My mental illness began to manifest itself when I was 19 years old. I began cutting and burning myself with cigarettes. I didn't get help for my self-harming behavior and it steadily progressed throughout the years. Culmination in 2003 with third-degree burns to both hands and a 33 day hospital stay at the University of Alabama Birmingham Burn Ward. After that time I was given intensive treatment and I had come to terms with my mental illness. I began to take medications regularly, and started going to therapy. I was eventually able to receive treatment and therapy at a mental health center. Two years ago my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and my world fell apart again. She had been my biggest supporter and best friend. When she passed away I had no direction in my life and felt I had nothing to live for. An instructor at my mental health facility began to teach acrylic painting in a wellness class and I've been painting since that time. For the past two years I’ve been painting, which has become a source for me to release stress and anxiety. I am forever grateful for the experience I have been given.