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Painted Brain | Co-founder David Israelian On Schizophrenia And The Road To Recovery
It gave me a feeling of something to look forward to after I had
schizophrenia,mentalhealth,recovery
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Co-founder David Israelian on Schizophrenia and the Road to Recovery


I’ve never disclosed my mental illness on camera (schizophrenia in my case). I am a software engineer by trade before my psychotic break. My third hospitalization was in 2009 – about the time I was building the online platform of Painted Brain. I was in and out of hospitals for years and this is one of the reasons I was so inspired to create and develop something that would prevent the experiences I had for others.

I was in therapy most of my life, and I was on medications (in fact – I had a cocktail of meds I took every night). My body weight would fluctuate dramatically month to month. I had gained over 40 pounds at one point and felt, needless to say, meaningless, like life had no purpose. I felt numb, and all my creativity had been drained out of me. It seemed that there was no point to my life. The zest that I once carried, was completely robbed. My identity was in limbo.

Even though I was in and out of hospitals during that time, I was still building up Painted Brains online presence and vocational programs.  I finally came to terms that I was desperately in need for alternative methodologies in countering my mental illness. What ultimately helped was Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT for short), diet, exercise, Eastern approaches such as yoga and meditation, and Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR). That; in addition to a supportive friend, helped me stabilize, manage my symptoms of Schizophrenia and OCD, and become extremely productive with an immense feeling of purpose.

What makes Painted Brain unique – at least from my experience as a co-founder and recipient, is that even during the time I was actively symptomatic and hospitalized, I anchored down and visualized the idea that one day perhaps soon, I would get back out of the hospital. Once I got out, I would continue the work with building up Painted Brain. It gave me a feeling of something to look forward to after I had completed my hospital “recovery” and got discharged. My life would then have a purpose again.

The reason for the cycle of homelessness, incarcerations, and repeat hospitalizations is the lack of a support community. A great example is myself: I had a rude awakening on my second psychotic break, which landed me in jail and faced with the possibility of indefinite hospitalization in a locked psychiatric facility. I experienced abuse and trauma in many ways as a patient. That instilled in me tremendous fear, anxiety, and suicidal ideation on a daily basis.

Isolation, lack of purpose, and lack of a support system caused by social stigma are one of the key reasons for the vicious cycle of incarceration, hospitalization, and homelessness, all a direct result of the lack of community outreach services. This goes into many things: lack of job opportunities, lack of adequate support, lack of meaningful connections with others, and lack of options for finding a community of support. These taken together create a daunting barrier for many people who desire to recover sufficiently enough to work on reintegrating, and creating new beginnings.

3 INSIGHTS INTO CHANGING MENTAL ILLNESS WITH SELF-AWARENESS Growing up I always knew there was something different about me. I had a creative mind that was always at work. I was perceptive to people’s moods and often changed mine to match theirs. I could sense people’s depths of emotions even when they expressed something different on the surface. But then adolescence hit and my differences turned against me. War with my body and locked up in self-judgement my dreams for my life began to die out. My sensitivities and creative mind were fuzzed out by the medication fog. My emotional intelligence became the culprit of my ‘crazy’ and so I began to shut it out… Lightning struck when I was 20 and moved to Florida. I met a holistic psychiatrist who treated me, not my diagnosis. A door to a different possibility opened during our work together; not only could I get through this but I could strive to create a life that made me happy… I discovered that differences are strengths, not weaknesses and that it is all a matter of self and environmental perspective that allows one to use their difference to thrive….📷Read more by clicking on the link on our bio! . . . #mentalhealth #thepaintedbrain #mentalillness #depression #bipolar #endthestigma #mentalhealthwarriors #motivationalquotes #recovery

A post shared by The Painted Brain (@thepaintedbrain) on

I wanted to model after my recovery and reflect the intervention prevention programs at Painted Brain. I’ve mentored and engaged with a diverse group of individuals from all walks of life. One of the most common issues that I’ve seen that individuals face is the sense of purpose. Painted Brain allows individuals to lead groups and head programs.

If you want to give someone confidence:

  1. Give them responsibility.
  2. Give them something that consumes their day.
  3. Give them something that can grow and give back, to themselves and to a community.

My confidence grew as the organization expanded and touched individual lives. My friendship with Founder Dave Leon would mature into a brotherly love and mutual vision of having Painted Brain become more of a movement of services rather than just another drop-in wellness center.

Painted Brain currently offers a variety of mobile and on-site services: art groups, and a weekly app development workshop, as well as internship programs for Occupational Therapists, Social Workers, and Communications at local universities including USC, UCLA, CSUN, Antioch, and more. Through our interns, we also develop and implement pilot programs for art interventions in substance-abuse recovery programs, and homeless youth housing facilities. 

Even with a small donation, you will enable us to hire more group leaders for art and software programming workshops.

  • $20 – pays a group leader to run one activity
  • $40 – brings art supplies to a housing facility for a month
  • $90 – brings an art group to a homeless drop-in center
    $100 – puts a digital camera in the hands of a painted brain photographer

    $250 – Adobe Creative Cloud access for our media team for a year

 

I’ve never gone on camera this vulnerable, to express the history of my mental health journey and the passion for the expansion and growth of Painted Brain. I ask for all allies and survivors of mental health to support our campaign and take the preventative measures in securing the future patients an enriched program revolving around the purpose of arts, enterprise, and media.

https://www.crowdrise.com/painted-brains-community-center-kickoff

 

 

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