This is my warrior mask

Warrior Mask ✨

I’ve been creating these portraits lately to help me through dealing with an episode of psychosis that happened earlier this year at the start of the pandemic. This one looked like a mask over my face and at first I thought it could be about hiding behind a mask, but I’ve been working really hard to uncover the truth of what I’ve been going through and be honest with people about it to break down the stigma, both for myself and others.

So this is my warrior mask and with it I want to talk about my experience with the mental health systems throughout these challenges so far.

Overall, I’ve been impressed with the quality and level of service I’ve received after reaching out for help and entering myself into the hospital at the peak of everything. Since then I’ve been paired up with a psychiatrist and social worker who have been working with me for my recovery ever since. Part of the reason for this may be that I went to a mental health-focused hospital, so they have the better knowledge and resources of how to handle issues like this. But coming into this having no other experience with the mental health system (no medication, hospital or doctors visits when I struggled with depression and anxiety) and only having heard some horror stories of people being put on wait lists or treated fairly poorly during a time of need, I’ve been pleasantly surprised and grateful for all the support I’ve received. It gives me hope that we’re moving in the right direction to better handle all aspects of our mental health and the challenges that come with it.

This isn’t to say it’s been easy or the support has been perfect. It’s been one of the most challenging periods of my entire life trying to navigate this experience and the recovery process. I still struggle with being on medication and how I feel on a day to day basis (which I’m constantly told is expected during the recovery). But I have more professional help than I expected to support me through it and thanks to them my knowledge of psychosis has gone up tremendously to help reduce the stigma and guide me through the journey of recovery that is much longer than I ever would have expected (1 to 2 years…). It’s hard to accept what happened to me and even harder to deal with it all during a global pandemic, so I’m grateful and glad to have as much support as I can get right now, even if it’s just from wearing my warrior mask. I know that I’ll come out of this far stronger than I was before.

— Bryce Evans

 

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The One Project is a community of passionate creatives, advocates and caring friends or family members working to support each other and change the conversation around mental health issues like depression, anxiety and more with therapeutic photography.

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