Stories of Hope Interview

Photo: September 2016. My niece is helping me show off my custom menswear business. As always, she steals the show! The following is an Interview that I wrote for David Susman's Stories of Hope series. David is a PhD, Clinical psychologist, mental health advocate, professor, and writer. He shares resources and inspiration for better mental... Continue Reading →

College & Misdiagnosis

Photo of me raising the roof as I walk towards Washington State University President Elson Floyd, 2011 Getting into USC for undergrad was a dream come true. But soon though life caught up with me and I was faced with a choice. My boyfriend of 7 years had a football scholarship at WSU but struggled... Continue Reading →

Never Going Back Again

Spring 2014, a week or so before my psychotic break. I took this selfie on the bus to work. My uncontrollable emotions felt different that day and I wanted to remember it. I had been crying all morning, totally inconsolably. I was deeply sad. A boy I liked didn't want a relationship with me, work... Continue Reading →

A Cowboy Broke My Heart

Late summer 2013, somewhere in the wine country of Northern California. He's asked me several times if he was the cause. The reason I went mad. I say no, it was going to happen anyway. It would have been triggered by something or somebody else. Plus work was stressful too. I know deep down though,... Continue Reading →

The Big Mania

[WARNING: Intense Subject Matter] March 2014, days before psychosis. I was packing for an annual girl's trip with grade school friends. I was unaware, but mania had been ramping for months and people were noticing, especially my work. I was agitated with grandiose ideas, and hyper goal-oriented. My brain was making so many connections. I... Continue Reading →

Carol, Part 1

[WARNING: Disturbing Content] Carol haunts my nightmares. She disturbed me so deeply that during my recovery I had to avoid homeless people and little old women. Yes, little old women. I suffered PTSD-like anxiety, according to my psychiatrist... He sent me to see a specialist for it. *March 2014. Sometime between mania and psychosis. Fired... Continue Reading →

Carol, Part 2

[WARNING: Disturbing Content] March 2014 As the uber arrived at my apartment my body became partially possessed. My hand slowly tipped forward and poured water into my lap. It seeped into my lower half as I thanked the driver. He gave me his card. I could call if I was in danger. But the energy... Continue Reading →

The Spell Was Broken

[WARNING: Disturbing Content] Psychosis, March 2014 When I entered my apartment I tried to explain to my guy friend and my roommate what had happened. They sat on either side of me on my bed. He told me I must call my parents. It was too strange, I need to tell them. Quickly my mom... Continue Reading →

Away to Hogwarts

[WARNING: Disturbing Content] Psychosis, March 2014 My roommate called my friends for backup. Drew came first. I had migrated to the backyard. He and my roommate sat in the sun chairs while I pranced around them in large circles, barefoot. The energy coursed through my nerves. The circles I ran in absorbed negative energy and... Continue Reading →

The Escape Attempt

I stayed overnight in a psychiatric Emergency Room. I have so many stories about this experience, but I want to start with a funny most are much heavier. This story demonstrates the odd behavior that hospital staff deals with. The majority of my stay was spent spinning in circles. The nurses let me leave... Continue Reading →

The Pregnant Woman

WARNING: disturbing content. Psychosis, Psychiatric Emergency Room, 2014 [Drawings of my hallucinations from my time in the psychiatric ward after the ER] I sat on the cold tiled floor with my legs crossed, patiently watching the scene play out in front of me. I had been asked to keep still by the staff after my... Continue Reading →

Solitary Confinement

[WARNING: Disturbing Content] March 2014 Awhile after checking into the ER psych ward I met the doctor. She was young with a gentle demeanor. She outlined my diagnosis: No drugs in my blood. Bipolar disorder. Psychotic break. Suffering delusions and hallucinations. . No, stop just take me to the other side. I've been waiting so... Continue Reading →

Frida is for Freedom

March 2014, a psychiatric hospital in Berkeley, CA (After Emergency Room) Coming down from psychosis, I still had delusions. So did the other patients. I befriended a boy who was convinced that I was a perfect white angel, and he was a dark angel. Another guy, Freddy Krueger, claimed to be a killer vampire. An... Continue Reading →

He Saved Me Twice

Outpatient Recovery, Los Angeles, April 2014 (Age 25) Pictured with mom in the garden. A clinic psychiatrist reduced my antipsychotics slowly over a month. Individual and group therapy, knitting, coloring, and parking lot cigarettes occupied my days. I tried, but friends were impossible to make. . At Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Mike's house I listened... Continue Reading →

I’m Sorry, Carol

San Francisco, May 2014 In the months leading to my psychosis surfing was a retreat from the stresses of life. Me and a few girlfriends bought thick wet suits and hit the beach on the weekends. I wasn’t good but I loved it. Upon completing outpatient recovery I thought I could return to my life.... Continue Reading →

Letting Go of San Francisco

May 2014 For a second time my parents took me earlier than advised. Outpatient recovery wasn't sure if I was ready, suggesting I stay another month. Although necessary, I hated my time there. I wanted to live again. I insisted on returning to my old life. My stubbornness is a force to be reckoned with.... Continue Reading →

My Father’s Daughter

From a young age we forged an extraordinary bond. I adored him for the cool things he did with me and my sister. He taught me how to ski at three and golf by eight. Always the fun dad, cool dad, nice dad. He has a spirit for life matched by few, and he shared... Continue Reading →

My Mom in Shining Armor

[Photo from high school] It's hard to find the right words to explain the enormous impact that my mom had on saving my life and nurturing me back to health. She's a parent, like so many others, who's wellbeing has a direct relationship with the wellbeing of her children. When I'm in pain, she's in... Continue Reading →

Hiding, Recovering

Photo: May 16, 2014. Smokin’ one of Dad’s stogies on the beach. My life as I knew it was over. Retreat into oblivion, nothingness. I was nobody and I had no agenda. My parents wrapped me up into their cocoon for safe hibernation. For what felt like forever. I took this selfie at my family’s... Continue Reading →

Be Kind to your Body

June 2014, a few months after treatment. My sister's bridal shower 💕 Antipsychotics are a hell of a drug. Doctors pumped me full of them and then very slowly weaned me off. I was a very tired zombie. Foggy brained and sleepy, I wasn't really capable of doing much. However the most egregious side effect... Continue Reading →

My Sister’s Wedding

July 2014 The worst health crisis my family had ever encountered was coupled with the stress and excitement of planning my only sibling's wedding. Needless to say any work I had done as the Maid of Honor was quickly taken over by my sister's closest and more experienced friends. I was fully out of commission.... Continue Reading →

O Captain! My Captain!

Something bothered me about every psychiatrist until I found my forever-doctor. No longer skeptical that this was even possible, I left our first appointment truly optimistic. He was the real deal. My thoughts on my previous doctors follow as such: Psych Ward Doc: ugly boots, arrogant, Bully Doctor. Recovery Center Docs: minimal attention to me,... Continue Reading →

Bye Bye Recreational Drugs

Those are my wings at my prom, the year I was inked at 18 years old. It's my only tattoo and I love it. People sometimes tell me I have an angel watching over me. With all the shit I've been through, maybe so. But sometimes I think that I act as my own protector.... Continue Reading →

Angie and the Cats

This is a story about the healing power of friendship. We took this photo as part of a collaboration photoshoot that she was apart of to help build her fashion portfolio. She has accomplished great things since then and currently works as a stylist for Nordstrom's editorial and product studios. 2014-2015 A friend since Junior... Continue Reading →

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