Something that has always been suggested to me is that I should hire people here at Schizophrenic.NYC that also live with Mental Illness. Well, about a year ago I met the amazing Hallie Kruger at a Flea Market in Brooklyn. Soon after she became my go-to Screen Printer for all of my “DONT BE PARANOID, YOU LOOK GREAT” Tank Tops and T-Shirts. Little did I know at the time, but Hallie lives with Mental Illness as well. I invited her here to tell her story. So I now give you, Hallie Kruger.
My name is Hallie Kruger and I live in New York City. I have my own business Hallie Kruger Custom Apparel and Screen-printing. I’ve been screen-printing for about 6 years and I absolutely love what I do! I also make custom pieces like vests, clothing, accessories and more! My job at Schizophrenic.NYC is the most important of all! I screen-print the famous “DONT BE PARANOID, YOU LOOK GREAT” tanks and t-shirts! It’s a pleasure to work for a client that I have much in common with.
Before I was medicated I went through ten years of school that was a blur.
My entire life i have suffered from ADHD. This illness as well as others similar to ADHD has been pegged in the past that people taking medication for this are just lazy which is far from the truth. I do get upset when people abuse it to stay up or get a buzz because that’s aids and abets the negative connotations. A perfect example is when I begged my parents to get me tested and thought it was part of my personality when I was really suffering by not being able to feel like a person and accomplish tasks without losing interest minutes later. Before I was medicated I went through ten years of school that was a blur. Or picture it as a movie where the scene changes abruptly and handling it was impossible. I’m not stupid but before medication it can also bring down your self-esteem to make you feel so. I could never concentrate on anything, I would wander the halls. The worst thing was not being able to concentrate on the things I enjoyed. Now medicated, I can slow down and take life in. I am present and my mind doesn’t wander. There is a stigma that has improved but is still apparent in life. A few bad apples and suddenly everyone who truly needs the medicine are grouped in with these people. Its apparent when I wake so I take my medicine as soon as I wake. If I don’t ill start 5 knitting projects at once then organize my apt then make something and I feel I can’t stop. Treatment has made it possible to run my own business and I couldn’t be more thankful for the treatment I have received. For all the people abusing these drugs, a side effect is sudden death. Think about it.
So many people try a medicine once, and when it isn’t for them they give up immediately because they don’t want to put in the effort of finding something that will help.
My treatment was diagnosed by a health professional. The kicker is that when I was tested I had mono, so my body was sluggish but my mind was the same. The psychical illness could not mask my mental issues proved this is something that’s real and cripples many mentally. I knew I had this entire life, but it was a matter of my parents finally taking me seriously, which did not happen for the first 16 years of my life. I am prescribed medication that makes it possible for a normal life. I’ve had to try many medications that are frustrating no lie, but if something doesn’t work you find what does. So many people try a medicine once, and when it isn’t for them they give up immediately because they don’t want to put in the effort of finding something that will help. Because I persevered and been to doctor after doctor, I finally found what works for me and have a team of great health professionals I can count on. I do see a therapist, which most people should do while on medication. It’s important to recognize whom you are aside from how the medicine makes u feel. It another form of healing for me which helps me to live a normal life. I manage by dancing! I mainly specialize in Dancehall and Lite Feet, that’s my meditation. It’s the only place I can forget about what’s outside and be present and happy. Yoga, meditation, etc never worked. I know what’s outside that door regardless and quite frankly gave me more anxiety. My business has also played a huge role in managing ADHD because to run a business you must stick to a regimen and work for as long as you must to accomplish important tasks so in return I get business and can support myself.
I do feel like I’m making a change by printing the merchandise that people love.
Schizophrenic.NYC and Michelle Hammer made me feel I was not alone. With ADHD I do talk to myself sometimes in deep thought or react differently when I don’t take my meds. Michelle has become one of my most dear friends and can sympathize with all I go through. Nobody has had a better understanding because you have to experience the mental hardships to truly see the hardships. My reaction was fantastic because certain aspects were addressed that I didn’t even think of that could put a person in mental agony. I do feel like I’m making a change by printing the merchandise that people love. Clothing and t-shirts like Michelle sells take away the stigma mixing fashion and her endeavors for a better life for people with mental illness. To be appointed screen printer is an honor because I am contributing to a cause that needs to be addressed a lot more than it has, and it gives me great joy to see people wearing the shirts and being proud of its meaning. The signature “paranoid” tagline will always be apart of my life. Every time I print a shirt, the line is reiterated in my mind. Not only is it geared toward conquering the fierce paranoia people struggling with schizophrenia have to deal with everyday, but it also gives confidence to people in general. You don’t have to be mentally ill to feel paranoid or less than human or feel a negative way about yourself. I feel that Schizophrenic.NYC will change the way people view mental illness and how people view it. If a schizophrenic and a mind naturally on speed can come together and make a difference, this clearly shows mental illness is not a setback. Know this.