The symptoms of mental illness manifest differently for everyone. Sometimes, people do not recognize where symptoms are manifested from, nor seek professional help for a variety of reasons spanning from its notorious stigma to not knowing where to start. The constant question I come across is, “Do I need help or should I just tough it out?”
With Happy Pill, I work directly with the concepts of mental illnesses and trauma, reading submissions from people around the world, receiving sometimes desperate pleas for help via social media direct message, and coming up with a strategy to make a difference in this environment of addressing mental illness, which is still in its infancy.
As the founder of Happy Pill and as someone who works with mental health professionals professionally and personally, I have always been a firm believer in trusting your gut. No, taking a stand does not mean that I am setting an example that I expect others to follow. And no, taking a stand is not what I believe is the healthiest thing for everyone to do. It takes energy, both emotionally and physically. It takes time. It takes determination. And, it takes a thick skin.
This past Tuesday I filed a lawsuit against the University of Southern California and George Tyndall, M.D.. I am represented by Gloria Allred, Nathan Goldberg, and Dolores Y. Leal of Allred, Maroko & Goldberg. In my brief, yet scarring encounter with Dr. George Tyndall, I experienced the farthest possible version of the University’s Five Traits of a Trojan: faithful, scholarly, skillful, courageous, and ambitious.
I preach the idea of being genuine, supporting others, and being a role model for others. I preach empathy, even when it’s most difficult. I was privileged to attend a top-notch University and I will always be thankful for the meaningful memories and experiences I had there. “Fight On” is not just something that Trojans chant. The meaning behind it has a profound significance to all students, faculty and administrators to perform to the best of their ability, while trying to positively impact the lives of those around us, on and off campus.
My face has been plastered across major news outlets, from the TODAY Show to CNN to Business Insider to the vast corners of the internet. While a childhood dream of mine had been to become an overnight sensation, this does not fulfill that dream nor do I glorify the situation that has arisen.
This case has really put a lot of my presumptions into perspective, like: who really cares about me? I have come to a realization that you only have a certain amount of energy to divvy up between relationships, activities and things that you are truly passionate about. Things that are worth fighting for take a village. This process has not been easy, and I do not anticipate it getting easier anytime soon. The last week of my life has been confusing, angering, humiliating and exhausting.
I believe in standing up for oneself. I believe in standing up for others. There are people who will never find their voice within themselves or the ability to speak out through the hysteria, self-doubt and anxiety-ridden catastrophe. It is to speak up for what you believe in, for yourself and for others. I am discouraged with today’s world as a place where I have to uncomfortably speak out with personal facts in order to make things right.
I have learned that it doesn’t take one person to right a wrong. Sexual abuse and assault are not something that can be joked about. It takes people standing up and showing the world that this behavior will not be accepted and those responsible need to be held accountable in order to progress with change.
How do I expose such graphic and sensitive details about my life to the public, not to mention that I had a preconceived notion that the people that I love will hear and might be hurt?
It is important to recognize what the big picture is: stand up or continue to let behavior like this be the status-quo: not accepted, but tolerated. Justice will be here for everyone. We will tear down every wall, barrier, soldier of inequality and leader that harbors and feeds the evil that is our modern climate.
I am not sure what the next steps are, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that with the right guidance, support and love not just in my life, but in the world, we will succeed in making experiences like this a thing of the past. I am not doing this just for me but for everyone who has been wronged in this horrific manner.
Thank you to everyone that has sent their love and support. Each and every word warms my heart and brings a true sense of affirmation to me during a time of uncertainty and trepidation. I am seeking justice for all victims and bringing awareness of the disgusting truths of our world.