The cop came back into the living room where I was sitting, nursing my two and a half month old daughter. “The boy didn’t make it,” he said. “Ma’am, I need you to come with me.” I handed my baby girl over to her dad as I got up from the couch to obey the officer.

His words drifted through my foggy mind as I told myself, this is all just a bad nightmare — I will wake up soon. With no socks or shoes on my feet, I silently followed the officer out of my house not knowing that would be the last time I would ever exit that front door. Yet, I felt an unusual calm and peace enter my heart as I sensed that this was “my path” or “my destiny.”

Little did I realize, when the truth finally came crashing through my delusional head, my journey would lead me into a challenging battle consisting of several years of torment and pain….


I once had a previous life where I attended college full-time, studying business management. I held on tight to a 3.9gpa as I managed to make mostly straight A’s in my classes. I was officially divorced from the abusive “sperm-donor” of my happy little boy who seemed content without a man in the house.

I smoked marijuana on a regular basis to help me with my terrible mood swings as well as to help me focus on my homework (which I started to find hard to concentrate on while sober).

Then a few years later, during my senior year of college, I became pregnant again with my daughter. I was excited and filled with joy at the opportunity to raise two children as a single parent. My daughter’s father was a good man that kids naturally seemed to flock to. My son adored him and in spite of our cultural differences, he accepted me and my son as family.

He helped me when he could; however, with his mother being in her late 70’s, he lived with her in an apartment across town to take care of her. As a result, we never officially “lived together” and this arrangement worked perfectly with my increasingly introverted self.


Then came the day that I started speaking in tongues

And no, I wasn’t at some radical church at the time. I was home alone with my two children. I also had an “internal interpreter” who could understand just what I was saying. I went to the bathroom to use the facilities and then I started to shout out a name. I heard my son saying “What?”

This happened about three times until my son opened the bathroom door and said, “What?” again.

“In the name of Jesus you shall flee!” I shouted at him from the toilet in English.

My son replied: “Goodbye.” Then he shut the bathroom door.

Once I got done in the bathroom, I went to check on my son. He was in his room holding a little ball. He told me, “Mama, I tried to hit that boy with the ball, but he flew out the window.”

I knew then that a demon was trying to attack my son. Yet, I had a sense of knowing that this moth that was flying around in his room was actually that demon which had transformed and it would be dead soon.

The very next morning, as I was nursing my daughter on the couch, my son came out of his room with the dead moth in his hand. So I “knew” the demon was gone… This initial experience along with my son’s statement and behavior started my downward trip into a very delusional and psychotic journey.


The command hallucinations held me like a puppet on strings for about a week doing various things to rid the demon from my son as I thought the voice in my head was God telling me what to do. For example, I started fasting and eating nothing, just drinking water.

To make a long story short: after about a week of doing various “rituals” and crying and weeping in tongues, I told my son to go take a bath. It was late at night … for by now, time and structured sleeping schedules were non-existent.

As he was in the bathtub, I went to check on him and felt “God” telling me the only real way to get rid the demon forever was to “wash it out.” So believing that I was doing something to help save my child, I pushed him under the water and held him there for a while to let the demon come out.

A couple of days later, I was formally charged with second degree murder for the death of my son. My mind didn’t believe he was dead. I thought it was all a hoax and that my son had secretly gone off to study and become a medicine man with his sister’s tribe.

When they moved me to the county jail, things really went from bad to worse…


I could hardly speak in English; I wouldn’t keep any clothes on; I’d throw any medicine offered to me on the floor; I also did the same thing with most of the food; I would urinate on myself and put the urine in my hair because the voices said it would make it shiny (or something like that).

They moved me to the suicide cell after I had put my head under the sink to wash my hair and my cell mate thought I was trying to drown myself. Once I got to the suicide cell, they literally gave me a bucket for a toilet. After a couple of days passed and no one came to clean my bucket, I poured it all out on the cement floor and in a highly manic state, I danced butt-naked in the urine and feces chanting in different languages.

Yes, I was quite far gone….

After six weeks, I finally was given a ride to the state’s only forensic mental hospital. I recall seeing the red brick buildings for the first time with the sign saying they were built prior to 1920. I felt afraid and totally alone. I got dropped off and in my initial intake interview, I kept repeating: “I’m a lover, not a fighter.”

Once on the ward, I was handed pills again. So I did what I’d been doing and tossed them. Next thing I know, about four security guards and a RN came and tackled me down to the bed, pulled my pants down and I was given a good shot of Haldol which finally gave me some much needed sleep….


After being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, (plus taking a handful of medications), I regained some sanity and stability and went back to the county jail for almost a year. I was given the Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI) verdict; consequently, I went back to the same forensic mental institution to “do my time.”

I got to start coming out into the community in a very gradual process. It began with small four hour passes into town with my family once a month. Then it turned into eight hour passes. Then day passes, then I was allowed to stay overnight with my family.

After that came time spent in residential care facilities for the mentally ill where I could spend two nights; however, I had to pay for the costs due to inadequate funding from the government. And due to my inadequate funding, I only got to go initially for about three times and then my savings went down to zero.

Finally, after twelve years in that institution, I received my “conditional release” to a residential care facility.  It is basically the same as being out on parole: there are stipulations I have to follow. For example, I have to attend a mental health center most days of the week.

I changed my residence from one residential care facility to a different facility that is closer to my family about a year later. The mental health center here has a housing program and treats their clients with much more respect.

I have worked through the housing program and now reside in my own apartment. I manage all my medications; I budget and take care of all my money on my own; I cook and clean everything; I take good care of  Fuzzbucket (my calico princess) and I currently am working on writing an autobiography about my journey.

I am still not 100% free from my status as an NGRI. My Judge has stated he will not give me any more privileges until my daughter turns eighteen. A couple examples of my conditions are:

1. Random drug screening.
2. Confinement to just the county I live in, unless escorted by family or the mental health center to some other county.
3. Compliance with the taking of all prescribed medications as shown by blood tests.

I consider myself to be blessed and am very thankful to be able to say I have recovered from a very dark psychotic state. I wish that my story will bring some hope to those who still battle with their symptoms as well as some reassurance that you are not alone.

I have chosen not to reveal my real name due to the type of people which simply refuse to accept or try to understand my illness and it’s resulting consequences.

I picked the last name Phoenix due to the symbolism the myth portrays. A young bird, called a Phoenix, is born and every 500 or so years (depending on your culture’s background) it bursts up into flames. Yet, out of the ashes, a new Phoenix is born. And believe you me, hell is all in your head. We all just have to unlearn everything we copied from the previous generation that was negative in order to find that peace within which we all hope for.

And as far as being “a lover, and not a fighter“: I’ve had to be a warrior who’s conquered many battles as I slowly transformed from the tightly woven cocoon wrapped around my brain into the butterfly that I feel God has helped create.

Sending much love and light to all,

LaVancia Phoenix


44 Responses to About

  1. What a brave and beautiful soul you are! I know it is not easy but you keep on walking the walk! Praying for you and your recovery!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Traci for your kind words and prayers. I do believe in the power of prayers and meaningful intentions.


  3. AmAzing journey. YAH, write that autobio! Honored to know you better.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks so much for your joyful attitude. I finally have a weekend this weekend to spend more time working on editing, so I may not be posting much the next couple of days…but, thanks again. Glad to have met you as well.


  5. Marie Abanga says:

    Cheer on, and wtite even just for me 🙂


  6. I like to think that I’m writing for humanity at large, but I’ll be sure to make you a special note when the book gets done…perhaps a signed book, just for you!


  7. domain says:

    This page truly has all the information and facts
    I needed about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    • Please feel free to explore more and look at some of the links I’ve posted at the bottom of this page as well. I’m happy to have been able to shed some light on an otherwise poorly misunderstood subject. -LaVancia


  8. I appreciate you dropping by the meet and greet thread! 🙂


  9. Hi LaVancia,
    Thanks for liking my poem, “It’s Your Choice”. I like your perspective on life and will be looking forward to more of your wonderful writing here. It appears you are a strong soul who can get through anything. Keep going and don’t stop. It’s great to meet you here. Much love and light to you. ❤


    • Thank you so much for the positive comments. Some days I think back to where I was and feel like it really was just some bad nightmare that I’m beginning to wake up from. But I know my son would want me to be strong and to use my talents in a meaningful way to help others and perhaps prevent other tragedies like mine from occurring. He was never afraid of people or the other kids when I took him to playgrounds…I want to be like that as I venture off the beaten path and explore the playground of humanity.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. wicked121271 says:

    I am lucky enough to know LaVancia personally an lived some of her story by her side. She is a wonderful person, who faught like hell to find her sanity and understand her life as it is today. I can’t wait for the book! Love ya girl! Xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jill says:

    As my son had some similar experiences, I have some idea of the horrors you experienced, but of course it is impossible to really understand. You write beautifully and are very brave to share your story.


  12. Felica says:

    May I simply just say what a relief to uncover somebody who really understands what
    they’re discussing on the web. You definitely know
    how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    More people should look at this and understand this side of your story.
    I was surprised you aren’t more popular given that you most certainly have the gift.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for the compliment. For some reason your comment was listed as spam and I just looked at that today. I have been busy changing publishing companies because I want to include some of my color pictures of art (crochet, painting, jewelry etc.). I may even be able to color some of the poetry with like a watermark picture as a backdrop.


  13. Rzr says:

    It’s difficult to find experienced people on this topic, however, you sound like you know what
    you’re talking about! Thanks


    • Rzr – Ironically enough my life has been a catch 22…sometimes I wish I had no idea on this subject; however, fate seems to have dealt my hand with no regard to my wishes. It simply helps to accept and move on no matter what your life path leads…


  14. Jocelyn says:

    Hello! I simply want to offer you a huge thumbs up for your great information you have got
    here on this post. I will be coming back to your
    website for more soon.


  15. Wonderful blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get
    there! Thanks


    • Sorry, but I’m no expert in computers or what all the internet can offer to me. I spent nearly two solid weeks learning about the ins and outs of making this webpage. Best wishes to you! -LaVancia


  16. maddmombetty says:

    Thank you for dropping by my blog. I don’t believe in accidents, so perhaps this was meant for me to follow your blog (which I am now). I don’t have to be hit over the head too many times to notice. 🙂 I’m so glad to learn about you and your trials and triumphs! Thanks again!


    • Thank you so much for “joining in on the madness” – I actually had that listed instead of “sign up by email here” but apparently several people were asking me how to join up because they just didn’t see or notice the meaning of “Join in the Madness”…

      Either way, I am glad to meet you and once these holiday festivities are past, I’m going to be doing more “down time” at home working on the autobiography; however, don’t despair! I intend to post at least once a week.

      Thanks again! You’ve pushed my number of followers over a hundred! What a great way to start the new year!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the web the easiest factor to understand of.
    I say to you, I certainly get irked while people think about issues that they just don’t recognise about.
    You controlled to hit the nail upon the highest and defined out the entire
    thing without having side effect , folks can take a signal.
    Will probably be again to get more. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry that it took so long to reply, I just haven’t been to my About page in a while…thanks so much for the comment. I love being able to have the internet to express my opinion and thoughts and feelings…I did really well in college when it came to writing essays; in fact, I was the “odd-ball” who preferred essay tests over the easy multiple choice ones. Some didn’t like it for I would set the standard for the “curve” or how many extra points the other classmates could get. God bless you! LaVancia


  18. emily says:

    I have been led to start this blog by my own tragedies, and was arrogant to think that I was the only one socially isolated and in pain, but here you are. I’m coming to terms with what’s left me physically, it was this that has caused my isolation not mental illness but I struggle much as you do and would let you know that I can understand that in your life at least. You show immense courage writing a blog, it shows that you accept your situation even if the emotional burden has yet to be determined. You’re obviously a very special soul, and I wish you continued support with your therapy as I know it will be for most if not all of your life. But that’s ok, as long as you remain safe in your own environment, and receive the friendship and love you deserve.
    Kind Regards,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dearest Emily,
      Thank you so much for your beautiful thoughtful words of encouragement. I am glad that I was able to reach out and touch another lonely soul. Everyone has a journey and I believe at some point in our lives, most of us ask the big why? question. I don’t profess to have any answers; however, I do have empathy and understanding that developed not from a textbook in college, but from real life experiences…I always like telling people that I hate soap opera’s because my LIFE has Been a soap opera and I am so happy that the majority of the drama has subsided…I will look into your new blog soon and by the way, I love the peach rose picture…LaVancia


  19. Very brave. To release pain from your system is the only way to purge it. And you are doing that admirably. All the very best to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. You have an amazing story…I look forward to listening to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It certainly has been something I wouldn’t have ever chosen; however, being that control is somewhat an illusion in many aspects, it appears that someone had different ideas about what my life’s direction should be. I don’t share my story to “sensationalize” it; but to offer a real glimpse into the illusion of control of the mind and how quickly even the most smartest and loving individuals can lose reality. Thanks for following my blog. Sincerely, LaVancia


  21. I’m so happy I found your blog. You have a powerful story to tell about mental illness and the criminalization of it. You are very brave to tell your story but I hope you continue. Get it published. It’s important.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I am happy to hear that for I still struggle with motivation at times. I am a perfectionist and have difficulty deciding just how I want to present my story and send the best message of not only the way the system needs to change, but how there is hope even for the sickest people…

      Liked by 1 person

      • My takeaway was how badly you were treated. People who are so obviously ill should not be placed in jails and especially in solitary confinement. You told your story well.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much. I never knew I had much talent in writing until my senior year of high school…I guess it comes naturally given the fact that both my parents are college educated and both took on jobs that require skills in communicating effectively – not in just the written word, but in speech as well. My dream is to write this book under a pen name and after a while, reveal my true name and then go to high schools and colleges and speak about sz and crime through a organization like NAMI or something…

        Liked by 1 person

      • That would be a great way to turn a negative into a positive.


  22. Nienna says:

    So moving and none of it was your fault. Thanks for sharing your story as it will help to educate people. Blessings to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Bing says:

    An intriguing discussion is worth comment. There’s no doubt that that you need to publish more about this subject, it might not be a taboo subject but usually people do not
    speak about such topics. To the next! Best wishes!!


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