It’s that Time Again: Where Mental Health Matters… #StompOutStigma

A new thumb for a new year. Stay tuned for more to come!! Made with Canva.

A very short post, this will be.

I actually began this post back on the first day of May 2022, but I had a spell of perfectionism and everlasting procrastination come over me, plus then exhaustion so I held off. Which, is possibly ironic, I suppose.

But yes, this will be a short post to state that for the month of May 2022, I’ll be gravitating to more mental health awareness posts and recovery tales and stories across my platforms (this blog, this Youtube channel, this Instagram account, all the same usernames as here).

I’ll be doing things across platforms like:

  1. Tags (mental health advocate tag (my own creation from last year that I never debuted, oops); mental health tag)
  2. Song A Day’s (check out my Archives if you’re curious as to what these are) (Mental health editions)
  3. Life updates
  4. ART creations: Insta for some photography and drawings (some new photos I’ve taken in particular that I can do a cool before and after for the state of my alumni college), videos discussing/reacting to my own artwork I made during my early mental health recovery journey, art time lapse vids just for funsies, the usual hauls for vids too, advocacy based vids, shout-out vids, any adult coloring pages, identity and hobbies, updating fan fiction stories, etc.
  5. Books content
  6. Films content
  7. Journaling-like posts on here
  8. Recovery burnout (vid)
  9. Shout-outs (Insta, blog, besides the vids ones)
  10. Shorter vids and posts on here.
  11. Things that I struggle most with today (perfectionism in particular)
  12. Advocacy stuff—and promoting my personal and team page for the NAMI Walk 2022 this year. Please donate if you can!!

And probably more things that I can’t think of right now!!!!

All in all, much of this will lead up to the NAMI Walk but it will also continue afterwards as well (the Walk is May 21st). So, help me raise some money or share my posts or promote my videos and if there’s something that YOU are creating that you want some feedback on, let me know that too!!! I’d love to help support and network and work together on this larger mission of bringing mental health conditions and their recoveries to the forefront of the conversation.

Thank you so much if you read this far! I know it’s a little late but I’m trying. Also I could do some cool shout-outs for Insta posts that have been helping my mental health and recovery journey if that’s something that would be interesting for everyone across platforms!! I’ll also go live on my Youtube channel at least twice this month–posssssibly tomorrow, 5/5/22 but I’m not sure just yet. Regardless, have a happy and safe mental health awareness month and if you know of any tags being utilized for this year’s campaign, leave them down below!!! See you all again soon.

xxx

— Raquel

Feeling Low: Job, Twitter, MCU…Life


Today: I’m feeling low.

I don’t even know how I want this blog post to go.

I just know that I want to capture what I’m feeling and thinking for a frozen moment. Frozen in time, suspended, distilled, captured. In the hopes that I can move on from it. Be unleashed. Free. Liberated. Safe.

The words don’t come easily. I feel the twirling fan’s breath on my exposed arms, a hooded, soft gray blanket dispersed over my head making me look like a nun. Or… Yoda. I want to turn it off, but I don’t because it’s grounding. My iPod is nearby, shouting out music, but it’s never quite high enough, no matter how much I turn it up. It’s never quite enough. And the mind, the mind I have, with the fumbling fingers on the keys, constantly making mistakes, constantly having to go back a space to fix them, still, that mind is swirling. Thoughts are coming half-formed and fully formed. Emotions the height of a tsunami, threatening to overtake me, wash me with its ruin. I’m caught in it, for a moment, I’m caught in it.

Maybe, no, maybe that last song was good. Hmm, maybe I’ll play it back once more:

MIIA – Dynasty

The tabs are open. The links don’t do what I want. The annoyance is there, bubbling to the surface, then, just really formed into disappointment. I remind myself to turn on the repeat function on my iPod along the same time I can smell the sweat from my feet, hunched over, legs on top of one another, crouching before the laptop, from a day’s activities, a day’s work, I think to myself to take them off, maybe even take off all the layers, so I can be comfortable in my pajamas. But I don’t really move. I don’t really move to do any of that.

Too caught up in the words. Caught up in the stories.

No, I change my mind. Place the song on repeat. Crack my neck. Unleash one sock… Then two. The smell still remains.

I’m tired.

I notice it more now, in the crux between the music keys and the way I sludge forwards, onwards, into the mix.

What was I talking about before?

Oh, right.

Feeling low.

…… Where do I begin?

There’s so many avenues to start the story, and each would play across the right one.

I guess, I’m unhappy with my job. I’m unhappy with my place in the world. I want more, and…less. My avoidance is chipping away my soul, slowly at a time, so that I don’t notice it until I realize “No, I can’t do that.” Because my world is spinning and crumbling, ever so slowly, ever so smaller.

My job isn’t where I thought I’d be by now. It’s not the job I thought I’d get after graduating university. It’s, in some parts, not even the job I wanted. But it’s the job I got, and it’s the job I’ve been at and been trying to learn and grow and succeed and go forward.

But I find myself… craving, wanting more. Wanting something different.

But I’m terrified on how or if I’ll ever get there.

I’ve been talking about my dreams with new friends online lately. And it’s reminded me a lot of my dreams. And how what I’m doing now, doesn’t really feel like it’s cutting it anymore. Or, at least, it’s just starting to dawn on me that this may be the case.

But how do I go from here to there? To the land of my dreams?

I want, or I think I want, to go into Certified Peer Specialist.

It’s just…. complicated. I have to factor in the fact that I’d probably work for an agency, that I have to get trained and pass a test, that I have to carve out more hours of my time for actual work, that I’ll be expected in Clinicals and DRIVING peers around, the fears of that, the responsibilities and the strangeness of it all. I’d have to get certified. I’d have to get gas coverage (in the sense that maybe there’d be mileage reimbursement but also I’d be hefting over part of my salary, likely, to the never-ending need for more fuel). I’d maybe still only be earning what I do now.

But, would it be more fulfilling?

Would all of it, everything considered, be worth it? And when would it happen? Soon? A year from now? How do I get from here to there?

I know I have to start small. I know I have the tools ready for me. I’m just… scared. Overwhelmed. Unhappy.

I’m craving more advocacy work. I think that’s what I’m missing now. Summers are always slow for presentations at NAMI and I haven’t had one all month so maybe that’s a factor. Maybe the other factor is that I’ve been talking of my dreams this week. Reminding myself of my potential and how much I don’t want THIS job to be my end goal. It was always just supposed to be a stepping stone. And maybe, maybe I’m finding that I’m finally ready to move onto the next one. I want to go into advocacy work of public speaking, give a TEDtalk one day, build up my 4 main recovery art projects, share my story, write and publish books, etc. So, so, so much more than this.

And it’s taken me a while to get here. I… maybe because of the BPD have … intense attachments. Hell, whenever I take out a book from the library I get too attached–even when the book is past due and I’m accruing fines, I can’t let it go, not when I haven’t completed my end of the deal with it. I most often override this but it’s still a functionality of my personality. At Passages I was the same way, thinking me and my DBT-Intensive crew were a team and flabbergasted when finding out that they were going to go on their own way before the ‘true’ end date. I have problems with attachment. Even if I’m mulling over an item in the store to buy, I get attached, I start to ‘see’ it in use in my life, and once that’s there, I don’t want to leave it behind without buying it. Again, attachments.

So for me, what I’m trying to say is, for me to get to the point where I’m starting to think: Maybe it’s time now, is pretty big. And yeah, I’m afraid in some parts because a few of my co-workers in the last month tried to leave for another job and now they’re back again. So, maybe I’d be the same?

But this was never my end goal. And maybe CPS will be it, for a while. Maybe just blooming into more of that advocacy work, the work I really want to do, maybe that’ll be everything.

I’ve been thinking lately, I don’t have all my advocacy work like from when I was at university. I think I miss that, am missing that. Maybe even finding odd jobs for paid writing work would help, too. I’m just kinda tired. I want more and I’m realizing I have to be the one out there to get it.

So, alas, I find myself wondering:

How do I get from here to there?

And, I’m not sure, not entirely.

Obviously I’d overlap the two careers before I moved on officially, just to see if I’d even like it to begin with. And then, I mean, I guess I just start making little goals? Maybe like a road map or a vision board of my dreams and start plugging away at it a little at a time. I also want to start by asking some of my NAMI co-presenters how they’ve gotten into the field (at least two are in CPS work) and then start that way, too.

Mmm, I’m feeling a bit more hopeful now with that idea.

With my calves hurting (curse those hills at work!), with a newfound determination, I’m going to work on what I can for the rest of tonight: mainly, mayb– oh!

Twitter & MCU: I’m still a lengthy amount of movies and time away from properly watching and being in the loop about everything happening with the “Loki” Disney+ series. So, with less than 10 mins on my Twitter timeline today, I’ve officially decided that I have to now avoid it for the rest of time (at least until I’m more in the loop and caught up, which will probs be July ahaha, did I say that? I meant AUG! Let’s be honest). Soooo that sucks. Also, I just haven’t been as active on Twitter this week. I’ve been discreetly uploading these avenues of content WITHOUT placing it on there: fanfic, videos, blog posts. So maybe one day but not any time that near.

And as for life, I’ve covered the fact that my avoidance bullshit is getting in the way a lot. And I won’t be leaving my job any time soon either, but I’m gonna start chipping away at it. Find trainings I can attend to, roles within the peer support arena, continuing to craft my online presence, teach some classes, do (when the time is right) presentations. Work on my public speaking skills (really rusty on that). Drive around more. List out the pros and cons of my potential decisions. And just grim face and bear the rest as much as I can. It’s not something I’ll have solved tomorrow. But we all start somewhere.

So for now, I’m going to answer a few online messages/emails and texts, read a book, go to bed early tonight, take my meds, eat dinner, network, listen to music and just get ready for the hellhole that tomorrow will bring.

Anyways, that’s it for me. I’ll either shower tonight or tomorrow, just want to make sure I do before Mon when I go to visit my partner! And maybe tomorrow I’ll watch the rest of Thor!!

All right, guys, thanks so much for reading. Do you have any tips or advice for how you made different career plans in your own life? Jumping from one job to a whole new one?

I’ll see you guys next week.

๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค

PS There is ONE last thing I didn’t quite cover here but that I had thought of for the ‘Life’ category: the slow burn acceptance that my previous mental health problems and complications (i.e chronic suicidality) will probably be something I always have to deal with. More so in the sense that my automatic go to within my mind and body is to end everything, though I am now EONS away from ever, ever acting on those thoughts now. Regardless, I’m thinking like with most recoveries, the thoughts and emotions will always be there, just the behaviors are up to me. Which, is … nice, in some ways, and empowering and also frustratingly disappointing. But, alas, such is life. I can realize it, recognize it and do the opposite of it. Which is what I will do. Don’t worry, I’m safe!! Just something that popped into my head while at home, after work, before I started writing this post.

The Night Before #TrueMentalHealthAdvocate Releases

Hi!

So, I STILL wanted to do that post I was originally going to do yesterday but as it’s turning out we’re not going to be doing that again either today. D: What we WILL do here is talk about my thoughts pre-release of my video scheduled for noon EST tomorrow and my thoughts and ideas and challenges and worries all about that and regarding that. And, assuming that work goes well and I’m in a good, upbeat mood, I will do the post originally destined for Thursday on Sat instead. AND if, for some reason work does NOT go well or it’s a tough day or I’m just too tired, I will try and do something like an award tag like Liebster and such from way back in the day and just do something light and fun or talk about shopping hauls or whatever it happens to be exactly. So, let’s jump in…

Trigger Warning: Allegations of grooming, mentions of suicidality/homicidality

With the situation:

A man by the name of Eric B. Zink back in 2019 (at the time Dr1ven Industries) became very popular on TikTok for his mental health awareness videos where he shared tips and tricks and ways to control anxiety and talking about his lived experiences with mental health conditions and his story with addiction. He had lost two individuals close to him from suicide himself and he made a YouTube channel where he continued to produce similar types of videos like from his TikTok.

I do remember him claiming, at the time, that he was saying he was a mental health advocate and he was giving out his personal phone number onto TikTok for people to reach out to HIM instead of the long wait line of the national suicide prevention lifelines as he was beginning to do research into creating his OWN nonprofit organization in regards to suicide prevention efforts.

He reached 1 million followers on TikTok and had a decent amount, I want to say like 100,000 subs on YouTube as well.

Personally, I didn’t ever see his TikToks on the app because I don’t have that on my devices but I followed his Youtube channel and I followed him on Twitter and I actually did reach out to him and we shared phone numbers and texted a little bit over the Mar. 2019 time period. He started to make more videos specifically about substance use addiction and certain types of substances and his experiences with them which I found to personally be off-putting so I stopped interacting with his content as much. I had even done a collaboration with him, that I believe is still up on both of our channels (my channel has some out-takes and bloopers of it, his has the full on collab, ironically because I didn’t like him right away which aged gracefully) and I had promoted him on my own socials and things too and offered him as a resource while also making it clear to him that I didn’t think it was the wisest of decisions to release such personal information (like a phone number etc.)

Well, he faded into the background by the end of 2019 for me and everything was fine until about Sep. 2020.

I checked on him a couple times here and there when I thought of him but again we just drifted in different directions and I’d lost some interest. He began to become a face for the mental health community as his popularity grew and he became more prevalent as issues from people like the Rewired Soul were taking place.

And Eric was definitely not without criticism being met his way–there were other people within the mental health community that were offering their ideas, their thoughts and their criticisms to some of the things he was saying or doing (and still are). I’d also like to point out that some of the things he did, said or shared about his journey or the suicide prevention type stuff weren’t always what the guidelines suggested to do (so like, don’t share suicide notes from those who’ve passed on which he has violated in a few videos, even just putting triggering images in his thumbnails like depicting substance use/substances and cutting marks).

I obviously have no idea whether he was engaging with the people who were reaching out to him by getting other law enforcement and the proper authorities involved. And I don’t know what content or the depth of their messaging between each other was. Regardless of not knowing this, in Sep. 2020 I decided to see what he was up to, which he had rebranded himself to his name and I found his original videos of him admitting to being inappropriate with minors who were reaching out to him in suicidal crises. He showed text messages between himself and a child and how he had asked them if they had showered and if they smelled and if their butt smelled and other similarly odd statements and remarks. He admitted in his video that that was wrong of him and that he shouldn’t have been talking to a minor like that. (He’s deleted this video since.) I suggest, if you happen to want to learn more about the situation than what I’ve summarized here, there are plenty of videos about it on Youtube.

So.

Where do I come into play?

Honestly, I had seen some of the videos from reproachful content creators who had, like myself, believed him to be a good guy and a good thing for the mental health community until it became glaringly obvious that his ego had gotten the best of him and he’d engaged in some inappropriate and just distasteful behaviors, words and actions. At the time, I watched and engaged with these videos, and felt that I didn’t have much else I could add to the conversation so I let it go.

And I was letting it go until about this past… yeah, yesterday. When I came across a video, someone, Person A, who had called out Eric before on their channel and they had engaged with each other back and forth, I think he deleted this video too, I’m not sure, but it was just kinda sticky, gooey and messy. Well, in that video Person A in question rehashed the situation and admitted that Eric had doxxed them with their full name online in his response video and he had recently said, and admitted, that while he didn’t say he would beat the shit out of them, he said that “I did make a mention of a truck and running somebody over if I saw them” That’s a direct quote from his TikTok video that was included within the video that this main person, Person A, was talking about and updating their followers on the situation.

Cue me….

I was so frustrated, offended, triggered, anxious and fearful when I watched Person A’s video. I could NOT believe that this man, who had claimed to be and genuinely became the face towards some part of the mental health community, had abused that power and abused his place and fucked around with something so, so serious that isn’t often taken seriously (homicidal/suicidal remarks) and made it into this belittled, indirect jab. He made a threat, a physical threat, to someone else who was just calling him out on his bullshit and the fact that he had committed acts heinous and inappropriate. The hypocrisy, the ‘Rules for Thee and Not Me’ and just the fact that he so single-handedly dismantled the mental health advocates out there who are TRUE advocates that don’t say this type of shit, it’s just… and not only that, but it’s providing fuel for people to think of those with conditions as “dangerous” or “crazy” or any other stigmatizing crap that’s out there.

It’s just so anxiety provoking and triggering and offensive, for me. If Eric isn’t the person I thought he was, then who is he? That’s horrifying.

But my point is, in this whole sticky situation, and maybe I talked too much about him and what was going on before I spoke enough about my side of things–and maybe I’m just taking a break from having already said all my pieces in my video, but the video I am releasing tomorrow will go up at noon EST.

I’m quite terrified. My catastrophizing is in full force, I’m thinking I’ll either get ten views or I’ll get a hundred. And I’m afraid people are going to belittle the boundaries I have set or purposefully tell me to kill myself, mention specific ways in which to do so, throw hate at me, have valid criticisms, say nothing, say everything, defend Eric or be Eric himself or who knows what. I’m freaked out but I’m trying to remain calm.

I spoke my truth (sorry, I’ve gotten that new phrase from Demi Lovato I swear lol) and where I feel about the situation. I talked about my own lived experiences dealing with suicidality and gave reasons and examples (and there are trigger warnings in the video itself, too) as to why it is not okay to joke or make light of things like homicide and suicide. From how Person A took the comment, they were upset and they are valid in feeling that way. They should not have to get doxxed and threatened of their life. There’s only a select few that are the drudges of humanity that that should be reserved to. But Person A? Not at all. Not for speaking out publicly about something that happened online.

Jessie Paege is amazing and you should totally check her out. While this post isn’t about THAT kind of coming out, I do feel like I’m coming out from the shadows about something I had ties to, so, yes.

But, that’s where I’m at with things. I am not going to be reading any emails to any potential comments, if I even get them to be honest, about the video until Mon. 5/17/2021. I am also, if I do happen to get a lot of comments about it, if it doesn’t just fall into The Void and disappear, then I will call a hotline and look through the comments while I’m on the phone with them. Because again, I’m afraid and I don’t know what people will or won’t say and I can just seriously picture people trolling with things and such, and it might be too hard hitting to go through alone.

Also, I want to thank so many of you for showing love and support on my last post, yesterday!! I’m so grateful for you guys and if you happen to have any words of wisdom or grounding techniques, feel free to leave it down below in a comment!

My video is definitely only conveying my viewpoint on things and I do welcome other inputs and other ideas too. Maybe there are ways I’m looking at this that are problematic and so if you see that and you’re so kind enough to leave me your thoughts, I’d appreciate it! I will still be on my blog Sat and Sun so that should be fine here. I also will probably work on some fan fiction stuff, read a book, watch a movie and do some adult coloring. I am going to try and see if there are some people online who can support me with this transition from not knowing how things, if anything, will react to my video so, that’s … that’s okay.

I know that I’ll be okay.

And I am safe!! I am. So that is also good. I think any support you guys can lend would be amazing. Again, even just coping strategies or techniques to grounding.

Well, I have to go to sleep now but I’ll see you guys tomorrow once more. I apologize if I spent too much time talking about him rather than myself and such. I’ll try and work on this in the future, not that I intend to do this type of thing again, but yeah, I’ll have to work on this, it’s probably the OCD coming out to be honest haha. But yessss, thank you so much for reading and I will see you all soon.

Stay safe, my friends. ๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿค

This piece was written and begun around 7:30p on May 14th 2021, and then completed between 8:45p to 9:45p. EST

Doing Something Terrifying | #TrueMentalHealthAdvocate

Hi there.

This, once again, is not the post I was planning for today, but I’m making amends and just going with what I can.

I am doing something incredibly terrifying for today, tomorrow and Saturday. I’m making a “call out” video where I denounce someone who was once a part of and representative of the mental health community online who has done some horrible and inappropriate things and for which I can no longer remain silent about on my channel. I had done a collab with them in the past and after I watched a recent video from someone they threatened physical harm to, I am putting down my mask and my comfort level and going forward with something that’s important and that I firmly believe in.

I filmed the footage today and I’m still drowning in the panic of it and whether it will either hit the wall and nothing will happen or it will get big and the conflict that that arises in me if this is how I’m “discovered” online because of some outspoken talking that’s super uncharacteristic of me.

I’m terrified, to be honest and I hope that I can manage any backlash that may result and just keep my head afloat the best way that I can. I am planning to edit tomorrow all of the footage, I’ve made the thumbnail and created this tag above in the tag. It kinda works anyway because I was going to be doing a mental health advocate tag on this blog but I’m pushing it off to do next week instead. This is mental health awareness month and we have to speak out on abuse and inappropriate actions and holding each other accountable because it is unfair and damaging to the foundations upon which we’ve built our lives and voices in supporting one another’s recovery and not falling into the misshapen pieces the media likes to make of us living with mental health conditions that we are “dangerous” and “a threat to others.”

So, join me, I suppose or rally against me, either way it is what it is. I’m planning to schedule the video for a release on Saturday. I could do Sunday but I’m pretty sure I’d rather get it over with on Sat. Either it goes big or it goes nowhere. I’m not sure which and that’s frightening as all hell.

I am going to upload while I am at work so I can minimize some of the damage to my email and forcing myself to have time to not think about it, not look at it, not ponder it and just breathe in deep and remember it’s not the end of the world and I’ll manage and get through it somehow. Sometimes you just have to speak your truth, no matter how hard and scary it is.

No one knows in my life that I’m doing this but it’s what I think is right even if it opens me up to a lot of ridicule and misuse. I still may think that I shouldn’t do it and whatnot and have to live in that uncertainty. Hopefully if there’s any feedback it won’t be on Sat when I have to go to work again the next day, but maybe that will also be better too (I can keep my mind busy).

Okay, that is all.

I’m going to sleep now. I’ll pop in again tomorrow. Good night!

xxx

๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿค๐Ÿค

My Letters to Avoidance | #itsokaytonotbeokay


Dear Avoidance,

It should come as no surprise to you that I’ve been avoiding dealing with you lately. Properly. As it should be dealt with.ย 

I dislike you, very much. That much is obvious. You take away my time, my satisfaction in life and yet you still seem to serve some type of twisted purpose for me.

Why are you so hard to get rid of? Why won’t you leave me alone? What type of self-sabotaging bullshit do you exist in?

I wish you would leave my house already. You’ve brought it back into shambles and I hate that for you. For us. For me.

But every corner I turn, you are there. Waiting and lurking for me, watching me stumble and trip and then swooping right in to waste another hour of my day, another moment of my breath, another video to watch and lurk in but one is never enough, never enough. More and more you crave and more and more I find myself slipping into you. Into your cool embrace and maybe the feeling is just comforting enough that I forget how much I hate you and how much I am frustrated at myself for once again falling in love with you.

Because you’re so, so, so hard to resist these days. You beckon me forwards. You cling to my soul and you dampen my moods and distract me from everything I’m afraid of. You’re a dangerous pill and I wish I could stop–if only it were that easy.

In moments of revelation, I get myself to break free. To run. To hide.

And in other moments, I let myself slip away, into your grip, your hand (locked) on my wrist, dragging me under and making me believe that I’m okay with this torture and the taking away of everything you want me to (not) feel.

You drag me in. And I let you. That’s my mistake, I’ll give you that.

ย 

Dear Avoidance,

It’s a new day. A new sun has arisen and new clouds are passing through. I thought you were going to pass on through too but today I found that I re-engaged in the same behaviors that for some reason, I was thinking would yield different results. But here I am again, locked in the shadows of a dismantled household and here you are again, watching over me with a sinister grin upon your darkened face. I still find myself broken and with cracks run so ragged my skin bleeds at the tears. I wish to leave, I whisper. I wish to go.

But no, you say. No.

And I whimper close. But no one hears it. No one hears here. They never do.

ย 

Dear Avoidance,

Take me away again, I beg. Take me away from my thoughts and my feelings. Numb me out, make me laugh, provide me with the comfort I’m so incapable of giving to myself. Shield me from the world and make the hard easy again. Make the fear of tomorrow, the worry of regret, make it all fade away. Make it run dry, make it soundless. With you here, you’re all I need. All I need. I need no one, no thing, nothing else but this. You give me peace. You give me pride. You give me life.

Even if you’re the same one taking away my soul and taking away my motivation and my inspiration. You’re taking my life just as you manage to breathe it back into me.

For that, you are a fool. Because one day I will realize and I will leave and you’ll be all alone again, with only your dark thoughts and the shadows to keep you company. One day I will break free because I was born to fly and these wings are not defective, not like you. One day I will scream and cry and someone will hear me and then the beauty of the lies you hold will break the facade as I crawl my way out of your grasp and out of your darkness.

Mark my words, Avoidance, I’m coming for you. And you can’t ever dare to break me again.

I will find you. I will erase you. I will not stop until you are but a speck of dust in my vision. I will tell this tale loud and I will tell of this fight proudly. I will make a road map for those who are also caught within your grasp and through that, I will find purpose and meaning all over again.

My feelings may be large, but my inspiration is endless. All I have is this moment. All I have is this breath. So I will take it from you and explore it for myself. For me, by me, to me. And maybe, Avoidance, that’ll be the greatest gift of all.

ย 

Dear Life Outside of Avoidance,

I may be too scared today to release you. I may be too scared tomorrow to understand your worth and your place within my speck of space in this world. I will try to have an open mind. I will try to do something better for myself, to make beauty out of pain. I will try to take charge of the situation I’ve been placed in and I will try to do better for me because I’ve earned it, no, I LIVE it and that is more than enough.

Dear Life Outside of Avoidance,

You’re so beautiful, it’s hard to look at you for long. But I will try. I will try. And with your grace, I shall move ahead towards the next opportunity. And when I am afraid, because I will be afraid, I will try for one minute to be with you. I will try for one minute to just be here, now, and look not so far ahead but rather just up to the next corner. I know it’s just hard sometimes. Sometimes, life is just hard. I can’t even quite see what you look like, but I’ll keep trying to diminish the blur before your face and live my life as mindfully and spiritually calm as possible. And with the faith that everything else will fall into place, I will live.

Because that is what life calls for. That is what the Life Outside of Avoidance calls for. And I will heed this call. I will take notice of it. And I will follow it. Because it’s right. It’s right.

And after all, there’s only ever so much time in the world.

ย 

All the best,

— Raquel

ย 

Also, PS Avoidance:

Fuck you, too.

Creative liberties taken up on about 8:50p EST Tu, May 11th 2021. A creative nonfiction release of thoughts and emotion. Grappling with the big questions and the big adversities in my life at the moment. I know one day it’ll get easier. Today isn’t quite that day, not yet. Thank you for reading. I have a new video up on my channel if you’d be so kind as to interact with me there. There will be more to come. Always, always more. xxx ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’›

The Mental Health Tag 2021 | #mhblogger

Ahahha, I know it’s a TAD big but I just made this today on my Canva account and I really love it! If you’re interested in details, I’ll describe it down below at the end of the tag. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜™

Hi hi!!!

Thank you SO MUCH for stopping by on this post. I have two main things I want to say before we get started–okay, maybeeee three, ahaha.

Firstly: This post is inspired and predominantly follows the amazing Jenny in Neverland’s blog post for this tag which you can find via this long hyperlink! Her post originally existed back in 2017 and I am inclined to reignite the spark and carry it over into this year which is 2021!! Her post was also inspired by another blogger which you can find through her own links there. But on to point number two!

Secondly: If you don’t know and this is your first time on my blog, I used to write articles for my university’s student newspaper about my mental health recovery journey from spring 2016 – fall 2018. The most relevant article for this post is the one I did as an interview with my friend I named Naomi. It was about the impact of stigma upon the mental health community and how it can act as a barrier to receiving the appropriate help for those conditions. When I had asked my collegue from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness, USA) about how to conduct the interview, they suggested that I add in fun facts and other interests besides mental health that I want to carry over into THIS blog post. So, that’s how I’m going to be tweaking this post, my contribution to the tag, itself. I’ll add in comments about my hobbies, the types of things I like and enjoy and other factors that have contributed to my far more emotionally stable lifestyle and the hopes and dreams even beyond mental health that I plan to embark on and explore one day.

Thirdly: Within this vein above, I’d also like to describe the different factors that I highlighted and created in the associated thumbnail for this post. Just little facts or small discussions on each item shown and what the process was like coming up with this thumb overall. If I count them all up for both of us…there’s 12 so I shall space them out throughout this post! With that being said, let’s jump in!


QUESTION #1:

Who are you?

Hi there! My name is Raquel Lyons and I’m a blogger here on WordPress, while also managing multiple accounts throughout the Internet, some being:

My Loki centered Avengers fan fiction accounts on both fanfiction.net and Archive of Our Own (AO3) where I write a lot about overcoming adversity, hurt/comfort, angst and the intersecting points between mental and physical health conditions. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿค— I put Loki through a LOT of shit but he manages regardless haha. My most popular stories are A Little Unsteady (fainting) and Distorted & Disordered (mental health fic set in high school and will be a trilogy). I do not shy away from hard topics like trauma, PTSD, suicidality, mental health, eating disorders etc. Another popular story I have would be Severed (waist down paralysis) and An Unseeing Shadow (a spinoff for Come to Pass before I started that story which is about differing forms of blindness). My account names on both sites with just a space at FFN vs AO3 is Unmasked Potential. So, if you’re curious and you’d like to read more of my writing beyond this blog, check those out! FFN and AO3. And leave me a comment or critique if you can and are interested!!! ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜Œโ˜บ

My Youtube channel with the same name as here: RecoverytoWellness — where I make videos (I am ending a hiatus soon, within the next few weeks!!) about my recovery (life updates, Support Stands); my artwork (coloring, creative writing, filming (newly), photography, Ink on Skin, etc.); hauls (stationery, journals, books); art time lapses; room care; talking videos and more. I even have a couple of collabs but more so tons of other videos I have to edit and put together soon. I just got a new editing software so I’ll be tinkering with that very soon to see how that goes and hopefully return with a better uploading schedule!!! My most current videos I’ve filmed (but haven’t edited) include room care/reorganizing, a body positivity vid, hauls, going through my childhood stuffed animals, a multiple part Get to Know Me series! (To celebrate 100 subs).

My Twitter page: Recovery Raquel that I, for better or for worse, treat as my online journal, much like here and other sites if I’m honest, where I update about what I’m up to and what I’m creating or sharing some of my artwork or just what’s on my mind at that moment. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

My old (but soon to be resurrected) deviantART account. I made this account back in Feb. 2010 and it’s seen so much of me and it’s where I came up with the name for this blog, even. I settled more into here for my writing and chatting but DA was definitely where I started at sixteen. It has my artwork ranging from creative writing, journals, photography, drawing, coloring, etc. I want to get back into it very soon (this year) but haven’t quite managed to just yet. I do aim to though.

Besides my online presences, I am a twenty-seven year old living at home with my parents with my four year old doggo Mocha (AKA Mokeys). I mention her often on Twitter and I actually did here, too, way back in the day when we adopted her in June 2017 with some blog posts and old photos. I actually just took a BUNCH of photos of her just yesterday but they’re all still on my camera’s SD card at the moment. Regardless, I’m an avid artist ranging from: adult coloring, photography, filming, graphic design (Canva; it’s where I make all my blog and Youtube thumbnails), creative writing (particularly fan fiction as of late, but also poetry and short stories (and more I’ll mention in just a moment); beaded bracelets, scrapbooking/collages; painting, water coloring and you get the idea.

I live in MA, USA and I love rainbows and rainbow lighthouses, even if they are technically only a thing in my imagination (a lighthouse with a seven colored rainbow as the base instead of the traditional plain white or white and red combo) — (I tried to include an image of a drawing of this but I don’t have them on this laptop at the moment and I’m not about to go digging any further than what I just managed for about 15 mins, do forgive me.) Any how, I love to read books and books provide me with SUCH a great comfort, even if my reading ability today is far behind what it used to be. I still love books. I also love the Marvel Cinematic Universe, no surprises there. I love rainbows and I’m a small gay little bean. I enjoy my Disney+ and Netflix accounts and I love to create from a perspective of art therapy and mindfulness. I love falling asleep to an assortment of things like ASMR, creepypastas, horror stories and chiropractic cracking ahaha. I have a supportive family and many wonderful friends from all over the years. I love buying books, journals, art supplies and stationery.

This is the best I could find on short notice without my TB of all of my older files. IOS (Ink on Skin) 2017.

:=[[WHAT I’VE ALREADY ANSWERED ABOUT THE THUMB ABOVE]]=:

So, no surprises here, a few of my answers and lengthy about me and my online accounts should have already cleared up a few things from my thumb. Namely, the camera to represent photography (and filming!), the Love wins bottle because it’s aesthetically pleasing and also very gay of me, the cute rainbow because rainbows (they’re my fave color!! I do accept 5 colored rainbows but anything less than THAT isn’t a rainbow to me), the girl reading a book because books and reading and I am a woman (she/her pronouns, thanks very much)–I’d say that totals to about 4 things answered of the 12 thus far. Let’s keep going to see how that changes!

Question #2:

What is your mental health condition?

Aaaa, yes, we’re diving into the actual purpose and questions of this very mental health tag!! I live with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder on self-harm and suicide obsessions (intrusive thoughts in-congruent with my values; unwanted images and thoughts about these usually occurring these days in flashes I most often ignore), secondary depression (with genuine thoughts of hurting myself, urges mostly these days), trichotillomania (hair-pulling), dermatillomania (skin-picking), and this is a little complicated final one but technically Borderline Personality Disorder as of fall 2017 buuuut I don’t know how much I agree with it per se, because I fit at one point more under borderline traits because I didn’t hit five or more of the 9 symptoms so sometimes I just say BPD and sometimes I don’t. Depends how much I want to explain that day ahaha.

But yes, short technical version is: OCD, depression, BPD, trich and derm.

As a disclaimer, I will add that diagnosis in the US (though I imagine it’s applicable worldwide) is more for the purposes of insurance companies and treatment direction, knowing which to apply to what and so on. I also believe diagnostic criteria exist on a fluid spectrum where at one point I may have identified more with an OCD diagnosis and at another a BPD diagnosis. For me, luckily, it’s been over 3 years since I last self-harmed via scratching and it’s been about 3.5 years since I was last hospitalized. I do get urges still today and bad dreams about suicidality or self harm but I definitely don’t act on it as much as I used to. I’ve grown a lot and I’ve really changed in a lot of ways. But we’ll get more into that soon.

Question #3:

Do you take medication or have you had therapy?

Okay, Raquel, this question is a simple question and you’re gonna answer it more in-depth in the next one. Keep it simple. Think simple. BE the simple.

Short answer: Yes and yes. As for my current providers, I’ve had the same psychiatrist “Phil” since Mar. 2015 and my current therapist “June” since Feb. 2018. She began as my family therapist with sessions with myself and my Mom in that same stroke of time but became my main therapist at least in like Jan. 2020. Occasionally we still do family sessions but not as much anymore. Pandemic-wise, I was seeing my psychiatrist in the summer months in person with physical distancing (since winter, it’s only been over the phone and as of yet hasn’t reshaped at all yet) and I’ve been over the phone for the last year and a half with June. Soooo, yep.

Question #4:

What therapy or medication combination worked best for you? What were its short comings and what were its strengths?

So, a more complicated answer and question here.

I tried out various medications at different times and dosages over the years. Largely, I’ve been on my current anti-depressant since about Mar. 2015 (I don’t go into specifics of particular ones because my advocacy work discourages that so I just never have over the years) and I’ve been taking the current anti-psychotic since about Sep/Oct 2017. It took a lot of tinkering but I finally found the right ones that worked for me. I’ve been stable on both of these meds since, hmm, let’s say Feb. 2018. And by stable I mean, we haven’t changed them in any way.

Also, I want to preface my answer to this question in particular with the fact that I am only an expert in my own experiences and I can only tell you what’s worked for ME from my own perspective and I vastly encourage you to take your own liberties in your own treatment up with your treatment team and don’t necessarily spout off what worked for me in your sessions because we’re all very different and what works for me may not work for you! So definitely, advocate, advocate, advocate. Be the main person in your team that stands up for you and helps you get help because you deserve it, you’re worth it and life gets soooo much better!!!

I’ve had a lot of treatment over the years which I’ll spell out more down below, but to put it in perspective, I’ve been hospitalized for psychiatric purposes 12 times over 3 years. Here’s what helped me the most plus an overview of all treatment I’ve had in that length of time (which this will get clearer down below, sorry this is a strange jumble of stream of consciousness and also some parameters set in place for other more specific questions that come later in this tag!!!)

  • I originally began my treatment using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) at the Counseling Center at uni. I did this for maybe like 6-7 months before I transitioned to my OCD specialized therapist.
  • I saw my OCD specialized therapist twice weekly for about a year and half, approximately from Feb. 2015 – Nov. 2016
  • I stayed 5 weeks at the OCD-Institute in Belmont, MA in Sept – Oct. 2015. The main therapy I learned there was exposure and response prevention (ERP), family therapy, individual therapy and group therapies like introductions into DBT and mindfulness and more. ERP is used to treat OCD which is to essentially expose the person to the thing they’re most afraid of (predominantly as a hierarchy so small stuff first then leading up to bigger stuff; we want to avoid flooding ourselves!) and NOT engage in the compulsions that only make the anxiety or distress temporarily disappear.
  • I then saw my therapist April once a week for about a year. We did like maybe CBT and art therapy and crisis management work (I was still very unwell at this point)
  • I was hospitalized on and off through this period of time (fall 2016 – Jan 2018)
  • I began to attend a day program “Passages” from Feb. 2018 to June 2020. Here I would attend groups and activities during the day and then return home at night. I attended three days a week and did activities like group therapy, mindfulness, art therapy, socialization, psychoeducation, and the predominantly taught modality there that was Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT.
  • DBT is comprised of four main modules: mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness and emotion regulation. DBT is the therapy that really genuinely and honestly transformed my life to what it IS today. I began to attend the DBT-Intensive (DBT-I) program from May 2018 (leaving April to do so) to Jan. 2020. On Wed’s at the program I would attend the DBT-I session which was to review the last week’s homework assignment, offer an issue we had with the previous week via referring to our diary cards that tracked our moods and behaviors and then in the second hour we learned the next skill and received the next week’s homework assignment. On F’s I’d meet with my individual therapist there and talk about what was going on and all that jazz. I learned SO MANY skills of DBT that I still practice mostly unconsciously today and with many avenues I still have to update myself on and relearn (gwah).
  • My most used skills are probably opposite action, pros and cons and self-soothe. I’ll be honest though, I haven’t really been reading up on them or practicing them more again in the last year or so. However, overall DBT taught me how to tolerate my negative emotions and build a rather high pain tolerance. It also taught me to fall in love with other things and passions like music, fan fiction and Marvel movies. I learned how to sift through my emotions and went from triggers affecting me for 3 – 4 days like back in 2017 to instead having a very painful and uncomfortable 20 mins as more of the norm and the baseline of my existence. I also became super stable and just haven’t needed the hospital setting like I once used to.
  • I still struggle with catastrophizing, all or nothing thinking and avoidance but overall it’s gotten so much smaller and better than it first began as. I struggle more with avoidance, procrastination, denying anxiety and the hair pulling and skin picking these days
  • By Feb. 2018 I started seeing June for family therapy and then in about Jan 2020 I saw her individually once a week until probably these past 6 months where I was able to do biweekly appointments (which would have been unheard of back in the day!!)

Overall, my treatment has definitely taken bits and pieces and various varieties over the years. I am hoping to find myself an OCD specialized therapist again within the next year because I think I’m ready to do that and would benefit a lot more from that as well. Medications weren’t one and done, they took different amounts and unfortunate side effects like weight gain, irregular heartbeats, stiff jaw and the like. Therapy had always felt like something I’d be locked in for for life yet in the last year I’ve been able to play around with the idea that maybe it didn’t always have to be. I definitely still have my struggles today, they’re just different than they used to be.

:=[[Thumb Discussion Time]]=:

I’ll pick the unicorn this time!! I LOVE unicorns. Always have since I was a little girl ahaha I just think unicorns are great mythical creatures and I love their aesthetic and have drawn a few of them throughout the course of my art making days. I just liken them to rainbows and you know how much I love rainbows so it’s a perfect match!!!

Question #5:

How long have you been living with mental health conditions?

I was diagnosed first with OCD back in fall 2014 when I was 21. I was seeing my uni’s Counseling Center until, well, you already read that part. I was diagnosed with depression in Jan. 2015. I was then diagnosed with BPD in fall 2017. I was never officially diagnosed with trich but I’ve honestly had it since I was 15 and it pre-dates all my other mental health conditions, but it only became severe (enough that I was missing my eyebrow two or three times over the course of a year) in 2017. And derm is still new but that’s been since I started to manage my trich so probably 2018/2019.

Photos and discussion of my trich journey.

Question #6:

Do your family/friends know?

Yesssssss, my Mom is most active in my treatment with my Dad thereafter. My Mom is really the main parental figure that attended my family therapy appointments with June. My parents have been active parts in my treatment as I would need hospitalizations and crisis support, even if they were one of the last ones to find out about that stuff (sorry, Mom and Dad!). They would call me, visit me in the hospital, bring in my clothing or books or homework. They were through the original family therapy appointments at the OCD-I. They still carry me financially for the most part. They’ve been there to take care of Mokeys and put up with all of my bullshit (which is the avoidance for sure; I need to do more chores, I swear). I live in their house still and it’s been a hot spot of struggle for years and then just betterment in the last three.

As far as my friends, yes, they also know. Most of them also live with their own mental health conditions to be fair.

And beyond my friends, I do advocacy work with NAMI so tons of audience member/strangers know about my recovery too. And I was open about it via my articles at uni. And, relevant to here, I’m still open about it and I tell the entire world my shit. For better or for worse, haha. So yeah, probably the only people who don’t know might be extended family. But pretty much, everyone knows. I’m not ashamed of it. I’m proud of where I’ve come and all that I manage today, which brings me to the next thing:

Question #7:

What are some of your dreams for the future?

Technically not a question in the original post but I’m adding it, because I THINK this is what I was going to write about next (it’s been about 3 hours of work overall and I’m getting tired to be honest), but I’m definitely looking forward to writing my own fiction novel, a RecoveryHome workbook, my memoir and probably novellas or a series of short stories and poetry books. I also still dream of one day giving my own TEDtalk about my recovery journey. I also want to become a Certified Peer Specialist next in my career. I plan to continue watching the MCU movies. I plan to actually finish my fanfics, ahaha. I plan to become more involved with advocacy work, like with CPS and also just with NAMI in general. I would love to make my recovery art projects a thing (all the different R’s involved with that.) I want to get out beyond my bubble of comfort and into driving around the countryside and looking at homes and houses because I’ve always found that soothing. I can’t wait to listen to more and new and old music. I dream of my house’s front door and having rainbow lighthouses everywhere, haha. I’m starting to explore romance in my life and continually trying to let go of fear and let myself live. Existential awareness is still too strange for me but I’ll take it, and deal with it however I can at the moment. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿค— Okay, let me be honest, that was a necessary mini break that I needed right there!!!

Question #8:

What helps you to self-soothe?

I swear I won’t jump around too, too much in this post, haha. Here are the types of things I find self-soothing:

  1. Looking at houses and interior/exterior design. It shouldn’t be too much to wonder how I have an entire project set aside called Recovery Home, then, right? Looking at the different types of things people have out and in their homes just fascinates me. I love it. Storage boxes in neat rows and colors, art studio things, windows, types of doors, porches, banisters… I just love it
  2. Driving in the country-side. I definitely find this soothing, just roaming about and learning the road, finding new places. It’s nice. Simple and adventurous and nice.
  3. Libraries. God, I love libraries. Also, is this surprising? My idea of a good time is just being in a library. So fascinating
  4. Book stores and stationery shops, plus other shopping things. I don’t know, there’s something just so nice about to do lists and cute journals or finding nice, new or different art supplies and they’re always coming up with new stuff. I love it. Book stores are so great too. Dangerous to be in because of how much money I’ll spend but still it’s nice to look and write down into my journal which I’ve been doing more often now.
  5. Watching a movie or TV show. Like “Mom” or “Grey’s Anatomy” but you better bring the tissues to the latter! Even when I finally do get myself to watch an MCU movie it’s nice. Work, quite a bit, but it’s nice. Just getting lost in someone else’s head for a while
  6. Ink on Skin. Definitely a great self-soothing crisis type of coping strategy for me. Need I say more?
  7. Reading a book (even if it doesn’t happen as often these days).
  8. Watching a Youtube video but I have to be careful with this because I’ll over-distract and over-avoid.
  9. Creating art or listening to other art while I create art like music and horror stories, ahaha.
  10. Listening to music. Definitely a great skill that one is.
  11. Taking even just 10 mins for myself. If I need a reboot or a moment to just peruse a book, without or very few expectations, this helps. I’ve been able to get a little bit further in a book doing this before. So, this is a nice skill. Maybe falls under ‘brief vacation’ from DBT in the IMPROVE skill

Question #9:

What helps or what could you do when you get triggered to re-stabilize?

Outside of NAMI my longest standing employment is at Amaryllis a trauma informed residential for youth where I work with children aged 4 – 12 years old. I’ve been there almost 2 years now. It’s my more traditional 8 hour shift job (which I have all this weekend and once I FINALLY finish this post I’m gonna re-calibrate for that). I work only about once or twice a week. Regardless, if I get triggered (which does happen) at work I can usually take a quick 5 min or swap with a co-worker, get emotional support from co-workers or feedback of some kind, cry, listen to music, call a hotline or call my Mom about it later too.

Making plans is also really important for me so like coming up with parameters ahead of time of skills I can use and resources I can reach out to is important as well as self-care practices thereafter. So things like small mindfulness exercises help, listening to music, IOS, making artwork, blogging, filming a video, and the like. Sorry, I’m a little off now since I just spoke with my dating friend ahaha.

Overall I think having an idea for how to handle it before then after helps me a lot. I don’t always do my therapy homework though, to be honest, but doing like half hour or hour by hour safety check ins like what would happen in the hospital can be a great last resort. Even going for shopping or being around books helps. Getting out of the house or look at other people’s houses etc. Getting support from family or friends. You get the idea.

Question #10:

What is something you want others to know who are struggling?

It gets better. It really, really does. I could never have imagined this type of life for myself over four or five years ago. It won’t always hurt this badly, life that is and pain, too. My tolerance for pain has increased so much and the human body naturally adapts to new situations. The body and the mind can adapt and pain doesn’t last forever. It can definitely come in waves and it can be like a tsunami sometimes too, and at the same time, I think nowadays I’m only ever in a puddle in comparison to the bigger, more life-threatening things I used to deal with.

Know that it’ll get better. It’ll take a lot of work and effort and time and it will be sooo, so worth it. Build those reasons to stay alive, whether it’s looking forward to a new movie or a video game. That helped me so much when I struggled. Finding something, tangible or abstract, to hold onto counts so, so much. I’d cradle my teddy bear dog stuffie and hold onto the hope that it wouldn’t always be so dark or bad.

And it got better. It did. And now I have dreams and a life and new relationships and things I can now explore and imagine and create and that is so, so special. You will be okay again. And if you need hope, I can hold it out for you until you can carry it yourself. I believe in you. And I’ll believe in you until you can light that candle for yourself, too.

Stay safe and above all, love yourself. ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿค

Question #11:

How would you describe your recovery in 5 words?

Optimistic, hopeful, persistent, determination and perseverance.

As for the final points about my chosen thumbnail:

  • The makeup palette: I’m slowly and gradually getting into makeup and it’s been fun so far and I can’t wait to explore more of it in the years ahead!! Most of my artwork of females has always featured makeup so it’s kinda natural this is where I’m headed ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜š
  • Ipod: music is SUCH a big part of my recovery and mental health conditions journey. I’m still listening to music even just alongside this post (I’m on some Iron Man instrumentals now) though not what I started out with ahaha. It’s great though and I love to reference it in my art, which I’ll probably share in a future post this month, if you’re curious!!!
  • Kiss and profile woman: symbolizing love and romance, exploring that part of me that I’ve left abandoned and rugged for years. It’s nice though, something different to think of and maybe it won’t pan out or maybe it’ll be everything I always wanted and never knew I needed. I’m excited about it. ๐Ÿ‘„๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โค๏ธโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿ’Ÿ
  • A photo of me! An old selfie from about fall 2020 sporting my extra big extra glasses haha Just something nice to personalize and humanize this post!!
  • You Got This: because affirmations are awesome, helpful and I love writing cards and letters to people and giving them out which ALSO includes myself!! (though it’s been forever, I’ll be honest)
  • Journal: I feel like using the photo that I did from Canva for this project was perfect to create this little collage-like thumb. It was perfect and I got to create all over it even if no actual physical page was marked. It was great and worked out far better using this blank paged journal for me to spread out all my ideas! Yay!
  • Woman in a dress: I love dresses. I can’t wear them at Amaryllis but I love dresses. They’re just so cute and flow-y. But I’d be lying if I didn’t also mention how much I want to wear a men’s suit one day!! I’ve dreamed of it for years but they’re always too expensive for me. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿคจ

But yessssss, that IS ALL THE TIME I have for you and myself and for all of the peeps today.

This post took me many of the hours to write and I’m sick of it and can’t wait to move on to the next thing ahaha. I hope that you enjoyed it though!!!! And we’ll see what post I do tomorrow, honestly, probably celebrating hitting the 500 post milestone!! (at least that won’t wind up being 4k words long)

I lied…. it’s been 5K words long. *sobs internally*

But yeah, I have to go do something else now. I hope there weren’t any or many errors in spelling or grammar because I’m not reading this back over again but do check out the people I linked in this post and the things that I also linked and all of that jazz. Thank you SO MUCH for reading and let me know if you want to do this type of tag on YOUR blog or if you’re interested or want to create your OWN version of it, because I definitely took some creative liberties on mine ahaha.

Thank youuuuuuu. And let me know what you thought down below!! I didn’t do this much work for nothing. Kidding. Ahaha ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜ถ I will see you guys tomorrow. The amoutn of spelling errors at the vrey end of this post is concerning. Sigh.

๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š

Written from: 3p; 4-7p, phone break for 10 mins, 7:15-7:35p. All written May 7th 2021. Thumb created around 2p, I think, if I had to guess.

“As always, stay safe, take care and be well. Much love and light to you.” — Me in my tag line for the end of my videos. ๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿค๐Ÿ’œ๐ŸŒˆ๐ŸŒž

“Hero” (2013) | Book Review (Sep. 2020)


Chosen Book:

“Hero” (2013) by Rhonda Byrne

Part of “The Secret” series.ย 


Trigger Warnings:

None!


Themes:

Hero, “the hero’s journey”, maps, guidance, inspiration, compass, advocacy, stories, aspirations, advice, worldwide, global, dreams, belief, how to get there, perseverance, pursuit, visualization, hope, graphic design, art, expectations, potential, encouragement, success, self-worth, self-esteem.


General Layout/Information Delivery:

This book is uniquely defined in a way that I haven’t seen any other book do before. This book follows twelve incredible human beings and their successes in businesses and life and finding meaning in their struggles along with advice for the reader to understand and grapple with, to become inspired and searching for their own dream either locked away or uncovered again from within their soul. The book has this beautiful aged paper look to it and it communicates wisdom and power just by the look of it, let alone the words of hope and help that are bound into it to begin with. Each “hero” is determined by a relating graphic design that appears beside their name as they add in quotes or sharing their own lived experiences about various parts of the “hero’s journey”. The separate but continued parts of the story are comprised of hotly orange, yellow and red landscapes and each chapter has the title at the right with the introduction to the chapter below in text and to the left, the area of the map and title with a red flag to mark where the hero is upon their journey. There are trees, mountains and often bodies of water. It makes for a book interactive and intuitive along with being aesthetically pleasing and inspiring.

I also happened to find the art not too overwhelming or distracting and I really quite appreciated that notion. ๐Ÿ™‚


Summary:

Following the advice and wisdom of every hero’s journey along with Rhonda’s interpretations and spirit through each page and paragraph, comes alive a book about dreams and making them a reality that I have not encountered before in my life. It wasn’t without issues, of course, because at the beginning of this book I felt their notions of optimism and faith to be forced and pretentious in some respects, I found it to be a little annoying and seemed like it was trying too hard to be uplifting and inspiring without putting in the work yet to show me that it was uplifting and inspiring. I’m glad I stuck it out though because eventually I fell in love with the book and I’m grateful to have read it and have the opportunity to properly review it on here. โค ๐Ÿ™‚

Additionally, “The Secret” is a widely acclaimed international film that made strides and leaps in bounds in hundreds of ways. Although I would have liked some type of explanation to what the film was, what it was about, even just a small blurb about it, we never get that from this book. There is apparently a book about the film out in existence as well as two other books in the series. Personally, this is the FIRST time I’ve ever come across this information so I have purely NO opinion or formulated thought about this series, the books or the film and I would have appreciated some introduction or blurb about anything on the material, but alas, I never received this. It does make me wary and also grateful that I can go forwards into this topic further without preconceived notions or judgments. ๐Ÿ™‚

Overall this is a great book to read if you’re looking for inspiration and wisdom and guidance based on other people’s successes and how they made their dreams come alive like never before. The book really doesn’t cover any triggers so it’s safe in that respect, as well! I think a lot of people could get an excellent benefit from this book if they took the time to read it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Keep reading this review to check out my thoughts on this book and how I interacted with it as well as some pieces I thought could have been better defined or explored.


Book Length:

227 pages


Recommendation Score:

4/5

accomplished dreams


Outstanding Quotes with My Commentary:

  1. “You might think ‘I’ve got time to follow my dreams.’ You don’t have time. Life is short. The current life expectancy is more or less 24,869 days. You do not have time to put off your dreams” — Byrne, 2013, p. 31

I found this quote to be particularly: necessary, anxiety provoking, important, true, crucial and terrifying. :O

2. “Realizing that no one else is going to make your dreams come true is a big step. Your boss, friends, partner, family cannot live your life for you. You are responsible for creating a life that makes you happy and fulfilled” — Byrne, 2013, p. 32

I really felt this quote and it reminds me once again how other people can’t exactly write a story or a fanfic in the same avenue that I am–not to say I’m particularly unique but that the plot, the way it happens, the details there, come from my head and while they can be influenced by my life and others, no one can replicate it in the exact same way that I do. So, if I passed on before I could get everything I wanted out in the world, people left behind could try and piece it together but it would never be quite “me”, you know? No one can live my life for me besides me. No one can make my dreams come true besides me. I have to live and live the way I know how. The rest will come into play later. โค ๐Ÿ™‚ I definitely find quite a bit of truth and wisdom in this quote.

3. “We can’t take material things with us [when we pass on] because they are not who we are; while they are part of the joy of living on earth, they are not the purpose of our life” — Byrne, 2013, p. 37

I thought this was an incredible, poignant and resounding quote to read. Just, wow. I think a lot of us could use this reminder in our lives. I love the notion of it, and it reminds me of estate sales and yard sales even, because when we do pass on from this world into the next–whatever that may be–none of our personal belongings or ties to this world will go with us, not exactly. Certainly not physical items, some things like relationships will carry on but likely they won’t follow with us exactly. It’s fascinating, really.

4. CONTEXT: On p. 45 Byrne asks the reader to take a moment to listen to their subconsciousness, to find an inkling of an idea of what their dream is and what action step they can take towards completing their dream. She asks questions like ‘What is my purpose in life?’, ‘What am I meant to do?’ and ‘What is my reason for being here?’ She suggests to notice anything that arrives and says that the answer will come (from the Universal Mind) while we’re busy doing something else and try not to judge it or ignore it. Mine? Here:

“I am an inspiration not because I am flawless but because I am flawed.”

5. “It often takes courage to do the thing you love and go against the majority. Resist the temptation to try and please anyone and be true to yourself. It’s not your job to please anybody else, anyway; it’s their job to please themselves and find their own happiness. This is your life and you must follow your own heart” — Byrne, 2013, p. 60

I thought this was such a beautiful paragraph that needed to be seen by everyone’s eyes who reads this review. It’s so true and so well said. Again, it’s a wonderful reminder. We are not responsible for the actions of others or their reactions, only they are. And remember, not everyone is going to like you or approve of you, and that’s okay!! โค

6. “Believing in yourself doesn’t mean there won’t be moments where you question your ability to achieve your dream….you can only take one step at a time on the Hero’s Journey and one step at a time is all that every successful person took” — Byrne, 2013, p. 74

I felt this was particularly important to note and if the journey at length becomes overwhelming, just break it down into the smaller pieces because everything has smaller pieces and it’ll be easier to carry that load than the entire tree. One log at a time. โค

7. “The energy you put into the world comes back. In other words, the fruit is in the seed. You can’t sow an apple seed and expect to get an avocado tree. The consequences of your life are sown in what you do and how you behave” — Tom Shadyac p. 118

I really, really liked this and it has inspired me to do more art shares on my social media platforms and get back into doing that because I used to do it a lot before so yeah. Yay, inspiration! If I do it for online like with Twitter I can actually use some hashtags ahaha.

On top of this, the intention isn’t to put good out to get good back rather it’s to feel good about giving out good and being happy and fulfilled in that exercise.

8. “In fact, there are no walls (for your dream); there is only the appearance of walls. There are no dead ends; there is only the appearance of dead ends. Both are actually only detours for the purpose of redirecting you to that greater version of your dream” — Byrne, 2013, p. 141

I thought this was an excellent thing to be reminded of. That sometimes the roadblocks we face in the pursuit of our dreams really are ways the Universe is working for us to see the other side in a different way than what we may have imagined and maybe this new way could be even better and greater for us than what limited view we had from our own perspective (Byrne, paraphrased). It also made me think that I may try and get my memoir compiled and done within one and two years. As well as work towards more of the TEDtalk I’d like to give, my recovery projects, books and artwork. ๐Ÿ™‚

9. (Liz Murray) “Every time something got in my way, what if it was just another hurdle? Because a hurdle’s not separate from the track; a hurdle is a part of the track, and it wouldn’t be an indication that I was off my track. When things were in the way that was just part of the course and eventually if I jumped those hurdles enough I would reach my finish line” — p. 163

I really, really, really LOVED this metaphor. So good and so easy to visualize and have such a fresh new perspective on obstacles and adversity in this way. ๐Ÿ™‚ I really want to continue checking out Liz’s work trampolined from this book: she’s an author, has a movie about her journey and she’s a motivational speaker, which is really up my alley! Can’t wait to check her out. ๐Ÿ˜€

10. “(Liz Murray) [This woman] told me, ‘I can’t do much, but I can do that’ and if everybody on this planet would get that lesson–I can’t do much but I can do that…I learned that you can help other people in small ways that are available to you right this second” — p. 171

I love this!! It’s so profound and such a wonderful glimpse into a person’s life and what they wanted to do to help make a positive impact in the world (or in someone’s world; the woman wanted to do Liz’s laundry). It definitely made me think of the articles I wrote for the paper and one of my friends dealing with homelessness. I hope that she’s okay!! โค

11. “(Peter Foyo) Some people say, ‘Why do you still work?’ and I say, ‘Because I’m making a difference and I’d like to continue to do that while I’m here.'” — p. 191

Straight up in love with this. What a perfect answer to an interesting question and so deep and profound at that, too!! It’s honestly so beautiful. *_*

12. “(Laird Hamilton) I only wish to figure out how to do more and make a bigger difference, and as I continue in that direction I think I may realize, at the end, that my goal was more to make a difference than it was all the other things” — Byrne, 2013, p. 204

I just thought this was breathtakingly beautiful. I’m not sure if it still is out of context but it was a great juncture to make at this point in the book.


Wandering Thoughts or Ideas I had While Reading:

  • How much do cruel comments about another person’s potential successes or failures wind up making or breaking an individual and what they can go out and do in the world? Can these remarks be unintentionally inspiring? Even if their intention was to hurt and put down–what defines whether a person will rise to the challenge or give in, give up and never try?
  • On the notion that how you were raised or the “circumstances of your beginnings” don’t dictate the life you lead made me wonder how much this is true for cases of trauma? Abuse? Neglect? Having finished the book I suppose it makes sense that one can aspire and become greater than those circumstances and at the same time it may be important to recognize the very reality that some people won’t. But that that power is up to the individual’s choices themselves. (Paraphrased, Byrne, p. 16).
  • I did find it frustrating that I was never told plain and simply what “The Secret” film/book/other books were about or what they even meant. Also, I was reminded early on about “Ashes” by Celine Dion in the film “Deadpool 2” (a film review that I could do very well in setting aside time to address and upload for myself and you all just the same; p. 18). :3
  • On the notion about how your hobbies are clues into what you’re most passionate about, what you make time for and that they can even be avenues for you to explore to make money out of: came the idea and reminder for myself to work on my fanfics synopses and place these and the dates they were created into my memoir. Of course, since then I uncovered a rule about them on FFN that clearly states to not use song lyrics in stories (how I missed that I’ll never truly know) which will be a difficult roadblock for my memoir, but I hope that I’ll figure it out or one day with an editor I can have my uncertainties answered properly. For now, it’d be nice to work on it again, I actually thought of it today, the last day of Sept 2020 but yeah. Haven’t quite made it there yet again but it’s on my mind. โค (Reference to paraphrasing: p. 20, Byrne, 2013).
  • From the section on receiving the call to my dream I was able to link and uncover the fact that reading GIAJ got me to make a Disney+ membership, YAWI (you haven’t seen this yet) inspired me to title my memoir “SOAR” and begin to work on it and this book, H, well, I haven’t completed figured it out just yet. But I was approached by someone on Twitter along the same time as I got my memoir title idea that prompted me to think about writing my book so there’s that. I think this book, H, helped to redefine goals and motivation and inspiration and structuring for myself, at least, from what I can remember! I’ll have to see at the very end of this review if there were any other lingering factors. ๐Ÿ˜€ ย 
  • At one point of reading this book I thought of Chadwick Boseman and his passing and hoping that he, himself, had led a fulfilling life and was happy. It’s so sad to have lost him. And it was wonderful to have him for a while. โค </3
  • Being around books, reading books, ingesting books and watching movies really lights up my world. I’m drawn to books so much even if it’s more difficult these days to read, still I crave them. I find them hard to let go of, too. I also find photography helps me to pass the time by fast… which actually reminds me, I need to do some tracking tonight!! Art in general also serves that function. It’s what I’m most passionate about and I’m really glad I have that as one of my main outlets. In so many mediums, too!! ๐Ÿ˜€

ย 

  • p. 47 talking about the Universal Mind and asking it for questions or advice reminds me of my Thinking Rock out in my backyard that I would refer to for instructions and guidance to any problem I was having. It was a large oval rock by a beautiful tree and I would feel the coolness of the rock against my clothing and the mossy bits here and there. I’d sit saddling it and close my eyes, looking up at the tree’s leaves, imaging what life was like when the dinosaurs existed and pretending this big rock was a dinosaur egg. Those were good times. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • From tips about how to ask for advice or guidance from people who’ve made their own dreams come true I thought of how: 1. getting help and advice from others mattered, 2. getting inspiration from others and 3. immersing myself in reading and writing helps, too. (Particularly in regards to being a published author, of course!)
  • I really want to work some day soon on mind mapping in my planner, setting aside and brainstorming monthly SMART goals in said planner as well as creating a cool and awesome mini vision board in my memoir’s journal ๐Ÿ˜€ Hopefully some day soon!!
  • I’ve definitely fallen into the trap of not putting in as much effort and work and time into the things I enjoy yet still expecting to be hitting it big regardless. So, as ofย  p. 50 I need to work on this and work on interacting more online and blogging and such and doing more than the stationary level I’ve reached as of the last few years. ๐Ÿ˜› I suppose all in due time.
  • I don’t know how much my dreams involve popularity versus community but it’s definitely something I’ve been searching for for a while, once again reminding me I have to put in the effort myself to network and boost myself while also supporting others in their journeys and such. I’d like to do more shout-out posts and things to that nature to help with this. Maybe October will be a good month to start with! (Again though, I need to track tonight and fill in my planner a bit with these goals and ideas!)
  • The idea of navigating and expanding on daily blissful moments reminds me a lot of building mastery in DBT and the pleasant events diary homework assignment. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • While I do want to write my own memoir and have that journey be the way it is, I also do want to return to reading other people’s memoirs, I think that’d be nice! ๐Ÿ™‚ Get some exposures going again and all. ๐Ÿ˜›
  • Opening your subconscious mind to believing in yourself…and you will find that others new or old begin to believe in you too (paraphrased, Byrne, 2013, p. 73). This reminded me of Amaryllis again. :3
  • (About the keys and use of visualization…) I definitely want to practice more of drawing and writing about situations and dreams coming true and going well so I found the information on page 81 to be really helpful! I’d like to do practice scripts and things to that effect. ๐Ÿ™‚ More work ahead of myself, for sure! XD I also have an existing idea about what the cover image of my memoir would be. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • One of the successful people talks about a book they only ever read the title of and no other mention of the author but I’m incredibly curious now: “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” โค
  • There’s a nice few sections on gratitude in this book that I enjoyed. It made me think (p. 104) about my fanfics like D&D, S, ALU and also made me think of someone whose mental health/ED journey I follow online as well as even just practicing gratitude when I’m at work. Which I still need to come up with activities for this week! Eeep! :S
  • I also think I can use gratitude for an old blog post idea I had back in the day and for my current online presence and community (maybe in shambles in some respects) but yeah. :3
  • I also think all this gratitude stuff came to align with a new twice daily journal that I got at Michael’s on clearance which has a prompt about gratitude and such. So, that’s nice. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks, Universe!
  • On the idea of intuition being a flash of reasoning from the Universe: I need to work on trusting my intuition more at work especially. It is growing and becoming to exist/blooming in my chest.

ย 

  • Learn more about humility.
  • As told from Liz Murray’s perspective and how she moved from homelessness into a degree and motivational speaker: “what if that’s the school that lets me in? So I went and that was the school that let me in–that very next school. You never know when you’re about an inch away from your dreams. You have to do it one more time. Even if the one more time didn’t work, then do it one more time” — p. 133 For this, these positive what if’s, reminded me of the first IOOV and even the second IOOV from NAMI presentations I saw about mental health conditions and it always made me aware of this snagging reality that recovery is possible and maybe I could feel happy and fulfilled and live a life with mental health conditions. And, I’m where I’m at now. So, it IS possible!! Having a story and a purpose in that way was so beneficial for me. I’m grateful for that!! ๐Ÿ˜€
  • I don’t know if I ever did a proper blog post regarding this thumb/graphic design I made but it talked about how there are no one ways in life, that there are rotaries and side streets that will get you to the same destination in the end regardless. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Life Works Itself Out - No One Ways - THUMB - TT6 - 7.16.19
  • Art Idea Drawing #1 (9/14/20) : Lantern with rainbow light pooling out of it with a dark black background. Watercolors.
  • There exists an interesting comment on page 143 about how dreams evolve and how they will always be greater than you imagined, never smaller. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • On the idea that as sensitive beings you’ll always be affected by naysayers but how you react to it is up to you (p. 147): This is exactly right and trolls and insensitive comments will always be there, how you handle it is up to you. Even in fanfics this would arise. It’s the consequence of putting yourself out there. Also reminded me of the lyric from “10 Feet Down” by NF: “it’s not about what you did, it’s what you became from it”
  • On the concept of other people taking your ideas and running with them before you get the chance to… yes, this is why I don’t want to be overly descriptive of some of my more pressing projects like my memoir, SOAR and my own fiction novels, etc. I’d rather keep some things under wraps whereas a few years ago I would have (and planned to) put it all out there. ๐Ÿ˜› (By the way, SOAR isn’t the actual name of my memoir’s working title for now either, it’s just the pseudonym I’m using for it. :D)
  • On about p. 159 Byrne discusses how facing adversity and overcoming it gives you a set of strengths that forms your character and changes who you are into something greater than you were before…. This reminded me of an article I wrote during my final semester at uni titled “How I Earned My Degree Despite Adversity”. It was a pretty great article. It also makes me think of these words: ambitious, persistent, perseverance and determination

ย 

  • Concept: obstacles prepare the hero with the abilities to handle maintaining our dream when it comes true; without the skills to handle success [the dream] would not last (Byrne, 2013, p. 160). — I felt this was a good reminder even to myself to have more gratitude and patience with creating an online presence and following. โค
  • I’m still pretty confused because on page 177 one of the hero’s mentions chronic fatigue to a debilitating degree and I’m not sure if they meant in general like tiredness or chronic fatigue syndrome/ME. It was never spelled out. :/
  • Liz Murray has a movie and a book!! I definitely want to check them both out! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค
  • I liked this quote a lot from another hero saying essentially that living her dream is satisfying in respect and that she’s grateful for the fact that her doing what she wanted to do was inspiring to those who look up to her! p. 187 ….. I felt this was relatable even if just for my IOOVs and having hope within the darkness like I try to mention in my story’s script. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Out of nothing, you made something” Gwah! Love that! Byrne, 2013, p. 188
  • A hero is someone who’s made their life about something more than just themselves” — Byrne, 2013, p. 196; Amazing. Once again: interaction, promotion, encouragement. โค Bringing back the glory for everyone else to communicate with it, see it and engage with it.
  • I feel like giving back with writing blog posts and reviews and reading books in general is a great way to contribute to the larger good in the world. And my recovery projects and acts of kindness are also ways that make me feel like and inspire me to do more. ๐Ÿ™‚ (Not gonna lie, at this point I’m getting very sleepy).
  • There’s a really great quote and experience that Liz Murray shares on page 209 of this book where she talks about how we are the sole authors of our stories and that we can change the way the plot goes at any point in time, that our interpretations make up our lives and it’s up to us to answer why we’re here and who we are. ๐Ÿ™‚ This also reminded me of ALU.

At the very end of the book’s hero’s contributors pages (p. 200-227):

  • What’s the difference between a nonprofit organization and a foundation?
  • I wonder if Laird Hamilton ever made his goal for assisting 700k of people with the global water crisis. Also, did they help Flint, Michigan?
  • I would like to also check out Mastin Kipp (The Daily Love)
  • Mastin Kipp has Daily Love published by Hay House Publishing, 2014
  • Liz Murray: Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard; Hyperion, 2010.
  • Rhonda Byrne: The Secret film, The Secret book, The Power, The Magic.

A List of All the Things I Disagreed With:

    • I feel that on p. 25 it’s flawed logic to always look for the good in negative situations because it could be interpreted as dismissive and invalidating while having some kernels of truth locked away inside: that there is that duality in life and that something good can come out of the bad, some strengths can be found in the moments of weakness, etc.
    • Something I really didn’t agree with was on p. 31 where one of the heroes talks about how sitting on the couch moaning about what could have been and not living life by meeting people and traveling to new places was just unnecessary because just because they live their life one way doesn’t mean that’s the way EVERYONE has to live theirs, you know what I mean? It just didn’t sit right with me and really drags people down when you could easily use “I statements” or change the way you’re saying something instead of demeaning an entire population of people. ๐Ÿ˜› Again, just because it wasn’t their definition of a life worth living doesn’t mean that they have to drag someone else’s life through the dirt like that. Bleh.
    • Another thing I didn’t agree with at all was this notion that mental health problems occurring throughout the world (p. 58) more these days is because it’s evidence that people are living miserable lives with jobs they were pressured into taking or had the expectation placed on them by others or society to do instead of their dreams. Like, no, that ain’t it chief. You can’t, or shouldn’t, define every case of a mental health condition to that of job dissatisfaction. Like, no, it’s a helluva more complex than that and doesn’t do the topic justice. Grrr. >:[
    • On the idea that people who are living with a pessimistic attitude suck the joy out of life and they suck the energy out of you and they’re miserable…. at what point is this insulting and demeaning to those who have these world views because of trauma or because of living with a mental health condition that clouds their perspective? Hot damn.
    • On the idea that whining, blaming, complaining and criticizing can’t fulfill a person’s dreams and give them happiness….. Whoa, whoa, whoa there. When is critique such a bad thing? When is having critical thought or skepticism or looking at all angles of a situation something so insulting and below a person? Like, not everyone is going to have the same opinion on things and they may tell you about it but what you do with that information is up to you! No one is forcing you to compile, change or do something at all in response to that. Besides, I admire those who can speak of their own opinion when it’s different than the masses. That’s helpful. Unless it’s just hate and is derogatory statements, than no, that’s not helpful/constructive criticism yet painting all criticism as a bad egg is one dimensional and doesn’t allow for enough freedom of speech and exploration of other things that the person in charge may not have realized. Again, saying nay when EVERYONE else is saying only yay, can be courageous too and just as helpful. Again, you don’t have to take their opinion into consideration. I don’t think it’s fair to begrudge and damn all of people’s opinions if they’re not just asspats to your ego. ๐Ÿ˜› (p. 92) Critique, at its best, helps to spur on growth not diminish another’s worth.
    • Again the idea continues that a hero cannot ever be self-deprecating, miserable, a negative person could never be a hero, they can’t blame or complain etc. Honestly? That’s just mega judgmental and invalidating. I think having these flaws matters a little more than measuring up to whatever belief this author has about those types of things. I’d still watch if Tony Stark was more ‘negative’. It wouldn’t diminish him in my eyes! Ugh. Ranting and venting doesn’t equate to complaining. Having moments of despair doesn’t equate to being negative or pessimistic. It’s a part of being human. ๐Ÿ˜›
    • I really, really, really dislike this dangerous notion that certain feelings are “bad” and shouldn’t be experienced and never are by heroes, etc. Like, no, that’s not it. Emotions simply are and as long as we’re taking a more balanced approach to what our action urges are and what we want to do healthily with those emotions, than it doesn’t need to come down to “should’s and shouldn’ts”. Again, I think eliminating the experience of darker, less fun emotions is dangerous and not it at all. A person can’t exactly control their emotions and trying to suppress them could ignite a whole other flame of problems.
    • Continuing my level of disagreement with this book is what happens on p. 95 under the presumption that a hero is consistently optimistic, predominantly having a positive mind (eh) and the notion that your thoughts and your attitude become your life: 1. Yes, thinking it and believing it are related. Reminds me of that quote “Believe you can or believe you can’t, either way you’re half right” Also though, the idea 2. that your thoughts become your life is hardly the case in situations like MHC’s and OCD for instance. So, um, no. Maybe don’t make sweeping generalities that could be misconstrued and painted false easily by incorporating other perspectives? Or is that too much criticism from me? ๐Ÿ˜›

What Kept Me Reading and the Impact this Book Had on Me:

What really drew me to this book was when I found it at a great library by my psychiatrist’s office and I was looking for helpful and inspirational nonfiction books. I saw this cover and read the inside and outer flap and flipped through the pages and really wanted to try it out. I accidentally read it as “The Secret: Hero” rather than just “Hero” up until the point I actually dusted off the book and started reading. I’m glad that I stuck through the parts that made me disagree or exasperated and that I was able to read it pretty well, got pretty into it and got it done in a month. I’m proud of me for that! There is something very satisfying to me to get from page 1 of a book all the way to the end! ๐Ÿ˜€

One thing I really did like about this book was within the introduction when it was described by Byrne that the world is comprised of duality: that there is good and there is bad, there is hope and there is hopelessness, there is light and there is dark and it’s about how you perceive and interpret these things that paves ahead the road you’ll walk upon. Also, it’s emphasized that everyone has something great to offer the world and so it’s uplifting in that sense as well as encouraging and good for the soul and one’s self-worth. ๐Ÿ™‚ And it’s up to you whether you achieve your dream or not, too.

I think this book has a great quality of being relatable in a lot of ways and sometimes also I found that it focused too much on business only dreams, but I took that in stride with the rest of its enthusiasm, patience, and practice. :3

I also think this book reminded and validated some of the areas of my life that I’m existing in right now, too: like, my work at Amaryllis, which it’s been a year now once a week and for a little while twice a week, is NOT my end goal destination job path. Rather, I want to write and publish books, do public speaking and the like. Those are my real dreams. *_*

Another thing I liked about this book is the way I could relate to it and how it made me think deeply on what I want to accomplish in life and how I might work towards getting there. The way I interacted with my own memoir, the preparation, the incentive and just being reminded that my dreams were possible and I could achieve them just as much as the next person, like the heroes stories in this book was very encouraging and uplifting. It definitely kept me reading more because I wanted to see not only where the book would head and end and how much inspiration and motivation I could even pull from it for myself–something no one else will have exactly in the same way I have. ๐Ÿ™‚

On the idea of visualizations, I’d like to practice them going well with things like: IOOVs, work days, my memoir, my TEDtalk, reading and reviews. ๐Ÿ˜€

Something else that really inspired me about this book and from this book, really, was Liz Murray’s story and how she got into public speaking and sharing her story of adversity and overcoming it into success and triumph. It’s exactly the type of thing I want to get involved in and I found it particularly inspirational and I’m really, really happy for her!! ๐Ÿ˜€

For my own self, I’ve been doing advocacy work since March 2016 so that’s great. I am hoping to line up some of my ventures (interviews) in this avenue onto my blog within the next month. ๐Ÿ˜€


So, yes, overall those were ALL my thoughts about this book and the review. I tried to do a few things differently in this work of art so I appreciate you sticking with me until the end and around as I try and compact all of my thoughts, commentary and resounding opinions as I carry on reading books and reviewing them on this blog.

Thank you so much for reading!!! I am adding the final touches to this entry now on the first of October. I hope you all are doing well and I hope to be utilizing my planner very soon to revamp the way I do some blog posts, shout-outs etc. I desperately need a schedule ahaha. Thank you again! xxx โค โค โค


Dates I Read this book:

8.30.20, 9.1, 9.8, 9.9, 9.12, 9.14.20.


Dates I Wrote this review:

9/24/2020, 9/30/20, 10/1.


Film Review Friday: “Jane Goodall: The Hope” (2020)

Film Review THUMB


Chosen Film/Year:

“Jane Goodall: The Hope” (2020)


Movie Rating:

TV 14


Movie Length:

1 hour & 28 minutes


Directors/Producers:

Elizabeth Leiter & Kimberly Woodard;

Lucky 8 TV & National Geographic.


Themes:

Activism; humanity; biology; chimpanzees; rescue; advocacy; love and kindness; inspiration; younger generations; community; teamwork; hope; humanitarianism; projects; conferences.


Trigger Warnings:

Mild substance use (alcohol)


How I found it?

Disney+


Movie Summary:

This documentary follows Jane Goodall, the chimpanzee scientist who observed the animals in the wild when she was young and in Africa, and her journey towards finding a footing in the activism sector and speaking out for those animals that she cared so much about and wanted to fight for and give a voice to them and others. This documentary follows her and the ins and outs of her story, where she came from, where she wants to continue going and how she hopes she’s making a positive impact not only on the planet but with the younger generation. She has multiple projects, “Shoots and Roots” as one for instance, and speaking opportunities that she literally travels worldwide for. She is a powerhouse woman built on the foundations of honesty, passion, determination, fight, spirit and perseverance. With a movie so visually pleasing and heartwarming from the dialogue and map of Goodall’s work, this is a must watch documentary to introduce you into activism, environmentalists and, above all, hope and positive change for the footprint left by mankind.

I thought it was especially interesting for them to include her meeting with her assistant/worker where they’re trying to figure out her schedule for conferences and being where/when and such. It just offered a neat perspective into how much she does and how much she’s trying to cram in with her growing age, and the fact that she still has such a large commitment and power to her voice that she wants liberated before she passes on. There’s just something especially empowering about all that, I think.


Cinematography & Transitions:

I felt that the transitions to this documentary were really pretty fantastic. We got the voiceovers of Jane Goodall as she spoke at length in different parts and more of the detached audio with moving pictures representing the landscapes or worlds within the world of local communities. Various people were interviewed throughout the documentary and gave their thoughts and inspirations from Goodall and it made the importance of such activism really shine and even help to further inspire so many other people out there who may want to embark on similar careers.

I know for myself that it was really pretty inspiring and I might work into activism some day, too. I think it’s so awesome all the work Jane has done in her fields of interest and intense passions. I hope we still get to be blessed with a few more years of her work and her mission and her story. To be able to appreciate her ongoing impact and others enjoying her presence and her soul is so powerful, that I’m really grateful there was another documentary made about her (I didn’t watch the first one, though). I think our current day society tends to congratulate and celebrate lives AFTER they’ve passed on so it was really nice to see a present play by play of gratitude and appreciation. ๐Ÿ™‚

Also noteworthy is that the documentary itself was broken up into transitional slides that had a few words on what that next section of the movie would be about. I also think that through the production of this movie that we got to see the quirks of Jane Goodall and her humor, let alone her kindness and compassion to folks.


Memorable Quotes:

  1. “If we lose hope then we must all give up if we think there’s no way forward…We mustn’t let [that] happen.”

  2. “My job is to go around and inspire people to take action”

  3. [About Goodall] ‘She is driven to her commitment–to her mission'”
  4. “Every person matters. And every animal does too. But every person makes some impact on the planet every single day and we get to choose what sort of difference we make”

  5. “…I truly believe it’s only when head and heart work in harmony that we can achieve our true human potential”

  6. “If you don’t talk to people how can you ever expect them to change?”

  7. “Hope attached to action [is what] we all take responsibility for”
  8. “Don’t be confrontational: reach people’s hearts to change their minds. Don’t do something because you want the honor and glory of it”

  9. Concept:

    How anger with the rest of the world sparked Goodall’s passion.

  10. “When you die there’s either nothing, which case is fine, it’s finished, over, you don’t know anymore. Or there’s something. And I happen to believe there’s more than just this one physical life. I haven’t the faintest idea what else there is but if that’s true then what greater adventure can there be?”


Information Delivery:

I found the information in this documentary to be engaging, visually pleasing, understandable and educated me well on what mattered or what were the highlights of Goodall’s mission and those around her.


My final thoughts:

So, I found this documentary on Disney+ when I began my first week’s free trial (even though I’ve signed up completely for the plan, :3). I wanted to watch something for what I’m now designating as “Movie Monday’s” and this was the one that stood out to me for a documentary and something I’d be interested in learning more about.

I had never really heard of Jane Goodall before I watched this documentary and this is the first one I’ve seen with her in it. I think I mildly recall a reference to her from one of my biology classes about her having taken such field study related notes with the chimpanzees in Africa.

Regardless, I was eager to learn and listen and become educated. I really enjoyed the entirety of the documentary and I think it’s really kinda inspired me to get back into environmentalist stuff. When I was a little kid I used to be really into animals and saving the planet and as I got older I drifted away from that. But I did some community based volunteer work within the Greater Boston area in college and one of them was trash picking and I really enjoyed doing that, so maybe when corona is over or the quarantine is lifted a bit, I’ll get back into that, even if it’s just around my local community for now. ๐Ÿ™‚

Two other things I want to touch on briefly include:

The confrontation quote and subsequently the not doing something because you want the brownie points is something that I struggle with because I think I do seek that external validation somehow in some ways and I want to be praised and loved by others around me, which is odd and interesting to say and acknowledge at the moment.

Secondly, the final quote absolutely reminds me of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with how Endgame went and Stark’s sacrifice. You know the whole, “part of the journey is the end.” โค

And lastly, an additional point, the public speaking in Goodall’s life also reminded me of Kevin Hines who I also greatly look up to and whom inspires me and why I share my mental health journey story. But, that’s it from me now. ๐Ÿ˜‰


Recommendation Score:

8/10


 

Above all: thank you. Thank you so much for viewing this blog post, for liking it if you did and if you were gracious enough to leave me a comment. I hope to one day give as much back into the community that I found a home in as I had a few years ago. It’s become lonely just talking to a void. I may challenge myself to write shorter posts here and there too or to just post more in general. I’d like to return to my roots, myself.


I estimate an update blog post for either this coming Sun or Mon, by the way.

Lastly, my handwritten notes when I viewed this movie occurred on April 27th 2020; and I completed more of the writing and form of this review on May 1st.

Stay safe, peeps!

โค โค โค xxxx

PS This is my first officially published film review!!! I have DOZENS of notes for others but I never got this far so I’m really pretty happy about this. The views and opinions of this post are my own and I’m coming from a pro-recovery mental health journey perspective so some things will be skewed with that in mind and for the inspiration/expected audience in mind of my peers who may be looking for pick me up movies. ๐Ÿ™‚

Bringing Light to the Shadows | Article F18

IMG_0100 --

Photographer & Contributing Writer: Raquel Lyons


Trigger Warning: Depression, suicidal themes

 

โ€œIโ€™ve got no excuses for all of these goodbyes; call me when itโ€™s over, โ€™cause Iโ€™m dying inside. Call me when itโ€™s over and myself has reappeared. I donโ€™t know, I donโ€™t know, I donโ€™t know why, I do it every time. Itโ€™s only when Iโ€™m lonely. Sometimes I just want to cave and I donโ€™t want to fight; I try and I try and I try and I tryโ€ฆ Momma, Iโ€™m so sorry Iโ€™m not sober anymore. To the ones who never left me, weโ€™ve been down this road before. Iโ€™m so sorry; Iโ€™m not sober anymoreโ€ฆI want to be a role model, but Iโ€™m only humanโ€ฆIโ€™m sorry that Iโ€™m here again, I promise Iโ€™ll get help. It wasnโ€™t my intention, Iโ€™m sorry to myself.โ€ – Lyrics from Demi Lovatoโ€™s song โ€œSober.โ€

 

In the aftermath of โ€œStable, Until Triggeredโ€ I listened to this song from my iPod as I stared up at my ceiling, not completely seeing the masked face that I pieced together out of the white shapes and swirls, but instead saw the overpowering thoughts and felt the immense sadness that clung to my shoulders like shadows slowly eating away at my flesh.

 

It was safe to say that I accidentally triggered myself with epiphanies about my place in recovery.

 

Stabilization had given me a sense of pride and absolute happiness which makes the darkness that much more painful. In the hours after, I felt knocked off my pedestal that rose ten feet above the ground, which I have been in so solidly for over six months, and had landed squarely and roughly on my bum to ground zero. In the process of this articleโ€™s first draft, I cried profusely, something I hadnโ€™t done in months.

 

I felt a mixture of having been lied to and being lied to continuously from an entity, so to speak, within my skull. Thereโ€™s the feeling of how easily my happiness and restored identity can be taken away so unexpectedly. It almost feels like the depression is showing me the biggest middle finger and taunting me with its lies. I suppose itโ€™s improvement for me to recognize that what itโ€™s saying isnโ€™t factual, itโ€™s not true. It just feels so very, very convincing.

 

I could tell in the moment that I was judging my judgments. I know that this feeling will go away, albeit a lot slower if I did nothing, so instead I chose to do different actions, or what is known as opposite action, to the harm and death flickering and weaving through my brain. The best way I can describe intrusive images is getting as close to hallucinating without actually hallucinating. At its worst, itโ€™s like being aware that the physical world is around me while being distracted by intense, intrusive images overlaying true reality.

I feel like itโ€™s as if Iโ€™ve been kidnapped and am being held hostage, tied to a chair with my eyes opened wide, forced to watch a screen that shows me all these horrible, terrible, painful actions Iโ€™m doing to myself, except all of this is happening in my mind and in reality Iโ€™m just staring blankly into space. Thereโ€™s something uniquely disturbing about being forced to mentally watch myself die and be maimed over and over again when in reality, none of it has actually happened. Itโ€™s so utterly mind-boggling and it *feels* emotionally like itโ€™s happened, even though it hasnโ€™t at all. (An instance in which checking the facts and mindfulness practices would help.)

 

At the same time, while those images are playing I can also notice my brain trying to convince me that life isnโ€™t worth living if I have to experience these moments which triggers hopelessness of having to experience these crises in the future; the progress Iโ€™ve made deceptively being unraveled; the powerlessness I have over being forced to watch the tape and hear the BS; the notion that my suicide is inevitable and that every success Iโ€™ve made is meant to be undone by invisible forces.

 

To sum up: mental health conditions are impolite, ruthless, cruel, soul-crushing, seemingly all-consuming forces that have poop stains inherent to their hazy figures because of all their BS. Basically, they suckโ€ฆa lot.

 

The real sustenance in the face of these matters is how we choose to overcome them–which are an article series I plan to uncover this semester. Maybe itโ€™s not about being knocked from ten feet high to zero; maybe the fact that I got out of bed and wrote this article means something after all. Maybe within the darkness we can find the light again–not to eliminate the shadows but to co-exist within them.

 

And, maybe thatโ€™s enough.

 

Stay as safe as you can out there, ride the waves of pain and seek extra support when you need it. Youโ€™re doing the best you can.


Written August 29.2018

Originally titled “Surviving Trips in Hell”. I had to edit this one quite a bit, taking out certain things, changing tenses and the like. It was (and still is, in ways) more like a journal entry than a pure article, but I like that I set the pavement down to where I want to explore treatment options in a new and upcoming series. So, in the end, it works out all right. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hope you enjoy this read! Let me know what you’ve thought of it in the comments down below. I’ll try to be more active soon–school’s began and I’ve run into technical problems with my coursework (which is so aggravating). Just stressed out, strung out and exhausted in more ways than one. Let’s hope the weekend fixes this up!

Much love,

โค โค โค โค