In the warm summer of 2009 there was a seemingly normal young girl who began creating a strange children’s book. This book grew in time and began to develop darker undertones. Ideas began pouring out onto sheet after sheet of paper, slowly it began taking shape. It started to develop a life of its own; about a unique individual who was made fun of for being eccentric. The moral of this story would end with them becoming enraged over these negative traumas, and devouring the world with their silent demons.
We cannot have peace until humans accept each others differences.
This book was mine, but as with many things I started when I was younger, it was never finished.
I always knew I was ‘strange’ but never truly knew how. I felt this way until I finally received my true diagnosis, only having been misdiagnosed prior simply with ‘generalized anxiety disorder‘. I am very open and comfortable with myself, my diagnosis and the journey it took to get to where I am today; it made me who I am and gave me a clear picture of who I want to be. I do not feel shame because has taught me deeply about empathy, and lead me to knowing who I want to be and what I want out of life. Having these struggles helped me want to provide caring mental health services to others who perhaps find themselves struggling to navigate a system of oppression and a medical model of care that lacks a trauma informed and human centered approach. It was easy to see the gap between providers and their clients. How, many providers would talk to people like numbers or as part of a system rather than human beings. I found, and still find, this very troubling. It is important to remember where we come from and where our struggles lie, because only then can we truly understand where those we serve come from. We can connect as humans, as people, and travel the journey of recovery together.
The artwork on this page tells a story of a time when I was struggling to know who I was and when I was needing to understand myself in a way I could not. I found myself needing guidance and asking questions, but would only find more questions at the end of each road. This was so difficult and I found it devoured me for much of my young adult life, causing de-motivation, depression, anxiety and irritability. I felt lost.
It lead me to finally persue my degree in psychology, at first, in order to understand who I am as a person, but then to connect with others on a deeper level. Eventually, I learned that the human mind is a beautiful puzzle. We are all so variant, and yet all share such fascinating similarities. Even with our fellow creatures whom we share this planet with. One small thing we have in common with other mammals is that we all experience emotion to some degree. However, what sets us aside? Humans are the most extreme. We are like no other. We have the opportunity to be the most helpful and healing creature, or the most destructive. I find this concept both fascinating and beautiful.
It has been years since I was in such a dark place. I was able to climb out of the ditch I was buried in, and toward the sunlight once again, feeling the warmth of happiness wash over me. There is hope, even in unexpected places. Sometimes it is a change of perspective. Sometimes it is medication. Sometimes it lies in natural medicine or dietary changes or various types of therapy. Whatever the need and cause there is always some light at the end of the tunnel.
I want anyone reading this to know, I hear you, your feelings are valid and you deserve love, even on those dreary dark days when you can’t give it to yourself. Nobody deserves abuse, sometimes it is time to leave that abusive relationship, even when the abuser is yourself.
I will add in some resources and links for more information below ❤
– Jeanine Comstock
Media: Ink, Marker, Water color
*Contrary to this image I did not actually do drugs. This image was a response to pharmaceutical medications and their side effects.
Psychology Today offers a national directory of therapists, psychiatrists, therapy groups and treatment facility options.
SAMHSA Treatment Locator provides referrals to low cost/sliding scale mental health care, substance abuse and dual diagnosis treatment. Phone: 800-662-4357
Learn more about treatment and services.
Suicide and Crisis
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provides referrals to support groups, mental health professionals, resources on loss and suicide prevention information. Phone: 1-888-333-2377
The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides 24/7 crisis intervention, safety planning and information on domestic violence. Phone: 1-800-799-7233
The Suicide Prevention Lifeline connects callers to trained crisis counselors 24/7. They also provide a chat function on their website. Phone: 1-800-273-8255
Learn more about suicide and what to do in a crisis.
Mental Health Conditions
Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) provides information on prevention, treatment and symptoms of anxiety, depression and related conditions. Phone: 240-485-1001
Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) provides information and referrals on ADHD, including local support groups. Phone: 800-233-4050
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) provides information on bipolar disorder and depression, offers in-person and online support groups and forums. Phone: 1-800-826-3632
International OCD Foundation provides information on OCD and treatment referrals. Phone: 617-973-5801
Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA) maintains the Schizophrenia Anonymous programs, which are self-help groups and are now available as toll free teleconferences. Phone: 240-423-9432
Sidran Institute helps people understand, manage and treat trauma and dissociation; maintains a helpline for information and referrals. Phone: 410-825-8888
TARA (Treatment and Research Advancements for Borderline Personality Disorder) offers a referral center for information, support, education and treatment options for BPD. Phone: 1-888-482-7227
Learn more about mental health conditions.
Research & Statistics
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) provides information on statistics, clinical trials and research. NAMI references NIMH statistics for our website and publications. Phone: 1-866-615-6464
Learn more about mental health statistics.
Allsup provides non-attorney representation when applying for SSDI. Phone: 800-279-4357
HealthCare.gov provides specific information about coverage options in your state, includes private options, high risk pools and other public programs. Phone: 1-800-318-2596
Needhelppayingbills.com provides information on state and local assistance programs, charity organizations and resources that provide help paying bills, mortgage assistance, debt relief and more.
NeedyMeds provides information on available patient assistance programs. Phone: 1-800-503-6897
Partnership for Prescription Assistance helps qualifying individuals without prescription drug coverage get the medications they need.
Learn more about health insurance and prescription assistance.
Advocacy and Legal
Legal Services Corporation provides civil legal aid to low-income Americans. Use their website to find programs in individual states. Scroll to the bottom of their website to find locate legal aid near you.
National Bar Association provides a directory of state and local bar associations to help find legal representation.
National Disability Rights Network (State Protection and Advocacy Agencies) protects the civil rights of individuals with disabilities, particularly in hospitals and state prison systems. Click on the map on the right-hand side of their website to locate the agency near you.
Community Support Services
Clubhouse International provides a directory of clubhouses. Clubhouses provide opportunities for education, employment and social activities. Click the 'International Directory' tab on their website to find contact information for local clubhouses.
www.homelessshelterdirectory.org provides a national directory of homeless shelters, assistance programs, soup kitchens and more.
Job Accommodation Network is an organization that provides resources and guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Their website includes a directory of state vocational rehabilitation offices. Phone: 800-526-7234
2-1-1 Dial 2-1-1 from a local phone or use their website to search for organizations that offer local support resources and services.