Entertain My Faith

This song is lovely and I especially love the second verse as of late. Plus the music video imagery is fantastic.

Remember the moment
You know exactly where you’re going,
‘Cause the next moment,
Before you know it, time is slowing
And it’s frozen still,
And the window sill looks really nice, right?
You think twice about your life,
It probably happens at night,
Right?

Fight it,
Take the pain, ignite it,
Tie a noose around your mind
Loose enough to breathe fine and tie it
To a tree. Tell it, “You belong to me.
This ain’t a noose, this is a leash.
And I have news for you: you must obey me.”

So I would have had 44 minutes of time to write with my laptop (I don’t have my charger) a couple of hours ago, but thought I’d save it for later (which is now). However, now I only actually have 26 minutes so, that’s great! *rolls eyes*

Any who, day #2 of my period and it’s gone remarkably well. I think my Midol might be wearing off which is shit but otherwise, I’m, really, really good.

Like, REALLY awesome FABULOUS AND A-FUCKING TASTIC BADASSERY ALL OVER THE PLACE.

I went to the OCD support group last night. We stayed LATE. Til 11p. Once I let myself feel it I’m going to crash exponentially. I napped on the train in the morning as usual but haven’t napped at all since.

I’ve been pretty safe today, although I did very loosely scratch myself once and bit at my skin. Besides that lapse, I’ve been safe. I’ve been FEELING safe.

I went to Advising and found out about other classes I have left to take, and I should be a’okay when it comes to graduating next fall semester, so that’s nice. I MIGHT take four classes next semester, I think the spring is a better time for me than autumn is, unfortunately. Then there’s all the grad school applications… *shudders* I’ll get to that bad boy much later though.

It’s … comforting and odd to plan so far ahead. It gives me more reasons to stick around, and in the uplifting of my mood I’ve been swiftly telling people how much I appreciate them today. I even professed friendship love to Craig. He really is my mental health hero, not sure if I’ve outwardly said that to you guys before. I’ve said it a few times in real life, at least.

Speaking of, tomorrow I have an IOOV presentation. Ohhhhh shit, I gotta work on that tonight. Or tomorrow morning, just read over the tips and tricks for that type of audience and write up what I wanna say and print it and I’ll be GOLDEN.

I didn’t see my therapist today but I did a phone call session instead. I’ll have another one on Friday at noon (saying this so I hopefully remember myself). It was tough to hear that I had broken a safety contract (via the general self-harm, biting, etc.) and got the dreaded question of ‘How doth one trust you now?’ question.

But we worked a LOT with the #RecoveryHome metaphor and that was pretty awesome. I’m definitely talking about where I am now in recovery during my presentation tomorrow.

I would have had a NAMI opportunity on the weekend, but I’m not in complete Recovery Raquel mode yet, so I may still send out an email and say that I’ll do it another time, next year. I have to rebuild a lot before I can add on more training’s for myself *nods*

But Recovery Raquel is in full blown force today. She is strong and powerful, bludgeoning her mind only metaphorically and NOT actually.

I also got some cookies and chocolate milk which is heavenly.

I did a drawing yesterday about #RecoveryHome and some not so positive drawings, but I’ll share those with you later tonight/this week. I have to hurry up now, dying battery and all. I await further instructions for the newspaper as well.

I’m reading a new book now, it’s quite good, all apocalyptic you know? ūüôā

I’m basically at the path towards Recovery Home, I can see the stone sign that says Recovery Residence, and the path I am walking on is a cobblestone street with green trees tunneling the road, and sunlight drifting through the leaves. I see the light, and I notice the shadows and how they furl and whisper to me. I try my best to ignore them. They are insistent. I keep walking. As best as I can.

Stay tuned for the rest of my journey.

‚̧ ‚̧ ‚̧

*FINAL* Voice From the Darkness | Golden #7

This piece is named “golden” as it’s the piece that officially both ends and begins my suicidality story. Ends, because it took 7 tries of writing before I got to this finished product and begins because it begins a conversation, of sorts. ūüôā

This is the piece that will be featured all over, so please do, if you feel like it, spread it all around. I don’t know what the official title of it will be, but when it’s up I shall mention it within this post and a new post.

Thank you ALL for reading and being patient with this series. I hope and plan to include more details and information and experiences throughout this month about how I made it through my suicidal times and what I remember from it (good and bad).

Thank you for being there for me, peeps. ‚̧ ‚̧ ‚̧ Love you, guys.

And of course, TRIGGER WARNING. Explicit mention of suicide within this post and the series.

Written 8/31 & 9/1

I tried to kill myself.

Wait for it.

I tried to kill myself.

There, that’s more accurate.
I was listening to ‚ÄúPhotograph‚ÄĚ by Ed Sheeran when I wrote my suicide note poem titled ‚ÄúMay Our Souls Rest Tonight‚ÄĚ back in May 2015.
I‚Äôve attempted suicide twice and yet I don‚Äôt consider myself a suicide attempt survivor. I would have to have made a ‚Äúserious‚ÄĚ attempt on my life in order to be considered that term. I‚Äôm talking multiple broken bones and permanent side effects kind of suicide attempt survivor stuff.

Even though when I look up close to things my eyes move back and forth rapidly and THAT‚Äôs because of a suicide attempt, I guess, it just doesn‚Äôt ‚Äúcount.‚ÄĚ

Not in my brain.
Let me formally introduce myself to you–hi, hello, welcome, over in the far right corner is OCD, behind them is secondary depression and self-harm obsessions/thoughts and suicide obsessions/thoughts line all the bloody walls in this place. Now, that‚Äôs an introduction!

I don‚Äôt want this piece to be about the recovery side of things–I‚Äôve already written and write daily about that before. No, instead, I just want this to be a talkative piece. Where I share with you my darkest days, where suicidal ideation ran rampant and I was convinced I was going to die by suicide.

I just want that story to be told–because it hasn‚Äôt been, not yet. And it‚Äôs time I stepped away from the shadows and found my voice, and used it.

So, let’s begin, shall we?
As someone dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder on self-harm and suicide obsessions–by the textbook I never should have acted them. Yet, even when I was ‚Äújust‚ÄĚ dealing with OCD, I was acting on the obsessions. I thought, maybe if I did what the OCD said, it would go away.

So I sat on a ledge. So I jabbed myself with car keys. So I scratched myself. So I took one pill of an old prescribed painkiller.

But still, the OCD came back. In fact, it came back tenfold worse after I had acted on the thoughts.

I wasn‚Äôt trying to hurt myself (except when I was); I was just trying to find freedom. Everything in my world had turned upside down, I didn‚Äôt know what was right or what was wrong anymore and the doubt was getting on my nerves. I was tired of the emotional whirlwinds–spiraling from anxiety to depression to anger to apathy. I just wanted it all to end, to pause for even the simplest of moments. But I didn‚Äôt have the ‚Äúguts‚ÄĚ to kill myself.

And, let me be clear here: Suicide doesn‚Äôt take ‚Äúguts‚ÄĚ; suicide isn‚Äôt a ‚Äúbrave‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúcowardly‚ÄĚ act. Suicide just is. That‚Äôs why I‚Äôve used the quotations here, because even with quotations those accusations are just such utter bullshit. And, it‚Äôs about time someone called them out for what they are and not prance around pretending like it‚Äôs anything other than bullshit.

Secondary depression set in during the time my therapist ‚ÄúSteve‚ÄĚ was away, during the winter break. On the night before New Year‚Äôs Eve, I felt depression speak up from the shadows. It told me that suicide was my only way out of the hell that was OCD. It told me that there was nothing I could do to make my emotional pain stop. I had tried every possible positive coping strategy for four hours that evening, just so I could get some blissful, sweet sleep.

Yet the sleep never came.

No matter what I did, nothing was working. Nothing would ever work; there was nothing I could do to make the pain stop, and all I wanted was the pain to stop, right?

For six days, I planned my suicide. That was all I thought about: suicide, suicide, suicide, suicide. Details from what I’d wear to where I would do it, to who I could tell to stop myself, to not believing at all that I would even follow through with it. I dreamt of suicide as my release, my freedom. It was my fantasy of releasing me from the hell that I was stuck in. How sweet, no, how beautiful suicide would be to me. I yearned for it even as I read articles upon articles about suicide prevention, trying to convey their warning signs into my daily life.

I wanted my freedom and I wanted it desperately.

I thought, because of the nature of the OCD that I was dealing with, that if I told someone about the thoughts that I was having on suicide, the fixation of it, that they wouldn’t believe me to be a danger to myself. I thought they might just think I was talking about the OCD again and that they’d respond with thoughts are just thoughts.

I thought that I had to prove I was a danger to myself. And the only way I could prove that, my brain said, was to act on my suicidal thoughts. The only way I would prove I was serious about dying from suicide, was if I died by suicide.

I remember the discussion between my brain and myself. I remember it taunting me, telling me if I didn‚Äôt ingest the pills, what I was dealing with was ‚Äújust‚ÄĚ OCD. But, if I ingested the pills, then it was something else. So, was it ‚Äújust‚ÄĚ OCD or was it something else?

I remember my own self-awareness that I knew my true self would recognize that ten pills, twenty pills would be a genuine threat to me, and therefore I would step in to prevent myself from acting on my suicidal thoughts. So, I had to trick myself. I had to get myself to ingest some smaller amount.

Suicide had to be better than the hell that I was struggling to breathe in. Breathing was exhausting, moving was exhausting, everything had just become exhausting.

I couldn‚Äôt move, I couldn‚Äôt talk, and I couldn‚Äôt open my damn mouth to let somebody know–anybody! The secondary depression stole my voice, the OCD my will to live. There had to be a way out of that life and the only alternative that was always on my mind, playing like a charred weapon throwing out bullets, was suicide.

However, first I had to convince myself to let go of life. Before I could act on my suicidal thoughts, I had to ask myself permission to kill myself.

I knew the first hour of the OCD telling me to kill myself would be met with a firm no. But after the three hundredth time, then, then I would waver. And then a little more time after that and I’d be considering and I’d finally, finally give myself that sweet, glistening allowance: Okay, I’ll do what you say.

All in the disillusionment that the OCD would give me reprieve if I just did what it said.

This led up to the first time I tried to kill myself on Tuesday, January 6th 2015, when I ingested five pills of that same painkiller from earlier. I walked into 2015 with the promise to myself that I wouldn’t see the end of the year, because I’d be dead.

But, I lacked conviction.

In sharing my story for this piece, someone told me that I couldn’t prove death. That I couldn’t possibly prove I was serious about suicide if I died by suicide and stayed dead. If I stayed dead by suicide I wouldn’t be able to live my life another day, and some part of me wanted to live life another day. Death doesn’t work that way, though.

And, I think that’s the worst part.

The worst part is not in all the action that I did manage–sticking a pen in an electrical outlet, how I tried slitting my wrist on the toilet paper dispenser after I placed a bag over my head for ten seconds, how I skipped class because I was trying to hang myself in the bathroom about ten feet away from the classroom.

The worst part is certainly not lying within the three hospitalizations I had from the end of January 2015 to June 2015.

The worst part is that no matter what I act on it is still not considered ‚Äúserious‚ÄĚ, not really.

I‚Äôm still seen as someone who didn‚Äôt really want to die–and you know, yeah, that‚Äôs true. Wanting freedom and wanting death are two different things, but when they seemingly align to mean the same thing, you‚Äôve got some serious problems going down.

Sometimes I wish I didn‚Äôt lack such conviction. Some days I wake up and think to myself, ‚ÄúDamn it, you should have killed yourself when you had the chance.‚ÄĚ

These are no easy things to admit. But I’m being honest about my experiences, because there are not enough voices out there who are sharing these words, words others can relate to and feel less alone because of them. Because talking about suicide is important, especially when it comes to preventing another suicide from happening.

More days I’m glad to have survived my suicidal crises. I may not completely, or even partially, consider myself a suicide attempt survivor, because of the low doses of painkillers I ingested, but I acted on it. I followed through with suicide plans. And by mental health professionals’ standards, that IS serious.

Sure, that’s not what the OCD tells me, but the OCD also tells me to go kill myself so really I shouldn’t be listening to its bullshit anyhow.

I can say though, with certainty, that I hate it when people suggest my suicide attempts weren‚Äôt ‚Äúthat bad‚ÄĚ, or ‚ÄúI wasn‚Äôt really trying to kill myself‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúit was a cry for help.‚ÄĚ

Way to kick me when I’m down, bro!

I hate it because it fuels the OCD, because in my brain it’s confirmation that it was right all along. But I don’t want to die to prove that point!

And worse, no one wants me to go acting on that either. What they say is intended to make me think of the part of myself that wants to live and recover and be happy. But I interpret it as ‚ÄúOh, you weren‚Äôt really serious otherwise you‚Äôd be dead.‚ÄĚ

And, that sucks.

When it came to my second suicide attempt I immediately felt regret. I was filled to the brim of the thoughts: ‚ÄúOh shit, what did I do? What if I die? I don‚Äôt want to die.‚ÄĚ

That fear was palpable when I thought I might die, and I found out that the OCD, the depression, everything in my brain had LIED to me.

Suicide wasn’t freedom. Suicide wasn’t relief. Suicide was painful. Suicide was shit. Suicide meant releasing pain onto others and taking away any chance of the future possibilities of life getting better. Suicide meant never seeing some god damn rock formations in the future, not getting to smile again, to laugh, to listen to music, to just feel and be and breathe. Suicide was painful and sickening and meant ending my life just when I realized how much I had to live for.

For six months I had been lied to, and I had believed those lies. And when I found this out, when I found the truth, I was beyond pissed off. I was also disappointed, because now the one thing I had believed in so much wasn’t true, and there was a loss in that.

That loss has brought me back to the present moment. I haven’t acted on thoughts regarding scratching myself, self-harm in general or suicidality in at least a month, but many more for other aspects of that list (i.e. scratching myself and the suicidality).

While I haven’t acted on them, I have wanted to. Oh, how I have wanted to. But I don’t, because in losing suicide as a fantasy, the reality of suicide has hit me square in the face.

There was something that I told myself when I was suffering through my suicidal crises that I’ll share with you now:

‚ÄúSome people make it through their suicidality, and some people don‚Äôt. We lose some people to suicide, and that sucks. They likely felt some inkling of what I feel right now and that may have been the last thing they ever experienced. So am I going to be someone who makes it to recovery or someone who doesn‚Äôt?‚ÄĚ

For me, these were sobering words. They allowed me to see the reality of the situation, there was no foolery or bullshit, just blatant fact.

There are times, today, where I think to myself that my voice and my story matter more when I’m alive than when I’m gone. And likely, with society as it is today, if I were to die by suicide? I can’t imagine anyone would be told it was that because suicide is just not spoken about, and that’s bullshit at its finest.
It’s at this point in the story where I elude to the fact that there isn’t an ending. Where I elude to the fact that I am an ongoing story (loose leaf pages, by the way) and I thank you for reading and spending some time visiting this old noggin of mine. Expect OCD to take a swing at you on your way out, and depression to yell at you some unfortunate words. Don’t worry; they do that every time I have a guest over.

And, finally, if you are someone struggling with suicidality, I encourage you to choose to live another day. The future days may not always be rainbows and sunshine, yet they may be days’ worth sticking around for. Of course, the choice is up to you.

Stay safe.

 

Words to Say with No Mouth to Open

So, sometimes just sharing pictures is enough.

IMG_8967 Upd

Some song lyrics from ‘Comes and goes in waves’ piano version by Greg Laswell. Listening to it now in order to fit the theme of this post.

Some of these drawings, like the one above, are from my first sketchbook, lasting from about February 2015 to November 2015.

IMG_7569 Upd

Lyrics credited to at the bottom of the page. From one of my coloring books. ūüôā

IMG_7548 Upd

I really like this coloring page. ūüôā It’s hung up on my wall.

IMG_7544 Upd

An individual who climbed to the top of their mountain and SURVIVED. We’re all survivors, here. ‚̧

IMG_8928 Upd

A mindfulness exercise. One of my most memorable pieces when I think about mindfulness.

IMG_8912 Upd

The choices that exist in Recovery: Do we proceed forwards or spend time moving backwards. We already know that moving backwards or standing still pretty much sucks, so the only thing we have yet to experience is the moving forwards to find the light. Inside the chest there is the potential to get better. You have it within you, too. ‚̧

Upd

Another one of my coloring pages. Fucking love gazebos ‚̧

IMG_8909 Upd

Birds and a colorful tree. ‚̧ Freedom, at its finest.

IMG_7568 Upd

Speaking of freedom…. More about inner potential and light, especially in the darkness and the chaotic waves.

 

‚̧ ‚̧ ‚̧ Stay safe.

 

#Go Fix | Opening Our Mouths about Suicide Prevention Awareness

Sharing our stories is a powerful force of awakening. By sharing our stories we share with others how we, too, have felt alone, have felt vulnerable and have felt low. And by sharing our stories, we make it okay for other people to share theirs, to open their own mouths and to talk about the hard stuff rather than the fake pleasantries. By sharing our stories we unite with one another, feeling stronger and connected, able to love and be loved even more effectively. By sharing our stories we open ourselves up to other people’s kind blessings, their gratitude and their inspiration. We create a cycle, a wavelength, of love. And that love is necessary, no, sufficient, for preventing yet another loss of life from¬† suicide on this rock floating in space that we call Earth (or Midgard, for Thor fans ;)).

That’s the core for this new hashtag, #Go Fix. My dear and wonderfully loving and caring friend Imani, someone I’ve come to know within my short stay thus far on WordPress, has created this lovely hashtag for us to further expand the topic of mental health issues and suicide prevention awareness.

She wants us to start a revolution; a caring, loving revolution where we each, as human beings, look out for one another. Where we choose to be kinder, gentler, happier. Where we choose to spread love rather than hate, and that we reach out our hands to the strangers who feel their mouths are sewn shut from the horrors of depression and suicidal ideation. Let us, one by one, show each other that we are caring people, willing to open our souls and tell our stories of how we have survived, and are continuing to live, despite at one point in time being in that dark vortex. Or, for those who haven’t been suicidal, show too that you care, that you’re willing to have a conversation about suicide prevention, about mental health issues, and that you’re ready for society–all of our societies to change.

Let’s unite together and in one strong, unwavering voice, announce to break the silence. (Or fuck the silence, as I like to say). Let us spread the #Go Fix with our messages of strength, courage and hope.

Because life is worth living. And if you are feeling suicidal out there on this large, large rock of ours, I encourage you to reach out to someone and talk about how you are feeling. As Imani has suggested, I will too, that you can reach out to me if you need it. Send me an email from my contact page, I will be happy to chat with you and honored that you are showing your strength and courage.

Because suicide is a permanent action to a temporary crisis. Because everything in life changes. Because feelings are temporary. Because YOU are worthy of recovery and your life is worth living, and your story is worth sharing.

Take the day hour by hour, minute by minute. Practice your positive coping skills. Make a list of things you love and enjoy, make art, practice art therapy, build your #Recovery Home, attack the shit out of this #Go Fix by sharing your thoughts and using your voice. By being alive, you have a voice within you, stronger than you realize and more necessary than you are aware of for this discussion.

Spread awareness. Make a difference. We may not be able to stop the hate, the crime, the wars on this planet, yet if we each do our small part, we can make a powerful difference in just one person’s life. And the ripple effect from that? It could change the world.


With that prep out of the way, I’d like to share some artwork I did for this #Go Fix, as well as some quotes about suicide prevention I found via Google and my own Reasons to Live that I made up last year. (and hasn’t been updated since–not yet, at least).

My 64 Reasons to Live:

  1. Making art
  2. Having hope
  3. Reading fanfiction
  4. Watching movies (Marvel–i.e. Thor Ragnarok comes out in Nov. 2017, and I gotta stay alive to watch that motherfucker)
  5. Getting an education (Bachelor’s degree)
  6. Becoming a mental health therapist (Master’s LCSW)
  7. Being inspired and receiving hope from the stories of others who have struggled with mental illness and have come to manage their lives again
  8. I want to make it to the day where I am grateful that I am alive and that I am doing well. I want to live through this difficult time to make it to the day where I’m glad that I didn’t end the pain. Where I can say I’m here and better for it.
  9. Laughing with friends
  10. Going shopping

#Go Fix Photos

11. Hanging out with friends

12. Nature and all its beauty and glory

13. Coloring books

14. The sprinkles of rain

15. Morning dew on grass.

16. Drawing

17. Finding/Discovering more coping strategies

18. LIVING again

19. Getting better

20. Making progress.

(Apparently I have more reasons to live than I remembered! I wrote on the back of the cards too!!!!)

21. Helping others

22. Giving people compliments

23. Receiving compliments

24. Spontaneous conversations with strangers

25. Making new friends

26. Relating; CONNECTING with people

27. Watching birds

28. Seeing the stars at night

29. Laying out a blanket over grass on a sunny day and just being

30. Experiencing moments of calm, bliss and relation

89431-best-suicide-prevention-quotes

31. Coloring

32. Feeling emotions

33. Scented markers, pens, etc.

34. Candles ‚̧

35. Subway chocolate chip cookies

36. Ice cream ūüôā

37. Being creative

38. Inspiring other people

39. Having an impact on other people’s lives

40. Jamming to music (Shawn Mendes – Stitches)

41. Realizing how far you’ve come

42. Recognizing your value, importance and significance.

43. Who would wear the sparkly pants?

44. Being a positive glow for others who have yet to shine.

prevention 3

45. Organizing

46. Fuzzy/fluffy socks

47. Colors / color combinations

48. Cute purchases

49. Stickers

50. Candy: Skittles, M&M’s, Reese’s Fast Break

51. Beef stew

52. Potatoes. All of them (well, not all)

53. Spreading mental health and suicide prevention awareness.

54. Finding a cause to be passionate about and devote time towards.

prevention 4

55. Photography Club Exhibitions

56. Painted nails

57. Crafting bracelets

58. Beads. All of them

59. DeviantART community, friends, art

60. Joking with friends

61. Being Open to Learn; Willing to Listen

62. Early morning quiet before others have awoken

63. Video games

64. Childhood memories

prevention quote 2

My Thoughts:

It’s very, very interesting to have this opportunity to look back on the artwork I made, the notes I wrote, the reasons to live that I listed, and find so much of who I am today, of how I convey myself on this blog, there within the notes and art and papers.

I guess it just goes to show that the light within your true self, that may dim and get damaged as you go through difficult trials, can, under better circumstances, create a POWERFUL stream of light that extends beyond you and out into the galaxies.

I genuinely could not have imagined a year ago that I’d be sitting here in my room, at a lovely desk by the way, recording my long ago list of reasons to live and typing them up onto a place where I share so much of myself with the world around me.

I find it just fantastic and amazing that I’ve already begun to incorporate so many of my reasons to live into my life–maybe that’s what Recovery is truly all about. Again, it just goes to show how FAR we can travel from–from a darkness so toxic to a brightness so blindingly beautiful and hope hanging from the tree branches like apples. ūüôā


Finally, my drawing for #Go Fix:

IMG_00002887

I knew I wanted to use a quote for this piece and do some colorful flowers and such in the background, leaving the majority of it blank white space. I got more into the swirls and dips than I thought I would, as it turns out, but I got myself to finish the floral atmosphere at the top and have the swirls surrounding all of the page.

The quote is something that I wrote on my DA account in a journal when I began to feel better, and chose that rather than self-harming or attempting suicide, I’d choose for that moment, to show myself kindness, compassion and self-love. Hence, the saying above!

I didn’t always like how this was turning out, but I like it more as a finished product. It is a beautiful piece with an even deeper meaning and memory behind it. And the #Go Fix is written all down below. ūüôā

I hope you all have enjoyed this post!!!! ‚̧ Keep holding on. ‚̧ ‚̧ ‚̧

Lastly, the slideshow of this work in progress:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Stay safe, my friends! And spread the word about this mission wherever you go!!!! ūüôā

Around the Clock 1: General (Positive) Coping Strategies List

Taken From: http://fav.me/d9cwkes published October 12th 2015

And no, I didn’t reread this, it’s a long post I did back in October on my deviantART account, which you can find the original sourced above. I was having a hard time coming up with words for this post, so I’m just dropping this BUFFALO here.

Daily prompt: Clock

sigh¬†A final point I will mention on what just happened from the previous paragraph: Having the type of OCD that I have (“pure O”) on the subject matter that I do, makes it treacherous and difficult to talk about. From stigma to general lack of understanding (‘Oh, that’s OCD too?’ ‘I’ve never heard of that before.’), sure, yet even more so because at this stage in my Recovery acknowledging it in any fashion, at times, can be its own type of trigger. I’ll just start babbling to myself about what it’s about, what some of my compulsions have been, ooo what could I say next, actually that’s OCD; Oooo prevention stuff, oh what about that! And that! And that!

I want to say more, and that seems to be the core pulsating sensation from the OCD, that I always want to say more, talk about it more, be open about it, talk about it, but in doing so Рonline and off Рit genuinely pains me. At this stage, I feel lost and incapable of bringing awareness to the condition I am struggling with, whereas many others can be outspoken about theirs (and I do hope that is helpful for them and not something like the compulsions I have, where it just sets me back instead of moving forwards).
As I write this, I feel myself take on the role of the Observer, and I feel more controlled (of myself). So while I want to say more, as the urge is so often there, I will not. Back to the POINT of this journal, and why I do believe sincerely at this point in time that it is helpful, beneficial and not a compulsion to me.

ALL HAIL THE MAGICAL DIVIDER HEREEEEEE

 

This journal is all abut generalized coping strategies. Some of the coping strategies I use may or may not be listed here, and I’m also going to include some of my favorite mental health Youtubers (who often have their own videos about coping strategies), other linked resources to pages about coping strategies (such as alternatives to self harm), and possibly (if I can find them) links to larger and longer lists of coping strategies.

I will also mention some articles (may or may not link to them) that I’ve received through my treatment journey, about some topics such as mindfulness, meditation, the five senses, grounding techniques, journaling. I will also discuss more of these extensively in my own coping strategies journal, which will be all about what has worked for me, how I’ve practiced them over time, the things I encourage you to try and the style of my coping and recovery (which you guys actually got a peek into in my last journal).

A lot of these coping strategies that you will find linked, spoken of or featured here, will be repetitive as you explore more on your own (if you so choose), or go through the links or what have you. There are legitimately HUNDREDS of coping strategies in existence in this world. You CAN and WILL find what works for you. It’s a lot of just trying it out and seeing how it works. There are strategies you can use in particular moods – such as for anger, anxiety, depressed. There are ones you can infiltrate into every day life – art, for¬†instance. And others you can use on fancy days. Fancy Dance PLZ

The big things to keep in mind: It will take you time and practice to work on these coping strategies – and to master them, most definitely practice them when you are feeling WELL. We all know how difficult it can be to unlearn negative behaviors, and by engaging in more positive coping strategies, particularly when you are feeling WELL, will help you to reach FOR those positive strategies when you direly need them.
There will be relapses and lapses in Recovery. In terms of self harm, a relapse in recovery is where you re-engage with the negative behavior (whatever form of SH that is) and say ‘Ah, fuck it, I’ll just keep doing this’ and continue to self harm again.
In contrast, a lapse in recovery is where you slip up, you have a moment of intense emotion, you self harm, then you say ‘Okay, I had a bad moment there, it’s not something I want to do again, I’m getting rid of the tools I used, I’m continuing with recovery’.

That difference can be huge.

We all have good days and bad days. When the bad days come, know your warning signs and when you absolutely need to bust into coping strategies, getting professional help, being hospitalized, or what have you. If you don’t know your warning signs, look through warning sign lists online or ask around with other individuals you know who struggle or from Youtube videos or treatment staff and look at the common hits (if you’re sleeping more or less, if you’re eating more or less, if you’re more stressed out, is there structure to your day or do you have a lot of unstructured time, etc.) and begin journaling and paying attention to what your own warning signs are. A pattern will emerge in time, trust me.

Also, something I’ve been told in treatment, is that it often FEELS like you can go from 0 to 100 in a snap, but in actuality, there are often times warning signs of you gradually getting worse until you do, to put it humorously, spontaneously combust. What you can learn to do is see where the common warning signs are taking place, adjust and adapt your schedule to address them, cope positively, get support from others, and keep yourself safe – rather than launching into red alert world 100.

Along with this, there are things you can do to positively help yourself, keep yourself safe, things you can prevent yourself from doing or getting to, etc.

If mental illness is a part of your life, you may know how important it is to gather support from the community, to have professional help that helps you, to surround yourself in positive vibes and having hobbies, coping strategies, work, volunteer work, etc. Some of you may not have a mental illness, but we ALL have mental health. Learning additional coping strategies and packing them into your list of resources is just as important as anything else. We’ve all had different sorts of experiences through our lives, and one thing that works well for me may not work for you, but I do believe wellness, recovery and betterment does exist and can exist in our lives. It takes a lot of work, and even I know that my recovery is only just beginning. And, that’s totally okay. Let’s jump into this, shall we?

Candycorn Line Right Candycorn Line Right Candycorn Line Right Candycorn Line Right Candycorn Line Right

Heart #2 A. RESOURCES

Outside resources that I myself am linking to you guys (although you are more than competent at finding more on your own!).

1. Different coping strategies based on mood, for self harm alternatives. sirius-project.org/2011/08/16/…
2. A list of coping strategies or stimulating activities you can try out if you ever get ridiculously incredibly bored.  www.danielbranch.com/50-things…
3. Support websites or forums, although tread carefully as some users out there may be toxic and unhelpful towards your recovery.
4. Consider outreach help lines, texting lines, etc.
5. Consider having or finding a professional therapist to aid in whatever situation you may be struggling with. (My first therapy experience was to help with my procrastination in college).
6. You could check out blogs or articles that talk more about mental health awareness or coping strategies; such as Psych Central, help-guide.
7. You could also search for deviants, groups, forum threads, on DA that have additional resources, links, lists, and more! I’ll list a few at the end of this journal or somewhere in the middle.

Sweetheart #4  B. MENTAL HEALTH YOUTUBERS

These are YT’s I myself enjoy and have been watching them often for years or jumped on their bandwagon some time in the midst of their journey. They may not all mesh with you, but it may be possible for you to find some who do. And, sometimes other YT’s whose main platform centers around other matters than MH can be helpful and beneficial in their own way to you. =]

1. Laura Lejeune. She has a couple of videos on coping strategies, and I do recommend the coping box/emergency box video in particular. She raises awareness for things like self harm, eating disorders, depression, anxiety. She’s also done a neat series about misconceptions featuring other YT’s on various MH issues.

2. Melissa C. Water or idranktheseawater. Really, really love her videos. She raises awareness for self harm, EDs, PTSD, suicidal ideation, Tourette’s,¬†etc. Her mini movie series are pretty cool in my opinion, and she has playlists on her channel for alternatives to SI and other helpful stuff. =]

3. LikeKristen. Still a relatively young channel, but quickly growing speed. Kristen’s channel focuses deeply from a recovery stand point, for ED’s, self harm, anxiety, etc. She has a bunch of videos on self harm alternatives, coping strategies, how to help someone who may be self harming, the different forms of it, etc.

4. HannahVancouverr. She’s actually the YT I found who spoke about the difference between relapse/lapse earlier in spring this year in a video (who Kristen then referenced in a video as well) which is awesome, because I never knew there was such an important difference as this! She does lots of fantastic pro-recovery videos, she talks very quickly, but you get used to it. ^^

5. Kati Morton. If you haven’t heard of her, I’ll be surprised! She’s had lots of videos from over the years, is I believe a LMFT (therapist) and has videos about many different mental health topics, general advice for various topics, promotes mental health education, has some workbooks on her website and tons of stuff. Do check her out – carve out like half a day in your schedule ’cause god knows Youtube can suck up your time magically! XD

6. SiffaScary. She has videos about EDs, self harm, recovery, meditations, opinions, her own struggles, lots of things! I like checking up on her for new videos. She’s doing graduate work at the moment to become a mental health counselor I believe, if not just a counselor. ^^ :heart:

7. Lastly, for this list, Autumn Asphodel. She’s covered videos about her own experiences, researched other mental health topics, covers transgender issues, DID, trauma. She has her own very well organized website as well. =)

Lady Bug Bullet (Left) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Left) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Right) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Left) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Right) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Left) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Right) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Left) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Right) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Left) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Right) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Left) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Right) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Left) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Right) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet Right (Outline) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet Left (Outline) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet Right (Outline) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet Left (Outline) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet Right (Outline) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet Left (Outline) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet Right (Outline) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet Right (Outline) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Right) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Left) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Right) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Left) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Right) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Left) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Right) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Left) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Right) - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet - F2U! Lady Bug Bullet (Left) - F2U!

:gwahplz: Gwah MSN emoticon Gah  My apologies, I seem to only know how to do MEGA LONG journals that take many hours to complete XD Ah well.
I’m going to try and list some variety of coping strategies and ones I think are surprising and interesting and different and not what I would have thought would be coping strategies. Some of them I’m getting from therapy prompts, a 300 list of coping alternatives, stress management articles, my own journal, etc. Again, for the ones that I particularly use, I may or may not list here and I’ll extend into deeper discussion in the next journal. Until then…. AWAAAAAY

How can DA help you? Le Coping Strategies Swingin' On a Star _revamp_

:brainstorm:¬†(This is an arbitrary pack of coping strategies here, and I’ll continue doing this throughout the journal to make some attempt of organizing this out and so I know what I’ve already said.)

LIST #1: Called 20 Sober Leisure Activities —

Bullet; Pink Acting/dramatics. Bullet; Pink Aerobics Bullet; Pink Archery Bullet; Pink aquariums Bullet; Pink  art appreciation Bullet; Pink arts and crafts shows Bullet; Pink astrology Bullet; Pink auctions
Bullet; Pink backpacking  Bullet; Pink Barbecues Bullet; Pink bicycling Bullet; Pink playing bingo Bullet; Pink bird-watching Bullet; Pink board games Bullet; Pink calligraphy Bullet; Pink book club
Bullet; Pink bowling Bullet; Pink camping Bullet; Pink canoeing/kayaking Bullet; Pink sports: basketball, soccer, football, etc. Bullet; Pink card games Bullet; Pink ceramics, pottery
Bullet; Pink child related organizations Bullet; Pink choir Bullet; Pink coffee houses Bullet; Pink collecting Рcoins/antiques Bullet; Pink community organizations Bullet; Pink concerts
Bullet; Pink crossword puzzles Bullet; Pink word searches Bullet; Pink jigsaw puzzles (physical or on your phone) Bullet; Pink dancing Bullet; Pink designing clothes Bullet; Pink dining out
Bullet; Pink driving Bullet; Pink education Bullet; Pink electronics Bullet; Pink exercising Bullet; Pink exhibits Bullet; Pink fishing Bullet; Pink garage sales/yard sales Bullet; Pink gardening Bullet; Pink genealogy
Bullet; Pink gymnastics Bullet; Pink hair styling Bullet; Pink hiking/walking Bullet; Pink home decorating Bullet; Pink organizing Bullet; Pink horseback riding Bullet; Pink hot air balloons Bullet; Pink  house plants
Bullet; Pink ice skating Bullet; Pink swimming Bullet; Pink going to the beach Bullet; Pink going outside Bullet; Pink having picnics (with friends, family, etc.) Bullet; Pink observing wild life
Bullet; Pink karaoke Bullet; Pink flying kites Bullet; Pink knitting/crochet Bullet; Pink listening to music Bullet; Pink mini golf Bullet; Pink mountain climbing Bullet; Pink movies Bullet; Pink museums
Bullet; Pink musical instruments Bullet; Pink parks Bullet; Pink going to parties or Planning parties Bullet; Pink people watching Bullet; Pink Pets Bullet; Pink ping pong Bullet; Pink plays/lectures
Bullet; Pink quilting Bullet; Pink debates Bullet; Pink reading Bullet; Pink fanfiction ;) Bullet; Pink religious organizations Bullet; Pink roller skating Bullet; Pink school clubs Bullet; Pink shopping Bullet; Pink sight seeing
Bullet; Pink singing Bullet; Pink stargazing Bullet; Pink stenciling Bullet; Pink sunbathing Bullet; Pink string art Bullet; Pink supernatural Bullet; Pink Support Groups Bullet; Pink talking on the phone
Bullet; Pink teaching a skill Bullet; Pink television Bullet; Pink tennis Bullet; Pink touring Bullet; Pink traveling Bullet; Pink video games Bullet; Pink visiting friends Bullet; Pink volunteer work Bullet; Pink weight lifting
Bullet; Pink window shopping Bullet; Pink woodworking Bullet; Pink yard work Bullet; Pink yoga Bullet; Pink doing homework =)

See? I wasn’t kidding, there’s a LOT of stuff. Oh boy, this journal is getting slowed down too, but I’ll keep on going!! =D

blooming emote (CP)

LIST #2: PLEASANT EVENTS SCHEDULE


: Being in the country / driving, walking, being along the country side, farms. : wearing expensive or formal clothes
: taking tests when well prepared : planning trips/vacations : talking to yourself :talking with a friend : buying things for yourself
: giving gifts :hugging someone :rearranging or redecorating your room or home :bademoticon: creating a sensory room/space for yourself
:bademoticon: going to a sports event :bademoticon: reading a how to book or article :bademoticon: reading stories, novels, plays :bademoticon: writing stories, novels, plays xD
:bademoticon: driving skillfully. Biking skillfully :bademoticon: go to the library :bademoticon: breathing clean air :bademoticon: thinking about something good in the future
:bademoticon: completing a difficult task :bademoticon: Laughing :bademoticon: problem solving :bademoticon: baking cookies from scratch :bademoticon: baking in general :bademoticon: cooking
:bademoticon: being at weddings :bademoticon: having lunch with friends :bademoticon: taking a shower :bademoticon: Taking a bath :bademoticon: writing positive affirmations

:bademoticon: being adventurous (especially with friends!) :bademoticon: having a frank and open conversation :bademoticon: working on your job :bademoticon: making snacks
:bademoticon: being helped :bademoticon: helping others :bademoticon: wearing informal clothes :bademoticon: combing/brushing your hair :bademoticon: taking a nap :bademoticon: being in the city
:bademoticon: singing to yourself :bademoticon: making food or crafts to sell or give away :bademoticon: being with cousins :bademoticon: playing chess or checkers
:bademoticon:¬†putting on makeup :bademoticon:¬†taking off makeup :bademoticon:¬†treating yourself (a dessert, a hobby, etc.) :bademoticon:¬†designing or drafting :bademoticon:¬†visiting people who are sick or shut in :bademoticon:¬†getting in touch with a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while :bademoticon:¬†cheering :bademoticon:¬†reading academic or professional literature :bademoticon:¬†wearing new clothes :bademoticon:¬†sitting in the sun :bademoticon:¬†Just sitting and thinking :bademoticon:¬†seeing good things happen to your friends/family

:bademoticon: going to an amusement park, zoo, carnival :bademoticon: listening to nature sounds :bademoticon: introducing people you think may like each other
:bademoticon: watching the sky, clouds or storms :bademoticon: getting massages/back rubs :bademoticon: getting letters, cards or notes :bademoticon: writing letters, cards or notes (this reminds me of you, Sage :heart:) :bademoticon: Giving  speech :bademoticon: Reading maps :bademoticon: Gathering objects from nature :bademoticon: being in the mountains
:bademoticon: getting a job advancement, promotion or raise (good job! Celebrate it!) :bademoticon: hearing or telling jokes :bademoticon: enjoying beautiful scenery
:bademoticon: improving your health (diet, exercise, wellness) :bademoticon: writing papers, essays, articles :bademoticon: doing a job well (like a boss!) :bademoticon: having spare time :bademoticon: being noticed in a positive/expressive way =D :bademoticon: counselling someone :bademoticon: learning something new! :bademoticon: going to a drive in
:bademoticon: complimenting or praising someone :bademoticon: thinking about people you like :bademoticon: have daydreams :bademoticon: seeing famous people :bademoticon: being alone

:bademoticon: budgeting your time :bademoticon: being praised by someone you admire :bademoticon: having religious faith :bademoticon: exploring your own spirituality :bademoticon: doing a project in your own way :bademoticon: Crying :bademoticon: Being told that you are needed :bademoticon: seeing or smelling a flower :bademoticon: having plants :bademoticon: Using perfume or cologne :bademoticon: having peace and quiet :bademoticon: reminiscing on good times :bademoticon: getting up early in the morning :bademoticon: saying or repeating mantras
:bademoticon:¬†meditations :bademoticon:¬†doing favors for people (and also being assertive and say no to things if you need to!) :bademoticon:¬†being relaxed :bademoticon:¬†being asked for your advice or help :bademoticon:¬†keeping in perspective other people’s struggles :bademoticon:¬†sleeping well at night :bademoticon:¬†being in a therapy or other support group :bademoticon:¬†dreaming at night :bademoticon:¬†brushing your teeth :bademoticon:¬†walking barefoot :bademoticon:¬†cleaning things :bademoticon:¬†amusing people :bademoticon:¬†being with someone you love :bademoticon:¬†going to the hairdresser :bademoticon:¬†reading magazines¬†#¬†sleeping late #starting a new project¬†#¬†giving yourself challenges that you can complete¬†#¬†building or watching a fire¬†#¬†confessing or apologizing¬†#¬†being with happy people :giggle:
# asking for help or advice # smiling at people # watching the stars at night # playing in sand, a stream, the grass # having people show interests in your thoughts # expressing your love to someone # talking about your hobbies or special interests # having coffee, tea with friends #  going to your local cafe #  taking a walk #  playing in the snow #  visiting the cemetery #  being told you are loved #  being proud of family/friends #  thinking about an interesting question #  defending someone #  winning a competition #  making a new friend #  reading cartoons, comic strips or comic books #  looking at the moon #  jump those puddles! #  being aware of your surroundings #  learning about other cultures/countries #  just being with yourself.

Okay! That is genuinely all/most of those recommendations from that big ol’ list! Hope you guys have still managed to stick around ;)
The last points I want to make will be a small little handful scattered about below! We’re almost there! =]

Stampede¬†Final Points + Mentioning’s

‚̧¬†Participate in journaling. Journaling can be a huge variety of things; from what you did that day or wanted to do, following prompts from books or online, filling in your fave quotes, art ideas, letting out your thoughts and feelings, drawing, anything. It’s your own personal space and you can embark on anything that you wish to. It’s been shown that people who journal actively in their treatment are more likely to be successful.

‚̧¬†Separate your Identity from any diagnosis, struggle, what have you. You can make lists upon lists, tack them to your wall, do art focusing on your true identity, play around with different styles and activities.

** Practice grounding techniques: Things that employ the five senses that will ground you into the current, present moment. You could do some breathing exercises, meditation, mindfulness, drawing, observing the world, listening to music, speaking with someone, smelling your perfume, etc.

 

Teachable Moment #6 | Art Therapy Series

Number SIX.

I’m doing this soon after #5, so as to continue plowing forwards. Don’t want to waste another few weeks with inaction P:

IMG_00002590

In this piece, we were told to create a footstep path from where we’ve been to better times, as well as write a little bit about why forgiveness is important (bottom right).

I accidentally mixed up my metaphors in this piece, but as it reads from this view, there is the fog, tears and yearning for freedom (symbolized by the flying birds) for the fall of 2014 when I was diagnosed with OCD. To footsteps leading to the ‘blackhole’ and shitty clouds and white space surrounding the area (winter/spring 2015). And then there are the footsteps leading to green hills and a sunny sky. ūüôā

It would have been more appropriate to have the blackhole first and then the white blankness second. ūüėõ Ah well.

And for the writing bit:

Forgiveness is important for me to move forward. Forging meaning from my experiences means that I can grow in my understanding and empathy for others. To forgive myself is to recognize I’m human and mistakes happen. But forgiveness can be freedom, and I wish to be free and better again. Recovery is a journey not a destination.

 

I love the idea of forging meaning, and I got it from this TED talk, I’m not sure if I’ve linked it before, but it’s a good one.

 

Forgiveness is something I still need to work on, even now. I haven’t mastered it, by far. In fact, I haven’t really put it into practice to move emotionally forwards and onwards from what happened, all of it, in my dark times of 2015. I imagine that’s evident in all my projection issues. I do have ideas and plans to address these more in the future, for articles and blog posts. I actually want to work on some pre-written work for the semester for the school newspaper. That’s something I’ll likely embark further on in August.

Speaking of, this reminds me of the other day when I ate breakfast outside on the swinging seat, and I thought about how one is meant to rejuvenate themselves over a summer break. It’s a good question, isn’t it?

How do you help to rejuvenate yourself? What goodies do you do for yourself when you need a break, a hiatus or just some basic self-care?

I also think that forging meaning from my experiences is useful so as to share my story and how I’ve worked towards Recovery and how that may help someone out there, too, who is struggling and walking on the path of Recovery. It’s neat when you think about it to imagine each of us soldiers walking together in unity on our path of Recovery. ūüôā

I also think that forgiveness to myself means letting go of the bad decisions I made and using humor to be able to talk about them, share them and let them sit out in the open light rather than feeling ashamed of them or hiding them.

Which reminds me, too, I want to include more talk about my suicide attempts in my IOOV presentations and in a few other writing places. As of right now for the presentations, I only slightly if at all mention them, but they play a larger role than that. I’ve thought and imagined how I would tailor my presentation if I presented at school. :3 I want to keep working on and improving my story and go after that FLOW I so dearly want it to have. When I can achieve that, I will be even more confident in my abilities to present and be ready to go after my TED talk dream. ūüėÄ

Just gotta keep practicing and working on it until then!

I’m mildly distracted writing this one up again. But I hope I have covered some basics here. And that my musings are amusing, at least. Again, I don’t have all that much experience yet with forgiveness and how it’s impacted my journey thus far. I will set it aside as another prompt to return to and think about and journal about. As of right now, my brains are scattered and do not wish to cooperate. XD

 

Anywho, stay safe, once more! ‚̧ ‚̧ ‚̧ ‚̧

Teachable Moment #5 | Art Therapy Series

I don’t know what it is about this fifth teachable moment, but I’ve been avoiding and pushing it off for the last couple of weeks ūüėõūüėõ

So, here I am now, hoping to just get it done, down and over with!! Let’s jump right in!

IMG_00002587

So, in this assignment above, we were asked to create an umbrella under which positive actions and attributes are safely dry and tucked away, whereas negative actions and attributes are assaulting the top of the umbrella.

Here is what the negative stuff over the umbrella says:

Despair. ‘wanting’ to die. Nothingness. Not talking with people. Loneliness. Invisibility. Pain. Secrets. Isolation

And what’s below:

Therapy. Being seen. Being heard. Coping strategies (positive) Talking to people. art. Holding onto things: abstract and physical.

As well as having the concept of my TRUE SELF clinging onto the umbrella, and the hand rest of the umbrella is filled with SUPPORT.

The umbrella features a blue background with green and purple polka dots and yellow smiley faces. ūüôā

 

I don’t know what it is about this teachable moment, but I’ve struggled with getting it done for ages now. I guess part of it feels like it’s so simple, basic and understandable, and doesn’t require further thought, yet I’ve waited as though hoping further thought could be established to it. It’s odd. Allow me to share some more of my thoughts on certain aspects of this piece.

It only happens once, after all.

 

First, the ‘wanting’ to die and why that’s in quotations. I think, and I hope I’m not speaking out of terms with the state I was in at the time, that I didn’t want to die per se, I just wanted the pain and the desperation to stop. This is often common with people who feel suicidal. There’s that quote out there about jumping from the burning building, it’s like that, you don’t necessarily want to impact the ground, but you jump because it feels better than dying from the flames. It’s really being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

At least now when I feel like I want to die, it’s more often just wanting a break, a pause button from life and reality. It’s me thinking that I can attain that somehow, in a negative fashion, when really, I can’t. Not without risking greater consequences.

Back then, a good year ago, I was seeking freedom in the wrong places. I didn’t want to live the way I was living because it was so dark and all consuming. However, I was also aware that it may not always be like that–that by living another day there is hope that life will get better. That suicide only ends the chances of life ever getting better again. And to give up feeling bad, you also have to give up any of the good feelings. And, I was unsteady about giving up the good stuff, even while I felt I was being swallowed up by the nothingness.

I talk about that in my IOOV presentations, how depression (and the OCD driving factor of the depression wagon) was this vast whiteout, where there was no perspective and no concept of future, past or present. Everything was just white, which reflected all the snowstorms we had then, and how those storms kept fucking up my therapy appointments.

And I really want to put an emphasis on NO perspective. When people asked me what I was going to do the next day, hell even later that day, let alone YEARS from then, I genuinely had no idea. I was making it up minute by minute, and even just cradling the seconds because that’s all I could bear.

For invisibility, I think of my friend Shouting from the Mountain Top and her update on her life and the pain she’s going through in The Invisible Knife. She talks about how mental health issues are like an invisible knife shooting into you, and that really can be the case. For me, invisibility was feeling unheard and unseen, having crises when no one knew about them and sobbing uncontrollably during them. About getting stuck anytime I sat down from one location to the next, and having to have friends or others come to ME because I couldn’t get up to go to them. The worst part was when I’d both WANT people to notice my pain and also NOT want them to notice me. But it always felt worse when no one noticed. It was really like I didn’t even exist, then. I couldn’t acknowledge my own pain, and relied on others perspectives, but they weren’t there to give it, which put me into some dangerous situations, left to my own devices.

 

 

On the FLIP SIDE:

Holding onto things was a major part of the beginnings of my Recovery journey. It reminds me of the song ‘A Better Place’ by Jay Putty where he sings:

You know you’ve been told / You’ve gotta find something to hold on to

And I distinctly recall being told that on the way home on some rainy day with my Mom in the car, telling me I had to find something to hold onto.

Holding onto something is about, well, holding on through the dark days to get to the better days. It doesn’t matter what you hold onto, it only matters that you hold onto something.

For me, I held on to my stuffed animal dog (which will appear in the final assignment of this series), I held onto hope, I held onto my true self even when I felt she lay in tatters, I held onto the people I knew and had yet to meet, I held on for the sake of holding on, even if that felt silly and trivial. I held on for a better tomorrow. And when I couldn’t hold on any longer, I’d often wind up in the hospital, getting the help I needed so direly.

And for the true self bit, that’s the core of who you REALLY are. All that you are but more so, all that you have yet to become. Your true self occupies your values and is there for you through thick and thin, NO MATTER WHAT. Even when I thought I lost my true self, I never really did. She was still there waiting for me to pick up the pieces again and plow forwards in Recovery.

 

She’s what led me…here. I suppose this wasn’t so bad, huh? ūüėČ

TO THE NEXT PIECE! Eventually ūüėČ

 

Stay safe, peeps!! ‚̧ ‚̧ ‚̧

#RecoveryHome Week #1 | Details Inside

Let’s make this motherfucker a thing, shall we?

Week #1 of #RecoveryHome, starting on a Tuesday, hellls yeah rebelliousness!!

So, let’s first cover what exactly #RecoveryHome IS!

#RecoveryHome is all about us working together to build what we imagine our individual Recovery Home’s to look like. This means being extra specially awesomely imaginative. Recovery Home is also about changing our focus from all the pain that our struggles of mental health entail, to instead focus on all the beauty that life has yet to offer us, now, today, or in the future. It’s about making our dreams shine brightly and make them, where possible, to come true. Recovery Home is about making your journey of recovery to wellness that extra bit more special to you.

#RecoveryHome is in its very, very early youth. It’s not even a being yet, it’s a fetus, still. That’s how young and new it is. ūüôā

But I’d like to invite you on this unplanned and so far, unstructured journey of #RecoveryHome for at least the duration of July, if not, maybe a few weeks longer. It all depends how it goes. ūüôā

So, if you’d like to join me on the fun of #RecoveryHome, here is our first step!!

 

Within the next week, (by Tuesday July 12th at 12:00p Eastern Time) create a post on your blog in regards to the following (and if you come up with other ideas, feel free to explore those too!!):

  1. What is YOUR definition of your Recovery?

  2. To imagine your Journey of Recovery as a location, whether it’s binding to reality or exploring the fictitious, what would it look like? Describe it in as much detail as possible.

  3. What is aiding you in your pursuit of Recovery? What are ways that you positively cope, who do you reach out to for support, etc.

  4. Begin building your #RecoveryHome by naming some of the streets and businesses (real or imagined) that you feel would exist there.

  5. How will you incorporate what you love and what makes you happy and positive into your Recovery home’s area? (i.e. would your best friend be right next door, would your family have a suite of their own, would you go out every Friday for a fun outing with family/friends, etc.)

 

By building up our way through these first 5 steps, we’ll bridge our way into Week #2’s challenge which will start with the creative process of creating what our #RecoveryHome’s look like and involve…. Think of this as a form of art therapy. By a non-degree professional, which is me. lmao

If you’re interested in jumping aboard this fine train, I’ll certainly be making posts about it, to answer my own questions, woot! And if you are interested, do let me know down in the comments! I’d love to hear from you guys. And if you’re a reader of this blog without a WP account, feel free to contact me on my Contact page, and if you’d like to participate through that way, let me know, too!!!

 

#RecoveryHome is going to everybody!!! Who knows of it, at least. ^^;

‚̧ See you later this week when I talk about my posts for it and other related shenanigans. (I may or may not have time tomorrow to chat with you all as I have therapy in the afternoon, so if I don’t make an appearance I’ll see you lot on Th. As today I have the OCD support group in the evening. ūüôā ) Which I need to work on stuff for…. *shifty gaze*

Stay safe!!!

 

Teachable Moment #4 | Art Therapy Series

Welcome back, once again!

This is the 4th installment of the art therapy series ūüôā Let’s get right into it!

IMG_00002570

So in this assignment, we were told to pick out a seashell from a little basket of them. I chose one that was dark and rough, although it had a lighter side to it too and deep colors, from what I can remember of it. I liked the texture of it and it made me think.

Then, once we had chosen our shell we were asked to draw a picture of where we imagined that shell to have come from. Then we were to write a little about it, I’m not entirely sure if the point was to contrast/compare but that is what I did.

So, here’s a description of mine:

I pictured my shell coming from a dark cave. The darkness on the ground is the shadow of the cave and I thought I’d draw in a dirty path and some dying flowers nearest to the cave, yet with budding flowers filled with life and grass on the outer skirts of the image.

Then in pink, I wrote: (on the left)

I have light. I shine inside. I protect. I am misunderstood. I have grown. I am a dream.

This represented the purple-y patch of the shell, the brightness.

Then to represent the darkness of the shell, I wrote on the right:

I am dark. I am hollow. I am a blackhole. I am misunderstood. I am warped. I am a nightmare.

And then above the cave, I added this notation:

Both sides can exist, and that’s okay.

The importance of this art therapy piece is that we all experience both positive and negative emotions, or more accurately, pleasant and unpleasant emotions.

Emotions themselves are inherently neither good nor bad, they just are. Just think: It’s not possible for us to eliminate our experience of unpleasant emotions without also eliminating our experience of pleasant emotions.

There’s a good TED talk about this type of idea that also deals with shame and vulnerability, which is a great listen to, here it is:

This is also a good one too:

 

It’s not easy to deal with the hard truths of our emotions and where they can take us. However, not dealing with them doesn’t ever help us in the long run, and can lead us through some dark tunnels before we’re able to find the light within us again.

I’d encourage you to take some time today to journal about your emotions and your relationship with them. Do you often find yourself trying to control them, push them away, or suppress them? If you do, there is a very good book out in the world that you may want to take a look into, it’s called “The Happiness Trap: A book about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy”. I can’t recall the author at the moment, my apologies ^^’

Journaling is a great way to capture our smoky thoughts onto paper. Remember that, too. It’s good to know what we are feeling at any given moment, so implement some self-care five minutes into your next upcoming week. Spend just five minutes checking in with yourself if you’re feeling off or not quite right. Notice where you feel tension in your body, use the feelings you have in your body to guide you to the emotion that is acting up behind the scenes.

For instance, a few times I’ve been irritated in my life and I’ve done a quick self-check-in, I’ve realized that I was hungry, tired and stressed out. Those states were contributing to my stress and making it more difficult to deal with the present moment. So I did what I could then, had something to eat and just did some artwork before my next class began. Doing little self-care things like this will be beneficial for you in the long run.

Take some proactivity like my friend Queen Bee, who is taking the weekend off for herself to manage her own self-care. Blogging is a great outlet, but it’s most important to take care of ourselves first. The blogosphere will still be here when we get back, but we’re only on this earth for a limited amount of time.

Another great trick to dealing with emotions can be grounding techniques and mindfulness. First, mindfulness is about being 100% in the present moment and allowing our thoughts and emotions to pass by our minds in a nonjudgmental manner. You could mindfully wash dishes, eat an apple (or orange!), make the bed or color some lineart. Anything that gives you something else besides what’s in your head to focus on is great, and really use your blogging talents to describe what it is that you’re doing, step by step.

Grounding techniques involve anything evoking the 5 senses. Say, a soothing candle you light up in your bedroom or satin sheets you lay in. I know for myself, I’ve always admired wall decals from my hospital stays, so I’m hoping my Mom and I can incorporate some of those into a room in our house. That way we can create a little getaway room right in the house. ūüôā

Another technique I’ve used that I think can be helpful when dealing with crisis emotions or when my emotions feel more like tsunamis than ebbing flows, is imagery. This goes along with grounding techniques, as I describe in great detail the ice clinking in a glass, or imagining a character in her home as the glass clinks in her wine glass and she slurps it up unceremoniously as she’s a tad socially awkward. When you let yourself the freedom to express yourself, amazing things can happen!

 

So, this week, try implementing a 5 minute self check-in. And also try a grounding, mindfulness or art expressive technique without judging yourself too harshly on how the product comes out. If you feel up to it and would like to share how it goes, feel free to blog it up and I’d love to check it out!! ūüėÄ

That’s all for now, peeps!!

 

Stay safe. ‚̧ ‚̧ ‚̧

Teachable Moment #3 | Art Therapy Series

*snaps fingers* Welcome back, again!! We are currently in our third spot of this Art Therapy Series about teachable moments! ūüėÄ Hooray!!

Today’s assignment is from March 6 2015.

The assignment was to create your Recovery ship, include who or what helps you within it (the Tools in your Toolbox), I believe to name something about the journey of Recovery that’s important to you (you’ll see what I mean in orange shortly), name your ship and write a little blurb around it. And you could stylize the ship and surrounding area however you wanted to, of course!

So, here is what I did: (It’s an aerial view of the boat–by the way, I love ocean metaphors with Recovery, if you hadn’t realized that by the ‘voyage’ daily prompt XD)

 

IMG_00002573

Okay, here it is, above!! So there’s some clouds and waves in the background as you can see. The name of my ship is:

Serenity.

And I chose:

Acceptance

as my Recovery word…or something, I don’t really remember, it’s just there though! XD

I like the idea of the ship, still, being called Serenity, it’s like a ship name and all and I think that Acceptance is very important when it comes to healing and working through Recovery and being able to accept what has gone and happened and move forward to what can be new and fulfilling in life. ūüôā

Within my Toolbox is this (at the time):

The blue person represents my current therapist til this day, the red person represented the graduate student/Counseling Center of my university. The red plus sign at the top represents hospitalizations and the people there that I came to meet.

Next, there is me, the brown dot, surrounding my one of my friends, Melissa in green, and someone else I can’t quite remember. Then there’s all the other heads of everyone else. ūüôā Well, every one of my other friends, online or not.

Next the black and yellow people are my parents. And then there’s another group of friends or something, I think.

At the very bottom, there are my coping strategies:

a telephone for calling for help, “breathe”, music, bracelets, photos, drawing, writing and “imagery” (that I’ve used as a grounding technique in the past, which is quite effective and creative for me, we’ll go over that one day, peeps.)

This reminds me a little of this drawing I have yet to finish, in my first sketchbook, that uses the concept of ‘The Coping Tree’:

IMG_8947 Upd

An unfinished WIP. The Coping Tree has different coping strategies hanging from ribbons on its branches. ūüôā Damn, I need more of my marker pens, they look so great here!!

At the very top of this piece I’ve written the following words:

Tomorrow is a new day. Every moment is a new opportunity. You are not alone. I have support, I have potential, I can overcome this stormy sky, I can make it through this. Get rid of what I can and accept the things I can’t, and move forward. I know have what I need to recover”

It’s still important and makes me smile when I see that I crossed out “knowing” and stated that I HAVE what I need to recover. That power and potential is already within me, I just have to learn to access it and let it brighten my way through the storm. ūüôā Having hope in yourself and your Recovery journey is HUGE, even though you won’t always feel hopeful, I encourage you to find something to hold onto in your life.

I’ve known friends who want to publish a book in their future, so they hold onto life for that possibility, because if they die by suicide before then, they’ll never get that chance to write their book.

I’ve known friends who hold onto their family, not wanting them to hurt after their own suicide, so they stay alive for them.

I know that it matters more to stay alive for your own SELF than for others, because sometimes it can mean the difference between a relapse and a lapse.

I know for me, that I held onto the possibility of life getting better. I held on when I didn’t know what I was holding onto. It didn’t really make sense to me, but I tried holding on anyways. I held onto my life having a brighter future, I held onto the possibility of Recovery, I held onto living life again, I held onto freedom, I held onto being okay.

And now, when I struggle, I tell myself that I’ll go inpatient if I need to. And then I get through that crisis or moment of stress, and don’t need to go inpatient any longer. And so I make the same goal, that after this stress I’ll go inpatient, and again, the stress will pass and inpatient is not where I wind up going. I’ve been telling myself this since April 2016.

Now, when I struggle, I think of my #RecoveryHome. I think of the streets in the village, the stationary room I’d have, the structure of the home, the other houses and streets that reside in that small town, what the landscape may be like, the lighthouse on the property. I make scrapbook pages and art and hang out with friends to keep me busy. I tell myself I’ll go to the partial at the OCD-I and hold onto the hope that it will come, and if not, at least hold onto the idea of it.

Now, when I struggle I remind myself of the story I have left to tell. I know that my story matters so much more if I’m still around to tell it. And there are things I haven’t yet told that I want to be able to live for to tell. I also use the anger motivation that if I were to die by suicide, it’s likely that no one would call it what it was–a suicide. So I have to stay alive because we HAVE to get talking about suicide and mental health and illness, because LIVES are on the line, and those lives MATTER. And if it’s up to some of us who’ve been through that experience to open up and talk about it, to encourage others to seek treatment, get help and to live another day–than I think that’s an utter HONOR and I will happily put myself out there in the crossfire just to raise awareness–because this issue is LARGER than I am and any way I can be of help MATTERS.

There’s no doubt (other than a 1% for uncertainty’s sake) in my mind that I have what it takes to recover. That you have what it takes to Recover. That doesn’t necessarily mean we will all recover. I believe that we can’t save everyone, yet it means for those that we can help to save themselves, that they can lead lives that are so impactful to other people struggling that it is SOOO worth the effort of trying to begin with.

I’d also like to share with you a song that I was listening to this morning:

Some of the ones that stick out the most in what I was just saying are:

“Everybody’s got a reason to cry / And everybody fights but not everyone survives / And everybody’s searching not everybody finds / And I’m still in Recovery, help me make it out ALIVE”

I also used some of these inspiring lyrics in a acrylic painting before:

IMG_1064 Upd

This piece is the group icon on DA for the Recovery to Wellness group, which is the name that inspired this blog, too. ‚̧

Remember, that Recovery IS possible. Find what you need to hold onto, and don’t let it go. Your life matters and you are worthy of receiving help. ‚̧ ‚̧ ‚̧ You are a SURVIVOR. Keep on trekking and keep on staying alive.

IMG_00002557

Keep on Smiling! ‚̧

(I could go on more of a tangent, but this is a good place to end for now ;))

I hope you enjoyed this teachable moment!!!