Hello there, friend!

Thank you very much for visiting, reading and sharing your thoughts–if you did! I would love to hear your feedback, your thoughts, your questions, so feel free to message me publicly or privately =)

My name is Raquel Lyons. I’m in my senior year of a Psychology major at the University of Massachusetts Boston. I am an artist, a friend, a daughter, and a mental health advocate. I am a lover of the Marvel cinematic universe, the graphic novel ‘The Wicked + The Divine’, I love rainbows, artwork, mindfulness, art therapy, gazebos, all the seasons, animals (cats and puppies are adorable!!), positive music that is hopeful and inspiring and I’m a fan of being alive! I recognize that my voice is worth sharing, which has opened me up exponentially to creating this new blog, to sharing my mental health experiences with the world–both online and off.

I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by my university’s Counseling Center in fall 2014. Over the winter break I developed secondary depression and the party in my brain reallllly picked up a few notches! I live with OCD on self-harm and suicide obsessions. I’ve also recently been suggested that I may be living with borderline disorder traits, so that’s just dandy, too! Speaking of that, I, unfortunately, have attempted suicide up to four times now. I’ve had eight overall hospitalizations from the time of 2015-2017,  and was treated at the OCD-Institute (OCD-I) in November 2015. I stayed there for 5 weeks and man, did those five weeks help!

I am an active voyager in the recovery process and as of the start of May 2016, made it 9 months clean from scratching myself, with 2 lapses.

I love my life most days, although the struggles still come up now and again. I am doing my best to keep a positive outlook, and sharing my story has been a HUGE part of my recovery journey. In 2016, I became a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts by being trained as an In Our Own Voice Presenter, where we help spread mental health awareness and decrease stigma by sharing our stories in a wide variety of locations throughout the state. I’ve also taken up writing in the Mass Media, our school newspaper, about mental health.

In September 2016 I suffered from a newer suicidal crisis and was subsequently hospitalized for one week at one of the inpatient units I have been to before. I learned a lot again about self-care and radical acceptance, and even though it’s hard, that recovery is the best way for me to go through life. It’s hard accepting that one struggles with a medical condition and that things like inpatient stays may be a part of the future, but if it keeps you safe, well, it keeps you safe. And really, safety and health is all that matters at the start of the day.

I hope this introduction has given you a sneak peek into who I am and my life. I am a person first, and mental health issues just come later on with this package of awesomeness. =)

I hope you all find your strength to continue living another day.Thank you!! ❤ ❤

And remember: Go forth and radiate your survivor badassery! ❤ 😀