My Dreams in Recovery Part II | Article


A throwback photo, both for those of you who’ve been at my blog from the start and for how long ago I took this, back in 2013.

Photograph & article by Raquel Lyons

I dream one day of being an inspiration, and I think in many ways, I’m already living proof of that. I never would have thought four years ago that I’d be the person I am now writing this article series. In my worst moments, most of which happened in 2018, I had started to believe that I was worthless, that I didn’t matter nearly as much as I thought I did, that it would be better if I had never existed.


And now, here I am and I couldn’t be happier. Here I am now, alive and intact, which is more than I could have ever asked for before. My mission, my journey in recovery isn’t over yet and it feels really, really awesome to say that. To think that where I am now is just the start of these “good old days” feels so freeing and remarkable. At the time that I wrote this article, I had almost fallen back into the abyss with “Ultron” or depression, as I nicknamed it after the MCU, and it was “Avengers: Infinity War” and wanting to see that movie that kept me out of the hospital. I think I’ve genuinely found new meaning to my life and a solidification of my bouncy houses in the horizon that I want to be alive; I want to be there for the next movie, I want to be there to find out what happens next. If any rogue bus comes and hits me now, I will be so irate.


I guess related to that, my newest dream in recovery is to have more days like this, where everything is gold and sparkly and I love myself and everything in my life. I have so much more hope, pride and purpose in my life, and I’m clinging onto that so when it does get dark again, I have this rekindled spark within my soul to stay alive, to make it through that next crisis. I’ve dipped my roots so deep into the ground that I want to have more to lose than I have to gain with my actions.


“Worldwide Recovery Recognition Month” is a daily blogging spree held in August to represent each and every story that exists out there with people thriving in wellness and recovery, sharing their story to remind others out in the world that they are not alone and that they each matter and can become someone again post-recovery. I made it up in May 2017, so this will be the second year of my debuting it.


My next dream in recovery is to write a novel. That one called tentatively “The Cards We’re Dealt” that takes place in the afterlife and follows Noah on his journey of finding his own purpose, mattering and meaning of life and death and what everything means. I have the outline of how it begins and ends in my mind, and just have to actually start writing it and enjoying the ins and outs of his perspective and the other characters he encounters.


I think I’d also like to write a memoir, a more specified piece of my life rather than the collection of all of it. I’d even like to make a workbook-like kit for “Recovery Home.”


I also want to give a TEDtalk, one day. I think you can guess what the subject of that would be.


When I earn my bachelor’s degree, I want to become a mental health specialist at a very particular hospital. I want to spend a couple of years doing that and then segue into peer support specialist along with all my nonprofit dreams and then acquire an art therapy degree or later become some type of therapist. Initially the dream was therapist, but I think I’d like to spend some of my life and time about sharing my own story and then helping other’s share theirs and incorporate more art therapy principles into my own artwork and the projects that I wish to create.


I want to align myself with my nonprofit friends like Michael Landsberg who created the “Sick Not Weak” campaign in Canada and Tiffany Lewis who runs the “Pens for Pals Organization” in Texas.


I want to continue to grow my Youtube channel, exploring young adulthood with various videos (like cooking and washing dishes), and I even have an upgraded set-up for that, and who knows, maybe one day I’ll get a tattoo, too. And lastly, I’d like to dye the ends of my hair blue. I just think fancy colored hair would top off my own attractive level and encapsulate me as a unicorn. I’d say unicorns are my spirit animal, and you can’t have a rainbow lighthouse without a unicorn.


I will leave my article with this: look within yourself for your own dreams in recovery and when you find them, never, ever let them go. Go out there and chase your dreams, the ones that are healthy and helpful, because you can and you will make a difference out there. Every large movement starts with one little wave. Stay safe, readers.

Written April 28.2018 🙂

I hope that you enjoyed this piece!! I’m posting it the next day to just space out some of my work. ❤ ❤ ❤ Love & light to you all!

My Dreams in Recovery Part I | Article

4 L i v i n g - DA

Photo taken by Raquel Lyons circa 2012; my older brother’s hands on a beach in Quincy, MA.

Article by Raquel Lyons

This article has been a long time coming. I wanted to write it back in spring 2016 but just didn’t get around to it. Now, I have the time and I have the inspiration to get it done. This piece has been highly influenced by the song by Mackelmore featuring Kesha “Good Old Days” because I find that song to be inspiring, recovery aimed and filled to the brim with dreams that sparkle and shine once you rub them off a little with your sleeve.


In this very moment, it is the first time in the nearly four years of struggling with mental health conditions where I feel so inspired, so happy, so content and so very fulfilled. I honestly believe that seeing the film “Avengers: Infinity War” has grounded my feet into the earth (or Midgard, as it were) as I remain steadfast looking onto my future’s horizon, watching the big bouncy houses inflate and wave around in the wind. I see a *future* for myself, one not where I never struggle, rather one where I struggle and I don’t fall as deep down the abyss. I can envision and really see a future for myself where I am stable (as I have been for about three months) and I utilize my learned skills in dialectical behavior therapy and so many other therapies to be *here*, to stay alive, to thrive and succeed. I didn’t have this just a few months ago. It’s exciting and refreshing and…amazing. I dream for this to be every day for myself. I dream of inspiring others to come forward and tell their stories. I genuinely believe that my story can help inspire others.


Advocacy is such a big role in my recovery journey. I’ve never mentioned it before, but I am a member, an In Our Own Voice presenter, and a trained peer-to-peer mentor for the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ Massachusetts chapter since March 2016 for IOOV and fall 2016 respectively. In my IOOV presentations I talk about when I buy my first house (hopefully with a romantic partner) painting my front door a dark green color with a pastel yellow, green and pink fleur-de-lis on the outside and the phrase “Your life is worth living” on the inside.


I created my WordPress blog “Recovery to Wellness” in May 2016, where my slogan is “where survivors radiate badassery.” One day, maybe even in the next year, I want to create a nonprofit organization out of it. Recovery to Wellness is the birthplace of creative projects like “Recovery Home”, “Recovery Restoration”, “Recovery Raquel” and “Worldwide Recovery Recognition Month” with the latter being in August. My Recovery Home features a large house with a rainbow lighthouse on the property, a gazebo, a stationery room, my front door, a stone sign saying “Recovery Residence” on the grounds, with the house on a green hill overlooking a small town with a Barnes & Noble’s, Target, Michael’s, Jo-Ann’s, and Longhorn’s Steakhouse. Maybe, in light of “Thor: Ragnarok” I have some kind of very large statue of Loki, the god of mischief, on my house’s property, too. It brings a smile to my face, at least.


The goal of “Recovery Home” is to make the choice to choose spending my time creating this fictional place (and real life parts) in my mind of where I am happy and living a life that I enjoy rather than spending that time brewing in darkness and feeding the suicidal thoughts. I am capable of creating something beautiful out of something ugly, or I could just simmer in that dark place. I find having hope and light outshines the darkness just a little more each moment. It never eradicates the presence of the darkness and maybe that’s never been the point, because it’s about finding the balance in the cosmos.


My “Recovery Restoration” project at its dreamiest state involves pro-recovery artwork with about the artist and author’s journey in recovery on the back of each piece and the compiled photo albums to be donated to psychiatric inpatient units. It’s a way of providing hope, becoming a beacon for those at their most vulnerable and offering peer support until they themselves leave the hospital and re-enter the community.


“Recovery Raquel”, while also being my Twitter handle, is the persona I’ve created to represent the best version of myself, akin to a superhero, which has aided me and saved me multiple times over again over the years. She is me and I am her, inherently, and she represents hope, faith and light to me. She has worked within me as the light that maybe things will get better. Although she’s worked in very subtle ways before, I know she will always be there, no matter how dark it gets in my line of vision….

Annnnnd you have to wait until tomorrow for part 2! I’m gearing up towards blogging every day in May, so, buckle up your seatbelts and enjoy the ride!!

Honestly, I kinda cried a little in part 2 because this moment is just so beautiful and it’s so amazing to have gotten here. I wish it would never end!!

Take care, be well and stay safe, friends. You are loved, you matter, you inspire me. Let’s join lanterns and shine our light outwards tenfold. We can BE someone, become SOMETHING. That’s amazing. You’re amazing. I love you all. Thank you for being there for me when I couldn’t be there for myself. ❤ ❤ ❤

Love & light to you. ❤

PS I wrote this from 7-9p Saturday April 28.2018

PPS I will be including this song in one of my next mental health edition song a day awareness things. 😉 I’ll put that off for a next time, though.

Finding My Way

Hello again!

Remember, I’m still new to this whole blogging thing, so it may take me a little while of experimenting before I find my niche and what it is I want to be doing. =]

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For now, I want to share some of my artwork onto this new page. The image above is a new painting I did back on May 4th 2016, I believe. It is titled “Written In the Sky”.


Next is this photo:

IMG_1637Which I took back on May 3rd 2013. It’s the spring blooming tree outside our old science building at the UMB campus.

Another piece:

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A positive message I gave to myself in March 2016. That month I gave out 49 of them to random people.

Part of this post is totally me fiddling with and learning how this blogging stuff works. 😀 Like accidentally posting before I was finished writing, ahaha.

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An IOS from February 2016, the left is somewhat faded but states ‘I Matter’ and the right states ‘Courage + Strength’. I used scented, sparkling gel pens to achieve these.

“Stay safe. Hold onto hope. This crisis will pass. It gets better. Choose Life. Please Live. Feelings are temporary.”

The above quoted statements are from one of my Mass Media articles about positive music and phrases that have been crucial to my recovery journey.

Sweet! I found the text color thing!

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A drawing I began as a vent when I was stressed out at the start of the semester, which gradually turned positive as I received help in real life and then added that positive breach into the drawing itself. ❤

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Some bracelets I made in 2015. Featuring my favorite phrases =] I still wear these, although I’m not at this moment, today.

I’m basically attempting to mash together all of my different artwork into this post. We have a couple left…

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This is some work that I’ve recently begun dabbling in within the month. Just playing around with photos and encouraging messages, both of which are mine! =]

And lastly, for now, some coloring:


What a joy it is to color! I also realized a few moments ago there IS a document option, hooray! I am excited for this new and adventurous journey! =]

❤ Stay safe!!


In the Beginning

…we don’t always know what to say. We write words, forming chains and chains of sentences, and then we delete them because our brains chatter that it’s not quite right or we’re not sure how we want to present ourselves on that first, initial impression.

Let me start with saying that I am new to blogging. At least on this website. I’d still like to find how to change the font color of my page, so, there’s that. I also want to say I’ll likely write in run-on sentences, fragments, and from time to time depending on my mood just include some gibberish of words that aren’t words, like awesomeness and ploot and bababing! Because it’s who I am, and this will be a personal blog spot for me. Also, nothing beats being your true, authentic self.

I’ll be further honest with you, reader. I’m at the peak of my procrastination right now. I was once applying to and finding summer jobs (preferably in the mental health field despite that I’m still an undergraduate student) this morning, which switched to trying to find paid blogging/writing positions to me wandering off and creating this page. Likely, I should have spent more time thinking about making a blog, but, well, we can’t always get what we want? (I will not be shy to making emoticons and funny faces here, either XD)


So this may not be going where I’d like it to go. And, in the grand scheme of things, that’s okay.

My name is Raquel and I’m a junior year Psychology major at UMass Boston. I have a deviantART account which is primarily all the journaling/blogging experience that I have, where I post artwork such as painting, drawing, watercoloring (this is new!), photography, creative writing, bracelets annnnnd let me think…scrapbooking and oh yes, this new trade I call Ink on Skin or IOS. It’s harder than you’d think to keep track of all of these art mediums.

Back in December 2015, I believe, I began a group on DA called Recovery to Wellness. Hence, this name right here. I am hoping to be more active on DA over the summer so that I can put more work into building up the group and getting it further recognized on the website.

With this blog, I want to continue sharing my mental health experiences and my story. After all, my voice (as well as yours) is worth sharing. We will embark together on sharing our stories (if you are so comfortable to do so, no pressure!!), recovering, and returning to mental and physical wellness. =] What a beautiful dream and goal that is!


So, if you’ve been able to understand my garbled speech for this long, I do encourage you to take part in this journey with me. Having another safe space for creating positivity holds a warming and sparkling quality to my eyes.

I hope you all are well. And if not, don’t be afraid to punch whatever affliction is dragging you down in the face and above all, stay safe.


Until next time ❤