Milford

Mark Durso

City:

My story is a bit complicated. I work as a Forensic Mental Health provider for those who are caught in the legal system and have serious mental health conditions. My professional goal is to provide treatment and connect indidivuals to supports in the community to reduce the risk of re offending and mental health relapse. Thats really where my story ends. All of my art is influenced by mental illness. From my inception to the art world first picking up a crayon at a young age, throughtout my life, and until today. Mental Illness effects everyone of my pieces. I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder many years ago. I always knew something was not right and believe that I held the diagnosis long before I sought treatment. I actualy kept my illness to my self for many, many years. I obtained my masters degree and supported those with the most debilitating mental health conditions but did nothing to treat my own. I consider myself lucky that I fell into the professional mental health field. I made connections with the best providers in my area. After years of not treating my illness I could not go on. It was to invasive. Intrusive thoughts, anxiety, and the pressure of it all. I went to work evert day and pushed it back into my mind. One day I could not take it any longer. I left work mid day and showed up at a collegues office. I am not much of an emotional person but was filled with tears, I could not go on like this. I was prescibed medications as immedialty my collegue felt the pain I was expericning. The medications intially helped but eventually made it worse. Pill upon pills I was 28 years old taking 6-8 pills per day mutliple times per day. Some put me to sleep, some made me drool, some even made me stop thinking. I would see my patients, take a pill, and see the next. I was exisiting but not living. After a brief period of addiction to benzodiapines I developed due to my prescriptons, I decided I would be the one who took control of my life, not some pill. I worked on a plan to wean myself off and begin working on skills to create healthy thinking habits. These skills I knew all too well as I taught them but I did not use them personally. Given my expericne, I have made it my professional goals to provide the best support to those expericning debiitating effects of mental illness. While my patients, collegues, and most of my family do not know my personal struggles, my mission is to treat everyone with fairness and equality, no matter what the situation is. My collegues and patients always hear my mantra "there is not much difference between that side of the table and this one" it becuase there is not. I have been on the recieving end of a broken mental health system. I was once told by a professional that my "OCD is the worst case they have ever seen". That made me fight harder. Wake up everyday, better myself, beter those around me, and make it past the hell I thought would last forever. My journey is far from over. But if i can provide one thing to the people that I work with and the world is that there is hope. Hope in the darkest of places. Hope that with work things do get better. My OCD provided me a perspective in life I would have not got otherwise. I began to value things I once took advantge of. Simple things such as time spent with others, time spent alone, nature, even art. So for those of you reading this, no matter what the situation is, you can find hope. Everything is temporary no matter how difficult it is. Emotions and feelings replace themsleves and time and space re-create. There is alway a silver lining and if we look hard enough we can always find it but need to remember, we cannot give up hope.

Acrylic and ink
Acrylic and ink
Acrylic and ink
Acrylic and ink
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