Join Me in a National Day of Hope | #NAMIWalksYourWay Virtual Event

NAMIWalks THUMB revamp - 5.14.20

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!

Thus, here we are. ❤

NAMIWalks THUMB 2 = 5.14.20

I am running my OWN TEAM that YOU can join here:

RecoverytoWellness Beacons Team Page

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:

My Participant Page

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).

That’s actually, probably, important:

This event is running from 11a – 1:30p EST

I will be doing a:

Youtube Live Stream on my channel (RecoverytoWellness)

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!!

 

I NEED YOUR HELP!! THUMB 3 - 5.14.20

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!

But first,

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:

recoverytowellness@hotmail.com

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!! ❤

Film Review Friday: “Sharks of Lost Island” (2013)

Film Review THUMB


Chosen Film/Year:

“Sharks of Lost Island” (2013)


Movie Rating:

PG


Movie Length:

.45 minutes


Writer; Producer/Editor:

Alan Martin; Neil Gelinas


Product of:

National Geographic


Themes:

Nature, documentary, sharks, coral reefs, marine ecology, narration, underwater filming, oceans, the negative impacts of humanity, pollution, garbage, carbon/human footprint, community meetings, overuse of fishing for food production (altering the amount of fish left in the world), small islands, ocean voyage, drones, science nerds, passion, care, inspiration, activism, advocacy, pursuits of the good, dramatization, interview style filming.


Trigger Warnings:

“Crazy” comments, sadness and depressive triggers, guilt, bird death.


How I found it?

Disney+


Movie Summary:

This documentary follows a team of marine ecologists as they plunge deep into the ocean waters near the remote, and barely inhabited, Pitcairn Islands. The three main islands are miles away from New Zealand, small specks in the Pacific Ocean. They are called: Pitcairn, Henderson and Ducie islands. Deep within the waters are either pristine or well established and well nurtured coral reefs. Most of the islands have a roaring amount of sharks lurking underneath, which is a sign of immense health and nutrition for the coral reefs.

The documentary is composed of following the marine ecologists as they embark on finding ways to limit the detrimental hands and feet and existence of humanity and preserving the innocence of nature and the gifts that wildlife has within our lives on a day to day basis. The documentary hones in on how the overuse of fishing is slowly destroying the climate and the world, how fishing garbage can be found on one of the remote islands despite how far away they are, how humans influenced an island by bringing in Polynesian rats that destroyed the flightless bird population, how a harmful weed was killing off the birds, leaving their feathers sticky with its goop and slowly killing them and following a set of community members on Pitcairn to work to establish the islands as a marine reserve to help bring in the expenses of tourism and preserve the life that was threatened by the evils of humanity.

Set in interview-style commentaries, the scientists share their hopes, their excitement, their awareness and their newest discoveries with the world. While a bit over-dramatized at times, this documentary does a fine job on making its information clear to understand for the viewer and inciting care and activism to preserve what can be so that we don’t lose everything we love, care for and genuinely need remaining intact in this world and on this planet.


Cinematography & Style:

The cinematography in this documentary is pretty great, overall. There are some excellent transitions and landscape scenes that are time lapsed, gathering the use of sunlight well, filming underwater and stock shots of the boats or the scientists as they explored the islands on foot. There were interview-style voice-overs of the scientists, with images and sights to behold overlaying their words with shots in between of the scientists speaking themselves. There were cameramen shooting the scientists mostly while some of the scientists (Mike, for instance) had a hand-held camera that he shot in to give us more a “first-person” perspective. It’s a friendly documentary with great use of scenery and music to set the scene even further. Overall, I did wonder how much of the film was scripted versus not and how some of the narrations were over-dramatized and zoomed in at points that weren’t entirely necessary for the story or film (for instance, the whole drone issue, when it was flying and hyped up but then it got lost and what the point of that was to keep it in the documentary, the set-up overall of some scenes, the music, etc.)


Memorable Moments:

The most memorable moment for me is probably the carcasses of the birds on the beach of Ducie Island due to the weed that arrived and got its sticky goo all over their feathers. It was just so sad and awful. Another thing I remember is some of the features of the deep dives with the fish and the clear water and that difference when one of the islands with more human inhabitants was VERY murky and gritty in spite of the clear, pristine waters were like. It made me wonder how other islands and oceans are fairing with even more human garbage, pollution, etc. existing. I also found this documentary, probably because of the human involvement and the negatives of humanity it highlighted, to be a little depressing and saddening and made me feel a little helpless and hopeless. Yet, there are good news from this documentary at the VERY end of this review, which preserves some positive aspects of humanity and the power that we hold in strong numbers. ❤


Information Delivery:

Creative in nature. (Hah! Puns) It wasn’t overly scientific so I could understand what was going on and it was very user-friendly, so to speak. Having some idea of biology and environmental stuff is a plus and a neat way to see textbook information in the flesh and in progress. 🙂


My final thoughts:

The end of the movie definitely made me think a lot and I had wondered whether the villagers and people of Pitcairn were able to make the islands a marine reserve and the answer, which is below, made my heart warm and restored some of my faith in humanity (to be honest, I have a pretty good faith in humanity overall). I thought it was a pretty neat documentary even if it probably wouldn’t be something I watched again in full or got a WHOLE lot out of. It does make me want to help the environment by picking up trash in the community, so there’s that, at least. I wasn’t quite expecting the sadness to be experienced in this documentary so that also influenced by final score. I’d say it wasn’t bad overall and I’m definitely more intrigued to watch a few more documentaries but I think that’s also because I’m not ready for more in-depth plot lines from more creative mediums.


Recommendation Score:

6.5/10

 


BONUS Good News:

The islands were established as marine reserves, the largest in the world, in 2015.

 


 

Annnnnnd, you managed to make it to the very end of this review!! Thank you sooo much for stopping by, reading and if you can, leave me your thoughts or recommendations down below! I am set to have a few more posts up this week–despite the fact that I have to write them first, ahaha–so there’s that to look forward to! I’m mainly focusing on a NAMI Walks 2020 post (for Tu), a Tracking Part 2 post (W), a FRF for Fri and probably a couple others here and there.

I might do one about some SMART goals I have and life update type styles. Also one on fanfic and my social media links. I’ve decided to incorporate 5 days a week at least 30 minutes of blog interaction/commenting/liking a day and that is going super swell so far! I’m excited to do more today.

Also, this post took me FOREVER to do. I don’t know why but it was just super difficult for me to be motivated and inspired to get it done and out. In the end, especially the day I’m publishing it, I was very ruminative in my mind so it was extra hard to focus and I need to download some new music ’cause I’m just over all the same songs I’ve been listening to lately. So I really procrastinated a lot on this post and I also tried to challenge myself to upload and work on it even AFTER it’s Film Review Friday, hence why this is going up on a Mon. I have to challenge my rules more because sometimes they’re awfully shitty and unnecessary rules! (I found that having a couple of timers for like 20 mins finally got me to accomplish this post and publish it!!)

Any who, again, thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy my posts! Feel free to leave me a link or something to your own stuff if you’d especially like me to read and comment. Thanks again! ❤ ❤ ❤

 

Handwritten minimal notes: 4/29.2020;

Typed and written, added and edited: 5/7 & 5/11/2020

🙂

Welcome to My Tracking Systems Reception! | Part 1

Tracking THUMB = 5.7.20


Why hello there young Reader, and don’t you worry by the title because you don’t have to go very far!! I am bringing this special reception to YOU on this post, on my blog. My hope is that this post will inspire you in some manner or give you some further insight into how I do things to help track my moods, thoughts and behaviors many times daily, and some weekly, or at least to get some kind of daily/weekly blend that turns monthly, even, too.

So, sit back and enjoy the sights because this is the first time I’ve done photography in a very long time and it’s to show you guys all of my tracking objects with some examples tossed into the mix, too. A beautiful blend of narration (so to speak!) and photo visualization. Welcome aboard!! And, if you’re so kind, please leave me a comment at  the end of what step was YOUR favorite or what you’d like to see from me next or what type of tracking and engagement you do in your own life!

Let’s begin!!

**As of working on this post into the evening of May 7th, I’ve decided to section it off into 3 parts because there are 9 tracking systems so this will end the first part today and over the next two weeks I’ll write up and publish the last two parts. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and hopefully you enjoy this read! 😀 I’ll see you at the end. ❤


OBJECT #1:

Calm the Chaos Journal

IMG_4177

Photo taken by me on May 7th 2020. ❤ I used my new large origami paper for the background. I tried to be fancy for these photos and got to use/share my paper stars, too!! Something to feast your eyes and look forwards to ahead from here! 🙂

Began: January 2020

From: My individual therapist from my day program, Passages. She wrote this note at the start of it:

IMG_4181

Contents & Set-Up: This journal begins with a necessary and optimistic promise of what the reasoning and meaning and purpose is lay hidden behind the idea and notoriety of this particular form of journaling. It’s a great journal to set about self-care goals and an assessment of the present day through a multitude of factors, with well-fitting spaces to write in, and a goal section for the following day ahead. The prompts are scattered well enough that it never becomes monotonous in the daily grind.

For instance, I will have photos in the visualization section for you all to get a sense of the journal, as well as laying it out deliberately and expertly here in written form.

On the “Today…” section there are questions regarding how self-care was performed by the Writer: sleep, bodily movement, something fun or pleasurable just for the Writer, taking time for meditation or reflection, ate nourishing food, went outside for fresh air and other.

Continuing on this section, is an act of kindness performed for someone else, the most memorable moment of the day for the Writer, and a small gratitude for the day.

On the “Tomorrow…” section there are 15 varying prompts that change every 5 days. Some of this variety may be seen in the photographs below. They are different little sections prompting: what goals you have for the day ahead, courageous conversations that need to be had, things to let go of, priorities, intentions, to-do’s, the day’s purpose, guiding mantras, etc.

Visualization Examples:

IMG_4183

Snapshot from early January 2020.

IMG_4186

Mid-February.

IMG_4187

Most recent, from last night.

 

How Much is Left: 1 Week’s worth of entries

This journal is made by: Nicola Ries Taggart

Estimated Price: $15.00

My Pitfalls: As with this object and many of my other Tracking Systems, I fell off tracking between the entirety of March, half of February and some of April 2020. I was able to restart from the present day rather than trying to go back and fill in old entries (meaning, if my last entry was 2/27, and I fell off until March 8th, I began again just onwards from March 8th). Sometimes if I was only a day behind I made the notation: “nd for next day” and carried on from there. So with my falling behind I wrote in it for the months of Jan (almost each day completely save for 3 days I missed), half of Feb, the end of March, half of April and all of May.

My Recommendation Score:

If you’re someone who wants to improve their level of self-care practices and be motivated and inspired to handle this level of tracking, I’d highly recommend it, if for little else than prioritizing the day ahead, embracing the successes of the day itself, and for a reference point/snapshot of the past to look back on and improve or replicate into the future.

My score?

7/10


OBJECT #2:

“Stay Magical” ~Daily Goal System

IMG_4191

A great sized stationery pad of goal setting wizardry!

Began: ~April 20th 2020

(A couple sheets covered multiple days for reading goals)

From: TJ Maxx

Setup: So at the very top of the pad of paper is the phrase “Stay Magical” with stars in a silvery rainbow surrounding it. At the middle of the bottom edge of the page is a white unicorn with rainbow hair (always nice). The first left box says “Your Dream Goal”, the bottom left says “Reach for the Stars” and the whole lined with boxes right side says “Make your wishes come true” with the ability for you to effectively check off steps as they are accomplished. 😀

Visualization Examples:

IMG_4200

This is today’s goal which is a lot more complicated and multi-faceted than most of my others. Some of the ones I’ve had include reading goals with set measurements (say 1/2 way through or read 20 pages) or have a good day at work by X means.

In this example I have said that I wanted to interact with blogging as well as do blogging which is a check for having been done. Read a book (not yet), and complete laundry (which I forgot about again).

In the other two sections I wrote little reminders to myself to help ease the transition of all the work I needed to do today or at least tried to do today and then on the right I added a general intention for my to-do’s.

How Much is Left: Just began; 80 sheets total, about 70 left.

Estimated Price: $5.00

Why Utilized? I began to utilize this new function when I created or recreated my Motivational Binder. In it I have a bunch of other tracking systems and it helped me to get my mind around factors I was trying to get back into, probably not surprisingly was returning and, in many ways, revamping my Tracking Processes. I started to do it the night before for the day ahead as a way to pronounce what I’d like to do the next day as per the encouragement and idea from my therapist, June. So, that’s what I’ve relatively been regularly doing, with some missed days here and there or goals that cannot quite be completed all at once or require a few extra days and ongoing maintenance to accomplish. 🙂

Pitfalls: Making more than one goal on it is a lot trickier to manage. I think I temporarily lost the reading one I had, that specific sheet, somewhere and now I can’t find it or figure out if it was the same one I found in the binder jacket or if it was an additional reading one. Damn. Also, sometimes it gets a little overwhelming or I miss tracking in other ways particularly on nights where I return home from work at Amaryllis. That is hard, too. I like to hand them up onto my whiteboard to pull it down again when I start my day and this helps, mentally, a bit, too.

Adding them to my Motivational Binder gets a little backlogged too because I have to hole punch them so I have a bunch at the moment that are loose and not yet inside my binder. 😛 However, it’s also the first working list/stationery pad that I’m utilizing more often than letting them sit in a box somewhere else in my room, ahaha.

My Recommendation Score:

7/10


OBJECT #3: (Final piece for today’s post, see adjusted title as this is now a 3 part series!!)

My Journal

IMG_4205

This is my current journal, it has a sparkly, glitter-y mess with bokeh and the phrase “Sparkle On” in script font. It took me forever to decide if I wanted to start the year with this one or a space panda or another journal from the stack I have in my room, ahaha.

Began: January 30th 2020

From: 120 sheet journal from Michael’s

Set-Up: This is a blank lined journal with a gray bookmark page holder. This is my first complete journal for the year 2020, with part of last year, maybe about 6 months worth fitted into my last journal. I do my best to complete this journal’s entries daily.

I write my therapy notes in this journal, I write my group notes from program in it, any time I need to make a little pro’s/con’s sheet, visualize something I need to work on and most often, about my day.

So I have this system within my systems of SotD’s which are Scores of the Day. On a scale of 0 to 10 I rate if my day was really shit and pants as a 0 (barely ever happens) and 10 being like upscale amazing, so good that I’m seeing rainbows and unicorns everywhere (which I have made a few times!!).

On average, I score an 8.

I decide these numbers based on my gut reaction to the question of how my day went. If the number 7 shows up more than 8, I write 7, or if I’m conflicted I’ll do a decimal point system (7.5 etc.).

Additionally, I hallmark this type of tracking the most in my planner–something I actually don’t think I’ve shared in a blog post before, at least the one that I’ve been using for 2019-2020. I have my 2020-2021 that will also be in a video soon but yeah, maybe I’ll include either a link or a photo to it when I get to that part of this blog post series (which is not today).

Anywho, back to the journal! I, OFFICIALLY, begin my journal with the day of the week, the month, day and year and then the time that I began writing. Then I move down and do my SotD and then I use these notations: TA for Today’s Accomplishments (sometimes, if I’ve fallen behind I’ll use YA for Yesterday’s Accomplishments or if it’s been a significantly long time from having fallen behind then I’ll just put the date of that day near it) and proceed in number format to write out my accomplishments and sometimes, although I’ve mostly discontinued it for the time being, I wrote out TN for Today’s Notes, like other thoughts or things to remind myself of from that day that don’t fit in as accomplishments. Phew! That was a lot, right?

Visualization Examples:

IMG_4212

Photo taken in May of 2020 of a day from April 2020.

And another little glimpse of me just saying stuff at the very end of the journal entry:

IMG_4215

I was particularly chatty at the end of this entry and feeling high maintenance for my tracking is just top-notch and a very me thing to happen. Ahaha.

How Much is Left: More than half.

Estimated Price: $5.00

Why Utilized? The best reason I have for doing this system is to keep and maintain, ideally daily, weekly then turning into monthly, a record of how I am doing. There’s something nice about quantifying an experience and getting out thoughts and feelings and, hell, sometimes behaviors, by tracking it down and looking back on it later.

True, I haven’t gotten to the part where I can look back on my journals and my writings and the things that come out of my skull and into my fingers and onto ink on paper, but, the biggest motivation I have behind it is to learn from what I wrote, have the power of perspective and to eventually, one day I SWEAR, make weekly catalogued video posts about them all. I don’t know, I just find it so fascinating to have a daily catalogue of my thoughts and how things were going and I think it really helps to mold my day together because if I don’t it’s almost like it didn’t happen, you know?

I want to film videos about them in the future, I still haven’t done it YET but I look forward to it. I wonder how I would structure that… hmm, I’d have to fiddle with it first,  I think. Maybe I’ll journal about it tonight, ahaha.

And in a lot of ways, this is like my handwritten journal that I can take stock of what I did that day, from the little accomplishments to the big ones, and it creates a record of some kind, maybe a little monotonous and needless to some people’s eyes but still a record all the same (although I don’t know how it would help anyone else out there, unless they wanted to visit my mind and what I valued in that day, ahaha). And in that record I can utilize all the things that I did even online that day that go into the log. 😀

Pitfalls: High-maintenance. It requires daily entries, me setting aside that time to do so, looking at my planner and my day and how/what I did hour by hour, scanned hour by hour more so, and what I’m thinking in that moment and just cataloguing my thoughts. Then if I get behind for a few days I have to go back and either skip them (which I hate doing) or just list them late and fill them in (which I try to do instead and will have to do over multiple mediums for this week). I personally like to start new days as new headings at the top and won’t fudge the timing very much if at all. Besides being somewhat high-maintenance though it does rely quite a bit on other tracking forms being completed so if I haven’t done that in multiple objects, then things get even shakier. Luckily this doesn’t happen TOO frequently.*

My Recommendation Score:

9/10


*To be honest, I’ve gotten so used to my tracking systems, some that I’ve been doing for over 2 years, that it really is just part of my regimen before I go to sleep at night. Some things will come and go, that’s for sure, journals especially, but overall it helps me. If not in the present moment then definitely as a reference point back in time or a future video or content creation later on, hence this blog post, to be honest.

So what do my other tracking objects consist of?

Well, you’ll have to wait and see…

 

 

Nah, I’ll tell ya!

But I’ll tell you in CODE! :O (If you know my tweets you may know these answers sooner)

P, ST, DC, 5YJ, H., M., RB: this last one is only weekly–so it only slightly counts and doesn’t make up the main 9 that I use (it’s also new!).

Above all though, thank you SO MUCH for reading.

I hope that you enjoyed this post and got some further insight into my mind and if nothing else, what works for ME! Going forwards I do see myself incorporating new tasks into my regimen or daily/weekly cataloguing. (Think bullet journal and I’m Awesome, Here’s Why journal, which I JUST got).

Thanks again!!!!

What do you do for tracking, if anything at all? How does it make you feel and what works best in your system? Has this post at all encouraged or inspired you in creating or adding to your system? Let me know! 😀

 

xxx ❤ ❤ ❤

PS Who wants to bet that Twitter fucks up my main image for this post? XD

PPS You can also bet that tonight I’ll be jotting down the way I structured this post for future reference into the next week’s parts! ^_^

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

Film Review THUMB


Chosen Film/Year:

“Jane Goodall: The Hope” (2020)


Movie Rating:

TV 14


Movie Length:

1 hour & 28 minutes


Directors/Producers:

Elizabeth Leiter & Kimberly Woodard;

Lucky 8 TV & National Geographic.


Themes:

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


Trigger Warnings:

Mild substance use (alcohol)


How I found it?

Disney+


Movie Summary:

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

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


Cinematography & Transitions:

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

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

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


Memorable Quotes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

  9. Concept:

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

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


Information Delivery:

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


My final thoughts:

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

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

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

Two other things I want to touch on briefly include:

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

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

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


Recommendation Score:

8/10


 

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


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

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

Stay safe, peeps!

❤ ❤ ❤ xxxx

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

SADIA1: I Needed to Lose You to Find Me | & Life Update

Song a day THUMB


Chosen Song:

“Lose You to Love Me” by Selena Gomez


Trigger Warnings & Themes:

Loss, grief, letting go, dependency/co-dependency themes.

Loss, grief, relationships, interpersonal effectiveness, identity, finding yourself, rescuing yourself, love, hope, trials and tribulations, overcoming adversity, triumph, letting go, dependency/co-dependency, growth, empowerment, moving on, regret.


Video:


Chosen Lyrics:

You promised the world and I fell for it
I put you first and you adored it
Set fires to my forest
And you let it burn
Sang off key in my chorus
‘Cause it wasn’t yours
I saw the signs and I ignored it
Rose colored glasses all distorted
Set fire to my purpose
And I let it burn
You got off on the hurtin’
When it wasn’t yours…
We’d always go into it blindly
I needed to lose you to find me
This dance, it was killing me softly
I needed to hate you to love me,
To love, love, yeah
To love, love, yeah
To love, yeah
I needed to lose you to love me, yeah
To love, love, yeah
To love, love, yeah….
I gave my all and they all know it
Then you tore me down and now it’s showing
In two months, you replaced us
Like it was easy
Made me think I deserved it
In the thick of healing, yeah….
….And now the chapter is closed and done
To love, love, yeah….
And now it’s goodbye, it’s goodbye for us
SourceLyricFind

My Interpretations/Related Experiences:

So, hi again. It’s been a while and this post is a bit of a smorgasbord of multiple things but we’re gonna go with it and wing it, right? Right. Good.

So, I heard this song a few months back, maybe even as far as Nov. 2019 and I always wanted to do a song a day entry for it and just never got around to it, got busy with other posts, forgot, lost inspiration and motivation and then it got buried underneath everything else. Because, quarantine and work and all that jazz.

But I’m here now. And that’s what counts.

I’ve been reading this book on grief, or at least trying my hardest to, (it’s a dull read but I’m so invested now that I feel like I HAVE to read it, and I don’t give up on books either soooo…) and it’s made me think of some things I’ve been both ignoring and avoiding for months now.

Which, roll the credits, brings us to this song and this message and this interpretation.

As I read about loss and I am reminded that grief is a response to any type of loss–through death of course but not always–it can be items, it can be divorce, separation, leaving relationships, moving away from relationships etc. Even pets. And so it’s made me think a little about things I purposefully and deliberately avoid and pretend like they don’t exist in my life because that’s what I DO. I’m a Master Avoider. Wish I could put it on the job apps but I keep avoiding it. 😉 😀 (Imagine a cheeky grin here.)

I haven’t dealt a lot with death in my life, yeah some pets here and there, and god knows when I was more creative with original fiction back in my high school days, it would seem like I was enthralled and mortified about the subject as that’s typically all I wrote about (death, harm and destruction) but really I haven’t lost too many people…yet. Not, not yet.

Sure, there’s been the celebrities, the waiting death reports for Athena because we can all pretty much agree that she’s not in her ED recovery and has relapsed badly but that’s a topic for another day… (that I probably won’t even get into because I’m working to actively not give in to that type of addiction, because it is so detrimental to me and my mental health, bleh.)

But without having lost people to the deep, dark chasm of death, I’ve lost people due to mental health complications and co-dependency. More so my own co-dependency on others. I think of two particular individuals for this: Steve and Luna.

With Steve, I was forcefully pulled away from them by the smart choices of my university’s Counseling Center. Every now and then, as I’ve described in few Mass Media articles back in the day, I would look up Steve online, find his accounts, find some of his information and then taunt myself with the IDEA of reaching out even though I knew it was a giant no-no (and luckily, I never did).

But Steve was from a different time ago.

Luna…Luna’s been on my mind more these days. I have more tokens, more physical items, from Luna that I cannot begin to dream about parting with. Not now, maybe not ever. The idealization is strong with me from them and I wish things could have ended differently.

And let me be clear, I was the one who left the relationship. I was the one to enact The Ultimate Avoidance into my social life as I was in my last semester of school. And I wrote about it in some articles, some I think that I still don’t even have up on my blog, (sorry about that!!!) and I got through it, but it was hard. Really hard. And I had, like this song says, to lose them to find me.

I had to lose Luna to rebuild the broken shards of glass that was myself, my identity, my soul, my worldview, my RECOVERY.

I had to realize, hell not even by myself but by my Mom and my family therapist (turned individual therapist now) June that it was NOT a healthy relationship and if I continued to try and hold onto the past with Luna and be around them, then ultimately I was choosing to return to havoc-wreaking emotions that would destroy everything in its path, especially me, and land me in self-harm, suicidal ideation, potential death and definitely a hospitalization.

And I had to realize and accept that it wasn’t healthy for me or for them and that I had to move on, move away, move forwards. And I could only do that by realizing that no one and no thing was worth getting suicidal over, a profound lesson that has still aided me even today. And I had to also realize the way I was being treated wasn’t necessarily healthy either. And that it was for my best interests to pull away. And that the relationship we had wasn’t necessarily even friendship. And that I had to forgive the fact that Luna had lacked several boundary laden territories and overextended themselves more than they should have in retrospect. And I had to come to the terms that as a friend, they had abandoned me more than once and that ultimately it wasn’t THEIR job to save me.

It was mine.

And there were red flags. More than I realized at the time, more than I could begin to fathom and certainly more than I could reasonably encounter and acknowledge, especially within my unstable mindset.

They had to pull away a couple of times, they couldn’t be there to support me and at that time all I had wanted was THEIR support. I wanted only THEM to save me, to help me, to rescue me. And I could be aware of this at times, but I still ignored what it meant.

And I didn’t realize, at the time, that there were other individuals around me who could see, sense and interpret and recognize this co-dependency.

However, what matters now, what matters most, is that I got out. I got away. And even when I cringed to see them, when my heart aches in missing them, in missing what once was, I’m so much stronger now than ever before. I’ve grown so much and I’ve developed boundaries even within myself that I don’t cross or barely ever cross anymore these days. Yes, it puts me at somewhat of a disadvantage for particular art projects but somehow, someway, I know I’ll make it through.

 

So for now, I cannot part with the things that Luna has given me: the art, the reminders, the memories I don’t really spend much time at all looking back on, the good that was there, the pain that was there, the bad that was there. But I keep a piece of them with me, a piece I had returned to fondness over without actually reaching back out to them.

I’ve thought about it, a few times more lately than usual, but I don’t act on it. I recognize that I can have the thought and the curiosity and that I don’t want to, I don’t need to, look into it and find out what they’re up to and what’s going on in their life. It’s over now. I’m new. And the rest doesn’t really matter.

So to this song, to what is sung here:

It reminds me of letting go of the co-dependency and finding myself from all the rubble. And I realize that I can grow and learn more about grief and the MCU hole that exists within that grief and I can prioritize and…just LIVE my life without Luna, without Steve, without even the pain most days of moving away from them. You know, it’s been almost two years since letting go and things are pretty badass lately, ahaha. I think I’m a lot happier and definitely far more stable. I have to accept the lessons I was taught and recognize my own needs and work with myself to develop better self-validating remarks and comments. Instead of seeking validation and attention from others, instead I can work on completing that myself by myself with myself.

That’s not to say I don’t reach out for supports too, because I do. It’s…a balancing act for sure, one I haven’t completely figured out yet, and that I look forward to doing so in the future. ❤ (The balance between when do I need to self-soothe and when do I need a sound board.)

I think this song is a good depiction of the troubles with idealization (putting people on pedestals and thinking they can do no wrong) and demonizing people (putting them down so low that they have flaws and only their flaws). When the reality is that people have both good and bad qualities. People are flawed. People are not all good or all bad. Grey exists in the world, especially when it comes to humans, because we’re so diverse and so special and unique one by one. It can be easy to try and see and think in absolutes, however, the world is not one big absolute thing. It’s muddled and murky and sometimes we don’t get “closure”, in fact, in this grief book I’m reading it even states how “closure” isn’t often closure itself because grief is a continuum, grief is not something you get over rather something you learn to live with and alongside as you continue your life’s journey.

And as for the life update of this post…


I’m doing pretty well, overall. I just subscribed to Disney+ and I’m pretty excited to get into that and hopefully create more online content in the form of reviews for it and because of it. The grief book has also inspired me to attend to my MCU avoidance by re-immersing myself into the entire timeline from start to finish, which will probably take me over the course of the next year and therefore help me to come to terms with my grief through the individuals and characters we so recently (it feels recent, at least) lost. I’m actually quite looking forward to this.

I have been reading somewhat here and there behind the scenes and I have plenty of blog posts to catch up on and work on and eventually, hopefully soon, publish. They include:

  1. My sexuality
  2. Book Reviews
  3. Film Reviews
  4. Fanfic stuff
  5. Song a day’s
  6. Part 2 to my Recovery and Music post
  7. Maybe some more interactive type posts.

I’ve also returned to all my tracking stuff in the last week and that is so far up to date currently. I’m making daily goals for myself with a few that carry over when I don’t achieve them (the reading a book to the half-way point and completion, ideally). I’m considering creating Movie Monday’s for myself and Film Review Friday’s. I still have work at Amaryllis I go to twice a week. I have fanfic ideas, particularly one inspired by covid-19, that I’m trying to pick through and work on here and there but lately, the last week, I’ve been having zero writing vibes (which obviously related to blogging issues, too). I’m juggling a lot, probably the same as usual, if I’m being honest, and I want to try and interact more online with 3-5 tweets a day and then step up my WordPress game too. I have to break down the fact that I make so much more work for myself and projects out of everything, to be honest. I reorganized my room a few times though so that’s helpful. And I’m trying to get ideas and input on how to properly set self-care time and activities for myself so if that can get going I’ll be in REALLY great standing. Additionally, I have a Youtube video I have to finish editing and then work on uploading, which, again, hopefully, I can do this week.

I will probably make a tweet soon because apparently today is my 3 year Twitter anniversary. I want to celebrate that, even within some character limits and maybe that will make me feel a little better, too.

Overall, life is going, even while life outside these walls of my home are absent, crumbling and deteriorating. I’m trying to get by as best as I can but I can definitely say I can’t wait until it’s all over. For now, I have extended loans on the 36 books I have out from the library so I will take that in stride. I’m going to go eat dinner, take my meds and watch a movie now.

Thank you all so much for reading, learning, understanding and, if you please can, commenting. I hope to return to this blogosphere more going forwards.

Thank you.

xxx ❤ ❤ ❤

 


Worked on: 4/23/2020, 4/27/2020

Accumulating Preventative Measures | Article F18

IMG_9194

Photograph & article by: Raquel Lyons


Trigger Warning: Mentions of suicide and self-harm

 

“Help me, it’s like the walls are caving in…Laying on the bathroom floor, feeling nothing; I’m overwhelmed and insecure… Keep telling me that it gets better. Does it ever?…Afraid to be alone again, I hate this. I need somebody now. Someone to help me out. Sometimes I feel like giving up, but I just can’t: it isn’t in my blood” – Song lyrics from Shawn Mendes’ “In My Blood.”

 

In this article, I’d like to explore the notion of creating and actively accumulating preventative measures against problematic behaviors. Namely, my own problematic behaviors because I’m an expert in my own experience and can only truly speak from that lived experience to what I want to discuss here, and for what I hope can also be applied to other general situations.

 

I’ve included the song lyrics from Shawn Mendes at the start of this article because it fits with the message I want to convey within these strung lines. I want to discuss how accumulating preventative measures against self-harm and suicidal thoughts have helped me greatly in the past, present and hopefully the future as well.

 

I believe I’ve mentioned it before, possibly as long as two years ago, but I have always personally found safety contracts hugely impactful in my recovery. For some people I know it can be a bit hit or miss, and for me it has done wonders. For me now, I have acquired enough barriers between myself and any action steps I could take with my intrusive thoughts and images that are utterly life-changing and life-saving, as it were.

 

The main one is that I signed a piece of paper saying I would not engage in self-harm or attempt/complete suicide while at the Dialectical Behavior Therapy-Intensive program. The DBT-I at my current day program–a day program I’ve been in for the last seven months and been in Intensive since May–lasts for six to eight months. That means six to eight months between me wanting to act on an urge now and by the end of eight months, no longer wanting to act on my thoughts because the crisis by then has disappeared.

 

It’s kind of ingenious, in a way, if you think about it. What it buys me, is time. Time to think of the ‘what if’s.’ Time to pause and breathe (even though that’s the last thing I want to be doing) and to tolerate my emotions and let go of my thoughts, ultimately take a mindfulness approach and just return to Earth as gradually as I can. It gives me time to call someone at a hotline, time to interact with another fellow human being, or time to write an article about my preventative measures. Time is a valuable, valuable thing when someone is undergoing a crisis. To have access to time, to allow the thoughts to come and go as they will naturally do is so, so critical. Because the crisis will fade, the crisis will not last forever and the cruel thoughts being slung around your brain will cease to exist again. They may return, and they very well may do so, and by then, you’ll be stronger.

 

You will be strong enough to say ‘no’ to them. You will be strong enough to choose to live.

 

It doesn’t matter what BS images my brain shows me, because in reality none of them have actually happened. I may be sitting alone on a bench crying in public, and that may not be entirely effective in the long-term, but it beats being somewhere alone where things could turn the corner in the worst way possible.

 

To me, accumulating preventative measures means remembering what if’s–what if my next round of treatment would have made the difference? What if I tell someone how I’m feeling and they respond with compassion? What if I don’t act on my thoughts and feel better again soon?

 

Another thing I find about accumulating preventative measures is using a lot of skills all at once: change my self-talk by finding encouraging or inspirational quotes, check the facts about what situation triggered me, reading over letters friends have given me, seeking out ways to help the community around me, or even watching some of my old YouTube videos.

 

The biggest thing I’ve learned from program is that acting on my harm thoughts really isn’t in line with my values at all. I have built an army of reasons not to act harmfully, including: the awareness of the safety contract, listening to new music that comes out, watching a sunset, creating more art, seeing the next Avengers movie, graduating, feeling happiness.

 

And although this article has ended, the journey has not. It’s ever changing, ever flowing and so very, very worth it.

 

Stay safe.


Article written September 11.2018

This was a post-crisis work through article that has been polished up and is ready for submission (I’ve already sent it out, actually). I decided to add my sunset photograph to this piece, and have a few more photos related to articles to be published soon. 🙂 It’s similar to the process of acceptance, it’s on-going and will wax and wane in progress.

I hope that you enjoy this article! Leave me your thoughts down below on what some of your own preventative measures are! 🙂

❤ ❤ ❤

PS If my after-thoughts don’t make as much sense, I’m trying to avoid a ruminative process right now (Sat evening) so that may explain things. I also didn’t read over this article so that might have something to do with it, too. 😛

Treatment 101: Stigma | Article F18

Articles THUMB


Trigger Warning: Discussion of suicide

 

If you’ve been reading my articles since the dawn of time, you’ll know that I’ve touched on stigma and its effects on those of us living with mental health conditions, such as myself, quite a few times. In fact, my first article in The Mass Media was because of stigmatizing comments I had encountered in my day to day trekking home and to UMass Boston. (Back when we didn’t have dorms!)

 

Stigma is something that many brave souls have combatted in the past, in the present, and unfortunately, will likely continue to combat in the future. Stigma eliminates person first language (as you read about in the Diagnosis segment of the series) by identifying those struggling with mental health conditions *as* their illness and not who they are as a whole. Stigma is often said by those who are uneducated about the field of mental health and who are either ignorant to the weight of their comments or do not care to understand at all (to put it bluntly in black and white terms). Stigma harms those who are struggling both silently and with their voices loudly echoing the room. Stigma has the power to drain every ounce of energy from you and collide into you with the hopelessness of why we, as a community, should fight back against it at all.

 

Stigma, most importantly, while largely being external can also become internalized, posing even higher stakes and problems for the individual’s minds.

 

When I was first diagnosed in 2014 with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder on self-harm and suicide obsessions (not genuine thoughts of suicide), I faced my mind’s enemy with phrases that I was “just attention-seeking” and “I didn’t really have OCD”, or that I “should check whether or not I have hidden intentions to harm myself”–which would perpetuate a cycle of anxiety and doubt that I would engage in mental rituals to arrive on the conclusion that I was in fact safe which only then prompted additional intrusive thoughts that began the cycle all over again.

 

I know I also struggled with coming to terms with the idea that I didn’t know I was living with a diagnosable mental health condition. I felt that if I couldn’t tell something was “wrong” with me than what else was I missing?

 

Over the years, I’ve faced stigma in a few different places–on the train, in passing conversation, in people mentioning “craziness” off-handedly, in text-based mediums and within my own mind. I still have some internalized stigma mostly regarding those individuals living with psychosis and personality disorders as those are areas of psychoeducation that I, myself, am not well educated in.

 

Along those lines, personality disorders like borderline (BPD), psychosis, eating disorders, substance use disorders, self-harm and suicidal ideation tend to be *heavily* stigmatized in multiple cultures and countries around the world.

 

In fact, there’s a public health crisis ongoing at the moment regarding the alarming rates of suicide worldwide along with the presence of an opioid epidemic in America.

 

Again, I don’t have lived experience with the latter so I can’t talk too much about that but for the former, suicide is still a hushed topic with a lot of stigma stemming from the idea that its act is one of “selfish-ness” or seen as a sin in a religious perspective. Then there’s also the idea that self-harm is equivalent to suicidal ideation–when it’s not–and that suicide attempts are marked as “cries for help”, “attention-seeking”, and “if they were really serious they would have completed suicide.”

 

Stigma has the knack for perpetuating lies and misconceptions about mental health conditions as though those of us living with them are meant to be feared and shunned, or worse, sterilized and institutionalized. There have been many cruel acts done to us in the past, and we’re repeatedly demonized by the media still today.

 

Choosing to not talk about suicide envelopes and pushes those of us who struggle with its ideation further into the darkness. Normalization and approaching individuals with compassion and light is what’s required to bring down the statistics that say every forty seconds another person loses their life to suicide (WHO, 2018).

 

It’s not easy to talk about, it’s not fair, and it’s still important.

 

There will always be the people who don’t believe mental health conditions are a reality for one out of five American adults (NAMI, 2015). There will always be those who claim it’s for one reason or another, but there will also be people who are willing to understand and want to for the sake of their loved ones.

 

Our mission is to find those individuals and educate them, leaving behind the rest; because saving even just one life can make a world of difference.

 

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts: you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1800 273 8255; contact the Counseling Center any time; text HOME to 741-741; or find additional resources via Google.


Hey everyone!! I haven’t completely decided if I’m uploading this article this Saturday or tomorrow (Sunday) as a scheduled post. But I thought I could keep you guys up in the loop by sending it out soon.

Wellness deadlines for the paper this semester are Thursday’s at 5p, which means I send in my articles for the week by Wednesday evening, the day before. I’ve already written about 7 articles and from what I was overhearing the other day, the paper may change from bi-weekly to weekly, which would be awesome.

For now, I have about 3 ongoing series going on, and this article itself took a turn down suicide prevention lane that I had not anticipated at the get-go. But, that’s okay.

Hope you guys enjoy this post! I have a really cool one coming up after this from my week two’s submission. 🙂

 

I’ll try not to be a stranger! Hope you’re all well. ❤ ❤ ❤

PS I forgot to say: This piece was written September 9.2018 🙂

Treatment 101: Diagnosis | Article F18

Articles THUMB


It’s only fair to start off this new series, one I’ve wanted to do for a year, with the broad category of diagnosis. What is a mental health condition diagnosis and why does it matter? Some of these ins and outs about mental health diagnoses, how they are described, and the system used in which to understand them will be discussed below. But first, a disclaimer is in order.

 

My disclaimer for this article, and one that you will often see in each new article of the series, is that I am not a mental health professional and my opinions on these matters stems only from my own experiences, of which I am an expert in, and should not be taken as medical advice. I only wish to shed light on treatments that have been beneficial for me and inspire ideas in others that they can bring to their own treatment teams and potentially incorporate into their own recoveries where applicable. What works for me may not work for you, as we are all unique individuals, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

 

With that out of the way, we can begin addressing the issue of diagnosis–although, word choice is an important topic to briefly mention first.

 

I personally prefer the term “mental health condition” over “mental illness.” In 2016 I used the term “mental health issues” as a bridge between condition and illness and I suppose I reject the term “mental illness” as it feels too stigmatizing and I revoke the notion that I am “ill.” Even though at the same time I back the mission of Canadian Michael Landsberg’s “Sick not Weak” which is a nonprofit organization and popular hashtag on Twitter.

 

I think my logic in that is I’d prefer being thought of as “sick” or “ill” over “weak” as mental health conditions are not a sign of a character defect or purposeful fault of the one struggling with them.

 

I don’t mind thinking of the diagnoses I live with as chronic illnesses but there’s something about “mental illness” that just makes my skin crawl. Adopting person first language is also critical as a person is not inherently “anorexic” or “schizophrenic” they are instead a person “living with” or “struggling with” a condition.

 

But back to diagnoses, in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) 5 there are around two hundred and fifty disorders with a specific, varying amount of symptoms occurring over a detailed duration of time that can explain the behaviors, thoughts, emotions and physical symptoms a person with a mental health condition may experience. According to Grohol (2011) approximately 50% of people living in the US will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition at some point in their lifetime, as measured back in 2004 by the CDC.

It’s been discussed before whether the DSM should be approached as a medical model (as it has in the past), a categorical approach (as it is presently) or in a new direction altogether.

 

Having mental health conditions listed in a categorical approach has its limits (in fact, most approaches will). If I only fit the criteria for four out of nine symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD) I’ll meet the criteria for borderline tendencies (or ‘traits’ as it were) however if I have five or more symptoms I would fit the criteria for BPD as a whole.

 

The problem is people don’t fit so neatly into these classified boxes. And the truth is is that diagnoses have the ability to change over time. A person can be initially diagnosed with depression only for years later to come to the conclusion that the true disorder behind the curtains is bipolar (either type one or type two). That’s why although it can be instinctual to define one’s self in a diagnosis, becoming too attached and too dependent upon the labeling can create a host of chaos on its own.

 

When I was in one of my hospitalizations in spring 2017 one of the mental health specialists (MHS), where I was first introduced to the BPD tendencies diagnosis, described diagnosis as a fluid spectrum. At one point I was to the left of the spectrum and at that present moment I was elsewhere. And, ultimately, that’s okay because diagnoses are mainly important for insurance billing purposes and ways to direct treatment approaches.

 

The time when a set of symptoms begins to cause distress and impairs functioning is the biggest indicator of an underlying mental health condition. People who experience some symptoms of mental health conditions but aren’t impaired, distressed, a danger to themselves or others, or deviate from their society’s norms are not categorized as fulfilling the necessary quota to be diagnosed.

 

Lastly, treatment itself is an interwoven spider-web; there will be many overlaps and connections within each treatment to be discussed in this series.


I still don’t know if I should quote that statistic in here although I heard it first from program but later found an article that goes with it and yeah. My brain is a little muddled at the moment (I’ve totes supposed to have been doing homework but I’ve been writing instead :/)

Any who, I’ve covered ‘Diagnosis’ here (as you can see) and some of stigma (next article) and will begin to venture into other articles within the series in the next few months.

I hope that you enjoyed this piece. Things will definitely overlap and possibly split into multiple parts because I always just have too much to say.

Hope that you’re doing well!!

See you next time.

❤ ❤ ❤

PS A portion of this piece was handwritten 9/7/2018 with more of it edited and added 9/9/2018. 🙂

Bringing Light to the Shadows | Article F18

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Photographer & Contributing Writer: Raquel Lyons


Trigger Warning: Depression, suicidal themes

 

“I’ve got no excuses for all of these goodbyes; call me when it’s over, ’cause I’m dying inside. Call me when it’s over and myself has reappeared. I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know why, I do it every time. It’s only when I’m lonely. Sometimes I just want to cave and I don’t want to fight; I try and I try and I try and I try… Momma, I’m so sorry I’m not sober anymore. To the ones who never left me, we’ve been down this road before. I’m so sorry; I’m not sober anymore…I want to be a role model, but I’m only human…I’m sorry that I’m here again, I promise I’ll get help. It wasn’t my intention, I’m sorry to myself.” – Lyrics from Demi Lovato’s song “Sober.”

 

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

 

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

 

Stabilization had given me a sense of pride and absolute happiness which makes the darkness that much more painful. In the hours after, I felt knocked off my pedestal that rose ten feet above the ground, which I have been in so solidly for over six months, and had landed squarely and roughly on my bum to ground zero. In the process of this article’s first draft, I cried profusely, something I hadn’t done in months.

 

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

 

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

I feel like it’s as if I’ve been kidnapped and am being held hostage, tied to a chair with my eyes opened wide, forced to watch a screen that shows me all these horrible, terrible, painful actions I’m doing to myself, except all of this is happening in my mind and in reality I’m just staring blankly into space. There’s something uniquely disturbing about being forced to mentally watch myself die and be maimed over and over again when in reality, none of it has actually happened. It’s so utterly mind-boggling and it *feels* emotionally like it’s happened, even though it hasn’t at all. (An instance in which checking the facts and mindfulness practices would help.)

 

At the same time, while those images are playing I can also notice my brain trying to convince me that life isn’t worth living if I have to experience these moments which triggers hopelessness of having to experience these crises in the future; the progress I’ve made deceptively being unraveled; the powerlessness I have over being forced to watch the tape and hear the BS; the notion that my suicide is inevitable and that every success I’ve made is meant to be undone by invisible forces.

 

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

 

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

 

And, maybe that’s enough.

 

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


Written August 29.2018

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

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

Much love,

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Stable, Until Triggered | Article F18

Articles THUMB


Trigger Warning: Discussion of suicidality & self-harm

 

In my article “What Stability Taught Me” I described the changes I’ve made to my recovery that has allowed me to remain in stable conditions for the last six months. There was something towards the end of my article that I only lightly touched upon that I would like to further investigate here.

 

In my previous article I mentioned that the suicidal thoughts and scratching form of self-harm have erased into the background of my situation. Overall this is true but it’s also misleading.

 

I am stable and can remain stabilized until I get triggered. When a trigger happens, as they will naturally do, all bets are off. Essentially my go-to forms of action are to self-harm or kill myself (the thinking here, while convoluted, is that in death I can guarantee no triggers except I’d be dead so I wouldn’t be able to do much of anything anyways). When I get triggered those background issues enter fully into the foreground.

 

The difference is that I’m highly self-aware, I can use my past experiences to guide me into seeing my warning signs sooner, I am my full “Recovery Raquel” self so I will allow myself to stop the crisis as it begins (as opposed to giving into self-sabotage or purposely triggering myself) or if I do go into crisis I can utilize my skills to minimize any damage that would head my way otherwise.

 

At this point, I apologize to be the bearer of bad news but: the urges do not go away. They have lessened for me substantially but a lot of that is me taking precautionary measures ahead of time.

 

For instance, over this summer we lost four well-known people to a death by suicide. Two of those deaths I found out about through the radio where stigma was prevalent–imagine people asking why anyone with everything in the world would kill themselves–and with no trigger warning prefaced landed me subsequently into my own triggered suicidal thoughts.

 

Even on Twitter for two of the other suicides, I found myself alarmed that so many were talking about the issue that I, for once, wanted nothing to do with it.

 

I’m at the place in my recovery where the boat is bobbing in the waves peacefully and I’m still afraid of all the tiny holes that have been punctured on the floor. I fear with one wrong move all the water is going to come rushing in and I’ll drown. If my past history with mental health conditions is the water and the holes my vulnerabilities then I am scared of what could set off my internal self-destruction. Or, maybe more importantly, it’s that I’m afraid I won’t be able to be resilient and strong enough to continue living. Maybe I will “lose control” and wind up dealing with the traumas of a state hospital or my treatment options would then be limited extensively.

 

And so my approach has largely been avoidance as I find myself no longer wishing to speak out so openly about suicide–but I don’t think that’s necessarily my best option.

 

Triggers are going to be there, one way or another.

 

Managing our behaviors and tolerating our many possible emotions is one of the few places where we have control. I can take precautions day to day to hold off reading my old journals or watching certain mental health heavy contents online until I’m in a better headspace and can handle it more efficiently. It may be the case that some days I’m more vulnerable to my triggers and then just have to manage surviving the day and engaging with appropriate self-care measures, skills and external supports.

 

And, as long as I’m trying my best, that’s all that really matters. For me when I have had crises in the last six months it’s been an accumulation of triggers over the span of multiple days that then initiated a delayed response.

 

Life will be unpredictable, priorities will change and values will too. Each new and old challenge will be a test of my skills and resiliency. It’s all about progress not perfection.

 

Just like we skid our knees on unforgiving gravel, our psychological issues will heal, too. Some things will fade away and others will be ignited as life unfolds. I think for the first time in four years I understand what it is like to regain perspective and be uniquely aware of my own mortality. When I’m suicidal it’s always the overwhelming pain in every ounce of my being that consumes me.  Whereas with stability I can appreciate the existence of unpleasant emotions as temporary states of being with a brighter light shining in the distance, my eyes catching sight of it.


Written: August 29.2018

I’d say more but I haven’t reviewed this article since yesterday and I’m so fucking pissed off right now that I can’t even begin to have the patience to deal with it. (Technical difficulties with an online textbook and fucking missing api files). So done.

I hope you enjoyed the read, though. Next article coming up tomorrow and I have to schedule it, then I’ll be started a Treatment 101 series. 🙂

Much love. ❤ ❤ ❤