Mental Health

I Talk

‪In 2014, three years ago today, I publically announced that my censorship was teetering due to entering a manic episode. It’s well known in my family that May, June, July is a triggered time of the year for me. It’s that time of year now, and happening again. This is hard. It’s scary and surreal to know I was feeling this same intense incongruity three years ago ‘on this day’ to have a manic episode exactly three years apart, to the month, if not the day, what if the hour? Who can know? But I documented it excruciatingly well. I am in turmoil, embarrassed & euphoric all at once. Fuck me.

Countless therapists speculate as to why, but no one knows for sure. Personally, I believe it’s due to being born late in May. My mom endured trauma during pregnancy, she says I screamed from the moment I was born, throughout my infancy. We were unable to bond until I was an adult. I believe this is because of the trauma she experienced while I was in utero, I didn’t feel safe enough to form a bond. My mom and therapist believe I was born with PTSD and so do I. To me, it makes sense that being born could be traumatic enough to leave lifelong emotional scars. My childhood was wrought with abuse, and some think something happened to me as a child for these months to have imprinted on me in such a negative way, but things happened to me in all months from child through adulthood. This is why I believe being born was the most traumatic thing to have happened to me in my entire life, and I’ve been molested, raped, beaten, brainwashed, witnessed abuse, and been abused. I have five psychological conditions because of my genes and environmental circumstances, and I won’t hide, or stop talking about what I deal with, and I make no apologies. I spent enough of my life shying away from telling people the truth about myself, and it’s only ever hurt me, and enabled other people to feel ashamed for the things they deal with behind closed doors. Note: I often entertain other topics of conversation, time and place matters.

Silence contributes to stigma. This isn’t to guilt anyone, it is what it is.

When I talk about my mental health issues, openly, it helps me take thoughts and feelings that, when left to myself, unspoken, fester, and build into irrational delusions. Saying or writing things out helps me frame things with a new perspective so I can figure out how to rationally deal with my delusions, negative, or injurious moods and behaviors. More importantly, talking openly about genuine emotions enables others to talk openly about theirs too. The more of us who speak honestly and openly about our mental health, the more human the face of mental illness becomes. 

I don’t think everyone realizes, certainly not people who don’t live with MI, but stigma, denial, and ignorance is *still* very real, and damaging. Stigma shames people into secrecy and keeps many from seeking help for what can be life threatinging issues. I hear so many people say how much better it is now than in the 80’s. Well, damn, then we should be fucking ashamed, because I’m still the only person I know irl who openly talks about my mental health. It took some practice, and I have cried myself to sleep at night in worry after talking publically about specific issues, but all in all, I regret nothing, and have had countless people confide in me, their personal struggles. They shouldn’t have to feel they need to whisper in my ear, but that is the stigma. 

I realize that coming out about MI may jeopardize some people’s career’s, even temp jobs, shame on us for that too, because that’s stigma telling employers that everyone living with mental illness can’t be capable, and that’s absolutely untrue. Don’t tell me it’s not stigmatized to the point of job loss, of inability to get a loan, rent an apartment, college admission, down to finding a significant other. So I realize why people don’t talk, but I’m in a position where I have nothing to lose, I’ve already lost it. All I have left is my ability to talk, about what or why it went wrong, what I need to function, how I can prevent myself from getting worse, and how I can encourage others to get the help they need before they lose it too. ~Davs

Mental Health



Mental Health, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Online Persona vs Real Life

Online Persona vrs Real Life | DavsArt

I was late to the internet. In the 90’s I was against the idea of interacting online, it didn’t make sense to me. I thought that interacting with people eye to eye was important. I had a pretty ambitious, idealistic, and to be honest, a very naive and one sided opinion of how the world should be. I used to say things like “I don’t read books, I write them” and “why buy a treadmill when you have the whole world to walk through” I believed in road trips and camping and coffee shops. Not a computer screen and a desk chair.

I was also a teenager.

Fast forward to 2009. Life punched me in the face really hard several times. I was now a stay at home mother, divorcee, ex food service worker, and in the height of agoraphobia. I was terrified of leaving my house, being around people, talking on the phone. But I still had that teenage girl inside me seeking for connection with the world outside. I had gone through the era of MySpace and transitioned onto Facebook. But until I started selling my artwork on Etsy in 2010, I never thought much about social media. I participated, posted pictures, commented on Facebook and all. But until I had a business that needed promoting, I didn’t realize all of the different social venues available to me.

I started off with a Facebook business page and Twitter. I started interacting with people on Twitter, and the forums and in private teams on Etsy. I started building an online persona of an artist/stay at home mom. I never talked about being agoraphobic, I never admitted that I didn’t leave my house. Not even my real friends knew that I was having problems. Some suspected it, others just thought I was busy, or always “out of town” when they’d come into town to visit. Not until December of 2011 did I finally come out in the open to my personal friends on Facebook admitting the truth about my situation.

Folks, this is how powerful an online persona can warp people’s views of you and your life. Using Social media I was able to continue the facade to people online that I was living a normal life. I was building friendships on Etsy teams and forums, on Twitter, Facebook, while never once mentioning that in my real life I hadn’t gone to the grocery store in 3 years, or that I was suffering from panic and anxiety to the extent that even a simple conversation with my own fiancé could overwhelm and freeze me up.

This isn’t a self shaming post. No one outside of my personal circle of real life friends and family had any reason to be privy to my personal struggles. I believe I had every right to keep that information to myself. And so do you. But it is a testament to how Jekyll and Hyde your online persona can differ from the person you are in real life.

My situation was extreme. Thanks to therapy, my doctor, medication, and a hypnotist, I have overcome my agoraphobia. I still get a random panic attack here and there, but manageable compared to before. But I presented myself to the world using social media as if I was still that busy, ambitious teenage girl I once was, for so long, that when I actually did start getting back into real life I feared that my my online persona would clash with the real life me. And to be honest I still do sometimes.

Even now my online persona is a kind of airbrushed version of the real me. I pick and choose what information I present to the world. I post about the good things in my life, jokes, cute things my kids say or do. I tend to filter and crop my photos. You won’t ever see a sink full of dirty dishes, or me in my yoga pants and coffee stained tank top laying on the couch, drained of energy, watching my 4th episode of Bob’s Burgers on Netflix, with a bowl of ice cream on the coffee table.

This is my right, to pick and choose what parts of my life to showcase. But I think it interesting and somewhat important to point out that this online persona vs real life is not wholly the same. Not everyone may go to the lengths that I do to nip and tuck what information is available online. But believe me when I say: everyone struggles with something, nobody’s perfect. That girl always posting selfies with full face make up, has to wash her face at some point. And that guy always posting photos of himself shirtless in the bathroom mirror, has to put a shirt on if he wants to buy a beer at the grocery store. Don’t be fooled.

And with that, I think it best to leave you with the 1993 classic by R.E.M. ‘Everybody Hurts’