I almost froze to death in there—they shut off all the heat in the buildings. I was in a locked cell by myself with paper clothes on. All that was there was a mattress. The guards really beat the shit out of me; when I first got there I was having blackouts, and apparently I was talking a lot of shit to the guards.


I was addicted to heroin and crack-cocaine for about ten years. I overdosed and died twice in a six-month period, and I was at the bottom. Enough was enough. I had always battled with the whole—is God real, is God not real? I told him, “Man, if you’re real, and you save me from this forever, then I’ll walk it out,” and everything clicked.


I fight depression. I always have, and in the last few years, I learned that the less I care what anybody thinks, the happier I am. At the beginning of this year, I really, really embraced it, and it’s been the best four months of my life.


Oh yeah, absolutely. My whole life’s been a burden, but I bear it in a way that it makes something positive for everyone else. When you wear your ink properly, and your ink is right, everything else is just perfect. People see it. They understand. You get a connection with people that is…beyond price.


After I left home I ended up hitchhiking around the country. My first experience hitchhiking I got raped. Numerous boyfriends and people I thought were my friends have raped or sexually assaulted me. Some of them were people I had known for years---people I called family.


I felt super suicidal the day that I told her and I felt like I needed to cut my body open in some way. So I decided to get Love of Fate [tattooed on my knuckles] and just let it go and accept that that's just what the past was and I've moved forward from that.


A lot of people have preconceived notions and stereotypes because you believe what you're told when you're growing up. So, to get to know me and see-- she's a good person; she's a good friend, and then they find out that I am a lesbian.


The oil spill happened in 2011 —Deepwater Horizon. I was a young man, just turning twenty-one. I had two jobs in the hospitality industry when it happened. I was busting my butt, working, working, working. I went from making $1600 every two weeks to $500 every two weeks.


 I first started DT-ing three years ago, I guess. It took a year of traveling. I mean, I had a fucked-up, traumatic childhood, don't get me wrong, but I wasn't trying to escape it. It just went from partying every night to partying all day, and now it's like changed my brain chemistry or something.


I've been tripping since 2 AM. The last one I took was around noon, so I'm in my casual happy zone right now.


No matter how down I am, I'm gonna be a positive person. If I catch somebody who's down and out, I'm gonna help in some way, whether it's opening the door or giving a kind word. You're never alone in New Orleans. Someone is gonna reach out to you.


There was a lot of abuse, sexual, verbal, physical, by staff. Unfortunately, I got sucked into that and I was abused.  It was a recurring thing in my life. There were situations as a younger child that I had experienced sexual abuse. So I'm thinking, now as a young teenager, here we go again. 


I got put into foster care due to violence in my family. I had a brother who was bipolar and schizophrenic and that's how it started. He'd come home upset, and I was his punching bag so he took out all his anger on me. I allowed  it because that's my brother.


It could be better. I just got out of jail for stabbing somebody. It was self defense. Got into an argument and the guy swung on me, I stabbed him. They put me in jail for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. I wasn't trying to kill the guy.


I called the helpline when I was upset and they called the cops and the cops came with guns drawn into my house. I was so traumatized with the fact that they came in with guns drawn that I was switching personalities. They put me in restraints  and retraumatized me.

Kaelin Part 1

I think that's what's special about New Orleans. Everybody has PTSD. Everybody's got that connecting trauma, and it doesn't seem like it'd be a good thing but it's shown itself in really positive ways.


They gathered us all in the day room and told us the news and I just broke down crying. All of a sudden I'm surrounded by men dragging me to seclusion where they kept me for a week "for my own safety." There were a lot of sadistic people there. [They would] strip you completely naked, four point restraints and shoot you up with whatever drug they wanted to shoot you up with.


I took off running and went to the nextdoor neighbors and nobody... I couldn't find nobody. my brother had crazy bubbles on his back, like real bad burns. I was little man, I was only six years old. Wasn't nothing I could do about it.