Who am I? How did I get here?
I’m a writer turned entrepreneur with a clearer vision of the world than I’ve ever had.
At fourteen, I believed the world was against me, I believed I was mentally disturbed and had no hope. At fifteen I read a book about the toxicity of the business of psychiatry, of the stigma it perpetuates, and the self-deprecating ideals it perpetuates. I took medication, I went through the system, and came out on the other side with a cynical perspective. I went to school for psychology, I learned how psychiatric drugs and behavior is researched, how humanity is quantified, and my cynicism expanded further. This drove my enthusiasm for entering the psychiatric industry: fight the system, change the system, that was my goal.
It was my goal until I met others in the system, heard their story, and saw the power of togetherness. My vision towards the industry shifted: beat them at their own game.
Still fighting words, I suppose, but it’s a little more subtle, don’t you think?
The experience of working in the land of alternative mental health care, at 2nd Story Respite House cemented my vision that there were other ways to see myself, mental health, and life. This helped me see even more meaning in the anxiety, the dissociation, the hallucinations, the depressions. Listening to other’s stories helped me understand, as a young 21 year old, that life as an experience has a different effect on all of us, that no matter what we’ve experienced: good, bad, wonderful, deplorable, our brains will interpret them with varied responses–and that’s okay.
From a sheltered childhood burdened with chaos and unpredictability, I was launched into the world constantly throwing fists and being called disordered for it: I was thinking wrong; my feelings were wrong, my experiences an illness. It wasn’t until I was allowed to hide behind my wall, not be demoralized for it, and peek around the corner to survey my surroundings did I see the world for the first time. It wasn’t until I could feel my own way and not be held to any normalized standard did I start the process of feeling even mildly comfortable in my own skin.
I’ve been asked before if there were ever a “cure” for “mental illness”, if would I take it, and I always laugh. I laugh because there’s nothing to cure. We can’t cure humanity and that’s the direction the industry has gone: “Fix everything we consider broken”.
It’s been years since I’ve used the term mental illness or mental disorder. But I respect that many see their labels and diagnoses as a reality for themselves, as a logical reason for the struggles and pain they’ve endured. I have no right to tell them this is wrong. In fact, it can be really relieving. I experienced relief in the beginning of my diagnostic history. Then I found it rather overwhelming. As I entered adulthood, I stopped caring: this was the biggest relief for me.
I started this website as a personal blog and after a year it’s blossomed into this monstrosity with an agenda. It’s a place where I welcome all stories, artwork, or any other version of self-expression. I found myself often silenced as a child, as a teenager, and as an adult, at home, in school, and within the psychiatric system. To be able to support others in getting their voice heard is my only real goal.
Together we’re empowered. Separate, we’re at mercy to a very, very hungry system, and sometimes ourselves. Welcome to MentalTruths.