My name is Crystal.
I’m an artist and that term is very broad for me for a number of reasons. I primarily draw and make little animations but I feel like that’s ten percent of my capabilities. I haven’t given the world the whole ninety. I have creativity and ideas bursting inside me which are begging to be expressed in the world. I’m also a mental health advocate. A big passion of mine is helping people feel better everyday through art on social media.
I’ve struggled with my mental health since as far back as I can remember, back when I was a kid I’d have anxiety, mood problems and depression which wasn’t understood. I was brushed off as a difficult child, which seems horrible now but in the 90s it was normal. As I grew up my mental health problems were still there but I had learned to “suck them up” and deal because I didn’t want to be difficult to others. I just wanted to fit in. All of this burst back in 2016 when I hit 25 and got hospitalized for psychosis and diagnosed Bi Polar.
What lead to my psychosis? A series of events that seemed just not in my favor: I kinda got my heart broken then I threw myself into making this film that felt like a lot of pressure. The pressure just stacked up and I couldn’t deal. I stopped eating, sleeping and eventually I started hearing voices in my head which was my first taste of delusion and paranoia that I’ll never forget. I was really fortunate one of those voices finally told me “Crystal, go to the hospital.” So I admitted myself to a psychiatric facility for a few days. Because mental illness was so stigmatized and still is, my experience felt like the end of the road for me. There was so much I didn’t know. I thought I was broken, I thought I’d have delusions forever and I thought I couldn’t have a normal life.
After I got out of the hospital I secluded this experience in my mind. I vowed never to tell anyone. Who would accept me knowing this about me? How could I get a job? How could I get into a relationship, be a mom or anything else if I was this unstable? The thoughts ran through my mind and caused so much inner turmoil. My only solution was to seal it up inside of me and go on as if nothing ever happened. But I’m an artist so sealing myself up and hiding is not really an option, my story began to pour through my work the second I started to create again.
Through art I began to heal.
I began drawing little graphics about mental health and posting them to instagram. This grew so rapidly it literally became my job. This work showed me that other people felt like I did. I wasn’t alone and I didn’t have to hide anymore. My confidence grew, I grew as an individual and my mind is now flooded with ideas on how to spread mental health awareness out to everyone in my own colorful way.
I became the person I needed four years ago and my hope is that my work makes people feel less alone.