My Dreams in Recovery Part II | Article


A throwback photo, both for those of you who’ve been at my blog from the start and for how long ago I took this, back in 2013.

Photograph & article by Raquel Lyons

I dream one day of being an inspiration, and I think in many ways, I’m already living proof of that. I never would have thought four years ago that I’d be the person I am now writing this article series. In my worst moments, most of which happened in 2018, I had started to believe that I was worthless, that I didn’t matter nearly as much as I thought I did, that it would be better if I had never existed.


And now, here I am and I couldn’t be happier. Here I am now, alive and intact, which is more than I could have ever asked for before. My mission, my journey in recovery isn’t over yet and it feels really, really awesome to say that. To think that where I am now is just the start of these “good old days” feels so freeing and remarkable. At the time that I wrote this article, I had almost fallen back into the abyss with “Ultron” or depression, as I nicknamed it after the MCU, and it was “Avengers: Infinity War” and wanting to see that movie that kept me out of the hospital. I think I’ve genuinely found new meaning to my life and a solidification of my bouncy houses in the horizon that I want to be alive; I want to be there for the next movie, I want to be there to find out what happens next. If any rogue bus comes and hits me now, I will be so irate.


I guess related to that, my newest dream in recovery is to have more days like this, where everything is gold and sparkly and I love myself and everything in my life. I have so much more hope, pride and purpose in my life, and I’m clinging onto that so when it does get dark again, I have this rekindled spark within my soul to stay alive, to make it through that next crisis. I’ve dipped my roots so deep into the ground that I want to have more to lose than I have to gain with my actions.


“Worldwide Recovery Recognition Month” is a daily blogging spree held in August to represent each and every story that exists out there with people thriving in wellness and recovery, sharing their story to remind others out in the world that they are not alone and that they each matter and can become someone again post-recovery. I made it up in May 2017, so this will be the second year of my debuting it.


My next dream in recovery is to write a novel. That one called tentatively “The Cards We’re Dealt” that takes place in the afterlife and follows Noah on his journey of finding his own purpose, mattering and meaning of life and death and what everything means. I have the outline of how it begins and ends in my mind, and just have to actually start writing it and enjoying the ins and outs of his perspective and the other characters he encounters.


I think I’d also like to write a memoir, a more specified piece of my life rather than the collection of all of it. I’d even like to make a workbook-like kit for “Recovery Home.”


I also want to give a TEDtalk, one day. I think you can guess what the subject of that would be.


When I earn my bachelor’s degree, I want to become a mental health specialist at a very particular hospital. I want to spend a couple of years doing that and then segue into peer support specialist along with all my nonprofit dreams and then acquire an art therapy degree or later become some type of therapist. Initially the dream was therapist, but I think I’d like to spend some of my life and time about sharing my own story and then helping other’s share theirs and incorporate more art therapy principles into my own artwork and the projects that I wish to create.


I want to align myself with my nonprofit friends like Michael Landsberg who created the “Sick Not Weak” campaign in Canada and Tiffany Lewis who runs the “Pens for Pals Organization” in Texas.


I want to continue to grow my Youtube channel, exploring young adulthood with various videos (like cooking and washing dishes), and I even have an upgraded set-up for that, and who knows, maybe one day I’ll get a tattoo, too. And lastly, I’d like to dye the ends of my hair blue. I just think fancy colored hair would top off my own attractive level and encapsulate me as a unicorn. I’d say unicorns are my spirit animal, and you can’t have a rainbow lighthouse without a unicorn.


I will leave my article with this: look within yourself for your own dreams in recovery and when you find them, never, ever let them go. Go out there and chase your dreams, the ones that are healthy and helpful, because you can and you will make a difference out there. Every large movement starts with one little wave. Stay safe, readers.

Written April 28.2018 🙂

I hope that you enjoyed this piece!! I’m posting it the next day to just space out some of my work. ❤ ❤ ❤ Love & light to you all!

My Dreams in Recovery Part I | Article

4 L i v i n g - DA

Photo taken by Raquel Lyons circa 2012; my older brother’s hands on a beach in Quincy, MA.

Article by Raquel Lyons

This article has been a long time coming. I wanted to write it back in spring 2016 but just didn’t get around to it. Now, I have the time and I have the inspiration to get it done. This piece has been highly influenced by the song by Mackelmore featuring Kesha “Good Old Days” because I find that song to be inspiring, recovery aimed and filled to the brim with dreams that sparkle and shine once you rub them off a little with your sleeve.


In this very moment, it is the first time in the nearly four years of struggling with mental health conditions where I feel so inspired, so happy, so content and so very fulfilled. I honestly believe that seeing the film “Avengers: Infinity War” has grounded my feet into the earth (or Midgard, as it were) as I remain steadfast looking onto my future’s horizon, watching the big bouncy houses inflate and wave around in the wind. I see a *future* for myself, one not where I never struggle, rather one where I struggle and I don’t fall as deep down the abyss. I can envision and really see a future for myself where I am stable (as I have been for about three months) and I utilize my learned skills in dialectical behavior therapy and so many other therapies to be *here*, to stay alive, to thrive and succeed. I didn’t have this just a few months ago. It’s exciting and refreshing and…amazing. I dream for this to be every day for myself. I dream of inspiring others to come forward and tell their stories. I genuinely believe that my story can help inspire others.


Advocacy is such a big role in my recovery journey. I’ve never mentioned it before, but I am a member, an In Our Own Voice presenter, and a trained peer-to-peer mentor for the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ Massachusetts chapter since March 2016 for IOOV and fall 2016 respectively. In my IOOV presentations I talk about when I buy my first house (hopefully with a romantic partner) painting my front door a dark green color with a pastel yellow, green and pink fleur-de-lis on the outside and the phrase “Your life is worth living” on the inside.


I created my WordPress blog “Recovery to Wellness” in May 2016, where my slogan is “where survivors radiate badassery.” One day, maybe even in the next year, I want to create a nonprofit organization out of it. Recovery to Wellness is the birthplace of creative projects like “Recovery Home”, “Recovery Restoration”, “Recovery Raquel” and “Worldwide Recovery Recognition Month” with the latter being in August. My Recovery Home features a large house with a rainbow lighthouse on the property, a gazebo, a stationery room, my front door, a stone sign saying “Recovery Residence” on the grounds, with the house on a green hill overlooking a small town with a Barnes & Noble’s, Target, Michael’s, Jo-Ann’s, and Longhorn’s Steakhouse. Maybe, in light of “Thor: Ragnarok” I have some kind of very large statue of Loki, the god of mischief, on my house’s property, too. It brings a smile to my face, at least.


The goal of “Recovery Home” is to make the choice to choose spending my time creating this fictional place (and real life parts) in my mind of where I am happy and living a life that I enjoy rather than spending that time brewing in darkness and feeding the suicidal thoughts. I am capable of creating something beautiful out of something ugly, or I could just simmer in that dark place. I find having hope and light outshines the darkness just a little more each moment. It never eradicates the presence of the darkness and maybe that’s never been the point, because it’s about finding the balance in the cosmos.


My “Recovery Restoration” project at its dreamiest state involves pro-recovery artwork with about the artist and author’s journey in recovery on the back of each piece and the compiled photo albums to be donated to psychiatric inpatient units. It’s a way of providing hope, becoming a beacon for those at their most vulnerable and offering peer support until they themselves leave the hospital and re-enter the community.


“Recovery Raquel”, while also being my Twitter handle, is the persona I’ve created to represent the best version of myself, akin to a superhero, which has aided me and saved me multiple times over again over the years. She is me and I am her, inherently, and she represents hope, faith and light to me. She has worked within me as the light that maybe things will get better. Although she’s worked in very subtle ways before, I know she will always be there, no matter how dark it gets in my line of vision….

Annnnnd you have to wait until tomorrow for part 2! I’m gearing up towards blogging every day in May, so, buckle up your seatbelts and enjoy the ride!!

Honestly, I kinda cried a little in part 2 because this moment is just so beautiful and it’s so amazing to have gotten here. I wish it would never end!!

Take care, be well and stay safe, friends. You are loved, you matter, you inspire me. Let’s join lanterns and shine our light outwards tenfold. We can BE someone, become SOMETHING. That’s amazing. You’re amazing. I love you all. Thank you for being there for me when I couldn’t be there for myself. ❤ ❤ ❤

Love & light to you. ❤

PS I wrote this from 7-9p Saturday April 28.2018

PPS I will be including this song in one of my next mental health edition song a day awareness things. 😉 I’ll put that off for a next time, though.

So, We’ve Got to Talk about Avengers: Infinity War | Film Review


Don’t read this post if you don’t want to know what happens in Avengers: Infinity War (2018)!



With that out of the way, I think it’s time I formally introduce you to the 2017 created film review thumb: (created before for at least three other films that haven’t made it from notes in my notebooks to completed blog posts (more so just half-written ones) put up online, so, basically, this has been a long time coming)

Film Review THUMB

Okay, so technically, I have already eaten dinner, taken my night meds and filled my brain with thoughts external to the movie I just witnessed a few hours ago. With that being said, I’d like to return to the magic and the visual improbabilities of this wonderful, wonderful film. This will be part 1 of my film review of this movie as I think it will take me a little while (and multiple re-captured seeings of this film) to get out everything I want to say, and trust me, it’s quite a lot.

So the first theme?


Defined by Google (the almighty god of all things we have to search and scour the Internet for!) is:

an act of slaughtering an animal or person or surrendering a possession as an offering to God or to a divine or supernatural figure.

And additionally, from Merriam-Webster:

a : destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else
b : something given up or lost
There is a LOT of sacrificing interwoven into the multiple character’s lives in Avengers: Infinity War (part 1 may I add; part 2 will appear as early as May 2019, so guess who is gonna have to avoid the rogue buses in the future to stay alive and see THAT movie).
Again, this information and film review is as much to put my thoughts onto metaphorical paper (and even then, probably actual paper, too) as to work through everything that I just learned and everything I still hope for and cherish in all these characters–all these films of the last ten years (although I watched a few of the Iron Man films before, 2014 is really when I entered into these multiple universes) and everything that’s been working up to this very point in time.

There is SO much loss in this one film. All the rescued Asgardians that we saw through Thor: Ragnarok, (which I actually plan to film review next) my utmost favorite and inspiring character (although, probably not for the same reasons you’re thinking of) Loki who, after the Asgardian civilians, is the first (I think, if I’m remembering correctly) to die in this film–to the ashy disappearances of several of Earth’s (or should I say Midgard’s?) mightiest heroes.

Gosh, the visual effects in this film are just phenomenal. I really felt rooted in place, I wanted the narrative to continue unraveling before the credits rolled and the theater turned to brightness. I was invested! I AM invested. I want to know what happens next. Where did so many of the ashy disappearances go? Are they all somewhere together in the afterlife? Will Loki come back, somehow? (I know, probably a stretch but hey, a girl can hope!) Where is Tony Stark going to find food on that alien planet? Is he still going to get married to Pepper? How long or soon after did Nick Fury and Agent Hill disappear after Thanos collected all six of the infinity stones? Where is Tony Stark going to take a shit on that planet? Can he shit in his suit? Or would that just be too messy?

Where is everyone? Will they come back? Can I hope for a return of my fellow characters?

Why is 2019 so far away? Will we reminisce with our favorite heroes in the afterlife?
Does Thanos have the capacity to feel human emotions? What is he, really? How did he become who he is as we know him? Are his emotions and love for his “daughter” Gamora real or is it faked and manipulated, acted and a play to get to the audience’s feelings? ‘Cause I gotta say, I definitely was feeling for him! I could understand his perspective, he wanted, inherently, what was for the best for everyone in all the realms involved yet he went about it in a very, very genocidal way (which I cannot begin to condone!).

It appeared that he was capable of loving those who unwillingly chose to be in his presence and in his life (like Gamora) and he also had such a ruthlessness about him that he could simply wipe out several millions, if not billions, of people in his pursuit for absolute power.

Is power his true play? Or is he trying to fill the void within himself?

Was it worth it?

Child Gamora, in a vision that I took as being more for the audience’s understanding than what was happening in reality of the Marvel cinematic universe, asked Thanos, point blank, something along the lines of “What did you have to lose?”

And Thanos said, “Everything.”

And at the end of the day, sacrifices were made time and time again. Suicide was even brought up as a topic (of which I can only applaud the writer’s for to be bold enough to actually say the word and not shy away from saying it after implying it loads of times visually and through dialogue).

The biggest weight of the word and the world fell upon choosing to have the strength to sacrifice.

It came when Loki couldn’t stand to watch Thor be tortured by Thanos. It came when he seemed, at first, to be betraying Thor again with revealing the Tesseract only to stall Hulk’s arrival into Thanos as a punching bag. It came when Loki appeared to win over Thanos’ side and join forces with him, all while creating a knife behind his arm that he tried to kill Thanos with (maybe even a little naively and foolishly) before he was so cruelly and unfortunately strangled to death by Thanos’ mighty large purple hand.

Watching the blossoms of love between Tony and Pepper, Wanda Maximoff and Vision and the funny quips laden throughout the movie inspired hope and humanity within all the tragedy and questioning of the meaning of life and what everything meant if those you love couldn’t be around to live it and enjoy it WITH you, together.

The Asgardians, Loki, Heimdall (after he managed to summon enough magic to send Hulk back to Midgard to warn the others), Gamora (sacrificed for the soul stone by Thanos), Vision (a consequence of Doctor Strange giving up/sacrificing the lives of thousands for Tony Stark’s life–in essence, trading one life for the time infinity stone).

And then those who disappeared like ash: Nick Fury, Agent Hill, Black Panther, Bucky, Star Lord, Peter Parker, Groot, Drax, Doctor Strange, Wanda… Maybe Nebula (can’t quite remember though).

And Thanos, the center of them all, watching his sunset/sunrise maybe one last time in a peaceful land (which he can now manipulate reality with that infinity stone so it’s questionable if he’s actually there or if it’s just in his mind/for our visual purposes)… alone.

Was it worth it? All that loss. All that pain. Was it worth it?

Thanos tortured (Loki, first of all, and I think Bruce Banner realizes that when he reports to Doctor Strange, his magician assistant whose name I don’t remember, and Tony Stark that Thanos, the same guy who did the alien invasion in New York, was coming for Midgard to seal the fate of billions by collecting all six of the infinity stones) Nebula in order to get to Gamora (who knew where the soul stone was and requested to be executed by Star Lord (another blossoming love) before she would give up the answer to Thanos), Doctor Strange (in which Tony Stark and Peter Parker save by attacking Squidward so that he freezes in space after they blow a hole in the side of the spaceship (which, if Tony Stark and these other people like Thor and shit die in space like that (like Squidward did), why don’t they die and freeze on planets like Titan and others? Seems like a plot hole, to be honest. Double standards, even.)))

Thanos created all this death and destruction, to save the rest while sacrificing the few who stood in his way–but at the end of the day when he was alone, the question really remains: was it worth it? If you have no one to spend the day with, watching the sun rise or set and having all the power in the world to destroy and kill anyone you ever want whenever you want, is it worth it if you’re all alone?

That sounds like such a lonely endeavor, a worthless task.

And that drives the question–do our heroes get the final word? The final action? Will the second part of this movie end in triumph, happiness, love, life, moving on? Will there be light amidst all that darkness? Will there be worth within all that meaninglessness?

Will Thanos realize and decide for himself, the wielder of all those stones, that giving up and losing EVERYTHING really wasn’t worth any of it if he is to just perish as we all will, alone?

Thanos wanted the power of all beings, the control and the strength that that all meant, yet maybe he isn’t so strong–even when the prophecy states that he IS all powerful with all those stones–maybe, just maybe, he’s not. He cannot escape death. His time will come.

And if that means the end of all experiences, will he go out slowly or will he decide that living life alone even with all the power in the world won’t make him happy?
He likes Tony Stark. He appreciates him, in a way that is endearing, almost, and yet all the same totally in character with himself. He spares Tony’s life when Doctor Strange sacrifices the innocent lives of millions to trade Tony’s life for the time stone (something he was SO set against giving up before in the countless arguments he held with Tony). Tony was dying, sword stuffed in his side, spitting up blood, really not in good shape kind of dying, and it’s him who gets left behind when so sadly and tragically Peter disappears as ash into the wind, his last words being pleas to stay alive, wishes to BE someone, become something, torn away far too soon… In the rubble of planet Titan, Tony Stark sits, the light shining behind him as he thinks, thinks of plans, of solutions, of ways out, alone.

Is it as Doctor Strange imagined? He said he saw 14 million alternate universes with his magic–did he see that one? Did he see the one that played out on screen and did he know that that ONE that would have saved everyone was just a lie, a sham to get the others on the team to believe that they could be powerful enough to stop Thanos and his rule or did he lie that there was one universe where they succeeded in stopping Thanos to spare the thoughts and feelings of the others? Did he see himself disappearing? Was it painful? Do they meet each other again, in the afterlife? Devise some kind of plan to return to living, to fight further?

There was so much fighting. So much struggling, trying to stay alive, to live to see the next day–but to what end? For what purpose? To live to die? Isn’t that what we’re all just doing? Is this a larger metaphor of all of our most inane fears within us as humans (and how incredible we are as a species to create these magical, fictional worlds) that we may be forgotten one day, that all our work may turn to rubble and STILL despite KNOWING that one day we will all vanish we create, we make, we breed and we spread ourselves so far and wide so that SOMEONE out there knows who we are, who we were and what we had time to become because if we don’t, if we’re just forgotten, then what’s the POINT? Do we spread our names out into the world through text, video, photos–or do we hide in shame and fear inside our homes because the world out there really is that kind of scary? Because there do exist versions of Thanos in the world, our world, our true reality. And maybe, maybe there are actual aliens out there, far crueler and damaging than we could possibly imagine, maybe stronger and more sinister than Thanos (although, maybe not by much) and here we are, lost in our own struggles and problems on a revolving planet around the sun in a solar system we have yet to imagine could possibly exist.

Do we find light in the darkness because we just have to believe that the light will overcome the dark? Or can there be life where both exist?

So much of our lives involve darkness, pain, in some ways (and in some lives) torture. AND there also exists love, happiness, hope, light, beacons, inspiration. Beauty and ugly all wrapped into one experience. Laughter at the hurt and laughter at the joy. A balance, like the little knife filled with rubies that Thanos shows child Gamora to distract her from the slaughtering of her people as he shields her from that trauma (although she can still hear their screams).

Over and over, lives were sacrificed, loves were lost. Wanda had to kill Vision because there wasn’t enough time between (them as a couple honestly) and when Thanos arrived on Midgard to rewind time and kill Vision by taking the mind stone from his skull. I don’t think Vision suffered when Wanda was destroying the mind stone. It was hard to watch her get hit by Thanos when he rewinded time to steal the stone. And I liked and appreciated the irony and symbolism with the fact that Vision lost all color when he died and how his own vision (his eyes) was clouded completely, as though he had witnessed the cruelty of the world and been jaded by it (like Ultron had been). Natasha and Bruce shared an awkward moment. Pepper and Tony planned a maybe wedding. The Accords were referred back to. The team came together for a cause, for a mission. Iron Man and Bruce fought against Squidward and his other child spawn from Thanos. Gamora sacrificed innocent lives for Nebula to no longer be tortured. Loki gave his life to try and thwart Thanos’ path. Thor and the others had to witness such loss, so much death… Death upon death upon death rolled in like waves.

And all for the power to control everything. Yet is it possible that in controlling
everything you really control nothing? Having all six infinity stones meant that Thanos could simply snap his fingers and billions would be killed without him really having to do much of the work.

Loki, as he died, said that “You will never be a god” to Thanos. Thanos was no stranger to killing, he likely relished in a lot of it, but he did it with a purpose (however skewed that purpose was). He wanted people to be free–free from suffering, free from starvation, free from freedom itself (I just loved the references back to other films and doesn’t this sound like Loki in Avengers Assemble?) and he recognized that to help the majority you would have to sacrifice the minority. And so he boldly took those chances. He chose again and again to destroy and create chaos and havoc, to cause irreparable damage to billions of people (and even on the planet where Thor, Rocket and Groot made Thor’s new weapon the axe by Stormbreaker the dwarf who helped him said that Thanos had told him he would spare the lives of his dwarves if he handed over the gauntlet only to go back on his word and kill everyone except this one dwarf) with little regard and little care yet he can feel pain and loss from those who he chooses to aid? (Think Gamora, think Tony Stark).

I feel that this possibility, this humanity within all the monstrous and villainous purposes that is Thanos could appeal to his emotions in the next film. Maybe when he realizes that such responsibility and weight of the universe on your shoulders isn’t what it’s cracked up to be–not completely and definitely not when you’re all alone–maybe that is enough for him to take back what’s been done, maybe it’s enough to let people and creatures live their most meaningless lives and oversee what they do and how they feel with little interjection between them. Or maybe all things will end, as they would naturally do, and we just get to see it all play out before our eyes, incapable of saving these characters and their lives because they’re just products of actors and green screens and complicated technology both fictional and creatively, well, created.

I don’t know. And maybe that’s the point. I don’t know these answers, I didn’t even know I was going to wind up with nearly 3,000 words for this film review/thought exploration thing. But it’s there now. It’s here. And I’m likely still going to think and talk about it for ages, until I see it again and possibly one other time to really try and get the full picture (although I must say I did very well paying attention in the theaters today) and understanding and play-doh effect that these movies inspire in me.

I will not stop my lovely fanfictions! In this way, the characters will always live on. They may perish, and they have and they WILL, on the big screen, but there are thousands of us out there in this world who will write them, draw them, edit them into new stories, new beginnings, new lives, new blossoms of love and both more and less pain than what they’ve been through just now. In art nothing ever truly dies. Because there will be people out there who see this movie and who are inspired by it like myself to write a 3,000 word blog post about a passionate and intriguing topic.

Because this film is about life. And life features death. But in art, nothing ever truly dies because what we create lives on forever. Until the world blows up one day and wipes out everything we ever did or ever were. But even then, life finds a way.

Maybe there is light in the dark, and maybe we can learn to live with both polarizing extremes. I don’t know, it’s up to the viewer, I suppose. I hope that you enjoyed this if you’ve made it this far. I hope I didn’t spoil anything and you heeded my previous starting words in case you DID want to read about the movie yourself and come to terms with everything. The film ended in a very open-ended way, something I wanted the story to continue plowing through and unraveling in the next two hours (but didn’t happen, sadly–until next year that is!) and I feel I have far, far more closure on now. I feel almost rejuvenated, even though it’s nearly 9:30p and I’ve been writing this post for 2.5 hours straight through and about twenty minutes before that around 6p. I have a lot to worth with now, and I think I will take some explorations and inspirations from this film into my next few stories, fanfic in general and blog posts/articles–in all my art, really.

It’s strange, nearly 3,300 words in and I still find myself wanting to say more. I guess the more I can say will be covered in Ragnarok (in which I wholly appreciate all of the Loki-ness in it now) and probably for the next time when I see this movie. I’m still kind of in the disillusioned and dreamy state right now, still going over the details and almost trauma that happened in that film.

Fun fact: my flight, fight or freeze (or sympathetic nervous system) was activated twice in the theaters watching this film (when Loki died into Hulk and Iron Man fighting in New York and once somewhere else towards the end of the film that I only vaguely recall now) so much so that my legs were uncontrollably shaking (I imagined this is, since I heard about what a panic attack is today, what that would feel like) in my reclined position and I tried moving them around little by little but still found them moving on their own accord despite my protests). It makes sense, too, because our brains don’t know the difference between what’s happening in reality (our true reality) versus what is playing out on a big, large screen. Our brain is encoded to protect us from danger, real danger, and it’s activated in all these not dangerous scenarios like watching horror movies or action movies and when you get a nasty comment online and everything in you stands up (speaking of, Peter Parker totally sneaked onto that alien spaceship when he shouldn’t have (although he played a key role as an Avenger in it!)) and reacts. Oh, that reptilian brain.

Any who, THANK YOU FOR READING THROUGH ALL THESE NEARLY 3,600 WORDS. Seriously, you’re awesome. I hope my musings have triggered your own musings and we can muse together in the comments. Long awaited and long time coming film review. 😉 Stay safe, peeps and try not to get too anxious out there. ❤ ❤ ❤


PS I put this into my ‘artwork’ category to help myself when I get into fanfic stuff again soon to pull through and sort out concepts and shit. You get what I mean! Also, BACKGROUND song that I listened to on loop throughout this 2.5 hour writing: (which will be featured in May) “In my blood” by Shawn Mendes. That is all.

PPS Don’t know why but the spacing is all fucked up, sorry about that!

Struggling with Changes

So I’ve been using Windows Movie Maker for the duration of the time that I’ve been creating content for Youtube, circa back December 2016. It wasn’t the best, but it got the job done. It was pretty self-explanatory, I learned it from hovering over little objects and learning what they did and what keyboard short cuts to use to fiddle around with them. It was pretty basic and only a few times did I really go ham into the program and wind up with repeatedly corrupted files and problems saving them and having to restart all over again. This happened more towards the end of 2017. It got to the point where Movie Maker just wasn’t getting the job done anymore. I got bigger ideas and longer files and when the corruption came it stressed me out.

We all know me, I don’t do well with stress. Stress triggers intrusive thoughts and I wind up having distorted thoughts about suicide glorified to the ninth degree and images of ways I can hurt myself, to put it plainly. Getting out of the house more means I have more intrusive thoughts, especially on campus since so much of it is fixated there. But my bedroom has been a place for a lot of that, too, and some traveling destinations (Target, the train station, a few specific places along those travels, etc).

My knee jerk reaction towards stress is to kill myself. Not very good and not very helpful and definitely not the best reaction to have for absolutely everything in life.

But I’ve been good for two months.

Two solid, tangible months.

I’ve been stable, happy, creative and artistic so much so that rainbows were erupting from my asshole and everything in life was so bright and sparkly.

And then came along minor transgressions that lead to some not so good choices (I’ve been pulling from the trichotillomania this weekend) something that I had gotten so well under control, and I got my new video editing software, finally, a new one!

I installed it on Friday night and by Saturday I was playing around with it and that’s where the trouble started. Because Pinnacle Studio 21 doesn’t come with a super friendly set up. Yes, there are little shortcuts and hover descriptions on symbols of various kinds, but there wasn’t a tactile and tangible how- to to it. It was foreign and complicated, scary and anger provoking. I got frustrated with it pretty quickly. They do have Youtube videos about how to use it online, and they help in moderation but there’s nothing quite like learning a new program by actually doing it and using it and videos just don’t quite cut it, you know?

So I’ve been having trouble with it. Yesterday I had to take a break away from it because it made me angry and disappointed and hopeless.

My weekend in general has been very lazy, consisting of lots of sleeping and all the transgressions adding up to well concealed anxiety, hair pulling and waves of depression.

I feel stuck. I feel less than content. I want to say fuck to everything, I want to scream, I want to push and yell and hit and scratch. I want to relapse…at least, I think I do.

All because of an editing software. Being angry that I don’t know how to use it, which, to reframe that, really isn’t my fault. It’s a new software, it’s more professional and I’ve not dealt with that before. I went from 0 to 60. From beginner to more high-tech. I’m just not used to it yet. It’s going to take time.

Yes, I’m incredibly frustrated that in the original video there is no problem with the audio/video synchronicity and only when I open the file in Pinnacle is there an audio lag, and it’s probably going to be okay.  If I work a little at it every day for the next week, I can probably learn more about it than if I push it away. I can also try to work with smaller files or create new files so that I can play around with those.

There will probably be mistakes. Issues. Troubles. And that doesn’t mean that when I take a break that I’m giving up. I’m learning. There’s a difference.

Failure to learn a new software does not make ME a failure. That’s an important distinction and yes, that is where my thoughts are going.

To quote from Halsey, in “Bad At Love”:

I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe I’m in too deep

This is the first real struggle I’ve had in the last two months. Which is not to omit the fact that I have struggled here and there. It’s more so that this is the first struggle that erupted and I can’t think straight and my skills appear to be inaccessible.

I have a choice to make. And I’m not really sure where that choice is going to lead me.

I’d prefer it to not be a hospital, as Avengers: Infinity War is coming out this Friday and I have tickets to go see it in the afternoon after program. There were things I wanted to accomplish this weekend and maybe I have to let that thought go.

Maybe just showing up is enough for right now. Maybe just writing this more original life update post (and it’s been a long time since I last have) matters. Maybe, just maybe, I matter.

For someone who felt she had no words to her struggles today, I feel that I have found them.


Thank you for reading and for everything. ❤ ❤ ❤

I promise I’ll be back again before May. 🙂

Stay safe.

PS Some of those other transgressions…I’ll probably mention later, if they’re still a problem. I didn’t go into them here and dinner is ready. Prioritizing, mainly. There will also be some creative writing posted on my blog soon. I’ll try to collect my brain matter from off the floor. I’ll try to be better. ❤ xxx

Leave Your Stigma at the Door Part II | Article

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In this series first article I dispelled some myths about mental health conditions from the ever so lovely National Alliance on Mental Illness from their website, discussed what stigma is and gave the introduction that I wanted to speak more about my own personal experiences dealing with it.


What inspired these articles was my encountering stigma during the one course I am enrolled in for the semester. It started when one person in the classroom referred to those who act violently as “crazy people.” No surprises here, but you’ve probably read before how I hate the word “crazy” in its general use and especially when related to mental health. Someone else in my class likened a specific violent crime to people who are “mentally ill.” That, in order for those people to commit such a crime meant they were “not right in the head, that there was something wrong with them.”


Let me explain: I don’t deal with stigma very much, I have been very lucky in that regard that over the nearly four years since I was diagnosed that I haven’t had to deal with a lot of stigma. At the moment that this discussion started turning south in my class, I didn’t even identify it as stigma. All I knew for sure was that I was highly offended and also quite triggered. Remember back in “Why We Use Triggers” that I said being triggered is not synonymous with being offended? It just so happened that I was offended, and more so I was having a reaction to these declarations that I could not ignore.


I felt the adrenaline go off, I felt anxious and I felt really angry. Looking back it’s a little murky to what happened exactly when, but I did speak up and say, “As someone who is “mentally ill”, I find this offensive, and now I’m triggered.”


I simmered for a few moments as my professor explained the situation and related it back to the class, and to be honest, I was too busy simmering to be able to recall all that was said at that moment.


The few times I have dealt with stigma before this point in time it was people saying: “Those balloons are so OCD”, “I just killed myself studying”, “that class makes me want to kill myself” and other comments that made suicide, self-harm and mental health conditions in general into the butt end of a joke.


I have grown as a person not only in the last two months but in the last few years, as well. Whereas before when someone joked about OCD balloons I didn’t say anything but quietly simmered, now I have learned to speak up. I hated that I didn’t say anything back then and just wound up triggered and carrying around that level of baggage with me into the surrounding days.


I pride myself on being a mental health advocate. I work with NAMI in In Our Own Voice presentations, I am trained as a peer to peer mentor for NAMI’s recovery class, I blog about mental health awareness and suicide prevention, I write these articles rather shamelessly, I have built Twitter and Youtube platforms, I write fan fiction stories touching on the topics people don’t often want to talk about.


I guess, speaking up is becoming part of my nature. I know that I regret it when I don’t speak out.


So, at the end of class I shared the statistic that those of us living with mental health conditions are more likely to be victims of crime rather than perpetrators. I shared that I live with depression and that I am far more likely to hurt myself than anyone else.


I said something because it mattered, it needed to be said, and I felt that if I didn’t say anything I wouldn’t be able to let it go, so I chose to get in the hot seat for my sake, for those out there struggling and for anyone caring enough to listen. I may not respond right away when I hear stigma, but I do respond eventually. I am thankful that the day program I am attending three days a week has helped me in using my dialectical behavior therapy skills, because before now, I would probably have been triggered and acted on self-harm or suicidal behavior.


Instead, I just wrote an article about it and gradually let it go. There’s a quote that says “don’t let people rent space in your head” and I think that is a very important thing to keep in mind when dealing with stigma. I chose to face the stigma head-on, extend my thoughts on the matter, disclose one aspect of my history, close Pandora’s Box because it was opened and used distract skills later in the day. I was able to identify coping alternatives I could use as well as knowing I could bring up the situation again in program the following day.


Overall, I think I handled it pretty well and I am proud of myself. This will continue to be reflected in my future articles on NAMI and maintaining wellness.

Written 4.12.18 I would say more here but I’ve said what I wanted to say and am extremely tired, ahaha, am scheduling this to come out about twelve hours from me writing this now. Hope you enjoy and please share it!! 🙂 I’ll probably touch on other alternatives to this kind of advocacy in another article–I definitely ran out of room for this one! XD Much love & light to you all! ❤ ❤ ❤ (I also want to mention #SickNotWeak and similar movements).

Leave Your Stigma at the Door Part I | Article

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There exist many layers of stigma surrounding mental health conditions as well as self-harm and suicide. In this article I would like to explore what stigma is, debunk a few misconceptions and highlight a few truths, as well as open up this article to a make-shift series because, as always, I find I have too much to say on this topic.


First, I found a good article by Samantha Gluck from The Healthy Place that defines stigma as “a mark of disgrace or reproach and the negative attribute that causes someone to devalue or think less of a whole person.” Stigma is high amongst those of us living with a mental health condition. I, for one, do not like using the term “mental illness” because I feel stigma is highly attached to it, like a ball on a chain and instead, I prefer the phrase “mental health condition.” In my earlier days of article writing I would use the phrase “mental health issues”–and I changed it eventually due to my own personal preference.


Stigma is like this invisible force field that strikes those who suffer with a mental health condition, their family, their peers and society as a whole. Stigma is rooted in language and how people may treat you differently once they hear that you struggle with a mental health condition. Stigma is often times going hand-in-hand with discrimination. Stigma is like this icky, dark shadow that whispers evil in your ear on top of the shadows of actual mental health conditions, when you’re trying your hardest to just stay afloat. Stigma causes many people year-round to deny their troubles with their mental health, think the condition is “their fault” (or their parent’s fault), and overall paints a picture that those of us living with mental health conditions are inherently “violent” or “destructive” and “defective” to those around us. Stigma prevents people from reaching out for help. Stigma is an ugly force that blames problematic behaviors as “attention-seeking” or “a cry for help.” Stigma is the reason some people don’t tell their families that they’re struggling, that don’t tell their workplace that they struggle and that incites further shame and self-blame about struggling in the first place. Self-stigma comes in the form of thinking we are “bad” or “wrong”, that we aren’t really struggling “that bad”, that we don’t “deserve” help or recovery or fair treatment.


Stigma is a liar. Stigma is as deceitful as the mental health condition a person may be struggling with–it is lying to you, telling you things that you fear may be true and couldn’t be further from the truth.


What is the truth? Well, one in five adult Americans will live with a mental health condition in their lifetime. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) on their website ( states “that having a mental health condition does not make a person more likely to be violent or dangerous. The truth is, living with a mental health condition makes you more likely to be a *victim* of violence, four times the rate of the general public.”


To other misconceptions relevant to this article, NAMI states that “a mental illness does not make someone any less of a person. They are not broken or odd; they just have different experiences that not everyone has to face.


“Everyone can help those living with mental illness by speaking and acting in a way that preserves personal dignity. If you are a part of removing mental illness stigma in our society you are helping everyone affected by a condition. Two easy ways to do this are: using person-first language. This means that a person is not their illness; an example would be saying “she lives with depression” not “she is depressed.” Do not use offensive slang. A person with a mental health condition is not “crazy,” “psycho,” “insane,” or “loony.” When you use these words you are implying again that a person is solely their illness.”


NAMI also declares that “like any other disease, there are periods of time where a person is particularly unwell and may need a short hospital stay, but very few stay longer than a week or two. Many people with mental health conditions live productive, happy and healthy lives.”


There is an article I wish to write, likely under a different title, all about NAMI: their mission as a non-profit organization, their modes of advocacy, how you or others can get involved and so on.


Stigma is an ongoing conversation that we all deserve to speak out against. Your voice is, and will always be, worth sharing. In part II of this series I will discuss my own personal experiences facing stigma.

Wrote this Thursday April 12.2018. Hoping to upload part 2 tomorrow so if I wish to refer back to this situation in therapy tomorrow, I can do so. Hope you enjoy the read!! Part 2 will be up at noon. Super tired and need some rest! I’ll be having an update post some time this weekend.

Much love and light to you all! ❤ ❤ ❤

Say the Word Suicide: Censorship? | Article

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Trigger Warning: Mentions of suicide as a topic


I have discussed recently why we use trigger warnings, what triggers are in terms of mental health conditions and how they essentially are a warning cry so that the reader or viewer are given the option to back away slowly or proceed forwards cautiously.


But another issue along these lines has begun to appear in my line of vision. This topic is, of course, censorship.


The question I wish to raise is one of moral dilemmas, ethics and common courtesy. When are we required, if not expected, to censor ourselves of our voices in order to help the common good? How do we create places of safety and security that we ourselves can be contained in while also helping to contain others? And, maybe more importantly, is this truly censorship in its rawest form?


Suicide, for instance is a hot potato topic. It is still highly stigmatized along with mental health in general. Many people have many opinions about suicide: from the final act of it, to religion, to health, to safety, on and on. A huge part of the issue is that it is not something we talk about in our society–or really any society. It is still very taboo which grinds my gears to no possible end because if we consider suicidality on a spectrum where to the left people refuse to acknowledge its existence and to the right people are fixated and obsessed with it, it probably should come as no surprise that I land on the far right. Part of my new goals in therapy is to shimmy my way back to the middle ground. However, my question still stands: if we choose to talk about it, we run into this issue of what feels like censorship.


It is expected, for an understandable reason, to not discuss or present specific suicide methods. These are the same guidelines that the National Alliance on Mental Illness uses in their In Our Own Voice presentations. It is also the same guidelines that the media is expected to report to by the American Association on Suicidology when discussing someone who has passed away due to suicide: do not mention specific methods so as not to accrue copycat suicides.


The places where you *can* discuss nitty gritty details include individual therapy, a crisis team, the emergency department, a psychiatric hospital, and a hotline. The places you should *not* (but that people may do anyways) include group programs, the Internet, group meetings, articles, and films/television.


For instance, I want to write a fiction-based novel in which the entirety of the story takes place in the afterlife. I want my main character, Noah, as originally thought of by my brain seven years ago, to struggle with his own suicidality and to come to terms with his premature death in his afterlife journey of self-discovery, determination, persistence and identity on what it means to lead a life worth living. I brought up the idea in therapy and it was June who brought to light her dismay at the idea of me being descriptive of the act of his suicide.


But having brought up this plot line to my therapists made for an interesting and important distinction that is at the heart of this article. June told me if I were to be descriptive of a suicide in my novel, that people would hone in on the suicide parts and lose the rest of the message. I have had experience with that happening this semester. My main therapist, April, suggested that I be preventative to not only myself for having to write on the topic but to my audience as well. I cannot control what other authors have expressed before yet I can control what I do. I would have a trigger warning in my novel and I have decided that putting my audience through a secondhand suicide is not the kind of route I want to go, because I have been the reader in that type of plot before and it really, really sucks.


So, is it censorship, really? I think not, it is simply a new behavior that is preventive, leading by example and protecting myself and those around me to the best of my ability. In my novel I wish to discuss the complexities of suicide and possibly that of mental health awareness because it is important to talk about these issues when it is with the appropriate person and appropriate setting.


Adapting to this new behavior took me a couple of weeks, a lot of re-working this article and ongoing consideration to alter one of my ongoing fan fiction stories that covers a more explicit suicide scene. In the end, it is my choice how I decide to portray a dark subject matter and it is something only I have complete control over.


Be careful out there.

This article took a LOT of revising and finalllllly I’m done with it! Written in part March 16th 2018 and April 2nd 2018. Shhhh, Mom you didn’t see this and I’m totes doing my homework! 😉

Thank you for reading!! And yes, the fanfic I’m referencing here is “Distorted & Disordered” one I don’t flaunt so much on my blog because it’s dark for the first 20 chapters, and also, “Severed” is going to feature some suicidality a little bit but not graphically and I have to write a proper blog post very, very soon! Yay Monday? XD

Hope you enjoyed and stay safe, peeps!! ❤ ❤ ❤

PS Yes, you’re getting more sneak peeks into my “novel” idea 😉