cannabis cuddles & conversation



April 14, 2011

Initially diagnosed with depression in 1994 at the age of 18, I was prescribed antidepressants, including the newest of the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). Unfortunately, the SSRIs triggered mania, and to combat it, I began to drink, which intensified my psychological instability and led to an addiction that I was finally able to overcome when I was 26. However, as difficult as the disorders have been, in many ways, I have been blessed. Many call me a gifted artist, and I have frequently used my art to exorcise my own demons of isolation and loneliness. In 1998, I dramatized those issues in my award-winning film Ten Years, which I produced, directed, and wrote while attending NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. In 2008, I once again dramatized those themes of isolation and loneliness in another award-winning film, On The Bus, which in addition explores the horrors and chaos of mental illness. Through the eyes of the main character, we see the uncontrollable, tumultuous symptoms of schizophrenia and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as brought on by a random act of violence. A single act of violence rarely causes severe mental illness. Current research indicates that mental illness is generally a result of a genetic predisposition combined with environmental factors. My case would seem to validate that research, as there is a history of mental illness in my family, and I have suffered repeated trauma. Whatever the genesis, beginning in 2009 and culminating in the summer of 2010, I experienced a severe psychotic break that manifested in inappropriate, violent outbursts and regnant destructive behavior. Ultimately, however, this break brought me the help I needed, including a comprehensive psychological work-up that provided an accurate diagnosis and the right medication. Now psychologically stable, I invite others to behold my candid daily encounters with the symptoms of schizophrenia. I willingly and genuinely share my life through my written blog, and with my iTunes podcast “The Real Me”, both easily accessible right here. In the vein of prolific figures such as Elyn R. Saks and Kay Redfield Jamison, I illustrate my personal ongoing struggle with chronic mental illness, nurturing truth, acceptance, and community. My art, imagination, and various creative outlets are simply my own catalyst for continuous resiliency and recovery. I turn another engaging and uplifting page of my story. I hope to impact others positively through my publicized journey of how one individual copes with the perpetual rollercoaster of schizophrenia and Tourette’s syndrome. I consider myself a still-recovering schizophrenic, an accomplished writer, producer and musician, who blogs and podcasts about mental illness and New Age ideas and transgressive literature.