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. 🖤🖤🖤🤍

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

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. 😊😙

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. 😁😘🤗 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.

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. 😊😎🤗 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. 💜💙💚💛🤍

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 😉😚
  • 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. 🖤🤍💜🌈🌞

Oh, How My Journey Has Evolved | Thoughts on Recovery & Music

create. inspire. love. - TWITTER HEADER NEW - 7.4.19 (2)

My current Twitter header since July 2019. ❤ I chose this photo to represent where I’m headed in my recovery and because it visually conceptualizes everything I want to focus on going forwards. Photograph is from uni back in like 2013 or so.


Dear Reader,

I thought of making this blog post as early as September 2019. I wanted to revisit not only where I’ve been but more importantly where I am now and where I plan to go from here. These 5 songs are only but a snippet of my journey, as you may know how impactful and reverberating music has been in my life, my art and my recovery. Music is a powerful force that allows us to feel understood, emote and to tell a story. It’s amazing how we can find other like-minded individuals, a reflection of our souls in others and this post, I hope, will highlight that further. I want to write this post as a PSA about suicide prevention, what’s helped me the most and how I can relate to these 5 particular songs, share the lyrics and their meaning with you all and place a thumbtack on my current experiences so that one day, in the future, I can look back on this post and smile, knowing I’ve done all I could and that that mattered most. Without further ado, and an activation warning in general, watch out for the topic of suicide and suicide prevention will be discussed in this post. Tread carefully.

Sending you light and love, and I’ll see you at the very end.

— Recovery Raquel ❤ ❤ ❤


Song #1:

  “1800 273 8255” by Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid

Gosh, do I love this song. To describe a little about where this song reached me, where it transported me and where I see it today, I have to give you all some backstory. Although, to be honest, I stated it pretty well here: Newspaper Article, StWS: Give it Time (2017)

I first heard this song when I was on an inpatient unit back in June-July 2017. I heard it on the radio that someone was listening to from down the hall, hearing the words clear as day and crying to myself as I stared out the gated window, feelings washing over me as the lyrics rang around in my mind.

If you don’t already know, the title of the song itself: 1800 273 8255 is the USA’s nationwide suicide prevention lifeline phone number. People who are struggling or know someone who is can call for information, feedback and hopefully pulling someone away from or out of a crisis, no matter how temporary.

I’ve called this number many times. I’ve had my parents call it for me. But at the time, of 2017 and especially in Jan-Feb 2018, I could only relate to the song’s beginning, the struggle, the pain and the ambivalence. Deep into the throes of depression I genuinely thought life wouldn’t get better. I would listen to this song over and over, hoping desperately that things would change, that I would become myself again.

I been on the low
I been taking my time
I feel like I’m out of my mind
It feel like my life ain’t mine
Who can relate?

I don’t wanna be alive
I just wanna die today
I just wanna die
I don’t wanna be alive
I don’t wanna be alive
I just wanna die
And let me tell you why

All this other shit I’m talkin’ ’bout they think they know it
I’ve been praying for somebody to save me, no one’s heroic
And my life don’t even matter
I know it I know it I know I’m hurting deep down but can’t show it
I never had a place to call my own
I never had a home
Ain’t nobody callin’ my phone
Where you been? Where you at? What’s on your mind?
They say every life precious but nobody care about mine

This song spoke the words out of my mind and out of my mouth. I resonated with it deeply as I struggled, struggled, struggled. But it got better, as it always gets better. It’s a powerful song which sets a dark tone starting out yet brightens at the middle and especially at the end.

I want you to be alive
You don’t gotta die today
You don’t gotta die
I want you to be alive
I want you to be alive
You don’t gotta die
Now lemme tell you why

It’s the very first breath
When your head’s been drowning underwater
And it’s the lightness in the air
When you’re there
Chest to chest with the lover
It’s holding on, though the road’s long
And seeing light in the darkest things
And when you stare at your reflection
Finally knowing who it is
I know that you’ll thank God you did

Not only does this song share the darkness, it spreads the light ever farther. It’s amazing to know that others out there may be struggling, not that that’s a great thing in and of itself, but rather that these thoughts, these emotions, these experiences, can often times be universal, not caring for the ethnicity, race, language, culture, age, sexuality, gender identity, socioeconomic status and more of the individuals it impacts. Whether that’s a person with lived experience, friends, families, strangers, loved ones, etc. Suicide can impact anyone at any time. It’s one of the more tragic causes of death and the hard reality is that it’s being sought after more and more these days. So some people can think it only happens to a few, that mental health isn’t as “serious” or “important” as other illnesses, and yeah, you can live in that fantasy world, but it’s just that: a fantasy. Suicide won’t go away the more that you ignore it. In fact, invalidating and shaming someone for experiencing hardships and mental health conditions and substance use disorders, only perpetuates the stigma, silence and shame of the conditions in which these individuals are living with. Shame thrives on silence.

Which is why people like myself aim to break the silence. We aim to tell others that it’s okay even though everything FEELS not okay, it’s okay. You can make it through these thoughts and back on the other side of life. It’s possible. Recovery is possible. Give it time, things will change. Suicidal crises are temporary. They are time limited. Just buy yourself one more second, one more minute, and the rest will turn into days, weeks and months. It’s possible. It’s so, so possible. It will require work and effort, and it will be the brightest, most impactful work that you do.

I know where you been, where you are, where you goin’
I know you’re the reason I believe in life
What’s the day without a little night?
I’m just tryna shed a little light
It can be hard
It can be so hard
But you gotta live right now
You got everything to give right now

I know the struggle. I know the pain is larger than everything right now. I know it’s hard to find any reason to keep on living, to keep on surviving, and I can tell you that it’s STILL out there, IN YOU, for a reason. You are never what happened to you, you are how you choose to get through it. Suicide can seem like the answer. It can seem like you weren’t cut out for living. That you may think others would be better off without you.

THEY WON’T BE.

Your brain is lying to you. And I know how tempting and disillusioned we can all get when facing them day after day after day.

But I’m here to tell you that it gets better. It gets brighter again. That life changes, that circumstances change, that your tolerance for pain will increase, that you can go from thoughts everyday of suicide to little to none. You can change your responses to events that happen in your life. You can learn new coping strategies. You can put the bottle down. Put down the substances. Put away the Internet. You can do it.

I believe in you, and I always will.

I finally wanna be alive (Finally wanna be alive)
I finally wanna be alive
I don’t wanna die today
I don’t wanna die
Finally wanna be alive (Finally wanna be alive)
I finally wanna be alive
I don’t wanna die
I don’t wanna die
(No, I don’t wanna die)
(I just wanna live)
(I just wanna live)

Even though you may still have the thought of suicide, the image of it, that it may creep in in another way, it doesn’t mean that you have to act on it. A thought is just that: a thought. Thoughts are not actions. You can still be safe even when your mind is telling you otherwise. We can’t choose having a condition but we can choose how we respond to it. We can choose our actions. We can choose to live another day. To find hope, to find true freedom within this realm, to find purpose and understanding, love and acceptance. It’s out there. It’s waiting for us. We have to have faith in ourselves and in the process to be able to go out there and catch it.

Pain don’t hurt the same, I know
The lane I travel feels alone
But I’m moving ’til my legs give out
And I see my tears melt in the snow
But I don’t wanna cry
I don’t wanna cry anymore
I wanna feel alive
I don’t even wanna die anymore

And lastly, for this song, I will say this:

I went from chronic suicidal ideation over the course of four years. Today, 2019, I have little to none of those thoughts anymore. For my journey, finding purpose, advocacy, creativity, inspiration, the MCU and kindness has been essential. My journey isn’t over yet, far from it, there’s always more ways in which I can improve and cope and manage. Recovery will be a life-long commitment for me. But it’s there. It’s possible. I can work a job, I can get more experience in my field, and my first response to stress these days are to problem solve rather than take my own life. That’s huge. That’s HUGE. I still think of it here and there, intrusive OCD and all, but I don’t act on it. I don’t want to act on it. And even when I do, or I think I do, I persevere. I get through the urges. I write, I blog, I watch Youtube, I think of the next Marvel movie I want to see, the next book I want to read, the next person I could have the honor of impacting for the positive, the next great sunset, the next amazing video, the next recovery based project I can use to help others, and much, much more. It’s the little things and all the big things. It’s everything. Truly. Safety contracts were always helpful for me, and they saved my ass quite a few times. There’s some level of accountability there that keeps me going and preserving myself, ahaha.

And lastly, if you read my mental health based fan fiction story, you’ll have seen this song featured in this chapter: Distorted & Disordered – Chp 18


Song #2:

(COVER) “1800 273 8255” – Lynnea M.

I love Lynnea’s cover of this song that I hold so close and special to my heart and soul. Her angelic voice is perfect and I truly find myself seeing this song from a different perspective. After listening so many times to the original, it’s nice to have a fresh break with a cover that’s slightly different, slightly more emotive, slightly more…strong. I’ve listened to the original so much, it’s even on a CD I burned for myself, that I really want to add this edition to a new CD soon. The piano is a great touch too.

Also, if you want to see a little more about my story and journey you can check out this Youtube video I did where I incorporate this cover as well as my LONG version (short version to come soon) of my experiences with suicidal ideation and how I’ve gotten better.


Song #3:

“One More Light” by Linkin Park

This is a hard song to post. Harder to listen to. I almost cried a little hearing it again. It is a beautiful, beautiful song with a deep meaning and emotion. It’s just…too emotional for me.

Unfortunately I created a terrible relationship to this song when I was struggling the most in 2018. I still haven’t quite fixed that yet. Let’s jump right in (the quicker we can, the quicker we can move on):

Should’ve stayed, were there signs, I ignored?
Cannot I help you, not to hurt, anymore?
We saw brilliance, when the world, was asleep
There are things that we can have, but can’t keep
If they say
Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do (did)

Bear with me as I edit this song’s lyrics a little. I didn’t realize it was “can I help”, rather I thought and always heard it as “cannot help”. I also took out the “do” and made it into a past tense of “did”, as you saw.

Personally, I used this song when I was very, very, very low. As you may know, the singer of this song was from the band Linkin Park, name Chester Bennington, who sadly took his life in 2017.

In 2018, I listened to this song religiously. I’m sad to say that I used the knowledge of his passing and the theme of this song to encourage myself to take my own life. It was just so sad and tragic and horrible and at the time I thought it was the perfect ending to my own story. I wanted to send these lyrics to my friends over text as my final goodbye. I know, really fucked up, but that’s the history behind it for me.

It wasn’t always like that and maybe in the future it will change again, too. It is a lovely song and I think it has a powerful message of grief and coming to terms with trauma as well as wanting to be there for others who are struggling and to let them know they aren’t alone and that their existence in this world is ever, ever so needed. I can recognize that and realize this without always appreciating the finer details of this song. But, it’s a part of my story, regardless.

The reminders pull the floor from your feet

In the kitchen, one more chair than you need

Oh, and you’re angry, and you should be, it’s not fair

Just ’cause you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

I suppose I can see how it (this song) relates to more than suicide, rather death in all its ugliness in its entirety. I still don’t love it, though. But, we’ll move on….


Song #4:

“Goodbye (I’m Sorry)” by Jamestown Story

Aaaaa, Jamestown Story!!! I LOVE this song. I’ve been in love with it for years, despite how sad and heartbreakingly sad, to be honest, it is. I am completely in love with the instruments used, the production of it, the beat, the captivation of the words and the story it tells. I was honestly concerned for the musician for a while before I found out how/why the song was written.

I think, in general, it’s a good time to also mention that if you find anyone listening to any of these songs, or others that are concerning to you, that it’s so, so, soooo important to bring it up to them and ask if they’re okay! Having a conversation matters so much and what we listen to for music, or watch on TV or read as a book, etc., can be a mirrored reflection of where we feel we’re at in life. So it’s always important to ask if someone is okay, naming specific patterns of behavior or expressions of sadness and pain. You can tell them that you care, that you’re worried/concerned for them and assure them that you’ll be there, if you really can be, for help or to listen to them vent. And you can also point them to local resources or the hotlines and even practice self-care for yourself and do the same! That’s my PSA at least. 🙂 Now, for the song itself!

Time has run out for me, everything’s distant and I don’t know what to believe
It’s so hard, lost in the world confusion and I need to leave for awhile
Life is so meaningless
There is nothing worth a smile
So goodbye, I’ll miss you

And I’m sorry, but this is my fate
Everything is worthless, no one who wants me to stay
And I’m sorry, but I’ve waited too long (waited too long)
So here’s my goodbye, no one will cry over me
I’m not worth any tears

IT’S. SO. SAD. And yet so beautifully, beautifully written.

This song came into my awareness of existing back in 2015, possibly even end of 2014. I can’t recall if this is the song that was presented in my abnormal psych class for depression but it is depression to a T! Maybe I just found it through searching on Youtube but shit, I love it. Like it’s awful in the sense of the subject matter, in the sense that the narrator feels SO low that they genuinely believe that they’re worthless and incapable of being helped and feeling better, and also just so descriptive of being what struggling with suicidal ideation is like. I don’t know, I love the functionality of this song so much that I can’t help but listen to it, even when I’m doing well and am not having thoughts, it’s just a classic from this band and speaks to the pain so, so well.

It’s been the years of abuse
Neglected to treat the disorder that controls my youth for so long
I’m in a fleshy tomb buried up above the ground
It’s no use, why should I hold on?
It’s been five years, don’t need one more
So goodbye, life’s abuse

And I’m sorry, but this is my fate
Everything is worthless, no one who wants me to stay
And I’m sorry, but I’ve waited too long
So here’s my goodbye, no one will cry over me
I’m not worth any tears

Every 12* minutes somebody dies from a suicide
Every 28* seconds somebody attempts one
If you or anybody you know is suicidal call 1 800 273 8255

So the lyric I put in bold here really represented what depression was first like when I first heard this song back around 2015. It was like the most classic depiction of it for me and really made me fall more in love with the song. Again, it’s a very, very sad song and at the same time I love it all the same. I highly encourage checking out the band! Some of their other songs that I love include “Nothing’s Forever” and “Cry” and “How You Learn to Live Alone”.

PS Here is some information on suicide prevention, suicide loss survivors and those who have attempted suicide in the past, present or if it sadly happens in the future:

  1. The USA Lifeline
  2. HelpGuide
  3. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  4. Beyond Blue (AU)
  5. Mind (UK)
  6. Metanoia

PPS: Think of the acronym IS PATH WARM? for suicide warning signs.


Song #5:

“Kamikaze” by WALK THE MOON

This is another great example of how I shouldn’t love this song, I shouldn’t love what it’s about but I am absolutely ENTHRALLED by it. I can’t help it! It’s so catchy and like upbeat even though it’s dark and tumultuous at the very same time. Let’s see…

I believe I just came across this song from my Alexa Echo Dot this year, so, that’s something. I just love the music in it and the beat is, like I said catchy, and just something to dance to and again, like I feel I shouldn’t like it but I do. Gwah!

Here in this room
I’m chasing down my demons, I can hear them breathing
But who knew
You would be my comfort, you could bring me healing

Well if my friend’s gonna let me slide
How come you never left my side
Before I go make it last all night
While I slip into the great divide

(Woman!)
Stepping out of body, no matter what you call it
I’m a kamikaze (oh I, oh I)
Abandon all your logic, and put your money on it
I’m a kamikaze (oh I, oh I)
Going down with my wings on fire
Guess I’ll see you in another life
(Woman!)
Stepping out of body, you can tell everybody
Mama I’m a kamikaze (oh I, oh I)

So, I totally never knew it said “woman” I thought it was just like “MA-WA” but, apparently it’s an actual word, lmao. I just love the head banging potential this song has, you know? I definitely don’t get the deeper meaning of the song itself but I’m pretty cool with just jamming out to this song, you know. Yep. I can accept this fate.

All is not lost
My veins are seething, I can feel the freedom
Let them talk
It’s not about the crown, we could share the kingdom

……

Stepping out of body, no matter how you call it
This is suicidal, honey, nothing you can do about it
Let me take the check with the reckless abandon on it
Just call me kamikaze

Maybe it’s about romantic relationships? Maybe it’s about self-destruction? Maybe it’s about self-destruction because of romantic failures? I don’t know for sure, honestly.

However, that about wraps up the entirety of this post!!

 

I hope that you enjoyed reading this, that you gathered something out of it, and it was a mission, it was time pretty well spent on my end. It took me 2 hours to write this, so there ya go. But I really wanted to write it so hopefully you have learned more about myself or about recovery and everything else about it like that. I hope that this post finds you all right and maybe gets you thinking about other ways that the entertainment you consume on a daily business shapes and molds you in different ways.

For now, that’s it from me!

I’ll see you in a next post, either about my recovery projects, fanfiction, art, and more. Thank you so much for reading!!!

Stay safe. ❤ ❤ ❤

PS Disclaimer: I don’t own any of these songs or their lyrics and all credit goes to their respective artists. I found the lyrics through Google and shared the videos I listen to most for that particular song. 🙂

Say the Word Suicide: Saying the Word | Article F18

Articles THUMB


I originally began this article all the way back to a year ago. I had initially begun writing it while I was in the hospital for five weeks–five very long and tumultuous weeks. At the time, in 2017’s summer, I had begun to have doubts about whether to discontinue the series. I felt that maybe it was too up-front to have an article series focused around dispelling the stigma around suicide. I think at the time I was beginning to shift from being so forthcoming to treating the subject with more care and awareness of how it may impact others.

 

I had this doubt that is, until I read a book called “Without Tess” by Marcella Pixley. The book was centered on the loss of Lizzie’s older sister Tess, who was struggling with psychosis as a child and was not hospitalized and non-compliant with her medications, lost her life to suicide. The book never explicitly said the word suicide up to that point but it was heavily implied. The sister finds acceptance in her sister’s early demise and the novel ends on a hopeful note.

 

The reason I bring that up here is that the word suicide itself emanates a suffocating silence. It drops into the air and stays caught in a spider-web tightly held over everybody’s head. It brings widened eyes and discomfort; bitten tongues and swallowed words.

 

And that’s just the *word*: suicide.

 

The act of suicide is either widely, and incorrectly, broadcasted or refused to be uttered or printed. Think about it, how many times have you read or heard that someone died “accidentally” under suspicious circumstances rather than on purpose? How many times do you heard the media sensationalize a particular method of suicide? How many times do you overhear someone say “committed suicide”?

 

People do *not* commit suicide. Suicide is a public health issue, *not* a crime. People commit murder and rape, they do not “commit” suicide. People either die by suicide, lose their lives to suicide or kill themselves.

 

This change in language respects the deceased and the survivors of suicide, meaning the loved ones left behind. It also respects suicide attempt survivors and anyone who has ever thought or come close to acting on thoughts of suicide.

 

We are all just a bunch of people on an orbiting planet. A speck in the universe. We give our lives meaning because without it, we’d be lost.

 

And people who are going through suicidality are just people who are, so very often, lost.

 

I know for myself, when I am suicidal, I feel vastly alone. I feel like a lone piece of seaweed in the middle of the ocean. It doesn’t feel like anyone understands, like anyone even knows, and certainly not that they care. Feeling suicidal is like being trapped in a room. Except it’s pitch black and the only window where there are people supporting me are outside of it and it isn’t anywhere near visible. I am lost and it feels like there is no way out, as though the thoughts will consume me and the only way I can find peace and release is through acting on my thoughts.

 

There is so much emotional pain behind suicidality. So much pain that it makes it near impossible to describe. It is all encompassing for the moments where it exists. It is soul crushing, it makes me feel like I am stuck in an endless darkness and the only end in sight is the end to all life experiences.

 

And that is how suicidality gets people within its grasp to do what it says—to end their lives. It coats its thick, slimy arms around the person suffering and it breeds on their silence.

 

And honestly, silence kills.

 

The silence of suicidality, mental health conditions, self-harm and substance use disorders—they all kill.

 

In a recent 2018 article you read that statistic that globally every 40 seconds another person loses their lives to suicide and 800,000 people annually die by suicide.

 

These are too many lives we are losing. Too many people who had bright futures ahead of them, who had more pain than they could cope with, whom given another chance may have made a different choice.

 

There is, and likely never will be, *one* set reason why a person decides to end their life. To look for one cause only oversimplifies a complex, intricate and complicated issue such as suicide.

 

That is why I choose to share my story, as you will read in “Treatment 101: Advocacy.” Choosing to talk about suicide and mental health conditions brings these issues from the shadows to the light and reminds us that we are not alone, that we are brave to get help and that life can get better.

 

Stay safe.


Part of this article was written September 23.2017; I added and sculpted the rest October 2.2018. This piece also just appeared in the Mass Media. :3 Which means that yes I’m a little late in uploading it here. Two more will be added this week and I may or may not just take this week off from writing, as I had some troubles last Thursday that I’m still recovering from.

Take care, peeps. ❤ ❤ ❤