trigger warning

Losing my mind

Photography and modeling by Tiffany in black, AUdrey in red, and Sarah in white

lace dresses by cM
retouching by Tiffany

This photo series may cause discomfort as it details my overdose of antidepressants. Each image is paired with writing in the description. Please continue with compassion.

- Tiffany

Summer 2014

I wanted to stop getting severely upset at things to the point I would self harm. I had been cutting myself for around ten years, by that point, and I wanted to grow up. Handle my emotions more maturely. But I felt my emotions were so radical that I needed assistance.

I wasn't happy enough with my lifestyle to stop cutting myself after arguments. The relationship wasn't that bad, I would tell myself, getting upset constantly at disloyalties and erratic behavior. Antidepressants, they'll take the edge off.

 

My doctor had diagnosed me that year with PSVT. I have had heart flutters for several years, and worsening as I aged to the point it would take my breath away. I wore a big heart monitor around my neck with the stickies on my chest for about a month. It took some time before I had the courage to get tested for heart problems. Passing out is the ultimate end to one of my heart flutter attacks, but that still hasn't happened.

Sometimes little ones happen at random, but large ones only happen under bad stress. Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia is a form of tachycardia that is lifelong and there's not much to do about it besides reducing my stress and oh, antidepressants.

For me, it was a win-win. Less radical emotions and a little help easing the stress off the brain to limit the amount of heart episodes I had. Started with a small dose, slowly increased it over time to the point I wasn't able to cry or feel elation. But this was great, compared to the LOW lows and the HIGH highs. I was regulated, finally.

 I didn't take the medication straight away, nooooo. I had anxiety about taking anything. I had never taken any mood stabilizers before nor had I ever imagined trusting my brain chemistry to man-made chemicals. I found a therapist, had a visit with her and found out she took antidepressants. She eased my anxiety. I began taking my prescription.

I got the ok from my doctor to take a little extra before my menstrual period to curb PMS.

They say not to self-regulate any medication ever. They are 100% correct. 

 

I took myself on and off the pills as I saw fit, sometimes I felt like I was doing ok and life was in a good spot and then I'd be off. Then, something bad would happen and I would think, let's go back on. Eventually, I was just off of them entirely after several months. I could handle myself, I stopped cutting, I could do this. I did do it. I was fine.

 

But, I kept the pills. 40mg of Citalopram. 

The Celexa off-brand.

July 31st, 2015, the FBI had raided my home in Overland Park. 

some news stories: KC Star, Fox4 and Fox4, KMBC and KMBC, BizjournalsKCTV5, and fbi.gov.

The morning of the 31st, I was visiting a foster mom for lunch. I drove back home just after noon, needing to take the new puppy out to piddle. Just a few miles away from the house, my landlord called and asked if everything was ok. By that time, I knew my ex was in trouble, I had broken up with him, but I had no clue he was in deep shit.

The landlord said there were police all over the house and kept prodding me, I freaked out. I didn't expect a raid. I was warned by friends, to get out of there; but I was in lalaland. It wasn't that bad, I wanted to keep driving my BMW, it wasn't this bad, I wanted to keep riding my Ducati, it isn't bad, none of it was legit money, oh yeah it's baaaaad.

I kept driving towards the house, freaking out on the landlord on the phone, asking for advice, what should I do. Landlord also says, oh and tomorrow your lease is up, just wanted to let you know. The ex hadn't renewed the lease. I had no clue, I didn't handle those things! Landlord agreed to let me stay one more month, out of the deposit, I was grateful, but I still had no clue what to do when I got home.

 

I was driving my Christmas present, the day of the raid. The day I got her, she had a big red bow on the hood, displayed in the window at Baron BMW overlooking I-35. Yas Marina Blue, hard-top convertible, BMW M4, and a stick shift. Black leather interior with Yas Marina Blue stitching. Akrapovic aftermarket exhaust blaring, top down, right by the house. The big black SUVs. The cop cars. The agents walking around outside. The news van. Drove by them all, I wanted to see how bad it was. I kept driving, I was like nope, not ready.

 

I called lawyers, friends, and even the news company. I asked for as much advice and info as I could get to go into this strong. I had no idea what he could have done, what he could have put me into, or what would happen to me. I enjoyed all those things. I had had no idea he was a massive thief.

The FBI agent took me inside, past my busted-in front door, the rooms had things strewn about, torn apart, furniture moved, into the living room. She sat me down on the couch and was as sweet as can be. The other agent sat on the other side of me. They both seemed very kind and would take turns talking. Female agents, I had faith everything was going to be ok for me.

 

Previously I mentioned bad stress would induce heart episodes, well, there were many during the interrogation. Sitting on the couch, being questioned for hours, I almost fainted a handful of times. They got me bottled water, they asked me what would help me relax. They asked me if I needed to go to the hospital. I said, the only thing that could help me calm down was the marijuana, of course they said no, and asked if there was anything else. I said, I could take an antidepressant and maybe that'll help. So I did.

 

They were kind. They are kind. My house was torn apart, my animals scared and hiding, my heart blowing up, and they were graceful. I assisted them with as much knowledge as I could, I was extremely upset that someone lied to me so terribly for so long. I directed them towards the garages of over a million dollars worth of motorcycles and supercars, what I thought were basically my children. I lost most of the materialistic items I had ever dreamed of having, that day.

What I didn't lose, I pawned in the months following. The agents took my necklaces and earrings, of which I didn't have many since my goodies had wheels. I had given up my career, my car, and my friends and family, alienated everything about myself, for that man. Toxic. At this point, I had nothing and no true home.

 

losingmymind0073.jpg

The agents took my memory cards and my computer. Yes, my camera cards and my work computer. For a 18 months, the FBI held onto my laptop, iPad, computer tower, and camera cards. The agent who was documenting my electronic goods during the raid had ensured me, looked me in the eye, and said I would get my information back. Whether it's on those storage items, or gathered onto another storage item, I would get them back. Many people doubted the FBI, but I had faith. They followed through.

 

It wasn't until around Christmas 2015 that I received a hefty packet in the mail from the FBI. He had embezzled over $4,000,000. The packet outlined everything seized in the raid and detailed many of the car purchases. How and where he moved money was paired with each shiny toy. What kind of a monster had I been with for two years. 

Shortly after, I sold most of my possessions and hopped around from a motel in Shawnee, to renting a small home in a shady part of Independence, to a friend's spare room in a nicer part of Independence. In just three months, those moves occurred. I remained on antidepressants. I kept smoking marijuana, too. I cut 14 inches off my hair and donated it to Wigs for Kids. I began dating again. What was I thinking, dating so soon after such a huge breakup.

This older guy knew who I was from social media, after the big scandal, and basically reigned me in using his children. He had expressed that he struggled with being emotionally manipulative, but I gave it a chance. I tried leaving the guy a couple times, but he had blocked my car from leaving his house once to beg me to stay with him. Another time, at his job, he jumped on the hood of my car when I pulled away so I wouldn't break up with him. Really, what could be worse than what I just experienced with the FBI?

Spring of 2016

I was trying to stop smoking pot while staying on my 40mg of Citalopram. Not visiting my doctor at this point, I thought I had it all under control. I am unsure when the teeter started to totter, but I began acting weirder and weirder. Manic, now that I know. I was super tuned into everything around me. Hyper aware, I thought I saw patterns in relationships and wigged out on them.

I became increasingly upset with my roommate/friend's husband for not treating her as well as I had believed she deserved to be treated. I was triggered easily by disrespect. At this same time, my parents were living illegally in their condemned home in Independence throughout the winter without utilities.

My father was a drug addict and my mother is mentally and physically disabled. They were hoarders with many pets. I did what I could. I tried hanging out with my mom, letting her stay in my room, letting her use my shower, I rehomed their ducks and a cat. I tried to rehome their other animals, but it apparently almost lead my dad to suicide (according to him and my aunt).

My dad was still working somehow, and he hadn't taken a shower in over a week. They had a lead on a new home. I knew he wasn't a quitter. I wanted to support them and help them be healthy. I let him take a shower at my home. The husband of the friend got pissed at me for letting my drug addict, dirty father take a shower. I got pissed at him. My emotions were all over the place after dealing with the giant FBI breakup, my issues with the current guy, my parents being homeless, and me being broke.

 

I was upset that my friend wasn't helpin and standing up for me. The tension was placed on our friendship. I decided to go on a camping trip with the guy I was dating, still just a little wonky with my brain, mostly manic and unattached. I played with a lot of rocks. I built a fire pit stove in the woods and wouldn't spend any time with the guy. I ignored him, totally manic focusing on my rock fort. He got upset, we argued, I obviously wasn't level; but I didn't care about him any more, I cared about my rocks.

I broke up with him, tried to stay in the woods by myself. Soon, I realized I probably wasn't safe, even with my little knife. I had left my phone back in town, so I had to hoof it. I packed up and passed him in the parking lot got my things from the car. Walking down the country road near Lawrence around midnight, I had a knife and I felt I was ok. I would find my way home.

 

The dude rode up next to me on the road, begged me to get in, I didn't trust him. He just threatened a restraining order against me for him and his children, using it as a pawn so I couldn't see the kids again. Manipulative. He had previously jumped onto the hood of my car to prevent me from breaking up with him and expressed his issues with manipulating people, so I didn't trust him. Maybe, just maybe, he could be honest with me for a car ride and take me where I wanted.

My photography professor's home was in Lawrence, and that's all that I knew. I wanted to go there. He said he would take me there, but he kept driving too fast, texting my roommate, telling me he was telling her how crazy I was being. I became more upset. My heart condition started acting up. He was doing this on purpose. He wanted to control me. I told him to stop the car and let me out, stop let, me out, I want out.

He wouldn't, so I grabbed his phone and threatened it, stop the car. He did, I got out. He drove up to me again down the street. He was begging and pleading, saying he wouldn't do what he was doing before. I had a difficult time trusting him, but how could he do that to me again. He did.

This time, my heart condition and panic attack lead me to start screaming, he wouldn't stop texting and driving fast at night in the country. He wouldn't stop, he scared me, I was frightened. I hyperventilated. I was heating up and trying to remove my clothing to cool down. I needed to breathe and I needed out of the car. I needed out to breathe. He made fun of me, I was screaming, I needed to get out. He kept driving.

I tried putting the car in neutral. I wiggled the wheel. I needed to get the hell out of that car. I felt like I was suffocating. Shaking, I realized I had put myself in another toxic situation with a man. He was just like my ex, manipulating me. It clicked. He was a predator. I yelled out, 'you're just like him!'. and he immediately smiled and turn to look at me and said 'good, he's a smart man'. I snapped.

My right fist went into the right side of his face hard and fast. He slammed the brakes and I threw it in park. I pulled the keys from the ignition and chucked them out the window into a field. He reached for the door - shoving it open, then his boot went into the side of my body. Out onto the gravel road, I went.

Bleeding, scratched up all over, I picked up my things and booked it to the nearest house I could find. There had been a car heading the opposite way, I yelled at them to call the police that he had kicked me out of the car. I didn't want to be near him, around him, close to him. I didn't want him taking me home. I wanted to go home. I wanted him to leave me alone.

 

I found a farmhouse. It was rather cold that night, but I wanted to sleep on their porch. I asked them permission and they gave me a blanket. I laid down on the bench to sleep and the police arrived shortly after. They removed his marijuana pipe I had been using from my bag, no charges for that. But they did arrest me for domestic violence. For punching him.

The officers expressed to me that they didn't want to arrest me, but they called it in and the guy back at the jail said to bring me in. I was arrested for the first time in my life, that night. He got to leave. I remember him standing in front of his car outside of the farmhouse, the police lights flashing on him. His arms across his chest like he was a big man. I was afraid of him, I was worried he would bail me out. Of course he couldn't, I was the assailant...

 

I was in jail without my meds. I was in jail. Jail. Oddly, I was relieved. It felt good to be safely away from him. It felt good to have that separation. I was shocked that I was charged, but I had no priors and I had a court date. I was sure I would be alright.

 

I was booked at Douglas County jail, mugshots taken, fingerprints taken, given cotton gym-looking clothes to change into. The only phone number I had memorized was my dad's job where he delivered pizza. With my phone being back in KC, I was up a creek. That phone call didn't get through.

I was placed in a cell in booking area with a professor from KU who had missed a court appointment for something and was subsequently arrested for a bench warrant. We each had our own patio furniture-like bed cushion and a blanket. She was distraught. I tried to calm her and offer her hugs, but she was terrified and didn't want to be touched.

 

I was transferred to the general population area with about 30 cells in one big open concept, with a desk on the center-left wall facing the eating area. There was a small tv in the center, and a cement area with a grate on the top where we could get fresh air and walk during free-time. The food was ok, seemed nutritional, and I wasn't too upset about me being there and experiencing jail for the first time.

Studying the women in there broke my heart. There was a pregnant gal who was about to pop, a murderer, and a large easily excitable (and angered) woman who was the loudest. A few were transferring to prison. Lots were waiting on court dates. Some gals were there for simple marijuana possession, but others for illicit drugs or alcohol related crimes.

I shared a cell with a gal who had been arrested before and she was on her way to prison. I asked her repeatedly about my charges and for advice, all the while being on the edge of sanity. I wasn't sure what I was going to do when I was released, but I had faith it would be ok. Some of the gals in county jail were there on probation violation who would be sitting in jail for over a year. 

A diverse group of women, all placed together. The men were separated, some in higher security than others, but not the women. The psychotic murderer had been assigned to the cell beneath mine. During the day, she was nice. It was the nighttime that brought out some schizophrenic, religious demon who enjoyed screaming verses and threats.

 

That guy didn't tell anyone where I was for almost two days. I had been charged with assault, a lesser crime than domestic violence, probably since I had broken up with him prior to hitting him...  My sister just so happened to pick me up shortly after I saw the judge. The State of Kansas was pressing charges against me, he wasn't, and had a restraining order placed against me so that I wasn't allowed to be around him. The judge released me on good faith that I would return for my court date.

 

I returned to a note on my door. I had to move out by April 1st. My friend was kicking me out. I had nowhere else to go, no money, I wasn't working, my life was falling apart, again. I gathered my things and put them in storage. Ironically, my parents found another home in Independence while I was homeless and I declined their offer to live with them. They were dirty hoarders, after all.

A friend in Overland Park offered their couch temporarily. This friend played communication for the man I had hit. He wanted to send me messages, but I was frightened of the repercussions. Eventually, I gave into his requests to see me and smooth things over. I remained in Overland Park for a week, until they needed me to find another place. I still had no money and wasn't working. I asked another friend if I could crash on their couch in KC.

 

At that point, I was basically living out of my car with my cats and camera gear, in and out of lucid thought, struggling to regain control of my life.

Over the next month, I remember sleeping on the couch and on the floor. I acted more rambunctious than normal. Headstrong. I wasn't thinking logically. I was acting erratically. I wasn't focusing on work. I saw the man I had hit a few times, but each time it felt wrong and scary because I could have been arrested. He didn't care. He promised he wouldn't say anything. After all, it was the State of Kansas who was suing me, he wasn't.

 

Eventually, I couldn't bare to think of my freedom being revoked again, so I stopped seeing him. He didn't like that.

Back at the house in KC, I was focusing on tilling the ground and rearranging logs. I was focused on the plants in the backyard. I somehow revisited the same behavior that night camping, arranging the rocks and building things. Things that didn't really make sense to anyone besides myself. I wasn't endangering myself, I felt like I was enjoying life and having a good time.

I returned to the house one day. My actions were worrying the host. I was talking about weird things and rambling nonsense. Social media was full of my ramblings and thoughts, oftentimes inappropriate in nature. The host asked me to return the keys and told me to find somewhere else to stay. I was scaring him.

Sympathetic, I immediately gathered my cats, computer, and left in my car. I had forgotten my phone, but I didn't realize that until I had reached my next destination; which happened to be my previous couch destination in Overland Park.

I was given a set of house keys to take care of the morbidly obese cat they recently adopted from the backyard of my parents' condemned house. The couple were on vacation at this time, which was why I had to find another place to live previously. I entered the home, and I did not take care of the cat, but I did make myself at home. Something I would never have done in my 'right mind'. I had no filter. I had no inhibitions. I had no sense of what was socially acceptable. I did what I felt like doing.

I didn't have my phone to keep me company, but it sort of felt great. I was disconnected. I had a series of episodes in this house which lead me to believe that I thought I was a witch, capable of alchemy and voodoo things. I cut my hair with scissors in their bathroom. I remember thinking that healthy hair doesn't cut (yeah, like that makes sense). I chopped and chopped and chopped. Chop chop cut cut. Basically down to a pixie from a bob.

I placed stickers on the trash cans, and I put my blood from a wound on things to 'protect' the people who lived there. I remember placing plant seeds inside my vagina and replanting them thinking it would help their chance. I rearranged furniture. I went through clothing and changed. I took a nap. I remember digging in the back and front yards. I was not okay. Hours went by until I heard knocking on the door.

I was sleeping on the floor. I got up and answered. It was the man I had hit in the face. I hadn't seen him since I told him seeing him scared me. I didn't want to go back to jail. He needed to leave me alone. I was afraid of him. He forced his way in and chased me around the house trying to get me to leave. I was in fright-mode, again. The people who lived there must have sent him.

 

I was screaming, hollering, yelling, crying, running around trying to hide. This was my safe place. I had nowhere to go. Leave me alone. Other people showed, but no one who really knew me, just of me on social media and a few fair-weather passes. They were there for the home owners. To get me out. The man I had hit, left, because I was fearful of the police arriving to arrest me and put me back into jail for being around him. Where was I supposed to go.

I didn't know where my phone was to contact anyone to tell anyone where I was. The house was a mess. I looked like a mess. The people who showed up, sat down and kicked up their heels, insisting I leave. The police showed up and talked to me. The ambulance showed up and checked me out. I was cleared. Johnson County Mental Health was given to me on the phone. They gave me the all clear.

 

The police escorted me out of the house, but not before I tried to go through to clean up my mess. I was in and out of my right mind. I remember feeling shame. What was I doing? What was wrong with me? I left my cats there. One police officer drove my car and followed us. I was in the back of a cop car again, but at least I didn't have handcuffs on this time. They tried to find me to an affordable hotel within their jurisdiction.

Stopped at one, entered the lobby, I couldn't afford it. They couldn't help me any further, so they let me go with my car. I drove my car back toward the house in Overland Park, to the park down the street. I slept in the car in a parking lot near the little pond until the sun came up. I started the car, and the next thing I remember was driving on I-35 and speeding excessively.

I loved going fast and faintly remember thinking I was on a professional track. The cars around me were professional obstacles. I stopped at a light somewhere downtown and a cop pulled up next to me. I raced him at the light. Of course he pulled me over after he caught me going 90 on the highway.

I had a panic attack, I was a little lucid again. Just enough. I was holding two objects in my hands tightly, as what happens during my panic attacks. I was shaking uncontrollably and crying as he approached the car. I explained that I liked police officers and found them attractive and fun and I had just been arrested and in jail, but police also scared me. I remember telling him I had PTSD and that's why I was acting so weird. He ticketed me for speeding and not having car insurance.

 

Off I went again.

I remember speeding excessively, dodging and weaving after the cop was out of sight. How, I keep thinking to myself while I'm typing all of this, how was I just 'here' enough to convince professionals that I was not crazy, yet continue being so insanely unsafe. I pulled off the highway onto a grassy field. I followed tire tracks past a Morton building near train tracks, and down a dirt path into the woods

 

I kept driving until I reached the end of the road. I got out of the car and explored the woods barefoot. I remember thinking to myself, I want to live in here. Basically, I was going to be an inner-city homeless, forest girl, this time. I remember walking across a dam near a pond and thinking it was a beaver dam. I had a big stick to walk me around the dam. I remember climbing trees and walking along the train tracks.

My mother had been in a car and train wreck when she was very little. She is severely mentally and physically disabled, bless her heart. I was a child she didn't think she could have. I walked on those tracks knowing a train had hurt my mom. I felt all the feelings associated with my mom and not having had a traditional mother, and how the tracks robbed her. I tried to come to terms, walking the track up and down. I ventured in and out of the woods.

I collected stones thinking theys were my ancestors. Continuing my adventure, I found a field. It looked more like a battlefield. There were targets and colors everywhere. I found a few men in that field, and distinctly remember hollering at them from a distance. I told them that I had no underwear on. Trust test, maybe? They responded, you shouldn't tell people that. So, naturally I approached them.

I asked them what the field was and where I was. Paintball every Sunday at 3pm. I find it both hilarious and terrifying that I remember some details so well, and then I don't remember chunks of time. I kept walking through the field and stumbled into a trailer park. Still barefoot, trodding along through the mobile homes. I came upon a couple of people painting the exterior of a home. I sat on the ground and chit-chatted with them.

 

They offered me an old-school, plastic, red Kool-Aid drink. I remember them sharing personal stories to empower me, but I sadly cannot remember the content. I moved onward to the office. I wanted to live there. It was quiet, clean, and not too bad. The people were nice. That was the most important part. I was homeless and I had found a home. Or so I had thought.

In the office, I washed my feet in the bathroom, cleaned up a bit, and came out to fill out application forms. Not only did I fill a form out for myself, but one for my parents and for my sister. I wanted us all to live there, happily, safe and peaceful. I assured the management gal that we had homes to move there, but of course we didn't. She was a gracious woman for she didn't judge me or call the authorities. She treated me with kindness.

The office gal offered to help me find my car in the woods. I assured her I could find it again and that I enjoyed walking through the woods. Sure enough, back through the woods I went and found my car. I drove out of the woods and back into the field. In elation, I began driving too fast in circles. I headed over to the Morton style building and then back to the woods and again near the tracks. I wanted to go fast next to the train tracks.

The air bag deployed. I smelled fuel. I couldn't hear anything. I could hardly breathe. Frightened, I thought I would catch on fire, so I removed my clothing and escaped through the moon-roof. I grabbed a few things from the passenger side and left the car. I thought the car was going to explode. A black can of spray paint, my Tiffany and Co. wallet, and a KC Royals blanket were what I had grabbed from the car. I buried my wallet between the tracks only after spray painting it and myself black.

 

I sprayed the black on my nipples, down my arms and legs. I sprayed paint on my knee tattoo. I believe I was doing a ritual to protect myself. I was a warrior princess, witch, now. With the blanket draped over my back, I walked nude back into the woods to meet my groom. Some mythical man I created. I managed to make my way back over the beaver dam, through the paintball field, and to the trailer park.

I heard honking. My name was being yelled. I hid in the shadows of the mobile homes. I couldn't let them find me, but I wanted to know who they were. I followed the sounds to the other corner of the trailer lot. The office manager was driving an suv and the gal who was painting was in the passenger seat. They had heard the wreck and were worried. They put my naked body in their car. The painter gal gave me her red jacket and the office gal gave me shorts.

 

They drove me to my parents' new rental in Independence. I somehow guided them there by landmarks. When we arrived, they ensured I would be ok and left me with my mother. My dad was freaking out, I told him I was on meth for some reason. I didn't know how to explain what had happened. My mom, bless her heart, was totally normal and loved me, took me in, acted normal, and cooked me dinner while I took a shower.

My sister showed up after I ate. We were out on the front lawn talking, she was telling me I wasn't okay. I argued with her I was fine. I had reached my parents' house, barely alive, survived a car wreck, hair chopped up, wearing a stranger's clothing, covered in rashes and blisters from the woods, bleeding wounds from the wreck, and black spray paint I had trouble removing in the shower. I was a mess, but I wanted to stay. I'll be fine!

The police arrived shortly after my sister had broken down on the front yard pleading with me to go to the hospital. There were missing persons reports filed on both sides of the state line. The police asked me to go with them to the hospital to get me checked out. Thank you, Independence Police Department, for understanding mental health. I was in cuffs again, but not arrested.

 

The next thing I remember, I was in a room to myself in the ER, behind a sliding glass door. The light was blinding. The doctor had dark hair and blue eyes, very handsome. I do remember paying him what I thought were compliments. I was asked what was going on, and I think I remember still thinking I was a princess at that time. They sent a woman in to draw my blood, but I wouldn't let her. I thought she had a bad attitude.

I wanted someone to draw my blood that wasn't going to hurt me. A younger man was sent in and he was much nicer, I believed. I allowed him to draw my blood. I remember asking to hold the vials, I was fascinated with the different colored tops. They let me fiddle around with the blood vials, full of my blood, and I picked out the pink one. I stated that pink was my favorite color. I was cold in that room, but I felt safe.

 

The last thing I remember from the ER was being asked if I would like to go stay in a hotel or something, the memory is hazy. I believe I asked if I could leave if I wanted, and they replied yes. I cannot remember verbatim, but I do remember being ensured that I could leave when I wanted. I felt safe with that decision. Then I was asleep.

Two days later, I was stumbling around Research Psychiatric, wondering if I was dead. I read the newspaper, someone was celebrating an anniversary of something, but they had been dead for quite some time. All of a sudden, I was that person in the newspaper. I was asked who I was by the nurses, and I told them the person in the newspaper. I was dead. Was this heaven or hell?

 

I remember the snacks in the television room. I ate those, nibbled, placed them in a container and shook it around. Then threw it away. It was a concoction of some spell of some sort. There were only women in this side of the ward. Not everyone was crazy like me. Many were depressed or had chronic illnesses. The nurses were both male and female. One looked like Harry Potter at 50 years old. I liked that nurse, he said I could be a nurse one day, too.

I liked pushing around the gal who was stuck in a wheelchair and afraid of leg amputation. I braided her hair and wheeled her to our meals. The snack room with the tv had coloring books and markers. I gave my art to the women with whom I had bonded. We went to art class and to a little gym with some activities. Therapists in every room. 

 

After a few days, I began to regain my identity. I didn't take the medications presented to me, at first; but, they explained that if I wanted to get better that I had to take my medicine. I asked the nurse why I hadn't been able to remember who I was. HP nurse said I had been sedated for a while. I had been violent. I attacked the nurses. At least I had the room to myself. I took showers often. I remember eating fruit in the shower. The cool, sweet juice of the fruit in contrast of the hot water, felt fantastic. I felt alive.

I discovered cuts on my chest and arm from the airbag deploying. The car was totaled on what must have been the wooden railroad tie that supports the track. Itchy rashes and blisters consumed my feet and ankles. My legs were scratched and bleeding. Running barefoot through the woods obviously did a toll. The food in the cafeteria was the best tasting food I've ever had from a cafeteria, and I remember that to be true from day crazy to the day they let me leave. That food was awesome.

I am unsure how people found my location, because the hospital wasn't giving out my information unless the caller had the magic number. The caller couldn't know the magic number unless I told them the magic number. Alas, I did not know who I was for at least three days and didn't know any numbers without the haze of crazy, but I do remember receiving a care package from someone I knew from social media. It had the numbers of some people I knew and some get-well things.

Did all the people I know not want to know me any longer? Were acquaintances my only friends, now? I rang a few and remember being declined. No one would pick me up, I was not well enough, yet. I was visited by my sister and another friend, which made me feel uncomfortable since he had been the host to kick me out after he thought I was acting too weird. I didn't want someone who didn't have my best interests in mind to be seeing me in such a state.

 

I wasn't allowed to leave the psychiatric facility for there had been a hold placed on me. The nurses entered the rooms on a rotation, scanned their badges on the walls, and left. The doctor would see me here and there, and I would beg and cry to go home. I remember crouching in the corner on the floor crying. I was released after a week in the psyche ward.

My sister picked me up from the facility and took me to where she had been staying in Greenwood. I had two prescriptions to fill. A small cocktail to even me out. I was diagnosed with psychosis. One of the prescriptions was for the same pills I was on before, but on the smallest dose. The other prescription was for a small dose of Abilify. Great, these are what they've been feeding me in the looney bin to 'rebalance' me. I was taken to the pharmacy to fill my scripts. Abilify for one month was $900. Nope.

I returned to KC where the host had kicked me out, the one who visited me in the psyche ward with my sister. He let me in to gather my things and I found my phone. I found my old prescription of Citalopram 40mg that I had been taking. Figured that'll be good enough instead of filling the others. I picked up my belongings and returned to my sister's home. I slept on the couch. I was happy. I put myself back on the pills, smoked the tiny amount of pot I could find, and went about my way.

The first night there, we dyed our hair dark brown together. I was having fun. Slowly, I began having mood swings and acting erratic again. Green beans were left out for dinner one night, and I took it upon myself to put them in a casserole dish with a ton of other ingredients. I was told it didn't taste too bad. I was in and out of the house with random friends who would come check in on me. Back on the internet with obscene thoughts and twisted words. I was upset with my sister one day and ok the next. I couldn't live with her.

I was lucid one moment and out of my mind, upset and screaming at her the next. I couldn't put her through that. I asked around, where could I stay. This time, I had no car and no cats, and even less friends. Still no access to money or much else. Another friend said I could stay at her mom's. A different friend picked me and my belongings up from my sister's and took me to the other friend's mom's apartment in Independence. I stayed on the couch.

The friend's brother lived there as well. I was still taking the Citalopram and smoking pot. I was still having my mood swings and doing weird things. I ate their tortillas, I baked a small frozen pie, and I arranged glasses with liquids in patterns. I sent rude messages. I took showers often. I walked around town taking selfies in things at the mall. I contacted the man I had hit, wanting him to come help me. Random friends would check-in on me online and in-person. I was sent pizza once. I had a doctor's appointment in Overland Park during this time, a friend bought me an Uber ride down there. My Doctor told me not to mix marijuana and antidepressants for it could cause hallucinations. It didn't sink in. I left the office and had no money to get a cab. I sat at a restaurant until a family member picked me up and took me back to where I had been staying in Independence.

At night, I found myself cutting my hair. Again. I was already down to a pixie and dyed it dark brown, what more could I do? Take clippers to it. Oh, and a razor. Eventually, night after night, I would go manic and cut my hair. One night, clippers, another, a razor. The final look was half-bald and half pixie, with one eyebrow shaved in half. I felt I looked pretty warrior-esque. My court appointment for the domestic violence charge occurred while staying at the apartment. Unfortunately, I had totaled my car; however, I shouldn't have driven myself during that point in time anyway. I reached out on social media that day asking for a ride to Lawrence for court. No one could facilitate. My lawyer called, asked me where I was, I said I had totaled my car, just got out of the psyche ward, and I couldn't find a ride to court. He said the judge will issue a warrant for my arrest. I couldn't do anything.

About a week into staying with my friend's mom, the brother flipped out on me thinking me smoking pot on the balcony alerted the neighbors, who would alert the cops, and he didn't want to get in trouble. I agreed to move out quickly, but I didn't have a place to go. He gave me his stash of pipes and grinder so the police wouldn't discover them or the office wouldn't kick them out for having pot. He told me they'd drop me where I wanted. I chose a mall on State Line where I had taken real estate courses. I thought someone would come get me. I sat for a while and eventually spent what little cash I had gathered from selling a camera lens on a cab ride to a different mall. Oak Park Mall. Back in Overland Park, with my camera bag and backpack in-tow, I walked from the mall at 95th and Quivira to College and Nall over the course of two days. I had ditched/dropped my phone to keep people off my track. I slept in the lobby of the Sheraton. I remember I was in and out of awareness. I tried opening cars, thinking I was assigned a car. I attempted a free meal at Chik-Fil-A, thinking I was an undercover officer. 

I was online posting erratically. I thought people were watching me and they knew where I was. I hid things in trash cans and returned to the next morning. I made my way to the Sprint Campus, walked around and disassembled my 5DMKIII camera. I removed the battery grip. The camera strap. The batteries. The 50mm 1.2 lens. I even hid the camera body.

I was in the parking garage when I became lucid again. I had my pill bottle in one hand and what little marijuana I had left in another pill bottle. I didn't have my backpack or my camera bag. I began having a panic attack. I hit the security button in the garage and asked for the police to come help me. I walked back down to the building area and kept walking until I found the police. I handed them my bottles and told them I was having anxiety. They placed me in handcuffs and took me to jail.

shortly after the ward, before I shaved my head

May 1st - I was screaming at guards. I hardly remember that jail. I do remember being transferred. It was a long car ride with one officer. I don't remember what we talked about. We were back at Douglas County. I was familiar with the territory. They booked me and took my mugshots, again. This time, I made sure they took an extra photo of the side of my head I shaved since it was most identifiable. I remember the same officers in the booking area. I saw different people in the cells.

I was given the same cotton clothes as last time. However, this time I was placed in a holding cell by myself. I was psycho. Stuck in a cell, freaking the hell out, I ripped the tags off the mattress. It was cold, I ripped my t-shirt apart and made a halter top and socks. I flooded my cell with the sink and the toilet water. I threw cups of water out under my cell door into the booking area. The officers tucked a blanket under my door, but I pulled the blanket in and kept flooding the room with my sink and toilet water. Until my sink and toilet were both turned off

I screamed for long periods of time, crying for my medication. Yelling I was going to withdraw. I was screaming in different war cries. I was hopeless. It was so cold in that cell. I killed a spider who infiltrated my room. I had smashed him with what was left of my ham sandwich. I slept perched on my feet on the small table, afraid to touch anything due to people trying to kill me with spiders. They removed my bed. I had nothing I could fidget with or express myself with besides my voice.

I thought the nurse was working with someone who put me in there. I wouldn't let her get near me. She was going to hurt me. I was suffering. I was in pain. I was in the cell until I wasn't a harm to the general population. I wasn't any prescriptions for a week, because policy states the pharmacy must clear the distribution of the medication I claim I was supposed to be on; however, I wasn't lucid enough to figure out details. I remember I tried my dad's work number after my brain was finished exploding. I didn't have my phone. I didn't have cash. I didn't know any more numbers. The pizza number didn't work, again. I was an hour away from KC and no one knew where I was.

There's not much I can say about withdrawing from medication that would really help you understand the physical sickness and mental paper shredding pain, unless you've endured the same. I was a psycho for a day and then a shaking, shriveled, shell of myself. During that first week, they had me see the judge for my overdue court appearance. May 4th. I remember the date specifically, since the guard that escorted me in the elevator said, 'May the fourth be with you', on our way up. The guard had piercing blue eyes and an old, scarred, busted cheek bone. Cuffs and chains on my ankles and wrists. Everything attached to my waist in chains. At least they removed the waist chains before we walked past normally clothed people. I felt like an animal. I was humiliated. I sat in the courtroom with cuffs still on my body. This time, my hair wasn't cute and in a bob. I now had a half-shaved head and  was missing half an eyebrow. You'd think the judge, prosecuting attorney or at least your lawyer would recognize a mental breakdown and try to assist. They didn't. Just business as usual, for them. Crazy people doing crimes, lock 'em away and fuck their feelings. 

I had totaled my car. I had been in a psychiatric facility against my will. I had asked the police in Overland Park for help, I was withdrawing from an overdose which made me psychotic, and now I was expected to have control of my situation. When I was called up, the prosecutor had brought up that I had contacted the man I had hit and breached the order. I guess he went out of his way to ensure I was hurt even more. I requested a trial, because I felt that I wasn't given a fair chance at any of this. I had no idea what to do! I was alone. I was frightened.

My public defender wasn't much help. My bond was set at $1,000, which meant my bail was $100. I had no cash. I knew no numbers. They returned me to jail. No one knew were I was. My phone was lost days ago. I knew no numbers by heart, but I also had little faith anyone would do anything to help me since I had fallen so far. My next court appointment was almost a month later.


I was incarcerated from May 1st to June 1st in 2016. A total of 30 days and 18 hours. I wasn't given my prescription for seven days. I leveled out within a couple of weeks of living in jail. While incarcerated, I was transferred to another jail an hour away from Lawrence, due to overcrowding in Douglas County for the weekend. It was Lawrence, KS, after all. Party Town, USA. After being released, I lived in a shelter, and learned from friends that I had been taking two and three times the max dose of my Citalopram prescription.

That overdose/hallucination trip had almost taken my life multiple times and most assuredly jacked it up. I lived in a women's shelter for three months to get back on my feet. I still owe thousands in medical debt. I fought to reopen my bank account. I was without a car and had many tickets in KC to go along with the charges in both Overland Park and Douglas County. Thankfully, the diversions I received for the assault and marijuana possession have both been completed successfully, and I currently live a very fulfilling life without prescriptions. I am a small business owner. I am a woman. I am a survivor. 

I am a survivor of many things, including a month in jail.

An experience I can't wait to share with you.

Until the next project,

-Tiffany