Oh, How My Journey Has Evolved | Thoughts on Recovery & Music

create. inspire. love. - TWITTER HEADER NEW - 7.4.19 (2)

My current Twitter header since July 2019. ❤ I chose this photo to represent where I’m headed in my recovery and because it visually conceptualizes everything I want to focus on going forwards. Photograph is from uni back in like 2013 or so.


Dear Reader,

I thought of making this blog post as early as September 2019. I wanted to revisit not only where I’ve been but more importantly where I am now and where I plan to go from here. These 5 songs are only but a snippet of my journey, as you may know how impactful and reverberating music has been in my life, my art and my recovery. Music is a powerful force that allows us to feel understood, emote and to tell a story. It’s amazing how we can find other like-minded individuals, a reflection of our souls in others and this post, I hope, will highlight that further. I want to write this post as a PSA about suicide prevention, what’s helped me the most and how I can relate to these 5 particular songs, share the lyrics and their meaning with you all and place a thumbtack on my current experiences so that one day, in the future, I can look back on this post and smile, knowing I’ve done all I could and that that mattered most. Without further ado, and an activation warning in general, watch out for the topic of suicide and suicide prevention will be discussed in this post. Tread carefully.

Sending you light and love, and I’ll see you at the very end.

— Recovery Raquel ❤ ❤ ❤


Song #1:

  “1800 273 8255” by Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid

Gosh, do I love this song. To describe a little about where this song reached me, where it transported me and where I see it today, I have to give you all some backstory. Although, to be honest, I stated it pretty well here: Newspaper Article, StWS: Give it Time (2017)

I first heard this song when I was on an inpatient unit back in June-July 2017. I heard it on the radio that someone was listening to from down the hall, hearing the words clear as day and crying to myself as I stared out the gated window, feelings washing over me as the lyrics rang around in my mind.

If you don’t already know, the title of the song itself: 1800 273 8255 is the USA’s nationwide suicide prevention lifeline phone number. People who are struggling or know someone who is can call for information, feedback and hopefully pulling someone away from or out of a crisis, no matter how temporary.

I’ve called this number many times. I’ve had my parents call it for me. But at the time, of 2017 and especially in Jan-Feb 2018, I could only relate to the song’s beginning, the struggle, the pain and the ambivalence. Deep into the throes of depression I genuinely thought life wouldn’t get better. I would listen to this song over and over, hoping desperately that things would change, that I would become myself again.

I been on the low
I been taking my time
I feel like I’m out of my mind
It feel like my life ain’t mine
Who can relate?

I don’t wanna be alive
I just wanna die today
I just wanna die
I don’t wanna be alive
I don’t wanna be alive
I just wanna die
And let me tell you why

All this other shit I’m talkin’ ’bout they think they know it
I’ve been praying for somebody to save me, no one’s heroic
And my life don’t even matter
I know it I know it I know I’m hurting deep down but can’t show it
I never had a place to call my own
I never had a home
Ain’t nobody callin’ my phone
Where you been? Where you at? What’s on your mind?
They say every life precious but nobody care about mine

This song spoke the words out of my mind and out of my mouth. I resonated with it deeply as I struggled, struggled, struggled. But it got better, as it always gets better. It’s a powerful song which sets a dark tone starting out yet brightens at the middle and especially at the end.

I want you to be alive
You don’t gotta die today
You don’t gotta die
I want you to be alive
I want you to be alive
You don’t gotta die
Now lemme tell you why

It’s the very first breath
When your head’s been drowning underwater
And it’s the lightness in the air
When you’re there
Chest to chest with the lover
It’s holding on, though the road’s long
And seeing light in the darkest things
And when you stare at your reflection
Finally knowing who it is
I know that you’ll thank God you did

Not only does this song share the darkness, it spreads the light ever farther. It’s amazing to know that others out there may be struggling, not that that’s a great thing in and of itself, but rather that these thoughts, these emotions, these experiences, can often times be universal, not caring for the ethnicity, race, language, culture, age, sexuality, gender identity, socioeconomic status and more of the individuals it impacts. Whether that’s a person with lived experience, friends, families, strangers, loved ones, etc. Suicide can impact anyone at any time. It’s one of the more tragic causes of death and the hard reality is that it’s being sought after more and more these days. So some people can think it only happens to a few, that mental health isn’t as “serious” or “important” as other illnesses, and yeah, you can live in that fantasy world, but it’s just that: a fantasy. Suicide won’t go away the more that you ignore it. In fact, invalidating and shaming someone for experiencing hardships and mental health conditions and substance use disorders, only perpetuates the stigma, silence and shame of the conditions in which these individuals are living with. Shame thrives on silence.

Which is why people like myself aim to break the silence. We aim to tell others that it’s okay even though everything FEELS not okay, it’s okay. You can make it through these thoughts and back on the other side of life. It’s possible. Recovery is possible. Give it time, things will change. Suicidal crises are temporary. They are time limited. Just buy yourself one more second, one more minute, and the rest will turn into days, weeks and months. It’s possible. It’s so, so possible. It will require work and effort, and it will be the brightest, most impactful work that you do.

I know where you been, where you are, where you goin’
I know you’re the reason I believe in life
What’s the day without a little night?
I’m just tryna shed a little light
It can be hard
It can be so hard
But you gotta live right now
You got everything to give right now

I know the struggle. I know the pain is larger than everything right now. I know it’s hard to find any reason to keep on living, to keep on surviving, and I can tell you that it’s STILL out there, IN YOU, for a reason. You are never what happened to you, you are how you choose to get through it. Suicide can seem like the answer. It can seem like you weren’t cut out for living. That you may think others would be better off without you.

THEY WON’T BE.

Your brain is lying to you. And I know how tempting and disillusioned we can all get when facing them day after day after day.

But I’m here to tell you that it gets better. It gets brighter again. That life changes, that circumstances change, that your tolerance for pain will increase, that you can go from thoughts everyday of suicide to little to none. You can change your responses to events that happen in your life. You can learn new coping strategies. You can put the bottle down. Put down the substances. Put away the Internet. You can do it.

I believe in you, and I always will.

I finally wanna be alive (Finally wanna be alive)
I finally wanna be alive
I don’t wanna die today
I don’t wanna die
Finally wanna be alive (Finally wanna be alive)
I finally wanna be alive
I don’t wanna die
I don’t wanna die
(No, I don’t wanna die)
(I just wanna live)
(I just wanna live)

Even though you may still have the thought of suicide, the image of it, that it may creep in in another way, it doesn’t mean that you have to act on it. A thought is just that: a thought. Thoughts are not actions. You can still be safe even when your mind is telling you otherwise. We can’t choose having a condition but we can choose how we respond to it. We can choose our actions. We can choose to live another day. To find hope, to find true freedom within this realm, to find purpose and understanding, love and acceptance. It’s out there. It’s waiting for us. We have to have faith in ourselves and in the process to be able to go out there and catch it.

Pain don’t hurt the same, I know
The lane I travel feels alone
But I’m moving ’til my legs give out
And I see my tears melt in the snow
But I don’t wanna cry
I don’t wanna cry anymore
I wanna feel alive
I don’t even wanna die anymore

And lastly, for this song, I will say this:

I went from chronic suicidal ideation over the course of four years. Today, 2019, I have little to none of those thoughts anymore. For my journey, finding purpose, advocacy, creativity, inspiration, the MCU and kindness has been essential. My journey isn’t over yet, far from it, there’s always more ways in which I can improve and cope and manage. Recovery will be a life-long commitment for me. But it’s there. It’s possible. I can work a job, I can get more experience in my field, and my first response to stress these days are to problem solve rather than take my own life. That’s huge. That’s HUGE. I still think of it here and there, intrusive OCD and all, but I don’t act on it. I don’t want to act on it. And even when I do, or I think I do, I persevere. I get through the urges. I write, I blog, I watch Youtube, I think of the next Marvel movie I want to see, the next book I want to read, the next person I could have the honor of impacting for the positive, the next great sunset, the next amazing video, the next recovery based project I can use to help others, and much, much more. It’s the little things and all the big things. It’s everything. Truly. Safety contracts were always helpful for me, and they saved my ass quite a few times. There’s some level of accountability there that keeps me going and preserving myself, ahaha.

And lastly, if you read my mental health based fan fiction story, you’ll have seen this song featured in this chapter: Distorted & Disordered – Chp 18


Song #2:

(COVER) “1800 273 8255” – Lynnea M.

I love Lynnea’s cover of this song that I hold so close and special to my heart and soul. Her angelic voice is perfect and I truly find myself seeing this song from a different perspective. After listening so many times to the original, it’s nice to have a fresh break with a cover that’s slightly different, slightly more emotive, slightly more…strong. I’ve listened to the original so much, it’s even on a CD I burned for myself, that I really want to add this edition to a new CD soon. The piano is a great touch too.

Also, if you want to see a little more about my story and journey you can check out this Youtube video I did where I incorporate this cover as well as my LONG version (short version to come soon) of my experiences with suicidal ideation and how I’ve gotten better.


Song #3:

“One More Light” by Linkin Park

This is a hard song to post. Harder to listen to. I almost cried a little hearing it again. It is a beautiful, beautiful song with a deep meaning and emotion. It’s just…too emotional for me.

Unfortunately I created a terrible relationship to this song when I was struggling the most in 2018. I still haven’t quite fixed that yet. Let’s jump right in (the quicker we can, the quicker we can move on):

Should’ve stayed, were there signs, I ignored?
Cannot I help you, not to hurt, anymore?
We saw brilliance, when the world, was asleep
There are things that we can have, but can’t keep
If they say
Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do (did)

Bear with me as I edit this song’s lyrics a little. I didn’t realize it was “can I help”, rather I thought and always heard it as “cannot help”. I also took out the “do” and made it into a past tense of “did”, as you saw.

Personally, I used this song when I was very, very, very low. As you may know, the singer of this song was from the band Linkin Park, name Chester Bennington, who sadly took his life in 2017.

In 2018, I listened to this song religiously. I’m sad to say that I used the knowledge of his passing and the theme of this song to encourage myself to take my own life. It was just so sad and tragic and horrible and at the time I thought it was the perfect ending to my own story. I wanted to send these lyrics to my friends over text as my final goodbye. I know, really fucked up, but that’s the history behind it for me.

It wasn’t always like that and maybe in the future it will change again, too. It is a lovely song and I think it has a powerful message of grief and coming to terms with trauma as well as wanting to be there for others who are struggling and to let them know they aren’t alone and that their existence in this world is ever, ever so needed. I can recognize that and realize this without always appreciating the finer details of this song. But, it’s a part of my story, regardless.

The reminders pull the floor from your feet

In the kitchen, one more chair than you need

Oh, and you’re angry, and you should be, it’s not fair

Just ’cause you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

I suppose I can see how it (this song) relates to more than suicide, rather death in all its ugliness in its entirety. I still don’t love it, though. But, we’ll move on….


Song #4:

“Goodbye (I’m Sorry)” by Jamestown Story

Aaaaa, Jamestown Story!!! I LOVE this song. I’ve been in love with it for years, despite how sad and heartbreakingly sad, to be honest, it is. I am completely in love with the instruments used, the production of it, the beat, the captivation of the words and the story it tells. I was honestly concerned for the musician for a while before I found out how/why the song was written.

I think, in general, it’s a good time to also mention that if you find anyone listening to any of these songs, or others that are concerning to you, that it’s so, so, soooo important to bring it up to them and ask if they’re okay! Having a conversation matters so much and what we listen to for music, or watch on TV or read as a book, etc., can be a mirrored reflection of where we feel we’re at in life. So it’s always important to ask if someone is okay, naming specific patterns of behavior or expressions of sadness and pain. You can tell them that you care, that you’re worried/concerned for them and assure them that you’ll be there, if you really can be, for help or to listen to them vent. And you can also point them to local resources or the hotlines and even practice self-care for yourself and do the same! That’s my PSA at least. 🙂 Now, for the song itself!

Time has run out for me, everything’s distant and I don’t know what to believe
It’s so hard, lost in the world confusion and I need to leave for awhile
Life is so meaningless
There is nothing worth a smile
So goodbye, I’ll miss you

And I’m sorry, but this is my fate
Everything is worthless, no one who wants me to stay
And I’m sorry, but I’ve waited too long (waited too long)
So here’s my goodbye, no one will cry over me
I’m not worth any tears

IT’S. SO. SAD. And yet so beautifully, beautifully written.

This song came into my awareness of existing back in 2015, possibly even end of 2014. I can’t recall if this is the song that was presented in my abnormal psych class for depression but it is depression to a T! Maybe I just found it through searching on Youtube but shit, I love it. Like it’s awful in the sense of the subject matter, in the sense that the narrator feels SO low that they genuinely believe that they’re worthless and incapable of being helped and feeling better, and also just so descriptive of being what struggling with suicidal ideation is like. I don’t know, I love the functionality of this song so much that I can’t help but listen to it, even when I’m doing well and am not having thoughts, it’s just a classic from this band and speaks to the pain so, so well.

It’s been the years of abuse
Neglected to treat the disorder that controls my youth for so long
I’m in a fleshy tomb buried up above the ground
It’s no use, why should I hold on?
It’s been five years, don’t need one more
So goodbye, life’s abuse

And I’m sorry, but this is my fate
Everything is worthless, no one who wants me to stay
And I’m sorry, but I’ve waited too long
So here’s my goodbye, no one will cry over me
I’m not worth any tears

Every 12* minutes somebody dies from a suicide
Every 28* seconds somebody attempts one
If you or anybody you know is suicidal call 1 800 273 8255

So the lyric I put in bold here really represented what depression was first like when I first heard this song back around 2015. It was like the most classic depiction of it for me and really made me fall more in love with the song. Again, it’s a very, very sad song and at the same time I love it all the same. I highly encourage checking out the band! Some of their other songs that I love include “Nothing’s Forever” and “Cry” and “How You Learn to Live Alone”.

PS Here is some information on suicide prevention, suicide loss survivors and those who have attempted suicide in the past, present or if it sadly happens in the future:

  1. The USA Lifeline
  2. HelpGuide
  3. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  4. Beyond Blue (AU)
  5. Mind (UK)
  6. Metanoia

PPS: Think of the acronym IS PATH WARM? for suicide warning signs.


Song #5:

“Kamikaze” by WALK THE MOON

This is another great example of how I shouldn’t love this song, I shouldn’t love what it’s about but I am absolutely ENTHRALLED by it. I can’t help it! It’s so catchy and like upbeat even though it’s dark and tumultuous at the very same time. Let’s see…

I believe I just came across this song from my Alexa Echo Dot this year, so, that’s something. I just love the music in it and the beat is, like I said catchy, and just something to dance to and again, like I feel I shouldn’t like it but I do. Gwah!

Here in this room
I’m chasing down my demons, I can hear them breathing
But who knew
You would be my comfort, you could bring me healing

Well if my friend’s gonna let me slide
How come you never left my side
Before I go make it last all night
While I slip into the great divide

(Woman!)
Stepping out of body, no matter what you call it
I’m a kamikaze (oh I, oh I)
Abandon all your logic, and put your money on it
I’m a kamikaze (oh I, oh I)
Going down with my wings on fire
Guess I’ll see you in another life
(Woman!)
Stepping out of body, you can tell everybody
Mama I’m a kamikaze (oh I, oh I)

So, I totally never knew it said “woman” I thought it was just like “MA-WA” but, apparently it’s an actual word, lmao. I just love the head banging potential this song has, you know? I definitely don’t get the deeper meaning of the song itself but I’m pretty cool with just jamming out to this song, you know. Yep. I can accept this fate.

All is not lost
My veins are seething, I can feel the freedom
Let them talk
It’s not about the crown, we could share the kingdom

……

Stepping out of body, no matter how you call it
This is suicidal, honey, nothing you can do about it
Let me take the check with the reckless abandon on it
Just call me kamikaze

Maybe it’s about romantic relationships? Maybe it’s about self-destruction? Maybe it’s about self-destruction because of romantic failures? I don’t know for sure, honestly.

However, that about wraps up the entirety of this post!!

 

I hope that you enjoyed reading this, that you gathered something out of it, and it was a mission, it was time pretty well spent on my end. It took me 2 hours to write this, so there ya go. But I really wanted to write it so hopefully you have learned more about myself or about recovery and everything else about it like that. I hope that this post finds you all right and maybe gets you thinking about other ways that the entertainment you consume on a daily business shapes and molds you in different ways.

For now, that’s it from me!

I’ll see you in a next post, either about my recovery projects, fanfiction, art, and more. Thank you so much for reading!!!

Stay safe. ❤ ❤ ❤

PS Disclaimer: I don’t own any of these songs or their lyrics and all credit goes to their respective artists. I found the lyrics through Google and shared the videos I listen to most for that particular song. 🙂

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