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.
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.
My supervisor told me that if I didn't leave the ER with or without my stuff, she was gonna call the police. I had never hurt a patient; I had never caused any medication errors; I had never caused any errors in patient care, even when I was manic.
I started connecting with people who live with a mental health challenge, and were living well, and thriving. I thought, oh, there's recovery for this? I can really live a full life and be OK and thrive?
I feel like I was born sort of weak and small, you know. They told me that I'd probably never be independent. They had me on disability when I was a little kid and that's how my life was setup.
I lost my son in 2010 in a car accident. I had a nervous breakdown. I had been in AA at that point for 15 years, sober. Before I lost my son I had never thought about my mental health condition .
I never really painted up until five years ago when my wife left me. She was from the Philippines and I went over there and met her and got her. After 10 years of marriage she left me. I fell into a real bad depression, a real dangerous depression, where I wanted to die, kill myself, because I felt like my whole life was worthless.
I had just discovered that I had bipolar depression. I just thank God that he brought me through so much. That's why I want to get my poems out there, cause I want to help somebody who been through what I been through.
They kept telling me how great it could be in recovery. I thought that it was bullshit. My whole life I'd always heard, once an addict, always an addict. In my mind I was never gonna get any better. Never... I wanted things to get better, but I never knew I could live life without using dope, because I'm an addict.
For a long time I tried to keep everything as clean and perfect as possible, so that nobody would get angry. After a while I realized that it wasn’t working, so I started doing other things. I self injured [cut] for a while. I wanted a way to control the kind of abuse that was directed towards me. If I abused myself, at least it was me choosing it.
Actually I’m not homeless. I have a place but… I do drugs. I stay in Norwood and I prostitute over here [downtown] so it’s too far to go home and come right back over here. I might as well go on and stay over here in the downtown area, keep going, get clothes from the shelter.
I went to prison for four years because of the PTSD. A cop was dragging me by my hand and I bit him right there [pointing to upper arm] and when he pulled out his cuffs, I bit him there [pointing to wrist]. I did four years in maximum security.
She was just always getting ridiculed by guys on the street because she was talking to herself cause sometimes she’s not on her medication like she’s supposed to be. I used to worry about her like that. Sometimes schizophrenic people wander off.
It took a long time to put my dad in prison. I couldn’t tell about what he’d done to me until later but he’d molested cousins and other people too. He was a real nut.
she was best friends with Jerry Garcia’s baby mama, Manasha Garcia, so we traveled with them a little bit. So, she thought that because of his drug connections that the FBI was always after us so it kinda made sense.
When I grew up, there was a lot of stuff goin’ on. My mamma did drugs and stuff so she always had all kinda people over. Everybody. Anybody. A lot of slammin’ doors. A lot of yellin’. In and out. Bein’ little, that messes with you. Put you on edge. Especially when you by yourself.
Yeah, I got attacked in 2006. I was at the underground in Atlanta and went through the garage to get out the other side. Three guys jumped me in the garage. They took me to a house for three days.
I’m not a junkie, I’m an addict. I don’t like that word junkie. I’m addicted to something that I can’t control right now but I don’t want to be judged.
I’m usually a very private person but today, I’ll talk to you. My husband of forty years is at home right now smashing up and destroying everything that’s in my house. I’m not even able to go home and lay down.
Yesterday afternoon, I joined the family and friends of Anthony Hill, the unarmed vet who was gunned down, last week, by Officer Robert Olson of the Dekalb County Police Department.
Then, as I got older, I wanted to be in love with him. I kind of seduced him as a little girl. I don’t even remember how old I was when I got pregnant. It was kind of traumatizing. I think I was twelve or thirteen. He was about fifteen years older than me.
It makes me rage for what my dad did to me. Throwing me through windows, putting guns to my head, saying he was gonna kill me. I’m two or three years old, trying to get to know my dad as a little kid and that mother fucker’s trying to kill me.
Otis: I take medication for the mind and nerves and stuff. If I didn’t have Grady I wouldn’t make it. They give me my medication and they take care of me.
My mom put me out at an early age and the streets took me in. I stayed on the street 20 years waiting on a man to come and fall in love with me.
We lived with my grandparents. I don’t remember them doing anything. I did find out, when I was an adult, and in the hospital for something else, that my grandparents had almost beat me to death, when I was 7. Beat me all over my head.
If you live with a mental illness and would like to share your story with the followers of The Hidden South, please email me with a brief description and where you live.