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Candis Y. McDow

Author, Poet, Freelance Writer, and

Mental Health Advocate.

Candis Y. McDow is an author, poet, freelance writer, and mental health advocate. Her mental health journey of recovery began in October 2014, only two months after experiencing the most terrifying experiences of her life.

August 2014, after returning from a family vacation in New Smyrna Beach, FL, Candis went to a new doctor closer to her home to alleviate the nonstop itching all over her body from being eaten up by no-see-um bug bites, as well as worsening ear pain. She was prescribed a high dosage of Prednisone (a steroid) to take care of the bites, and what follows is an up-heel battle of unfortunate events.

She woke up on day two of taking the steroid feeling as if electricity was flowing through her body; after conversing with her mom (who had always encouraged her to read the side effects for all medicines taken), Candis was convinced it would go away after their exercise class (jokes on her). By day four, she began to hear voices of chaos which included loud screams from a woman she assumed was her neighbor being beaten by her boyfriend, gunshots, people crying, and a world of disgruntled souls. And as if things couldn’t get any worse, on day five, Candis attempted suicide in the bath…twice!

Candis was taken to the emergency room by her mother after rejecting transportation from EMT. She was eventually admitted to a Behavioral Health Hospital where she stayed for a week. After getting out Candis and her family felt as though her diagnosis wasn’t sufficient, as she’d never displayed signs of a mental illness ever in life, so she stopped taking the medicine. In October 2014, Candis had another manic episode which led her back to the Behavioral Health Hospital, and after this stay is when Candis and her mom took things seriously. No longer was there any doubt, shame, or denial, and her family (her greatest support system) followed suit. Candis and her mom began to educate themselves about mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder, and this turning point changed the entire trajectory of her life.

It took Candis one visit to meet and trust her psychiatrist because she treated her like a human being and didn’t diagnose her or prescribe her any medicine on their first encounter. However, it took two months to find the proper medication that worked for her. And as time passed, Candis was able to begin again and live, maneuvering differently due to the changes in her new life; she wiped her lenses clean and finally saw her purpose clearer than ever.

Proudly, Candis hasn’t had a relapse since October 2014, and her recovery continues as she’s been writing professionally since 2017, getting her first big break with a short story published through Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Really Did That? She has gone on to gain bylines with over 29+ online publishers (Cosmopolitan UK being the biggest thus far) with three being international. She also self-published a memoir entitled Half the Battle. Candis also does speaking engagements through RESPECT Institute sharing her story of recovery. As a mental health advocate, she believes getting the message out through stories is the best way to get people connected and engaged.

When Candis isn’t writing, she loves to paint, travel, watch movies, spend time with family and friends, Sing car karaoke at the top of her lungs, and attend concerts. At 32, she looks forward to continuing to make an impact in the world of mental health/illness and helping shatter the awful stigma that tries to destroy peers daily. She deeply believes there is power in standing in your truth unapologetically.


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