All in Grey Matters

Mary Grace

I thank God. I still get depressed; I still have my anxiety; I have panic attacks on occasion in large crowds, but I’m learning so many new things. I learn so much from the people that I work with. I’m hoping and praying that they’re learning from me too. I just can’t see my life doing anything else.


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…

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Soldier: In the military, I took 11 lives. I got 11 confirmed kills. I've killed 11 people as a soldier. That's what I was trained to do. That's what I was taught to do, and I had to do it.



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.