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"The Art of Mental Wellness" Tagline

I use the tagline "The Art of Mental Wellness" because although I'm not well, my aim is to be. I want to be well more than anyone in this world wants me to be well. I mean that. I don't want to go untreated, I just have a different perspective on my mental illness than Western medicine does. I had been a star patient for 19 years and I want something new. Another option besides meds.

I feel like my psychosis is an ailment of the soul. I've been off mood stabilizers since February 2021. They were removed during my third hospitalization. I'm only on the one injection of antipsychotic. My mood has been fairly stable. I still have ups and downs of course as life has ups and downs but I haven't struggled with depression since the psychosis began in 2019. The suicidal ideation is different, it's directly connected to the traumatic experiences I had while in hospital and my lack of autonomy since.

My diet shifted a lot in 2020 when the marjuana use, detox and psychosis all collided, but these days I eat well (a lot of meat, fresh fruit and veg). I aim to have a diet I can share with Saba. I also walk a lot, have been attending yoga and just completed an awesome Qi Gong course. I have a few very good friends who I can be honest with about my life. My family is loving and supportive. After a weekend like I just had doing Fairfield Artists Studio Tour (F.A.S.T.) I feel there's a bubble of love around me.

In the past when I did events like F.A.S.T., I had to be hopped up on caffeine to get through it. I drank a lot of coffee everyday to counteract the dopiness of my nighttime meds. After a big event, the next day my mood would crash and often quite hard.

Events like today can wind me up a bit but last night I slept well. I don't know how I'll feel tomorrow yet but I've been off coffee since July 2020 (it was part of the detox I did) and I'm grateful for that. I still have caffeine in other ways though, like in chocolate or the occasional tea. Getting off coffee has been really good for me. I feel much better without it. Calmer. Steadier.

I used to abuse my meds each night. Pharma's the best, it gets you doped every time and I never built a tolerance to the severe sedation. I got sick of it though but it's pretty hard to quit a drug when you're forced to take the drug. I'm grateful I'm off the pills at least I can't abuse them anymore. I don't know how common it is that patients abuse their meds but considering mental illness and addiction often go hand in hand it is something that happens. I'm not proud of it. I'm not proud of my past and being a drug addict. But I can learn. I can grow. I don't have to be sick forever and believe there's nothing I can do to help myself. I help myself every day. I take care of myself, my environment and Saba the best I always can as that's what I aim for. Wellness. And wellness to me would mean being able to fully care for myself and my environment. I don't want to need my mom forever. It's not realistic.

I don't think I can be cured, but I think I can manage my illness in holistic and alternative ways. I feel I should have the right to explore this.

I realize there's a lot of fear around the word psychosis but really it's not something to be scared of. Most people in psychosis aren't violent or dangerous, it's just those are the stories that make the news. The Dalai Lama's advisor would be seen as psychotic in Western culture. A spiritual experience is considered psychotic.

A lot of my psychosis has been around ghosts. I've been terrified of ghosts and the dark since I was a child. In 2020 one night while in psychosis I faced the ghosts and demons that were taunting me. For the first time ever, by myself in my suite, I turned out all the lights one night and I walked calmly through my suite. I declared to the darkness and the demons that were lurking that I was Ashma - whoever that was.

I was high as a kite of course. It was the pandemic, everyone was in lock down so I got high everyday on marijuana tincture (which has the same effect as an edible to me) and soared. It really was an amazing yet terrifying experience at times as marijuana can induce psychosis in those who are prone to it. I have learned my lesson in that.

I'm sorry it occurred the way it did with the telepathy delusion. I am grateful to be more aware of what's real and what's not but a lot of the psychosis is spiritual. It feels like a connection with source and God. It led me to loving my art (I used to hate everything I created). It led me to loving myself, even with the mistakes I made and still make, I know that I love me. I'm proud of me. I've worked very hard over the course of my life and 10 years in my art career to get to where I am today. My art is really appreciated and it just makes me glow knowing the pain, the joy and the madness I capture through my visual work is received so well.

My art has followed me on on journey with mental illness since I was a child. I hope it always does in some form or another.


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