what I do when I pick up the project day #4 again. 🙂

And of course, it’s daunting and awesome that I’ve made a whole HUGE safety contract for everyone who reads this. 🙂 You can see some elements of what I’ve learned from crisis appointments intermingled into this article. I hope you get to enjoy it as much as I’m proud of it!!! 🙂