Voices for Recovery
My life has been an unfolding process of searching for my truth and my liberation. A major part of my journey has been looking back with a deeper lens at what happened to me. I was put in a mental institution at age 16 and told that I had an incurable brain disease. The experts, however, were wrong.
My most powerful recovery tool has been to heal my emotional pain by expressing the feelings associated with my early hurtful experiences, and having people really listen to me. Remarkable changes happened when I started learning about oppression and the damage it had done to my life. I had been stuck in monologue, and no one knew how to engage me in dialogue. Eventually I learned to express myself and discover who I was born to be. I reclaimed my full self and mind, and I learned that there was nothing wrong with me. Today, with more clarity, I understand what happened to me. I continue to learn how to believe more deeply in myself.
I now serve as the director of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR), which was formed in 2006 as a united voice for people with who have experienced mental health recovery. We are 32 States strong; we have a voice on Capitol Hill; and we have a seat at White House policy meetings. We are spreading emotional CPR around the world, teaching people how to assist others through an emotional crisis.
I have also earned a master’s in clinical and community psychology, and I am an artist who has awakened to the power of creative expression as a tool to transform society. I have devoted my life’s work to changing the mental health system so that it better meets the genuine needs of people.