On February 9, 2022, I was taken out of a psychiatrist appointment, handcuffed (even though I was fully cooperative and went willingly), and brought to the ER. They refused to take off the handcuffs at the ER, where I had gone just a few weeks prior for severe back pain. They then threw me on my back with my hands behind it, and when I cried out in pain, they said, "you seem agitated," gave me a shot in the arm, and I woke up at Community Care "Hospital." This was the beginning of the worst week of my life. I was held there for seven days under the "care" of the most incompetent group of nurses, doctors, and orderlies I have seen in conditions that no human should be subjected to. I'm not going to get too much into that, but if you haven't already read what I wrote about it a few months ago, and want to, here's a link to that.
I was released on February 16, 2022, and began rebuilding my life. I had damaged many relationships in the lead-up to my hospitalization. Seven days without internet access and 5 minutes of phone time a day is detrimental when you own a business that you run with one other person. The photo above was taken a few days later, outside the "hospital," after I had to go back to grab a few THC cartridges they had confiscated when I got there. As a whole, this was the most challenging year of my life. It was also one of the most fulfilling (I went on four international trips, got married to a loving, brilliant, beautiful woman, and kept this business alive even when things were looking dark af) and proof that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. There will never be a time when I look back fondly on the week I spent in that hellhole, but I consider it a turning point in my life. I was spiraling before I went in there, and I was able to stabilize and begin learning how to effectively cope with having Bipolar Disorder. I also began putting pieces into place to ensure that if similar symptoms started to re-emerge, I could catch them early and reach out to a support system to help manage the situation and minimize the potential adverse effects.
So today, I'm just thankful to be free. I've spent a lot of time this past week thinking about my time there and how traumatizing it was, but today especially, I'm feeling optimistic about the steps I have made in the past 365 days. I'm coming up on four years off of booze, but when I was younger, I would sometimes get hammered and do dumb things like yell "FUCK YOU, COPS!" to police officers, so this was not my first time being incarcerated, but it was by far the worst will be the last.
PSA: if you or someone you know is struggling with mental health or substance shit and need an ear, I'm here for you. This has been a lifelong struggle for me, and I've been through some shit.
I'm determined to get the Appreciate You Foundation up and running in 2023, which will lead efforts to reform the mental healthcare system first in New Orleans and then nationally. And then we're going to open up centers that provide real mental healthcare to those in need. A percentage of every sale is going towards that effort. So, go ahead and shop this 20% off sale and help me make the world a better place!
Appreciate you and your support from my head down to my toes.
Happy Mardi Gras!