About the Artist
I am 62 years old and have had mental health problems most of my adult life. I didn’t always understand what was happening and didn’t always manage it well. Drugs, alcohol, self-loathing, self-harm led to a suicide attempt. I feel fortunate I didn’t succeed. I was first diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1987. As the years went by, I struggled with paranoia, visual hallucinations, olfactory hallucinations, delusional thinking—all symptoms of my illness. Professionally, I was a hard worker but keeping a job for a sustained period was difficult with these struggles. I went off my medication, was put on another, and had a terrible relapse that ended with me being hospitalized. The past decade has included new diagnoses, new treatments, new hospital stays. In the midst of it all, I discovered art. This changed so many things for me. I feel that painting and artwork helped me through some very difficult times and I have been making great progress with my recovery for the past few years now.
I know that my life living with mental illness has not been easy. I can only describe it as a long and difficult process, and sometimes even today still find myself in emotional pain. But I have art as a way to positively cope with that pain. I have reached a good point in my recovery and am grateful for my marriage of 32 years and this pretty much peaceful place in my journey. I #LivetoTell my story so that someone can realize there are positive ways to cope with mental health challenges (my painting!) and you can discover them at any time in your life.