Ever since I attempted suicide at the age of 15 and was urged to keep it under wraps, I have witnessed firsthand the over-bearing arm of mental health stigma. When I was ultimately hospitalized for drug-induced psychosis for four months at the age of 19, stigma took control of my entire life.
Eleven years later, I am speaking out about and against stigma. I am one of the lucky ones that was able to get the help I needed in order to get back into the land of the living. In the past five years, I graduated with Honors from the Mental Health and Addictions Counseling program, initiated a number of anti-stigma endeavors through my writing and music and recently released my memoir titled ‘Completely in Blue: Dispatches from the Edge of Insanity.’
Although I have suffered from addictions, major depression, psychosis, anxiety, paranoia and everything in-between. I now know that I was not given a life sentence. Life is great now. I work full-time as a mental health and addictions counselor in a long-term residential treatment center for men who have come into contact with the law, I play music in the band Bohemian Cove, have a healthy relationship with the girl of my dreams and have a great network of friends and family.
Stigma surrounding mental health didn’t make anything easy for me in the past fifteen years. But I hope that with what I have learned, I can help you to overcome stigma and get back to living the life that we all deserve to live.