Allison Clemmons was born and raised in the South. Allison likes to refer to herself as “a southern lady, raised by a far better southern lady.” She is an only child to two very attentive and loving parents who loved her very much, but never really understood her behavior. Allison always excelled in academics, but for reasons then unknown, had issues with behavior. Reading at the level of a ten year old in the first grade, Allison could not stay in her seat, and was driven to matters of what the fish were doing on the other side of the classroom and talking to other students. Unsurprisingly, Allison’s “hyperactivity” did serve her well in athletics and dance over the years.
The ADHD diagnosis came first at age nineteen. Allison was a freshman studying Biomedical Science at the University of South Alabama. Next came the misdiagnosis about a year later – depression and generalized anxiety disorder. This was actually the onset of Bipolar I. These events caused years of problems for Allison. Misdiagnoses and improperly prescribed medications over the next twenty years, manifesting themselves as ruined relationships (most notably her marriage and any career stability), stole precious time from her life. Allison was able to learn to speak French and Spanish and graduate from Spring Hill College, a Jesuit university in Mobile, Alabama, with a BA in Management and Marketing. She had a semi-successful, ten-year career in Commercial Insurance, until self-medicating in the form of an alcohol addiction led her to try to take her own life in 2008. Allison then worked in the hospitality industry for a few years until domestic abuse, a tragic death, and a miscarriage, not only tore her family apart, but sent her into a dark place. All of these events were the impetus for the onset of PTSD. Since then, she has been hospitalized twice, once for mania with suicidal and homicidal thoughts, and once for depression. The last episode that she had was the worst in terms of duration and severity – it lasted the better part of a year, with mixed states and psychosis, and she was homeless during the majority of it. This led to her car and all of her personal items being stolen. Of all things lost, the most precious was her memory, due to suffering a psychotic break.
Allison has been stable and in real recovery, living with her mother and father, for months now. She is receiving excellent outpatient care, and learning to live in the moment, one day at a time. Her debut novel is in its early stages, a gritty work of fiction, based loosely on her lived experiences with Bipolar, ADHD, and PTSD. She has begun mental health advocacy work, and is happier and healthier than anytime she can recall. Allison is an activist for reform of the mental health care system, particularly as it relates to the incarcerated living with mental illnesses, and she is currently rallying a grassroots network to have her county and surrounding municipal facilities adopt reform initiatives. She volunteers her time to aid in suicide prevention efforts, and to fighting every mental illness stigma by speaking out on policy issues and fundraising with AFSP.org and NAMI.org. Allison uses Twitter as her platform for Mental Health Awareness, where she can followed at @maybeline9. Her first regular blogs will be featured at IBPF.org. She hopes that she can use her voice to help others step out of the shadows to get proper treatment, as she has been fortunate enough to do herself. Allison’s most beloved pastime is music. It has always been and always will be a part of her, and she is very devoted to her parish, where she attends mass regularly.