A Tribute to Passages | One Year

Congrats 1 Yr at Passages - 2.5.19!


On February 5th.2018 I began my time at Passages, a day program offered 25 minutes from my house, in what can only be described as an irrevocably, gradual and utterly amazing change to my life, my identity, my symptoms and my story. In this post, I’d like to give gratitude and thanks for my time there thus far, as well as what changes I’ve strongly implemented into my life; the friends I’ve made there; the new memories I have; as well as a look into a few journal pieces and a send off to my next one year hallmark happening Feb. 14th (a year out of the hospital; my longest duration). With that said, let’s jump in! 


In the year of 2018 I wrote in 4 journals. 3 were completely filled while one was only half filled as I had 2017’s posts within the first half of the journal. Here is a picture of each one below:

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From the far left: my silver rainbow journal which went from Jan. 17.2018 every other day to about daily Feb. 5th.2018 to April 14th; I didn’t realize it until this moment but the next one is actually the furry purple one that says “My Journal” in which it goes from April 15th – Aug 13th; my pink rainbow journal that says “Shine Bright” goes from Aug. 14th – Sept. 5th; and the clouds with a forest saying “Leave your fears behind” goes from Sept. 6th – Feb. 4th/5th.2019

During this past year, I’ve gone through two planners as well, as shown below:

Initially, I began to take up journaling again back in January 2018 because I was shoulder deep in Dark Days and was collecting my thoughts and drafts of my suicide notes for friends and family I’d be leaving behind.

At the last week of January, when school began again, my parents held an intervention after having spoken to a suicide prevention hotline the day or so before. They gave me an ultimatum:

I could either go willingly to the hospital or they would call 911, emergency services in the US, and have me forcibly taken.

This was the first time in my entire recovery journey (I was diagnosed with Harm OCD (self focused) in fall 2014, and began recovery in March 2015) that I had not invited a hospitalization into my life myself.

I decided to go willingly to the hospital on the condition that I could shower first and my eleventh hospitalization began soon after.

On February 5th. 2018, after having been released from the hospital, I began the partial program at Passages which ranged from 10a-3p every day for one week:

“[Journaling] is like my only freedom from home–everywhere else is unsafe. I’ve decided my final texts sent to the masses will be “One more light” lyrics–maybe it will evoke concern and panic… I don’t know what’s wrong with me 😦 I’m torn between lies and truths. I think I’ll just admit to a mix of them… I feel like the Maximoff twins when they get in cahoots with Ultron except wavering loyalty to Ulton after they find out his plan is mass extinction…. I’ve entered the first time in my life where I don’t want help. I feel like my hands are tied. I just wish for the end.”

The week after, I began the day program which ranged from 9a-3p MWF. I returned to school to take my one class on the TuTh schedule.

During this time I was still jotting down different art ideas, mostly lyrics based ones. I had also been writing articles (the raw unpublished ones you can still find on my blog) and one of them–“Recovery Raquel is Under Construction” ignited this particular journal entry:

“Sun. Feb. 11.2018: (explicit details of suicide plans) You know, whatever is most convenient. You missed the news–there was a ruckus I caused at school on Friday–most ironically from my article called RRiUC. It had a couple of concerningly questionable paragraphs and people missed the entire upward positive incline so they panicked and Luna got called in and there was a meeting and as Luna so eloquently said: ‘You fucked up real bad.’

So, there’s that. That’s when/why I got scheduled to contacting X this weekend for support. X called me around noon at partial and asked if I was safe and also called home and asked my parents the same thing.

Sigh. It cued a mild crisis and the utmost panic as well as well I don’t know what–oh, flashbacks to my wellness check, yup. I was going to call X yesterday as I was starting to slide into crisis but X wasn’t available. I would have called a hotline but I still don’t trust them since last September.

Now? For that article I am mourning the loss of no longer being able to send out a final cry for help via Linkin Park’s lyrics. I was looking forward to that. Now I really have to just die alone without anyone knowing.

Sigh.”

I forgot to mention this before, but I believe back in January 2018 I had also changed my “Recovery Raquel” Twitter name to ‘The End’. I bring this up now because I just found this entry:

“Feb. 13th, 2018: This is the moment I will look back on and wonder what could have been different. I can’t tell the truth anymore. It’s nearly physically impossible. I don’t think I go back into recovery again. I can’t begin to imagine the conversation to getting help.

Maybe it’s not worth it. Maybe I’m not worth it. Maybe things could have been different. I feel more conflicted with the lies. But not enough to tell the truth. I am a burden to those around me. They can’t help me. And neither can I, anymore.

This really, really sucks. I’m in too deep. I’ve learned the behaviors to go against recovery. I am destined to continue following through on them. Nobody can save me. This is it. The End.”

On Feb 14th 2018 I was entirely focused inwards on myself and my plans and my pain that when a therapist at program made an offhand comment accidentally, it really drove me further into myself. Myself and a few others were triggered and we were placed incorrectly into the DBT-Intensive room where more people got upset. I guess, I don’t particularly recall this myself, but my friend Vanessa said that my treatment coordinator had asked if I was safe from where I was sitting in group and I said no, and they were going to talk to me afterwards.

At this point I was considering leaving for the day and walking to the nearest CVS to purchase a newly added edition to my suicide plans. I was also carrying around my method (the first part) with me during this time too.

I spoke at length to my coordinator and it was determined that I needed to be hospitalized. This is the entry I wrote in my journal among other hospital belonging ones:

“Thinking about what my T/C told me about recovery: finding a purpose through your experiences to empower you to live and see beyond the immediate now. I may not know how yet–and what steps can I take today to live a more purposeful life?

Maybe it’s taking it moment by moment. Maybe it’s planning for the future. Maybe it’s working daily on goals. Maybe it’s about freedom and stabilization and going against Ultron and choosing to live.

It all starts here and now. And about writing when things are going well. Make: a novel, #RecoveryHome, Recovery Restoration, Recovery Raquel a thing. Because this is RecoverytoWellness and here all survivors radiate badassery.”

Within the new hospital I got sent to for my 12th hospitalization I found a bunch of books (which I later took with me) that revived my explorations of book reviews, content and ideas.

Feb. 16th marks the first day I began to write daily accomplishments. I’ve now been doing this every day for a year.

Around this time I was also recording my SotD of the day, too, another thing I continue to track daily in my journal and planner.

Around early March 2018 I began to see a family therapist, June, with my Mom. I still continue to see June with my Mom even to this day (although now we pay out of pocket). There are notes from all those sessions that I’d love to incorporate into a video one day soon. 🙂

Also around this time I was having issues with Luna and I can see now how the unhealthy attachment/relationship was beginning to sprout and appear.


I’d like to move now towards my general thoughts and things I remember that struck me in particular this past year.

  • I was able to return to writing articles for the rest of the year and just have to finish my final two to be sent out hopefully this week, hopefully.
  • I pulled away from my unhealthy relationship to Luna in fall 2018 so that I made little to absolutely no contact with them personally.
  • I continued to have many different art ideas, drawing and creative writing ones
  • I watched Black Panther with my Mom and witnessed other movies, too (some of which I still want to film review)
  • I added a list I kept for a few months that was called What Could Have Been Better? as a way to structure if I was unhappy about the day’s activities, what would I have liked to do instead or could have done less of
  • In about summer 2018 I began to track my Internet usage for a Weekly Amount of Internet Usage from Mon  – Sun in my planner and by fall 2018 came to accept that I have an Internet addiction, more primarily distinctive to a Youtube addiction (as Twitter, blogging and the like is fine, although partially addictive at times too) I’ve also since defined the Youtube addiction to be inclusive of ‘Deep Dives’ which is when many hours go by when I say I’ll only “watch one video”. Or if I check up on people whom I have concern for but are unhealthy/obsessed with, whoops
  • In May 2018 I transitioned from my weekly appointments with my therapist to the DBT-Intensive program in which I see my T at program there instead (which is why we pay out of pocket for my psychiatrist and my family therapist, June, because the insurance wouldn’t cover either of those (and for Phil, my psychiatrist, unfortunately he doesn’t take my insurance anyhow))
  • On Oct. 11th I purchased my 5 year journal (5YJ) which I began to also fill out daily since
  • I changed journals as needed
  • I’ve used my DBT skills daily for a year
  • I’ve made new friends and pals 🙂
  • I began to fill out trich papers and defined when trich is being utilized based in OCD behaviors or self-harm behaviors.
  • I’ve been very creative in the last year
  • Above all: I’ve been stable.

Being stable has become my newest baseline. I went from times of instability to complete stability. It doesn’t mean I never have bad days, rather that my bad days are more tolerable to me with all the DBT skills I’ve learned and practice every day. I’ve grown a lot in the last year, matured in many ways, and I now reside in a pedestal 20 ft above the ground. Whereas in the past my pedestal was only 2 ft high, now I have much farther to fall, and when I do fall, and I will, I fall only to 10 ft low, so that I can continue to work on myself, improve myself and utilize my skills to pause or slow down the crisis if one even exists to begin with.

My emotional pain tolerance is a lot higher than it’s ever been before. I have Passages to thank for that, as well as myself and the supports I have encircled around that. My self-esteem is great, I still take loads of notes in my journals, I record just about everything and I’m excited for where the road is going to take me. I’ve been able to minimize, not eliminate, but minimize my amounts of self-sabotage and intrusive thoughts. When I get intrusive thoughts now I often just ignore them or briefly acknowledge them before continuing on with my day as per usual.

When I do expand my radius outside of my bedroom, I do get more intrusive thoughts, but that’s likely just a side effect I’ll have to do my best to live with.

I went in Dec 2 weeks free of trich, which was amazing.

Since being involved with DBT-Intensive I’ve had many, many reasons to live and to continue as far as I can go on my stability journey. I can see now how permanent death is and how much I don’t want to yet experience that. I still am enthralled by life and it’s natural endings, but I try not to think too much about it most days. I’ve also managed to eliminate all ruminations from my life.

I could go on and on, but I think that’s enough for this post for now–it’s been a few hours at least.

Overall, I’d just like to thank the Universe for Passages existence and for helping me so much to grow, learn and blossom as much as I have. My identity and my acceptance is an ongoing journey, just the same as my recovery. I’m grateful to have a long-term program available to me and hope that the next year can be just as sparkly, glittery and amazing as this past one has been.

Thank you so much for reading!!

❤ ❤ ❤