All in Grey Matters

Carole

It’s a terrible place to be. It really is. I remember once, my son was six years old. He came home from school and put his arms around me. I remember forcing myself to hug this kid and show some love, and I didn’t want to love him. I didn’t want to hug him. My son was my joy, my gosh. 

Mary

Growing up, I was bullied because I was upfront about my intentions to become a woman. My school chums just hated me. They were relentless. I was one of the biggest kids in school, but because I wouldn’t fight, they would . . . I was scared. I was just terrified. 

Dawn

I am diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Borderline personality disorder is really all about an inability to manage emotions and mood instability. Very much black and white thinking, so you’re either all good or all bad. There is no gray; we are extremely impulsive.

Savage

I’m jumpy around people. And then when I get lots of people around me, it gets bad. I start getting a panic attack. She gives me comfort. She’ll come up here and put her head in my lap, and just sit there and stare at me. And then, I’ll pet her. To come out of a PTSD attack you just have to breathe. Just breathe. And then you have to have some kind of comfort to bring you out of that PTSD attack and she is my comfort.

Justin

The guy in the cell next to me told the guard to fuck off. He’s like, “Hey man, stop knocking on the glass, we’re trying to sleep. It became like torturous if you wanted to sleep. The guard took this guy out of the cell and beat the living crap out of him at three in the morning. I heard his flesh hitting the concrete and this man is pleading for his life, “Please God no. Please, I’m sorry. Please stop,” until . . . silence. He knocked him unconscious.

Brad

I remember being in a bar at noon drinking and having a ghost right beside me, which was the rage. I drank all day and all night. I drove to a bridge and took out an ax and started just chopping into a tree with it. Started throwing my pottery into the damn river. Then I got back in the car and just blew through a barricade, busted out the windshield. I don’t think I wanted to kill myself. I just had a damn rage.

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.

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…

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.

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.

Jackson

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. 

Rachel

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.

Aaron

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.

Shell

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.

Jayme

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.

Ronnie

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.

Cynthia

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

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.