Treatment 101: Hospitalizations | Article F18

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Two years ago, I spoke at length about what my experiences have been in psychiatric hospitalizations (“Inside a Psychiatric Hospitalization” parts one to four). For this article, I’d like to review some of those experiences and the average layout of most psychiatric hospitals.


As is the case in most things in life, there are good psychiatric hospitals and crappy psychiatric hospitals. A particular system that is on the cruddier side comes to my mind immediately and the affiliates that it belongs to, but as a NAMI IOOV presenter, we are trained to not give out specifics regarding hospitals we’ve personally been to or medications we are currently on (similar to not mentioning specifics about suicidal ideation, which is pretty normal for most group settings as well). So, because of that, I have my hands tied on being more particular about those specifically cruddier places.


I am able to say what made those particular places more difficult than others though: dysregulation and non-containment. Not only does the milieu of the hospital matter but the people working there on that unit, what groups are offered and also the group of people who are also present as patients themselves. Psychiatric hospitals are the hub of intensity. You would meet people there who are at their lowest low, their hardest hardship and who are varying degrees of ill.


Some people never leave their rooms, some people talk to things that the rest of us can’t see, some will shout and be extremely loud, some hit and punch other patients or staff, some are on one-to-one’s because they’re either a danger to themselves or others. Some are on fifteen-minute checks (the normal there) and some are on five, again, depending on their safety level. A mental health specialist (or associate in some hospitals) tracks what you do every set increment of time specified in the last sentence: how much you eat, whether you’re awake or sleeping, whether you’re socializing or in groups, whether you’re being safe or not, etc.


You can have visitors, specified mainly on weekends and evenings when most groups have been dealt with for the day. Groups range depending on the hospital—my third hospitalization in 2015 only offered art therapy groups and the black chain linked fence on the outside of the property was pretty frightening (each hospital has a different level of how strict they are, and this particular one I was at has since been closed down). A lot of hospitals will have art therapy groups, psychoeducation groups, SMART recovery groups, therapy groups etc.


You’re not allowed to have shoe laces, anything with strings (most of us walk around with our freshly supplied padded socks), anything with wire spirals (pens included in some places), belts, electronics. It’s a locked unit so you can’t go outside of it whenever you want to (and you will want to). Depending on the hospital the cafeteria may be located on your unit or you may have to travel downstairs with an MHS for it. Some of them have exercise rooms or allow you to go outside when the weather is nice.


Basically, you’re watched in almost every possible way. Listing it out like this, I can recall why psychiatric hospitalizations feel intimidating and daunting.


But, they’re not all bad.


They’re necessary for those of us who are struggling with suicidal or homicidal ideation (though I can’t speak much on behalf of the latter), self-harm, medication adjustments, intense emotions, thoughts or behaviors (particularly if they’re unsafe behaviors). Some of the staff, along with some of the patients, you won’t particularly like, but that’s the case in most circumstances anyways.


The last time I was at Unit Z was in January 2018 and I had such a great batch of roommates that we’d often be chatting and laughing together and it felt far more like being on a vacation than a psychiatric hospitalization. I remember one moment where someone was telling a story and I proclaimed how wonderful a color this nude crayon was and that I was promptly going to steal it so none of them would ever see it again.


I have loads of souvenirs from my hospitalizations: coloring pages friends have given me, contact information of fellow patients (with varying degrees of keeping in contact with people outside of the hospital), my own art endeavors, books, ambulance blankets, scrubs, a coffee cup, a bin for toiletries, loads of hospital bracelets, and likely other things that I’m forgetting.


Essentially, the hospital is there when you need it, and I know that one day I may need it again, and that that’s okay. The hospital begins my journey of re-stabilization and the work to do that exists outside of those four walls.


But man, is freedom a fantastic feeling.


Stay safe.

Article Written: October 18.2018

PD A/N: Honestly? I haven’t re-read over this article and this is the last thing I’m doing this Thursday night so either I’ll come back to edit this author’s note or I’ll just leave it as is. *shrug* Any who, it’s time to rear up the evening into a close for me here. Still got a few things left to do though. 😛 This article is an article and if you read it you’re here now and I don’t have much else to say (feels like that end credits scene with Cap in Spiderman Homecoming doesn’t it?) Take care, peeps! ❤ ❤ ❤

Giving Myself Credit | Article F18


NEW Articles THUMB = 11.29.18

Everything we do we do to the best of our ability given what we have available to us in that given moment. Recovery is not about a destination, it’s a journey–there will be good days and harder days, good moments and darker ones, and we do our best to get through the darker ones so that we get to see the rainbows, unicorns and sunlight again. Because they *will* come. Whether it’s in minutes, hours, days or months away–they always come.


Recovery is essentially about progress, not perfection. We are flawed and imperfect human beings. Those of us, who choose recovery, choose to take the path of wellness and healthier behaviors every chance we get, no matter how exhausted we may feel. And we will feel exhausted some days. We will slip up. Sometimes we will fall back into old behaviors. Recovery is a continuous choice over the duration of multiple events to choose a healthier action over an unhealthy one. And if recovery is about progress and not perfection, then it’s time to give ourselves credit for everything we do right.


I, for one, have been able to keep myself stable for eight months and counting. It’s not that I’ve been pain-free for that duration of time but that despite the challenges I’ve been able to stay as safe as I can. I’ve been eight months without the hospital. Eight months without scratching and a few hours from scalp picking and hair pulling. Only once did I lapse in self-harm back in June, and I promptly told my treatment coordinator about it at program and handed over the method I used to my parents. In all of those eight months, I’ve had near crises and actual crises that I’ve handled.


And although I went a year and a half away from the Counseling Center and a year without calling hotlines, that doesn’t mean it was always the best thing for me or the healthiest decision.


Because getting help when I need it should never be seen as a weakness, rather an immense strength. Because needing help, more help than what I can feasibly manage on my own, is not a source of failure but of success. To recognize that I can’t, and don’t have to, go through something alone is so absolutely amazing.


So, when I found myself struggling with burnout in the first week of October, I recognized while filling out my DBT-Intensive homework that I needed to put down my pride, a difficult task, to call a hotline, because I needed more support than what I could muster by myself.


And I tried one, and the wait was a little long so I tried another. And another, and another, and unfortunately, I blossomed into a full-blown crisis. A crisis so severe, something I haven’t had in a very, very long time, that I didn’t know how to handle it on my own.


So, I didn’t.


I got extra help by crying my way over to one of those blue Public Safety columns and pushing the red button. You see, I knew I needed to get myself to the Counseling Center on campus, but I wasn’t certain I could get there by myself, safely enough. And maybe that was because of all the OCD intrusive images of harm and death, the catastrophizing of the future and consequences that would meet me if I acted on the thoughts (I had an exam the week after that I couldn’t miss), the ‘trauma’ of previous hospital stays and having to walk back through those Counseling Center doors. It was a lot…a *lot*.


So I pushed the button because I felt that I needed to. And to put this into perspective–three years ago I would never have considered an active suicidal plan and method available to me as an emergency. A year ago, I only ever imagined pushing the button as I was actively suicidal with a method available.


While in hindsight I may have done things differently, it ultimately got me safely where I needed to be: on emergency in the Counseling Center. I got to challenge thoughts about feeling like a failure for needing help by writing this article dedicated to remembering that the messages I represent in my articles apply to my own experiences, too, and that I do genuinely believe in those messages.


I also learned about giving myself more credit for my accomplishments. I learned more about self-care, I learned more grounding techniques, challenging myself to look on the bright side, mindfulness and paying attention to my positive triggers, what situations bring me joy and happiness and how can I incorporate more of these into my daily life (positive psychology principles).


It wasn’t wrong; it was what I thought I needed at the time. And I survived, and survived well.

Article written: October 10.2018

PD A/N: Heyyyy guys!! Still trudging through updating you all on here about my latest articles! Today I made a new thumbnail for articles (as you saw earlier) so let me know what you think of it!! Additionally, for audio purposes, I made a list of almost all my articles through the years as I’ve going to write a commentary piece to them before I graduate! So, that’s neat!

I made the newer thumbnail to toggle back and forth on Twitter as most of my articles these days don’t include my photography, so, that’s a thing! Any who, I’m going to schedule some upcoming posts now. 🙂

How are you guys doing??

Stay safe! ❤ ❤ ❤

Also, since writing this article I’ve had chances to celebrate my wins and I’m doing a lot better with that in my life overall. 🙂

Say the Word Suicide: Do’s & Don’ts | Article F18

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“I’d be so lost if you left me alone. You locked yourself in the bathroom, lying on the floor when I break through. I pull you in to feel your heartbeat, can you hear me screaming please don’t leave me? Hold on I still want you. Come back I still need you. Let me take your hand, I’ll make it right. I swear to love you all my life. Hold on I still need you.” Lyrics from “Hold On” by Chord Overstreet.


There appears to be a pattern in my articles as of late that so many of them are ones I’ve been sitting on for years. When I heard this original song (I had only heard Amanda Nolan’s cover before) I found that the lyrics would fit perfectly into what I’d like to cover in this article: mainly the do’s and the don’ts regarding approaching someone struggling with suicidal thoughts.


Do: Validate the person. Remember this quote and use it as a guide to dealing with someone’s struggles: “It’s not about how bad the situation is; it’s about how badly it’s affecting someone.” Saying things like, “that sounds really hard for you to be going through” and validating a person’s feelings even if you don’t completely understand them is critical. A lot of active listening skills will be key, as often the person struggling with suicide wants, above all else, for someone to listen. So try not to go too heavy on advice, unless they have asked for it!


Don’t: Correct the suicidal individual on what methods of suicide are lethal or not. You would think this would be pretty obvious, but I’ve had friends tell me before “Oh, X won’t kill you but if you do Y, then it will. But don’t do Y.” The person struggling with suicidal thoughts doesn’t need advice on what method to kill themselves with. (Unfortunately the Internet is a common place for finding out such answers).


Do: Get help. Find resources (you could even refer to my “Treatment 101: Resources” article), stock up your phone with helpful apps and know the different avenues you can go to for extra support–not just for the individual struggling with suicidal thoughts but as a self-care measure for your sake, too! If the crisis is immediate, as in, the person struggling is actively suicidal *right now* contact 911 and do *not* leave them alone under any circumstances. At that point, medical intervention is required and they will likely be hospitalized, which may ultimately be the safest place for them.


Don’t: Do *not* say “if you were really suicidal you would have already killed yourself.” No one has to *prove* how suicidal or not they are, and I for one, always took this as a challenge (and for me proving my suicidality was a big issue) and had the distorted thoughts myself that no one would take me “seriously” unless I was dead. Which is convoluted thinking, yes, but in the moment it seems to make sense (when in a crisis, our thinking processes are warped. Rationality goes out the window, which is why having a safety plan on hand is so important with crisis centers numbers already written out.)


Do: Provide hope. Comprise a list of people with lived experience who have survived their suicidal thoughts (Kevin Hines) and remind them that suicide is a permanent action to a temporary crisis, that feelings and thoughts will pass and that stability and health can be restored in the future. Remind them that this crisis will not last forever, that they are strong enough to choose to live and that life can get better again.


Do: Say you’ll check up on them, only if you mean it, and actually follow through. It’s easy to retweet these messages on Twitter without actually following through. But just a little message checking up on someone could mean the world. So, be good to yourselves, your friends and loved ones, and strangers, too!


Maybe: Depending on how well you know the person, it might be beneficial to remind them of who they have in their corner. I think wording here is pretty crucial, and I think knowing your limits in the relationship is also pretty critical. (i.e: “I don’t know how to best help you and I want to be there for you in your time of need. What can I do to help you?”) Be careful with telling them that “but think of your family and what this will do to them” as in my own experiences that only made me feel guiltier, and my brain was telling me that I’d be doing my family a favor by ending my life. It’s a case by case basis, I feel on this particular do or don’t.


Is there anything you can think of that I missed?

Article written: October 2nd

Song choice (which will later have its own post):

Present Day Author’s Note:

Heyyy everybody! Back again, finally, with another (older) article! I’m working on getting this blog more up to date with my articles as the semester is rearing towards a close and I’m juggling more things than I can count! Gonna work on another article(s) right now, so for now, here’s this one and I hope that you enjoy it and can get something out of it!

See you all later! ❤ ❤ ❤


Treatment 101: Advocacy | Article F18

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“May you know the meaning of the word happiness. May you always lead from the beating in your chest. And may the best of your today’s be the worst of your tomorrow’s…Here’s to the lives that you’re going to change…Here’s to the good times we’re gonna have. Here’s to the fact that I’ll be sad without you. I want you to have it all.” Lyrics from “Have it All” by Jason Mraz.


I included the lyrics to the start of this article as a way to show how my soul’s essence can be wrapped up and represented in another individual that lives out in the world somewhere. I’ve been honored to meet some of these people, some in real life and most online. People who want to bring light and positivity to those around them by creating little pieces of art or sending goodie bags to others around their country (namely April Rhynold in Canada and Katie Houghton in England). It’s who I aspire to be, and I’ve been lucky thus far in my recovery that I’ve largely been able to achieve this goal.


I want to be the person who has something to give to others. I want to be that someone who can help to brighten your day—whether it’s just a little smile, a basic hello and genuine interest in knowing how you *really* are, giving away goodie bags of my own (mainly stationery, let’s be honest) or little art pieces. I just want to be that person who walks around with tools ready to give away to others, in case I happen to come across someone who is having a harder day than usual.


And as I said earlier, I’ve already managed to do that in some respects. In 2016 I gave away little positive messages—little torn up scraps of paper with drawings and sayings on them, mainly made up from my own mind that I would then give to people around campus.


In 2016 I also got involved in advocacy, something that comprises a *huge* part of my recovery. I reached out to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)’s In Our Own Voice (IOOV) presentation coordinator from a daily prompt in a journaling book and have been going around MA since April 2016 sharing my story in recovery from chronic suicidality, OCD, depression, BPD and self-harm—oh, and trichotillomania, I always forget that one!


Also, in 2016 I began submitting work to this very newspaper. I remember my first article was about stigma and I remember someone who worked at the paper coming up to me and asking if I’d prefer to be anonymous or not. I thought about it briefly and figured, hell, I might as well slap my name on it.


I didn’t realize then what I know now. And even now, I don’t completely understand how brave and how amazing it is that I’ve chosen to be very publicly open about my struggles with mental health.


I liken the process to waiting on the sidelines for someone to come up to the podium in this little community. I waited and I waited until I just one day stood up and said, “Well, I guess it’s going to be me!” Sometimes if we choose to wait for someone else to do something, we could be waiting forever. Sometimes we have to choose between sacrificing an inch to save the whole worm.


I justify my decision to be so open about my struggles in the thought that what I say matters and that it can help someone out there. More importantly though, it can help someone to learn how to help themselves (I’m not a hero in that sense!).


If, for whatever reason, stigma or limited job opportunities come to me because I’ve so publicly shared my story, then that’s something I am at peace with. Yeah, it would suck a lot. Yeah, it wouldn’t be fair. But I’d have lived within my truth, within my purpose and in line with my values. And ultimately, that’s all that really matters. (Besides, I plan to go into fields that are centered around mental health anyways).


I choose to share my life with you all because I genuinely believe that my voice is worth sharing, that vulnerabilities are a strength and that choosing life and treatment is worth it. I really can’t imagine myself doing anything differently if I had to do it over again.


Most of the time though, I don’t realize it’s such a big deal. I’m so accustomed to it now that I forget the impact that I could be having on others. Unless you explicitly tell me, I won’t realize this. I also highly enjoy ego boosts, if you do want to tell me!


After all, we are only given one life.

Article written: October 2nd 2018

Links to:

April & Katie

Song lyrics from: (they’re mostly incorrect in this video but you get the drift)

Author’s Note:

I hope that you guys enjoyed this article! I’ll be working on getting out my other articles from this semester up online hopefully before school ends completely as I have a few last article ideas to write up myself (more TM 101, a legacy piece and commentaries)! I’m supposed to be doing bio coursework right now so I have to get back to that. Hope you’re all well. ❤

Reach out any time. ❤ ❤ ❤ xxxx

I’ve Changed

Life Update Thumb

Hello everyone!

Welcome back, it’s been a while.

Sorry about that! I’ve largely been busy with school which really means that I’ve been procrastinating like crazy from school but I’m gearing up towards my final semester in college (the event countdown to the right of my blog is for that, but it’s even LESS days than 30) where I’ll actually, finally and amazingly, be graduating with my BS in Psychology! Which is amazing and wonderful and sad and exciting all at once.

It’s come to my attention and my gradual acceptance that I have an unhealthy relationship with the Internet. So I’m hopeful that through time in the future, I’ll be able to better prioritize what I use the Internet for with the dreams I have to accomplish things.

Also, I’ve been writing PLENTY of articles, I just got backlogged with uploading them on here. So that will resume likely over this long weekend coming up.

But, as for the title, I have changed in many a ways and my blog layout specifically no less. Someone had commented asking whether I’d consider changing my layout (it was originally Hemingway Rewritten) and I thought about it and realized I hadn’t played around with the layout of my blog since I started my blog on WordPress two years ago (and a little over).

So, thinking that the change could be good for me (and get me back into blogging), I decided to change it.

Now I’m working with (it took me like 5 minutes to figure out how to find the title of this current theme, lol) Penscratch 2.

I’ve customized it, of course, to fit more into my liking. It’s cool because you can add a logo to the top of the page, which I’ve supplied my “RecoverytoWellness” lighthouse logo that I use on my Youtube channel and I just changed a couple of new things (I made the majority of these layout changes this past Saturday).

Initially, since I added the logo to the top of the page I was having my name listed in cursive underneath it and then the slogan below that but I just altered it to be swapped as I like the title of the page being my slogan more than being my name.

The header image I initially had this picture:

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And while I do enjoy it, and it fit with the blue border I have around the site, and it’s a nice photography throwback to concepts I enjoyed in my younger years and did many a photo series with–I felt that it didn’t really fit with my current identity.

So I tried this one but it was too much of my face for my liking (and as a stand alone piece it does better than being a header image):

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Then I tried a couple different thumbs that I’ll be using in my Youtube videos:

be your own hero-you deserve it - 8.1.18

Leaving Sparkle - THUMB 10.6

But the bottom one was too much white that clashes with the rest of the white and while the hero one was okay it still just wasn’t the right “fit.”

So then I explored some other newer photos I took this summer and this is the one I decided to keep, something I feel fits more of my identity today:


I enjoy this piece a lot, it’s also like a throwback to another photo session I had with myself a few years ago and it has a lovely (blogging, actually) journal with a good message that I resonate with in my soul, you know? I also think the positive anonymity here works wonders, too. 🙂

So I’ve been doing, you know. Getting through each day and mainly tweeting about my life there. Speaking of, I added some widgets to my new layout with a view counter, the countdown of events, pictures of blogs I follow and my active Twitter feed.

The main text is officially main text, each title has that cursive script and while the main text is a little large, it’s a lot better than the super tiny one. So now my words really can leap from the pages whereas before they were like hidden gems.

I may still change the background color but for now, it’s blue (maybe it’ll become teal though!) and this is where I’m at.

Life’s been really, really good to me lately. I averted a crisis last week which is the first in a long time. I have DBT-Intensive homework to BS my way through for tomorrow and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I’m hoping to do some more schoolwork and fun activities while I try and tackle my unhealthy Internet addiction. Ironically, being on the Internet less will help me create more for later consumption placed on the Internet by myself.

Today I had a biology exam, I did okay thus far. But I’ve been re-reading my fanfiction stories and I love them so much. All the feels, for sure! And I’m hoping to do more book reading, book reviewing, blogging, filming, art and more over the next few months. I still have to come up with a reward for myself for graduating–not sure what just yet.

But for now, that’s all I’ve got for the time I have at the moment.

My final for bio is Dec 20th. My final project/paper for psych is Dec 13th. Next week is busy with appointments but I’ll try to stop by a few times this weekend with article updates and things to that nature. If anything interesting happens I’m sure I’ll hit Twitter, and if something really intriguing happens I’ll be sure to update with another blog post. 🙂

Any who, time to update some more of my fanfic/read my fanfics over again.

I hope you guys are well!

Much love and light to you all. ❤ ❤ ❤ xxx

And happy holidays!!

PS For articles I will be wrapping up my legacy/ending off the semester, more TM 101 stuff, a commentary on the evolution of my articles and a few others. 🙂