Josey grew up in Naples, FL - a child drawn to all things art. She’s dabbled in just about everything from sewing to sculpture to origami. After her time studying Fine Arts at Amherst College she landed on traditional printmaking and oil painting as her true art loves. She finds inspiration all around her in the beauty flora and fauna of Southwest Florida. Although, Josey’s art is so colorful, so evoking of joy and life she has struggled her adult life with mental illness. Diagnosed at age 19 with Schizoaffective Bipolar Disorder her art has been her savior - her passion to keep going on some of the darkest days. Website: Instagram: @joseycreates
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Trust No More

Trust. Boundaries. Such buzzwords these days. But what is one to do when trust is necessary for survival yet reasonably nowhere to be found?

I grew up overly trusting. Naive. A people pleaser. Yet it didn’t take long for me to lose my trust completely. It started at the end of June one year. By the 8th of July it was gone entirely.

The last straw were the words that continue to echo in my head, “Are you sure you want to ruin a man’s life?”

But let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

I had fallen into a routine, one that you wouldn’t typically think a person could get used to. A routine of ending up in the psychiatric hospital, getting out, going back, repeat, repeat, repeat. Not your normal routine but people can get used to some pretty abnormal things. Especially people who aren’t exactly “normal” themselves. Those of us who are “certified crazy”. Legally disabled by severe #MentalHealth . Schizoaffective #BipolarDisorder in my case.

The routine had been cycling for over a year. I went from books and classes and dorm parties to meds and doctors and a very different sort of dormitory. You would think someone diagnosed with bipolar would have more ups, but it was 18 months and the suicidal #Depression had no end in sight. Even after getting electricity pulsed through my brain eight times I still wanted to die. I had idea why I wanted to die. There was no trigger, no real reason why life didn’t seem worth living – yet I still craved death day in and day out.

It was a voluntary admission this time. So to me that meant I wasn’t 100% suicidal. It was a step up but I still felt unsafe with myself. I still felt unsafe with my thoughts. I knew I couldn’t be left alone.

So, I admitted myself once again. The intake was always the worst, being asked the same hundred questions about your history and health that they asked you last time. Little did I know, as I answered, was that this hospitalization was going to end far differently than ever before. It was going to end with police officers and detectives.

It was a two week hospitalization this time. The memories are fuzzy due to the after effects of the electroconvulsive shock therapy from my last stay, but I remember wandering the halls, coloring books, new medications, a sweet roommate who was struggling with bulimia, and visits from my mom and sister.

It isn’t something that is very clear in my mind and I’d like to keep it that way. The blame. The shame. The #Trauma . Yet still, 9 years later I suffer from #Nightmares . The thing that continues to affect me the most though is the lack of trust I now have while receiving treatment for my #SchizoaffectiveDisorder .

It’s hard to trust mental health professionals when one of them repeatedly sexually harassed and eventually raped you.

It’s hard to trust mental health professionals when one of them tried to make it seem like you were a consenting party (even though that’s legally and ethically not possible).

It’s hard to trust mental health professionals when the police come and try to discourage you to report and say, “Are you sure you want to ruin a man’s life?” followed by the hospital staff not even asking you if you are okay after it.

I stood my ground. I ignored their disbelief. I said what I had to say. I’m still shocked I was able to be so strong.

Sometimes people say that I’m “lucky” that my rapist went to jail (for a short while). Even though I know I got more justice than most survivors do, it still hurts. I’m not lucky to have PTSD nightmares. I’m not lucky to have a hard time trusting my therapists and psychiatrist. I’m not lucky to fear going to the psychiatric hospital even when I’m in a psychotic and/or suicidal state.

The trauma I experienced when I sought help – as we are taught to do – has in turn affected my ability to fully get the help I need. To be able to fully be truthful with my treatment team is, all these years later, a battle.

A battle I am slowly winning. Slow and steady. Here I go

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