What’s the Upside of Psychosis? Or is there one?

Ashley Snow discovered an Upside to the Downside.

Professional actress Ashley Snow so radiates joy and warmth, it’s hard to imagine her trapped in depression. But for many years Ashley wasn’t able to teach, sing, dance, or participate in normal day to day activities.

After the birth of her first daughter Annabelle, Ashley experienced Post-Partum Depression. Three years later, at the beginning of her second pregnancy, her depression returned. With nausea so severe she couldn’t get out of bed, delusional thoughts resulting in anger, depression, and a withdrawal necessitating medication, she took a leave of absence from work and then daily life.

One week after her second daughter Sonora was born, Ashley experienced her first anxiety attack.

“Please don’t go to work today,” she begged her husband. “I can’t be alone with the children,” she explained. “I’m afraid I’ll hurt them.”

Her husband feared for his two young daughters and couldn’t understand what was happening to his wife and so Ashley drove herself to the hospital where she was admitted to the psychiatric ward. Three hospital stays, psychiatric counseling, and 31 medications (resulting in 90 pounds of weight gain) followed.

Ashley withdrew from reality and distanced herself from her daughters who went to day care. She spent days screaming and kicking holes in the walls or watching television and observing life happening around her.

“It was as though my soul couldn’t handle the pain and had to leave, and so was watching me from the corner. Outside myself.” The pain tormented her. It felt like every cell of her body was trying to jump out of her skin with no relief. She contemplated suicide several times though she really didn’t want to die—she just wanted the pain to stop.

Others described her as an “Empty Shell” with no sparkle or life in her eyes. “What you see is probably all you’ll get,” the psychiatrist warned. Her parents mourned the death of who Ashley was, but her husband believed that the college sweetheart he married the day after their graduation, would one day return.

And slowly she did. In 2015 Ashley experienced the faint ability to recognize time, followed by feelings she was actually in her body again. It was as if God had spoken to her, “If you find the gift in your struggle, you will heal your life.” Those words made her journal. She listed the good in every negative brought on by her psychosis.

*Break from responsibility *Did not have to work *Time to myself *Learned I need support and help from loved ones.

“When I realized that my condition was actually giving me what deep inside, I wanted and feared, I finally understood what ‘find the gift in your struggle and you will heal your life,’ really meant…. I didn’t want to hurt anymore, and I knew I had to take a small piece of ownership on my recovery.”

After articulating her needs, her husband helped create a schedule for short amounts of time she would be active with the family, followed by self-care so she could be stronger for others. “I learned how to ask for help instead of panicking myself sick and being incapable of helping.”

Ashley’s interest in activities returned, she interacted with others, got to know her daughters again, and even experienced adverse reactions to her anxiety medications. Then in March of 2018, she became a motivational speaker to help others through their own struggles.

At a Holistic Health Expo in London, Ashley Snow lectured on Breakthrough Mapping, the name she gave to the miraculous process and understanding of her own healing. She hoped for two rows of listeners.