Artistic reverie leads to self-awareness, and is at the same time a method of desensitization of traumatic experiences. Trauma and its wake can leave a person in a state of mental incarceration their whole life if they don’t find a way out. Mental illness is a true disease in that it’s passed from person to person and generation to generation in one form of abuse or another, but it’s a psychic disease. I think art is a positive way of dealing with trauma and the complications of abuse, and I think this is why a lot of artists become artists. Ideally, I would like my art to help bring awareness to mental health issues, showing that methods of correcting these issues do exist. I think of my artistic method as “regressionism.”

As I was just entering adulthood, a psychiatrist prescribed a lethal concoction of 3 pharmaceuticals, 1 of which was known to destroy the pancreas. (I was so lucky to have the benefit of getting the inside scoop from a nurse who violated the code of ethics, or I would not have known better.) Then about 10 years later, 1 of the other meds was discovered to have been equally harmful. Had I not chosen to self-medicate using herbal remedies and accepted the stigma of “non-compliant,” I would most likely not be alive today to share my experiences. My art’s mission is to help initiate a cultural shift.  It is based not only upon my experiences, but those of other artists who have carried much greater stigmas.

Due to my unfortunate experience with sexual assault, a major part of my artistic mission involves bringing awareness to rape culture. As my life was completely derailed by one single trauma, I know the subject from a unique point of view. Unable to connect with society, I roamed the desert for 20 years before I finally managed to heal the damage. During that time, I sought help but instead was repeatedly blamed for the circumstances that had caused my mental illness.

I found no refuge from those who reached out. Their only desire was to torment the damned. Under constant torment, I learned all about the depths that a mind can be pushed to as I slipped from one mental disorder to another over and over again until it seemed like I could claim a dozen different disorders. At the point where depression started to slip into psychosis, I completely gave up on ever connecting with another human being again. Approaching the point where I could feel my brain itself was beginning to physically derange, I began to manifest the traits of schizophrenia. It was only after completely losing faith in humanity that one special person finally appeared in my life to restore my faith. Today I am grateful for the experience because through art and awareness, my experiences may help other survivors who would dare to relive the pain in order to begin the healing process.