Mental Health Humor Project - Cartoon-A-Thon for Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Hero Iain Ocasio

The basic trauma of being locked inside my mind was often overlooked. The effect this has had on me is no longer hard to imagine. Along with the institutional scars, internal wounds and a personal sense of suffering and loss, the prisoner of the mind has very little notice before he is released. I even fantasized about what it would be like being normal. Never did I think of being on drugs, or in any kind of trouble; nor a thought of anything other than being happy. As life approached, I looked at the walls that cast a shadow over my life as a child and blocked out death because it did not belong to me. Instead I tried to recall the young boy who first walked in life, yet was unable to reclaim his innocence. The countless people who went out before me and failed are not in my mind, nor are any other negative thoughts. Life is all good because there are far too many things moving to grasp. As a result, I searched looking for that something which is different only to discover that I am different. But wait a minute–the parade–where is it? I have discovered that there is no relationship between the time something is suppose to happen and the time it covers (gods time).

As I share my willingness to accept error in myself and others, I am restored to the recognition of my original state. The power to do this is my natural profession (the purpose). Thereby, I am told to think of myself as lovable and loving in my heart because this is the will. I am forgiven, which now allows me to forgive others. With this feeling of being released, I can now help in the releasing of others. This impersonal ingredient has enabled me to recognize my errors and then choose to not make them again, releasing the source of fear. When I became willing to hide nothing, I did not know that I was entering into communion of such peace and joy. I exerted enormous efforts to establish its opposite reality. Thank God for the error because the error no longer blocks the truth. The emptiness that was once engendered by fear has now been replaced by forgiveness.

Carrying this message demonstrates its strength in expressing the abandoned belief of deprivation, in favor, of the abundance that I have everything that I need, just as everyone else. The specialness of this relationship stems from inclusion not exclusion. All of my brothers and sisters are special. I now place myself under Authoritative control. As a result, I am no longer imprisoned and am set free.

About Iain Ocasio: he is forty six years old and his current diagnosis is an Adjustment disorder mixed with Anxiety and Depression. He has been Clean & Sober since December 14, 2003. He goes to Alcohol Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings. He sits on NAMI Charlotte as a Board Member and also sits on Charlotte County’s Criminal Justice Advisory Counsel; In September of 2009, he organized and started South Florida’s only Ex-Offenders Support Group in Charlotte County.

He is a ninth grade high school drop-out who obtained a GED after having two juvenile criminal mischief situations. In May 1985, he walked into an Austin police station (Travis county) and explained to them that On 12/9/1980, during the nighttime, in Spring, Texas, he and two other subjects robbed a convenience store. Tragically, it ended in a 26 year old Vietnamese clerk being fatally wounded when he panicked. He was subsequently incarcerated inside a Texas prison for nine years and two months on a twenty five year sentence. He has now completed his parole since June 94 for a total of 15 years under conditional supervison.

In prison, he completed a vocational baking course and learned how to enter data on a computer. He received an Associate of Arts degree from Lee College, concentrating primarily in Liberal Arts, graduating in 1992. Upon Graduating with his AA degree he then transferred over to a Four year University and focused on Sociology. Upon his release in June, 1994, he continued receiving an education in the Criminal Justice (corrections/juvenile justice) program at the University of Texas in San Antonio and received a Bachelors’ Degree in 1997.

Today, Iain is a trained facilitator for NAMI Connections and Peer to Peer Mentorship. His goal is to become a Certified Forensic Peer Specialist in the hope of helping at-risk youths not go where he has been and advocate for the ones who have been unfairly deemed delinquent rather than having a Mental Illness. This is his lived experience.