My name is Allie, I'm 25, and I live in upstate New York on a small farm with my family and some awesome pets. A sudden and debilitating mental illness changed my life in May 2013, just days after my 21st birthday and my Junior year of college ended. I endured several hospital stays, different diagnosis, and countless medication changes. Throughout my struggles, I realized that I couldn't just sit and watch my life go by; I needed to take control and become proactive.
I began training my psychiatric service dog, Joey, in the beginning of March 2015, and he has helped me get my life back. I started documenting Joey's story and training online, which led me to writing about my own experiences with mental health. In the Fall 2015, I participated in a writing workshop run by the TMI Project that culminated in a public reading of a piece about my battle with mental illness. The experience was life-changing and inspired me to begin sharing my journey and insights about living with a psychiatric disorder. I'm now a mental health blogger and manage social media pages online that deal with different aspects of mental health. I've had my writing about mental illness published on mtv.com, The Mighty, and in Project Semicolon: Your Story isn't Over. In October 2016, I was honored with the YWCA of Ulster County's Next Generation Award. I'm currently pursuing a degree in Community and Human Services at SUNY Empire State College and travel to schools in my area with NAMI to talk about my journey with mental illness.
I want to show people what it is really like to live with a psychiatric disorder as a young adult. It's time to end the stigma attached to mental illness and redefine society's opinion on mental health issues.
I'm not a mental health professional, but I'm a mental health warrior.
Please take a look at my YouTube video that tells a little more about my life before mental illness: