https://www.bearawitness.com/home The man who started this site reached out to me, recently. I started following it, and found myself overwhelmed with excitement….I spent 5 months on the street, but for some reason, I never connected with the cause, like brain tumor survivors, and NAMI… When I started reading about it, I’ll be honest….my first notion was to kinda act annoyed, I thought Why are all these people appluading themselves and celebrating their tiny favors to a homeless person….then, Because I operate functionally as ana empath, my instinct was to imagine, what I felt like when I was homeless, and try to remember the favors done for me. I could have gone to jail for not presenting ID at a wreck, I could have dones some unlawful act to get the money a firefighter gave me, to get to the shelter after…I could have been hungry, I coud have had no bed to sleep in, I could have been alone…but none of that happened. My first night, my car broke down and I stayed in a men’s shelter. I bathed in a gas station sink, the second day. The third day I was enrolled in free typing classes, had assigned bunk, and chores. The entire time I was homeless, I never did anything sexual, for money or otherwise…I never stole, and I never lied…I never hitch hiked. I never did drugs. I never wasted my money, and I never lost my faith and hope. WHat’s important here, is that I never lost me. I found me. I found me in atyping class. I found me, in a church food pantry. I found me, in my mental illness. I found me, everywhere that my family wasn’t. I learned to do chores , I learned to get jobs that arent hand picked for you by a family friend. I learned, where I draw the line. When a man threatened to rape and murder me, I drew the line. When the state of california, tried to lock me up, and my mom had me put in a home for people with Schitzophrenia, I drew the line there. Honestly, I dont have schitzophrenia…I am not shy of my mental health, as I have had both a brain tumor, and brain injury….I have Bipolar….and I learned off my meds, was not a way to live…..I found my identity, on the streets in Atlanta, and Hawaii. My biodad is how i Ended up in Hawaii….but the wonderful parent that he is, believed his ex wife, when she falsely accused me of having a gun….years later, as we stood in my home, in downtown ATlanta, that biodad, explained how as a toddler, he had accepted, embraced and welcomed, what he blieved was my swiftly approaching death….but 34 years later, he was clearly wrong. I discovered what mattered to me, on the streets, who was important, and what i wanted out of life….The site I have posted it a link to, is a discussion I am participating in….that to me, is soooo very important for ending stigma, about Homelessness, and Mental Illness.