by The Bathtub Project
Date of Interview: June 15, 2016
Name: Lauren Dove
Location: Washington, DC
Do you enjoy living in DC?
I want to stay in DC. I do, I like DC. I moved here around August, and with how things have turned out I’m planning on staying for awhile.
Where did you move here from?
I moved here from Seattle. I was living in Seattle for a year. So… my partner, John, is in the military and got stationed here, so, yeah. And I knew somebody in the Lamont Street Collective, and got in touch with them saying. “look, I’m here in this area.” Came down here and started hanging out, now I’m working in Mt. Pleasant.
Are you passionate about art or activism?
I am passionate about both! I have an art degree. I try to be active where it matters. where it counts. I’ve been kind of active since I’ve been in DC. Medical marijuana activism and marijuana legalization activism. I use substances often, I use marijuana daily and then use other substances… uh… “as needed.” Kind of like recreationally. Mostly like, acid and mushrooms. I use them to understand myself more. And uhh… marijuana I use mainly to treat my bipolar disorder. Any kind of, anything that alters my mind, I try to use substances accordingly. In concurrence with my bipolar disorder, either using it to bring myself down, or to balance myself out in some way. I try to do it in some responsible manner, and from a deep place or self-awareness. No willy-nilly using.
Have you ever had a breakthrough, using substances with mental health?
Oh absolutely. I think that the first time I used LSD was a life changing experience. And that was three years ago, probably. I was in Colorado, and it was negative 25 degrees outside, and I tripped in my house by myself. And I ended up going on the most incredible walk. Like six good hours by myself of just tripping in my house. And most of it was spent looking at things, listening to records, internalizing a lot. It was really beautiful and hard to explain. It was one of those things… I’m not spiritual at all, or religious, but if I could say anything was remotely spiritual in my life, it would be that first LSD trip.
What do you think is one of the most prominent things you’ve learned about yourself?
I’ve learned that… that I can’t quite do what other people do. Let me give you some context. A couple years ago, I was living in Philadelphia and had some really great opportunities working in design and had a career kind of going for me, but I learned from that, and the immediate post-college graduate experience, trying to find a job, trying to make a name for myself, umm… ’cause that’s what you’re supposed to do… You’re supposed to graduate, get out, do what you went to school for, and be successful… And instead of that happening, was actually I was on prescription medication for a long time with my psychiatrist and I had a COMPLETE break. And one of the things I’ve learned about myself in the past couple years, is that I can’t DO things the way that normal people do. I understand my limits in a much better way. And I realize that, you know, sleep is important. Umm, that an office job is just certainly not for me. I’ve suffered a couple mini mental collapses to be where I am at the moment, and whether that involves drugs or not, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. But what I have learned is that I can’t do things the way that other people can do. I can’t drink. Drinking will send me into the hospital. Drinking will actually give me a really bad mental response. So I avoid alcohol. It’s been weird, my life has been really weird. Sequence of trial and error. And a lot of the errors that most people do in their everyday life, but for whatever reason I fucking can’t, so… you know, it’s fine. I’ve learned what works, and what doesn’t, and I’m much happier for it. Instead of trying to force something, which is what I was doing for a long period of time.
What are you most afraid of for yourself?
I’m actually afraid, or mildly afraid, of success. Career success, typically. Because I won’t know what to do with myself. I feel like that might be the nail in the coffin. If I actually succeed in my career… then I’ll be miserable. That’s actually my greatest fear. Everything else, I feel like I’ve dealt with before. So basically, fear of the unknown. So maybe it won’t happen, and I’ll live fearless. I don’t know.