Nikki DuBose is a mental health advocate, ambassador, public speaker and writer. She is also a former model who has experienced the dark side of the fashion industry. Her harrowing journey includes childhood abuse, addiction, self harm, rape, eating disorders, psychosis and various other mental health issues. It’s undoubtable a frightening read, but an important one.
We follow Nikki from childhood, through her years as a teenager and as an adult. Divided into chapters with focus on different themes, she provides us with an honest account of what was going through her head at the time and how she experienced it. It’s refreshing to read something so raw and sincere.
Read the full review at TheTrueSea.
I’ve spent many an afternoon wandering around the library. To me the library has always been a place of opportunity, and it has helped me find books that ignite new interests and explain unknown worlds to me. I’ve loved collecting books over the years, and looking back at my favourites reminds me if where I was at that point in my life, how I was feeling and what I was doing.
Having depression and anxiety means I often look for answers in the books I read. Recently I reflected on some of the books that helped me make sense of my own mental illness and it’s something that I think you might find helpful, so I’ve listed my top 3 books below.
Read the full article at Fiona Likes to Blog.
I had no idea what to expect going into this book. I never thought I’d finish the thing in just a few days and feel so utterly connected to someone I’d never met. Knowing Nikki’s story has reminded me why I started to write about mental illness online, even though it often leaves me feeling vulnerable to expose myself to the world.
Read the full review at Fiona Likes to Blog.
If you are looking for a story about a remarkable human being, with perseverance and resilience, who describes her horrifying and haunting life story with candor and courage, than I highly recommend Washed Away: From Darkness To Light, a memoir by Nikki DuBose with James Johanson. It is definitely not a light read – so be forewarned now. Washed Away is emotionally wrenching, compelling and brutally honest, truly providing insight into the mind of someone with mental illness and allowing the reader to understand her deepest and darkest thoughts.
Read the full review at Slay Girl Society.
I could feel the sadness creeping up again, like an unwelcome relative looking over my shoulder and breathing down my neck. I didn’t want it to come, but it did, and I knew that I was helpless to stop it. And then it washed over me; it poured down like a river of madness, and bathed me in uncertainty. As the tears poured down my face and I crawled into bed, I wanted nothing other than to end my own life. Again. But I couldn’t move. I was drowning and stuck staring into nothingness, and the nothingness was ripping my heart apart. As much as I wanted to end my life, I had no energy to get up and do it.
Some time went by, and the energy slowly came back into my body. I muddled around and managed to answer work emails, walk my dog, feed myself and finish some schoolwork. As I drifted around the house and tried to connect with life again, my phone rang. It was a friend, calling to check up on me. My brain told me not to answer it, and I listened. Tomorrow, or maybe the next day, I told myself. Right now, right now I need rest.
Read more on Psych Central.
Today I’m announcing my first guest blogger, Nikki DuBose! Nikki is a friend, model, and actress turned author, speaker, and mental health advocate. Nikki and I have been working together recently with the common interests such as education about eating disorders, and have been teaming up to find ways to encourage girls in their desire to find acceptance in that the answer is only in Christ. You can find out more about Nikki at her website at http://nikkidubose.com.
I interviewed Nikki and asked her questions about her eating disorder in the modeling industry, and she was refreshingly open in her responses:
Read more on CheriseShaddix.com
Once upon a time, there lived a little girl in Charleston with a big heart and a great lust for life. Although she held a fascination for the world, she was helpless to explore it. Braces covered her legs, and whenever she walked, she took stiff steps. Her adopted mother and father prayed every day for her limbs to move with grace, but the doctors gave no hope. They learned to accept the fate of their precious child, and they did their best to make her life comfortable.
When the rain came down, she listened in bed and delighted in the sounds. Shadows from the drizzling water reflected off her bedroom walls, causing her to drift into a fantasy universe. It was an enchanted place, filled with underwater fairies that guided her to faraway lands. In these lands, she was free to run through lush fields full of magical flowers.
She went to her special world as often as she could, and with every trip, she felt the strength returning to her body. Soon, she believed that she was invincible, just like every other girl and boy. But the strength lasted only in this place, and not in her waking life.
One day, as she relaxed in the grass and peered up at the powder blue sky, she noticed a dove as white as snow, soaring in-between the clouds. She watched in amazement as it glided through the atmosphere like an angel before descending and landing on her shoulder. Suddenly, she felt an overwhelming sense of joy and peace; this presence was familiar, and she recognized it as the spirit of Jesus. Her body softened, and she was infused with a new strength: a healing power full of grace and love.
Light shone into her eyes, and she inhaled and drifted into consciousness. The little girl returned to her waking life, but she did not feel Jesus leave her. She yawned and sat up on the bed, and as she turned her body, she noticed a peculiar sensation in her legs. Her eyes widened, and she threw off the covers and gazed down. She slid forward; one of her feet touched the cold wooden floor then the other. She allowed herself to continue rising while holding onto the bed and released to find herself standing without braces. She took a step, and another, and for the first time in her life, she walked by herself.
This little girl was my momma, Sandy.
– Washed Away: From Darkness to Light pg. 261
My momma, Sandy, was a fighter all of her life. She was born with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects a person’s body movement and muscle coordination. Currently, there is no cure for Cerebral Palsy, rather, it is a condition that an affected individual and family members learn how to manage. As a child, my mother walked with braces around her legs and tried to hide them underneath her long, cotton dresses. I don’t know if she felt sad or ashamed, but from the few pictures I saw of her during that time, she was always smiling and holding her fluffy, calico cat. I think that animals brought a lot of comfort for her, a way for her to cope with the mixed feelings she experienced from being adopted and having a physical disability.
Then one day, she had that dream; the dream of a dove that flew down from Heaven and sat on her shoulder. The next morning when she woke up, she walked for the very first time in her life without braces. The doctors were shocked; they had never seen such a thing before. Momma had experienced a miracle, but she would eventually lose her battle to her demons. The mental ones.
To be continued.
For months, the ghostly occurrences escalated and stalled, like a horrifying roller coaster that I couldn’t get off of. When the summer came, the doll manifested into a presence, and I named her, The Lady Without A Body. At first, she showed herself when Momma and Stephen argued; then, she appeared whenever I was by myself.
With her curtain of ebony hair and milky skin, she looked exactly like Momma. The entity never left my side; all day and night she breathed on my neck and made malicious faces. I debated whether or not to tell Momma. Then one Sunday morning as we cleaned the house, I summoned some courage and spilled the beans.
“Momma, I’ve been seeing something—somebody. If I tell you, please don’t make fun of me.”
Read more on The Huffington Post.
“Nikki DuBose is an excellent example of the transformational powers of recovery. A former model turned author, speaker, and mental health advocate she had many experiences navigating the dark side of the modeling industry, while battling abuse, addiction, and various mental health issues (sexual victimization, eating disorders, alcoholism, drugs, depression, suicide attempts, body dysmorphic disorder, PTSD, psychosis). In her debut memoir Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, she intimately shares her process of destruction to regeneration. Tune into this week’s show to hear Nikki candidly talk about her path to healing.”
“Outskirts Press announces Washed Away: From Darkness To Light, the latest highly-anticipated biography & autobiography / personal memoirs book from Santa Monica, CA author Nikki DuBose With James Johanson.
September 30, 2016. Denver, CO and Santa Monica, CA – Outskirts Press, Inc. has published Washed Away: From Darkness To Light by Nikki DuBose with James Johanson, which is the author’s most recent book to date. The 6 x 9 black & white paperback in the biography & autobiography / personal memoirs category is available worldwide on book retailer websites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble for a suggested retail price of $27.95. The webpage at www.outskirtspress.com/washedawayfromdarknesstolight was launched simultaneously with the book’s publication.”
Read more on Outskirts Press.
“I think we all come to a point in our lives when we don’t know what to do; when we are faced with that moment it can leave us feeling helpless and hopeless. Especially when you’ve dealt with trauma, eating disorders, addictions, and various mental health issues, having to deal with difficult decisions can seem impossible. The coping mechanisms that we’ve used for so long are no longer there to act as our security blankets, and therefore, we have to navigate through life on our own two feet —and that’s scary.”
Read more on Recovery Warriors.
“Charleston native Nikki Dubose, 30, grew up immersed in chaos. She had an alcoholic mother with dissociative identity disorder and bipolar disorder. She was physically abused at age 4 and sexually abused at age 8, which is the same year she started binge eating. Overeating turned into purging by age 10, which eventually morphed into anorexia nervosa.”
Read more on South Magazine.
“Today’s guest is Nikki Dubose, a former fashion model, host, and commercial actress who recovered from a 17 year battle with anorexia and bulimia.
In this episode we discuss:
* Why the fashion industry needs to be better educated about eating disorders.
* What it’s like to recover while dealing with body dysmorphic disorder
* How 12 Step and faith can help you discover a new self in recovery.”
Listen to the podcast here.
“8 Ways Your Struggle Brings Gifts
- They make us stronger. That’s right — after recovering from a lifetime of abuse, eating disorders, drug addiction and alcoholism, one thing is for certain, I am a stronger person. I don’t see my former addictions and mental health issues as a downside, rather as things that have made me more powerful, able to tackle anything life brings my way.
- They help shape our character. Of course we are all born with character, but I believe that my struggles have sharpened mine. With every challenge we face, our character is being built, so we can choose to see troubles as a blessing.”
Read more on Recovery Warriors.
“I’ll never forget that fateful day when the horrible memories resurfaced. Although blurry and confusing, one thing was clear; I had been touched in places I shouldn’t have. Held down for far too long until I felt like I was going to perish from suffocation. A crimson, misshapen face, rough hands and chapped lips signaled my demise. As I sat alone in my bedroom and gazed into unwelcoming silence, one after another the past flooded my brain like a movie. A film that I, the prisoner, watched in unrelenting horror.”
Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.
caress my skin
melting into the stars.
©2015 Nikki DuBose
“’Does God exist?’ The question looms largely in our society today. Just mentioning religion or politics is enough to spark a heated debate anywhere, anytime. Your God, my God, no God, and let’s not forget the gods of different religions, cultures and mythologies.
Some are compelled to research the history of this so-called creator of life, and need scientific proof that such a supernatural being could exist. Others of us, however, believe with innocent faith, and tell openly of about our devotion and miraculous experiences.”
Read more on Recovery Warriors.
The nights were uncertain
the days trembled too
yet on and on I carried
lit my way
You brought me through.
©2015 Nikki DuBose
My journey continued as I made my way through the Pacific Northwest, where the air transpired into a deep, icy chill but the overwhelming beauty of the nature warmed my soul. I was surrounded by trees of all flavors; cranberry, amber, and evergreens resembled the make-believe winter villages I had come to adore as a child. My family liked to collect bits and pieces of a running train set every year, and it was set in an imaginary place, similar to the picturesque countrysides of Oregon and Washington.
I ended my exploration at the magical islands just south of Victoria, and here I feel at peace. When I look around, and gaze at the glorious spendlor that envelopes me, I can’t ever question that God exists. How wonderful He is, and how Blessed I am to be in the midst of serenity, here in my special place.
Step Eight requires tremendous doses of humility and courage as we ponder over the courses of our lives who we have hurt while living in our addictions. Sometimes we have mistreated others and were not even aware that we had done so. As we begin to meditate on those who had been affected by our irresponsibility we quickly find that we can list a slew of of people we had hurt.
This was a tough step for me the first couple of times I went through early recovery and now I really try not to hurt others. I may not always be where I need to be but with God’s help thank God I am not where I used to be! Take heart and know that although your healing journey may seem difficult or like a long road to walk on, that it is a path filled with healing and with healing comes many blessings and happiness. And we all deserve to be happy! Most importantly we all need to learn how to treat other people with kindness and love so this is a very important step to accomplish but with God’s help you can do it one day at a time.
Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for the following questions.
1. How have I failed to respect the property of others.
2. Have I been so harmed or condemned by others that I have avoided responsibility for myself. By whom and when.
3. What excuses have I used for not looking at my behaviors.
1. In what areas have I unintentionally harmed others with my words/moods/self-pity/depression/anger/or fears.
2. In what ways have I acted thoughtlessly without regard for others’ needs or feelings. When; To Whom;
1. Have I been putting off making a list because I am afraid of some responses. Whose.
2. Have I held on to shame about a certain incident or relationships. What am I willing to do to let go so that I can become willing to make amends.
3. Is there someone I am having trouble forgiving who blocks my willingness. Who.
1. How have I allowed isolation due to shame and guilt to keep me from supportive relationships.
2. What is the role of shame and guilt in my isolation.
3. Am I willing to forgive myself for the hurt I have caused others. Write a prayer of willingness to forgive and ask for God’s grace to heal these relationships.
Forgiven to Forgive
1. Are there people on my list that I am having trouble forgiving for their part in our relationship. Who and Why.
2. What keeps me from letting others off the hook. Fear/Resentment/Caretaking.
3. What blocks me from forgiving others for the wrongs done to me.
a. Fear of what others would think of me. (Pride).
b. Fear of letting others see my hurts.
c. Fear of conflict. Protecting others feelings to avoid conflict.
The Fruit of Forgiveness
2 Corinthians 2:5-8
1. Is there anyone on my list whose behavior I do not approve. Who. Why.
2. Am I willing to let go of judgement and disapproval to open myself to working this step.
3. Have I been so afraid of rejection that I have delayed willingness to make amends. Who could reject me and why.
1. What “crop” did I sow while practicing my addiction.
2. Describe the correlation between healthy living and acceptance of the consequences for my addiction/behavior: