Rory Bristol is a quirky kind of guy. He loves his family, he takes his medication diligently, and he thinks peanut butter is the closest approximation of mana human beings will ever produce. He also doesn’t usually¬† refer to himself in the third person, so he’ll stop doing that now.

I live with PTSD, OCD, and a whole bunch of other acronyms which don’t define me. Why do I bring this up so early in the conversation? Well, it gives people social context, raises mental health awareness, invites compassionate discussion, and above all: It’s responsible. It’s not my job to teach people about mental illness, but it certainly is my mission to change how they think about it.

Ten years ago, I was homeless. I had just left an unhealthy relationship, and felt like I could drift away at any moment. It was then that I realized that I needed a few constants in my life. What I found was a lot of questions with few answers. So, I decided to do it backwards. I’d find the answers and learn the questions later.

The answers to my life are:

Personal Responsibility
Honesty
Integrity
Resilience
Hope
Compassion

I look for these everywhere, and sometimes I find them. It’s a lifelong quest, but it has lead me to amazing places. One of those places was addressing my mental health. After my father killed himself, I was forced to consider my own trauma and depression and seek the healthy route for my life.

Fast-forward to today. I am married, two kids. I create things. I understand myself a lot better. I also forgive people more easily. All I want now is to share my story with the world, change the perception of mental illness in western culture, and return hope to those who lost their dose.

If you think I sound like your kind of people, invite me into your Internet Family. You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Hit me up, tell me how you found me, and I’ll follow you back.