My name is Leslie Wells and I have been mentally ill most of my life. The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder started after I was raped at age five. I was also sexually abused as a child by my step-grandfather. I was sixteen when I joined a Christian cult. I stayed in this church for twenty-eight-years. I stayed in a crazy, abusive marriage for twenty-two-years. I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and a few personality disorders.
But the abuse and mental illnesses are not the main elements of my story. I have a wonderful twenty-three-year old daughter. I am so proud of her as she works hard to follow her dream of getting a fine arts degree in ceramics. I also have many loving relationships with family and friends.
And I have my creativity. I’m doing the final edit—finally!—on my memoir, Unsafe: God, Sex, and Growing Up. I am also writing the first draft of a novel. I have my constant companion, my journal. And the poetry I write. I’ve been making collages for fifteen years. I find out what other parts of my mind want my conscious mind to know as I place the images on the paper. Not only do they speak to me, my collages seem to speak to others, as well.
I don’t ask myself where I would be without my creativity. The answer isn’t pretty and the question is hypothetical–so why waste energy on it? Is the question is hypothetical for you? If it isn’t, I hope Creative and Mentally Ill can play a role in changing that.