She had built a great life for herself, it's just that she can become untethered. Her mind works differently. One day she was making breakfast and the next thing she knew she was being whisked away in an ambulance for electric shock therapy. She is labeled bi-polar.
This story is a visual narrative of an artist's journey through a mental health stay. A story about the chain and the culture that bound her to an identity of limitations and narrow hallways. She had many mental health stays before. This was different. At a certain point she realized that being called crazy gave her a powerful voice. Despite being scrubbed down in dirty showers with black flies sharing space with her naked body, being strapped down, medicated, and only allowed to access to the pay phone like a prisoner. She realized this was not about her anymore. She realized she could exist within this narrow hallway and still shine. Her light actually would only get more bright.
The current state of the mental health care system needs light, it needs evolution. It is reliant on a system that continues to perpetuate the ideology that does not represent the beautiful brains that enter it's spaces. We demand nourishment, healing and heart centered care. Her experience necessitates a deep look into changing in the way we treat the neurodivergent thinkers in this world. She is on the leading edge of how we think about Mental Health and a walking example of the potential and resilience available to any human being.
We became twined together as the pay phone calls came to me thousands of miles away. I felt a vicarial connection to her story and also her ability to articulate her experience to me. We took this journey together. We stamped it. I knew at a soul level that this story needed to be told. I began to construct the walls of this story. I studied her life, I filled up pages of words, layers of collage and beautiful watercolors to embody her experience. I did that to celebrate the triumph of her human spirit. I wrote this story to honor others like Anna that continue to forge a path to a new paradigm. This is her story. This is our story.