Larry

God communicated to me that there were some children buried in a landfill in Cumming, Georgia. I was living on Lake Lanier, so I set out to try to go find them and swam across part of Lake Lanier. I had on nothing but sweatpants, and they came off during the swim so I was buck-naked when I went up and knocked on a door at this big beautiful lake home. The woman came to the door and just started screaming. I didn’t think I looked that bad naked…

Carl

When I was seventeen I moved back to Memphis and opened my own tattoo shop in the back of a Harley shop and built up from there. We now own seven stores in North Mississippi and Memphis.

Grey Matters - Next Steps

The book will be a beautiful, coffee-table sized book that features stories from about a hundred people with lived experience. It also features subsections about important issues that impact the mental health of Americans like poverty, pharma, war, and the criminalization of mental illness that currently exists in this country.

Richard

The first time my band and I came here was just after Katrina in 2005. It was still a total fuckin’ hot mess. We had a traveling circus van and a tour bus and were like, yeah we can stay at a friend’s house, and we roll up. It was a dilapidated, bombed-out, hell-hole.

Alison

He was like, “Well let's play twenty questions, and I bet you by the end of it I'm gonna figure out what you're gonna get.” I was like, whatever. I got nothing to lose. He asked me all kinds of stuff about myself. They were in-depth questions about my family, my personality, all kinds of stuff. At the very end he was like, “Okay, I know what you're going to get.

Jim

I came for the weekend eight years after the storm. I was invited to meet Françoise Gilot, the wife of Picasso. She was showing her artwork down there on Royal Street, and that’s really the thing that changed my life.

Nicole

The primal feelings for him, and the sex; it was very intense. We had a very intense relationship, and I was so grateful. I had never been so close to anybody and oddly trusted him in a way I had never trusted anybody. It was us against the world.

Tim

During the inquest after his death, the pathologist gave his version of events and talked about how very minimal amounts of the drug were found in his system—minimal amounts, and he choked basically in his sleep. They were about to record a verdict of suicide, and I stood out.

Bam Bam

My record [is long] in Georgia and Florida. I did three years here in Orleans Parish Prison. I was making money and having fun back then--eating three jars of peanut butter a day, working out all night, not jacking off, and victimizing people. I had a good time in OPP.

Paul

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.

Ryan

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.

Johnathan

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.

Scott

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.

Duchess

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.

Ash

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.

Kristi

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.

Jaw

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.

Jewel

 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.

Carlos

Carlos: I see a lot of stuff [spirits and demons]. That's why I have these saints and Jesus on my arms. It gets super scary to where I can't sleep at night. I have to sleep with my candles on because I catch all that stuff.