I love comedy and I love connection. I use my story to help others through the challenging experience of finding life after addiction and mental health issues.
You went deeper? You must be serious.
Finding light and laughter in almost everything I encounter is a given but there is a very earnest side to my work. I am passionate about recovery from trauma, mental health problems, and addiction. I consider myself an expert through experience and like everybody else, I have a story.
I have had a passion for writing and performing since forever. The psychiatric hospital I was admitted to in my early 20’s was for me like being in a film. I had illusions of grandeur which included being Jesus reincarnated and I was absolutely sure that God wanted me to be a famous rapper. Helping the world with an album, entitled ‘True-Say.’ I have since come full circle and have decided for fun I will go ahead and create this album but let us start off a little further back.
I grew up with my mum and sister in Bath, England. My mum left my dad when I was two, he was in the grip of addiction. Despite this, in later years my dad found recovery and became a strong positive force in my life. My dad taught me to question conformity and how to be funny.
My mother’s father was a doctor with schizophrenia and consistent mental health problems, frequently having time off work to recuperate. His life experiences reveal a lot and show hints of where his issues with mental health stem from. In order to serve his country, my Grandpa lied about his age, signed up as a Royal Marine and went to war. Witnessing his friends have their heads blown off led to ‘Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.’ My grandpa self-medicated as a way of coping – an addict. As a doctor, he was in a seriously powerful position where he abused both his family and patients. This has caused a natural mistrust of Doctors.
As I was growing up my mum trained to be an Approved Social Worker, this meant she had the all-important and troublesome job of deciding if someone should stay in their chaotic situation or be sectioned under the Mental Health Act. She was called upon to make this life-changing decision after a very short time of knowing someone. This really troubled her. She complained of being overloaded with cases and struggled to work within a deeply flawed system and was often stressed and nervous. With her own fair share of past trauma, my mum smoked cannabis to cope.
When I was 15 she had just given birth to my second half-sibling and this is when she finally popped from the stress. She was overloaded. My mum was emotionally explosive, tearful and troubled. And me? Well at this time I was smoking weed, taking party drugs and getting into trouble at school.
What I know now is that in the generations above me there is undealt with Trauma and Loss. This gets passed down and what is landing on my is feelings of shame, not being good enough and a need to be perfect. I became a tear away in my teens.
What influenced me growing up? My mum turned to an alternative road to recovery – her spiritual awakening. She sought out healers, quit smoking dope, learned to meditate and even painted the house, allowing my two younger siblings to join in, the hallway looked like a huge child’s painting. During this time she was manic, excited and as a family, we loosened our proverbial stretchy pants and expanded to allow my mum to just be.
I couldn’t help but be interested in all the new things my mum was learning. I loved her spiritual bookcase. I was fascinated with astrology, Native American animal medicine, affirmations and the power of being present. Suddenly there were things that could explain the energy I felt and the awesomeness of being alive. I started to trust my inner guidance and if something resonated with me I added it to my ever-expanding worldview.
All this time I was getting deeper and deeper into my own addiction to cannabis. I was excited by life but also I was confused, cannabis seemed to open a window into another dimension but I could not sustain the connection. I suffered from paranoia and depression in waves.
As a teenager, I learned about synchronicity and read book after book to open my mind while my schoolwork went downhill, dyslexia undetected. Friends would always come and see me if they needed a bit of my hack spiritual counseling and I’d consult the runes, or just relay some wisdom I had read somewhere. All while getting stoned.
I stayed at school to do my A-levels but struggled to engage with it, I questioned everything, the pressure from teachers, the rat race and wherein the hell is everyone trying to get to?! Mostly away from this moment right here. I recognized that the material outcomes; children, house, car, and shiny things can’t make a person happy. There is so much more to being alive, right? Surely!
A friend and I decided to get away and travel for one year to five countries. There was no goal for this trip, just a motivation to get away and break the normal routine of the ‘average’ human, working, shopping, consuming (drink/drugs/food/possessions.) Something inside me was screaming THERE IS MORE TO BEING ALIVE. I set off in the hope of returning with a better perspective of what I wanted to do with my life. I set off to learn.
Just as a magician never reveals his secrets, I will not give everything away on this page. During my trip, a combination of events and experiences occurred which resulted in my spectacular Spiritual Awakening/Mental Breakdown halfway around the world in Thailand. Telepathy, public nudity, and unsolicited rapping is a hint.
My recovery was very interesting. I was not an easy patient to treat. I didn’t trust the doctors. I didn’t want to be drugged up, I had had enough of drugs. It was my body and my brain, I felt violated. THEY DON’T KNOW ENOUGH. I had an anti-drugs mantra banging in my head and leaking into the raps which I was writing in hospital. I rapped at the psychiatrists, which resulted in the doses being increased.
My mother was marvelous at that time. She had recovered fully, quit smoking cannabis and was helping people on low incomes to access alternative and complementary treatment for their ‘mental health’ problems. She could see through my symptoms. She knew the Mental Health System inside out and advocated for me. She gave me pens and paper to express myself, Reiki healing, took me for meditation lessons and progressive counseling and even sent a massage therapist in to give me treatments while I was in the psychiatric unit. None of this was supported by the NHS.
The best thing she ever said to me was “This will get harder before it gets better.” Knowing this was my strength.
If you have experienced things similar to this you will no doubt agree that the psychiatric ward is not a place to heal, it was more a human container. Drugged up and shut down. Don’t feel, don’t express yourself and please, please don’t shout.
My story and experiences make a strong case for alternative ways of approaching and understanding the whole person when addressing someone’s so-called ‘Mental Health problems.’ Without this approach and the support of alternative therapies, I would not have felt empowered.
My skills lie in communication. I am a performer, a poet, a free spirit, an individual and a free thinker.
That was 15 years ago, I have been back to university and studied Comedy Writing and Performance where I created my show ‘Sectioned’ which I performed to an audience of people within the recovery community, this snowballed organically and here I am today.
I am currently living in Vancouver writing new material, recording and writing raps and performing to unsuspecting Canadians.
Every one of us is different when you drugged me up you disempower me. Please see that I am more than just a brain gone wrong, I have a spirit, I have a heart and I am part of the Universe. Today I take back my power, today I am free.
All things change and we cannot live forever amid obstructions. Let’s move forward with open minds and open hearts.