About Me

My journey as a stranger rape survivor, alcohol & drug addiction survivor, cancer survivor and liver transplant recipient who has been diagnosed with Depressive Schizoaffective Disorder (A form of Schizophrenia plus Major Depression), PTSD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

The day I sat there in my psychiatrist’s office the words that I had been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder depressive type (Schizophrenia and Major Depression, besides the PTSD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder I’d been previously diagnosed with) was both one of the hardest and best days of my life. Hearing schizo anything is frightening, it is one of those mental illnesses you are brought up to fear by our society. Schizophrenia is bad enough, but knowing I had those symptoms (hallucinations and delusions) as well as a mood disorder (major depression) seemed like the end of my life yet a relief at the same time. I finally had an answer to what those voices were that had plagued my head and living nightmare for years. Thus I began on my long journey to discovering the right cocktail of medications, the most effective form of therapy, and the support structure I needed.

Knowing I have a form of Schizophrenia explained a lot from growing up and my adulthood. It sounds ridiculous to say it now, but I was in my twenties before I realized the voices I hear are not normal. People often talk about an inner voice, sometimes calling it their conscience, and I didn’t understand those voices didn’t appear to be coming from outside, but instead internal thoughts. I started hearing voices when I was sixteen. When sixteen I experienced my major trauma (code for sexual assault). That night I experienced what at the time I referred to as an out of body experience. Of course later I would learn to call it by its technical name depersonalization. This involved observing my actions, feelings, thoughts and self from a distance as though watching a movie (depersonalization). Other people and things around me felt detached and foggy or dreamlike, time slowed, and the world seemed unreal (derealization).

I relocated to Paris in my twenties, it was then my true love affair began. As Hemingway said,

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” 

I began practicing Zen Buddhism on a semi-regular basis in my twenties. I grew to appreciate vegetarian food more and more, but more than that I fell in love with the subtlety of Japanese cuisine beyond sushi when treated with the proper reverence. My palate has learned a lot as I continue to explore a new cuisine to me, Japanese done right. I believe with my whole heart that Japanese and American Southern cuisine share one thing very much in common, that is the caricature presented in pop culture and in far too many restaurants that should be honoring the cuisine.


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