Name: Jenn Scinto

Pronouns: She/her

Location: California


Artist Title: Published Writer, Artist 
Jenn Scinto is a wife to her best friend, dog mom & lover, published author & writer, artist, marketing communications professional, mental illness and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome advocate, and cyclist. She has lived with severe OCD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Major Depression Disorder for the past 36 years.  She has been on over a couple dozen medications and in therapy since the age of 9. Jenn was also diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome a few years ago, which was very traumatic and life changing. CRPS is a rare nervous system disorder & the most painful chronic pain condition rated on the McGill Pain Scale. Through her writing and art, she conveys her struggles with mental illness, and hopes to decrease the stigma and help others struggling not feel so alone. Jenn was inspired to start creating art again after being in a 30-day mental health residential facility in early 2021. Jenn has a short story and poem published in a 2010 anthology, “Check Mates: A Collection of Fiction, Poetry and Artwork about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, by People with OCD,” which can be found on Amazon, as well as several other published writings on The Mighty.  You can also follow her art on Instagram.
Lab Rat Buried Alive
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Lab Rat Buried Alive - Jennifer Scinto.jpg
This art piece, “Lab Rat Buried Alive,” embodies and portrays my lifelong struggle finding medications that help my OCD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Major Depression Disorder, and most recently Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, a rare nervous system disorder & the most painful chronic pain condition rated on the McGill Pain Scale.  The never-ending trial and error of finding medications that work is a painful, hopeless, and mentally and physically draining ongoing process. Since the age of 9 (so 27 years), I have been on, and tried over 2 dozen medications, with little-to-no success, with the exception of maybe 1 medication early on.  Having medication-resistant illnesses is so utterly difficult and hopeless, because, as my artwork portrays, it feels like you’re just a lab rat, being buried alive with medications that don’t work and cause negative side-effects.  I’m currently on several medications that don’t work, and I feel like all the medications I’ve been on my whole life are poisoning my body, without the benefit of positive effects.  It’s a surreal feeling to not even know what it feels like to not be on medications.  How would I feel without them?  Who would I be?  Would I feel better?  I often wish I could start anew and wean myself off all my meds and start over.  However, the process of weaning off meds is extremely difficult on the body and mind and so very daunting. I feel like my Psychiatrist is running out of ideas, and medications are just being thrown at me – burying me alive and rendering me hopeless and paralyzed.  Am I nothing more than just a lab rat? I hope that this art piece helps others that are struggling to find medications that work for them not feel so alone.  I also hope this helps to raise awareness for medication-resistant illnesses.
Get Me Out of Here
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Get Me Out of Here - Jennifer Scinto.jpg
A piece that embodies how it feels to be stuck in a dark, noisy brain, where you feel you can't escape the intrusive thoughts, anxiety, depression, and hopelessness.
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Resilient - Jennifer Scinto.jpg
A heart full of a lifetime of fresh and old wounds, but tender, loving, beautiful, and resilient nevertheless.  Having gone through so much in my life, this piece embodies all the heartache inflicted on me from mental illness, myself, and others.  But, my wounded heart is still resilient and loving despite all the hurt and trauma.  A polarity of pain and resilience.
Mental Health Questions
How had the pandemic affected your mental health as a woman/femme creative? Have certain things improved for you or have gotten worse?

The pandemic was hard on my OCD and marriage, and made my mental illness worse.  I had little contact with others which perpetuated me isolating myself.  But it was also easier because I had an excuse not to interact with others during my depression.

What is your power word or phrase that helps you overcome mental struggles?
I am a warrior

How do you think mental health/mental illness has affect you as a girl/woman/femme and how you’re perceived? How do your creative outlets help you manage your mental health?

I have always been identified as the "identified patient" and the sick one, which I've continued to perpetuate and see myself as.  As a female, I think it's more accepted, but the stigma is still so persuasive. My writings and art has helped me express my dark feelings and illnesses in a way that sometimes words cannot articulate.  While drawing or painting, it gets me out of my head for a bit, and I hope my art can help others.

What is something you wish people were more aware of that disproportionately affects women’s mental wellbeing? Do you use your art to raise awareness about this issue? If you have statistics/resources for this issue please share any!

I definitely use my art to raise awareness for mental illness and to help erase the stigma. Since women are more disproportionately affected (or at least share more) with mental illness, I want my art to help women and men not feel so alone -- that others are struggling like they are.