I’m feeling pretty agitated. Focused. Annoyed. Distraught. Forgiveless. Oh, I mean, of course: unforgiving. I just single-handedly obliterated my own therapy session from some BS online and so I’m just feeling at a loss. But I have a platform, like Agatha does as well, and I’m going to use that platform now because this comment has been bothering me for months (and it’s SUCH a good comeback, I think) that I’ll never get to properly utilize and all that jazz. So, I’m angry and I want to talk about this key point:
“If you haven’t lived through X, you cannot write creatively about it.”
So, Agatha isn’t their real name of course. And who they are will remain anonymous because it’s not even about them necessarily. I can have my own thoughts and some things don’t need to populate as they already do on the Internet.
Here’s what’s relevant:
Empathy exists but at the same time does not. At all.
And this notion that unless you’ve BEEN THROUGH something (let’s say, mental health struggles (as broad of a term as that is): substance use disorders, personality disorders, psychosis, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-harm, suicidality, homicidality, on and on–) you CANNOT or worse, SHOULD NOT (NEVER EVER) write about it because… well, I don’t know why you can’t.
But this really has been bothering me. Essentially we’re saying:
“You can’t write fictitiously about a serial killer unless you’ve BEEN a serial killer.”
“You can’t write about time travelers because TRUE time travelers would be offended and irked that you wrote about them so incorrectly.”
“You can’t write about completed suicides because you’ve NEVER BEEN a completed suicider (because how could you if you’re writing about it?)”
“You don’t KNOW because you haven’t LIVED through it!”
Do we see–can we ALL agree–that this notion, this concept, makes very, very little sense?
Can I not write about vampires and unicorns (hopefully separately, nudge nudge) because genuine vampires and unicorns may not agree with the way I convey them? Is this so inherently wrong–that writing about something you have not lived through, you don’t have actual experience in, things you could never (mermaids, fantasy, dragons, queens, kings, war, magic, creatures) and things you just haven’t (sickness, cancer, suicide, homicide, being an actual detective, being a medical doctor, historical fiction, being a prisoner of war, being a veteran, living through depression, and on and on) that that somehow means you could NEVER, SHOULD NEVER write about it?
That not educating yourself on the topic, to researching it, to finding that you could convey something so HUMAN, so natural, so beautiful and meaningful and hell, maybe even some form of relatable, is something you should not do, never do, because… because… because some people, and there will clearly be people, who can’t relate or don’t feel reflected in the categorization of your characters and your plot and your ideas?
That because one person, or five hundred, can’t relate and don’t feel adequately seen or heard, you should, as the writer, just never try to write about things that you may have never or just have not experienced firsthand?
What happened to empathy? What HAS happened to empathy? And why is that not enough?
I just don’t understand. I mean, yes, I understand that not everyone will feel represented so fully and wholly and completely based on just one person’s experiences. That’s true. That’s valid. I just… I can’t believe that because my experiences are my own (and not of those I write about) and no one will ever fully know what my experiences are (they are mine for a reason), that that is somehow an indication or warning sign that everyone else out in the world with imagination, empathy, understanding, willingness to be educated and bring forth more creativity and knowledge than I could even see in my situation because it is mine and I’m blinded to it–to even think of proposing to them “No, you can’t write about THIS because you have no experience with it.” Or, “because you haven’t experienced like THIS you can’t write about it. Because you’re THAT not THIS.” As if it were ever truly your choice.
No one on this earth will exactly experience the same event in the same exact way. That’s what makes us human. Our perception is everything but not everything. It shapes us and how we see things–and how WE CHOOSE to react back to it, that’s up to us. And some people are more aware of this than others. And some people will never get it. It’s true. But for those who are curious, who are willing, who are feeling–maybe we should do less judging of them and how they go about their research and their feelings to not cut them out from a full experience of life and the lives they can write about so flawlessly, so believably that we don’t have to question it, whether it’s true or not, whether it’s been lived through or not, maybe we can let those writers feel and experience and engage with the world in a form of art that other people, that maybe some people may not feel heard or seen, but others, maybe they will.
I think it’s naive and silly (and silly doesn’t have to be bad, inherently) to police what people can and cannot create and for not having lived it to be a huge indication of what can or cannot be written about. Will it reflect everyone’s experiences? No. There will be differences. Maybe accepting those flaws, those inherent cracks, those demented dimensions, maybe the fact that some people, maybe even a lot of people if you’re lucky, will understand, and will feel seen and heard and uplifted, maybe it’s for those and mainly only those that we write for. Because we have stories to tell. And stories to heal. And stories to begin.
Maybe that’s what it’s all for.
What are your thoughts? Where do you fall on this line? What determines something to have art and value and purpose? Or is it all just a waste of time to twiddle our thumbs and feel absurd connections to others that exist until we all become dust again and the world is obliterated into oblivion? Or is there something here? Something worth exploring? No matter how much time we have left?
As for Agatha: Please don’t make puppet accounts to come after me. Your identity is safe with me. And if we can agree to go our separate ways and do our separate things, that will be all I ask for. I hope you feel better one day. I hope that Life gives you more than it has.
As always, be safe, my friends. And be kind. And wonder and ponder and question. Question it all. Because maybe we’re bound to find some very interesting answers….
Until next time. xxx
PS Do you like that I made this thumb on Canva JUST for this post? Ahaha. First time I have in months. Next posts will be book reviews, once I can finally get them done!! XX
It should come as no surprise to you that I’ve been avoiding dealing with you lately. Properly. As it should be dealt with.
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.
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.
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.
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.
All the best,
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 💛💛💛
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!
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. 😁😘🤗 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!!! 😅😌☺
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. 😃
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.
:=[[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!
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.
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.
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!!!
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.
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:
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. 😊😎🤗 Okay, let me be honest, that was a necessary mini break that I needed right there!!!
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:
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
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.
Libraries. God, I love libraries. Also, is this surprising? My idea of a good time is just being in a library. So fascinating
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.
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
Ink on Skin. Definitely a great self-soothing crisis type of coping strategy for me. Need I say more?
Reading a book (even if it doesn’t happen as often these days).
Watching a Youtube video but I have to be careful with this because I’ll over-distract and over-avoid.
Creating art or listening to other art while I create art like music and horror stories, ahaha.
Listening to music. Definitely a great skill that one is.
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
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.
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. 💜💙💚💛🤍
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 😉😚
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. 👄👩❤️👩💟
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. 🤔🤨
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 😅😉😶 I will see you guys tomorrow. The amoutn of spelling errors at the vrey end of this post is concerning. Sigh.
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. 🖤🤍💜🌈🌞
I apologize for the lack of posting on here the last two weeks and not getting up a proper post explaining myself even now. I’ve been trying to write a post called “Off the Map” to explain my absence and what I’ve been up to (including a mini haul) but it just sat open in a tab on my laptop for an entire week and I couldn’t bring myself the motivation or inspiration or attention span to properly write it, edit it and then upload it. So, here we are.
I also forgot about this weekly poetry challenge until I remembered it going into work on Saturday which was particularly disorienting and unfair. I was able to write THIS post during my shift but I definitely would have preferred to have done it earlier in the week and not have missed an entire week’s worth of content.
But alas, here it is…. I hope you enjoy it as it was a bit of a vent piece with some of my emotions and also a creative endeavor towards the middle and end. Also, here are the rules for this challenge REAL quick:
What are the RULES?
This is the late fifth entry in my #SummerComer #PoetryChallenge launching from the end of May 2020 to the beginning of September 2020. More rules include:
each post begins with the thumb above
each poem will be individually titled and labeled by the entry number in both the piece itself (at the end) and in the title
each post will include any background music used to “set the mood” which will be listed at the end of the entry
each poem loosely exists within the context of summer but is not strictly limited in constructing that imagery. I.e. it’s a summer project but may venture outside of that topic/theme-wise. 🙂
the goal: one poem each week from the end of May to the start of September under the hashtag: #SummerComer
Let me know down below in a comment or on my other social media what you thought of this poem and its message!! Or if you’d like to see a particular theme, prompt or character name/location, leave that in the comments too! I will soon be writing up the post and scheduling it for tomorrow for the sixth week of Summer Comer (which I just wrote freshly a few moments ago). Also if you want to see the 4th week’s entry: here it is.
Thank you so much for reading and see down below for both the poem and any notes regarding it. I plan to be blogging again soon and giving you guys a proper update on my life and the happenings going on behind the scenes. Check out my Youtube channel if you want to see what I’m getting up to these past two weeks of immense creativity!! Sending you all the best. xxx
Rooted in Recuperation
and his psyche
it had been a long day.
and he grew tired.
sometimes it was just
how he had awaken
and other times from
today he had grown older,
but feeling none the wiser.
all he could do
was muster up
and burrow hope
deep within his bones,
treating himself like the
large, deep oak tree’s roots
that had planted itself
into his memories
as a young child.
oh, how he had climbed
clambering over the bark,
sneakers losing grip
and trails of the tree’s flesh
skidding off and onto his
he had loved that tree—
loved it more than his own
but that’s what they were
at the end of the day:
family had its misgivings,
family had its problems
and his had had a few share
but in the end
he loved them
he had grown with them
and they had learned
to do the same for him.
so as he sat
on the edge of
his white mattress,
the covers stripped away
as if he had been
shielding himself from
the dark tendrils
of the world,
he closed his eyes
and the sky that laid behind them.
they filled with pain and
a nagging sense of wonder,
a plethora of encouragement
and a passion
so deep that he wanted–
to try again tomorrow.
it curled into him tightly,
snuggling into his shoulders
and breathing a new sense of
purpose to his lungs.
so much so that
when the moon fell from
the sky and the sun
he tried and tried all over
restarting from where he was
until one day,
he was certain of it,
he’d make things right.
Technical aspects of the poem:
Written and Edited: 6/20/2020
About the Poem itself: This poem, as I mentioned earlier, happened on my Saturday work shift when I was having an extremely off day and things were weighing on me heavily. I wrote this between hygiene time and when I was on the other side of the cottage at the end of the night, trying to edit it down to make more sense. I used a different narrator and had some creative spells with it so I hope it’s nice and I hope that you managed to enjoy it in some manner! Just like anything else, I too shall rise. Hopefully tomorrow’s shift is even better! 🙂
Thank you so much for reading.
I’ll be writing up the post for this week’s poem soon.
Join me on my Youtube channel on this date/time slot and we’ll have some fun!! See more information in this post down below! ❤ xxx Thumb revamped 5/14/2020
Hello and welcome back to my blog!!!
I have some exciting news to share with you all today, and I apologize for the fact that this post is coming at you guys a bit later than I had originally planned. I’ve been wanting to share this for over a week, but this past week has been tough for me mentally as I’ve been struggling with some ruthless depressive symptoms.
I’ve been sleeping A LOT more than usual (as opposed to last week where I was awake throughout the day, motivated a lot of the time, creativity was pouring out of me and I was interacting with other blogs and writing up a bunch of posts too) and have just been face to face with a lot of lack of motivation, lack of energy and lack of overall interest. Today and yesterday I’m beginning to come out of it, oscillating back and forth if nothing else, and I’m trying to make the most out of it in the best way I know how.
So, really, what I had to do was revamp this blog post! Something new, something fresh, something without old tied knots of forgotten wishes and dried up dreams, something that wasn’t attached to old feelings and past regrets, something refreshing and spontaneous mixed in with creativity and fun colors!
If you would like further information on who I am, what I’m about and more of my own story, you can check out my individual page here and donate either to my singular page or donate to the team page itself:
Either way, ALL the money raised is going DIRECTLY to NAMI Massachusetts. I will get 0% of the money I gather, so just remember that! If you want to donate, please do, or if you can spread around the message, that works too. If you’d like to join my team, feel free to sign up, or if you’d rather join or donate to other people’s teams/pages, you can do that, too!
Ultimately, the NAMI Walks Your Way MA event is going virtual this year because of the state of the world and the pandemic which opens up the ways we can all participate in this national day of raising mental health awareness for the variety of conditions that encompasses by spreading hope, fun and light to topics society so very often wants us to hide and be ashamed of.
This is OUR DAY to make a difference, our day to celebrate each other and all of our successes, celebrate our triumphs and celebrate one another. I am very excited for it!
I still have yet to completely decide if I want to take up more of the day (Saturday May 30th 2020) for the event by calling off my work shift at Amaryllis or if I want to still attend work that day after the event (which is why I’ve tentatively named the event occurring for me between 11:00a and 1:30p EST).
on the day of the walk, to help spread mental health awareness, share my recovery story, ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS YOU HAVE, and share artwork that I will be creating during that time.
I am thinking I will do:
– Some origami (from watching tutorials on my iPod)
– Some painting/water coloring (new pieces or old, possibly)
– Some coloring
– Some creative writing or journaling if the Muse participates willingly
– Some photography or outside time (depending on the weather!)
– Some scrapbooking
– Beaded bracelets
– and possibly a little more!!
RecoveryRaquel is my Twitter handle; RecoverytoWellness is my WordPress and Youtube channel!
I would like for you to send me in some of your questions, ideas, topics or things you’d like to see me discuss! I can talk freely about my journey and what treatment has been like for me and why advocacy is such a big part of where I am, where I’ve been and where I’m going!
I need you to share this post! I need you to spread the word as LARGE and FAR as possible! Share on social media, donate even the smallest bit to my page for the NAMI Walk, interact with me, leave me your thoughts and questions, and be there with me during the support of the walk on Saturday, May 30th 2020 11:00a-1:30p EST!!
My personal page’s goal was to reach $175 and my team’s page goal is to reach $250, which we’re NEARLY there at so far being at $200. I put in some money towards the cause, myself, too. I will probably talk more about NAMI and how it’s supported me in my recovery, life and advocacy on the day of the walk, too. We are so close to reaching our goal and I KNOW we can do it!! If you donate at all, I will send you a personalized thank you message! Just leave me your contact info or email me at my public email address (which you can connect through my Contact page here on WordPress) or more simply at this email:
All right, that is it for this post! If you have any further questions, comments or concerns, you know where to find me! Have an amazing May day and I hope to see you around again.
Thanks a bunch!!!!
❤ ❤ ❤ xxx
All thumbs in this post were made with the love and care of Canva. Thank you!! ❤
Living life with a chronic illness is definitely not easy. But I do my best to push through all the barriers this illness puts in front of me! In my heart and mind, I believe maintaining a positive outlook on all situations in life will carry us through to much better times! I hope you find the information that I provide both helpful and inspirational!