about my galaxy brain

Hi folks! A lot of my artwork and public speaking are related to my mental health, so I’m collected my thoughts and some resources here for other folks in a similar space.

  • What my OCD is like: here
  • What changing meds is like: here
  • Go to therapy: here
  • Changing meds, round 2: here
  • What I’m thinking now: here

I have been in therapy for pretty much as long as I can remember. I was diagnosed with ADD and misdiagnosed with Major Depression at a young age. I tried Prozac and Adderall and I hated all of it. I felt like I lost my personality. In 2011, when I was 22, my psychiatrist at the time realized I had General Anxiety Disorder, not depression, and proposed I might have OCD. I started taking Wellbutrin because I had such a bad time on Prozac and it worked. It worked for eight years.

There are elements of my OCD that didn’t ever go away, but my symptoms became manageable. Until suddenly they weren’t. Starting in 2018ish, my meds slowly stopped working and my symptoms slowly became worse. Over the course of 2019, a new psychiatrist tried upping my dose of Wellbutrin to see if that would work and it did not.

Thanks to an insurance debacle, I had to find a new psych and am grateful to have found Apex Counseling Center. Because I’m on Medicaid, I am entitled to free psychiatry as long as I go to therapy, which is also free. This is a total game-changer and I want to recommend them to anyone in Baltimore looking for mental health support.

My new psych tapered me off of Wellbutrin and put me onto Zoloft. I took Zoloft for a month and it did not work. At first, I was extremely nauseated and sleepy, which was likely from Wellbutrin withdrawal, but it also made me feel numb and anxious in cycles. When I went back to my psych, he stopped the Zoloft immediately. I took several days off to let the Zoloft leave my system and then I started Lexapro. Lexapro also made me numb and anxious in cycles. They were both SSRIs, which made me nervous, but it is the best class of meds for treating OCD and anxiety, so we had to eliminate it as an option. Ultimately, I ended up on Effexor, which is an SNRI. My doctor ended up supplementing that with an anti-depressant called Doxepin, which has helped me with my sleep and also managing some COVID-related depressive episodes, and I take Concerta for my ADHD. My brain’s still not perfect, but it’s functioning better than it used to. Stay tuned.

Some resources that might be helpful:

If you need to talk or have questions or would like to see me talk about something, you can do that! The form is anonymous unless you tell me who you are, which is totally optional. I’d love to hear how I can help.

why Galaxy Brain Design?

If you spend a lot of time on the internet, you might be familiar with the galaxy brain — or expanding brain — meme.

As you can see, to the right, it’s several panels of cheesy New Age images, each depicting a mind more blown than the last.

Next to each panel, there’s a series of “smart-sounding but nonsensical linguistic escalations,” per NY Mag. “[The meme] itself evolved — from a meme about raw intelligence to a meme about argumentative sophistication.”

Urban Dictionary tells us that the phrase “galaxy brain” itself is “derivative from the expanding brain meme, where the most absurd position/behavior/belief is derisively paired with the largest brain” Essentially it went from being a way to say someone is very smart, if a bit esoteric, to implying someone is the Ancient Aliens guy.

What does that have to do with me, you know, aside from being very smart and a bit esoteric and, perhaps, well on my way to being the Ancient Aliens guy?

My brand is predicated closely on being my most honest self. A lot of my art is about navigating anxiety and OCD and interpersonal relationship and medication. I am a super cerebral person and I spend a lot of time inside my own brain. My therapist once told me that I was extremely self-aware and clarified that that was NOT a compliment. BUT! My brain is a super unreliable narrator. I craft conspiracy theories to explain why I feel bad and make unfounded assumptions about what’s happening around me. My anxiety disorders convince me that my most extreme thoughts are revelations — my most absurd thoughts feel aligned with the biggest brain.

I also think space is dope.

So: Galaxy Brain Design, LLC is here and I’m opting to celebrate the most honest version of myself. I had a good run as bridget makes stuff and I’m grateful for the opportunity to figure out who I am and what I’m about unencumbered by anything but my name and my propensity to make stuff — and I’m thrilled to be kicking off this new chapter! You can stay up-to-date by subscribing to my newsletter in the column on the right, or by following me on Instagram.

You can read more about my specific galaxy brain here.

adaptive impact planning | an alternative to strategic planning

Your Mission, if You Choose to Accept it: Evaluating Planning as a Preventative Approach to Nonprofit Mission Creep in a Visual Arts Context

Mission creep, or deviation from an organization’s stated mission, is a problem that affects nonprofit visual arts organizations at the most basic level. However, the sensitive nature of mission misalignment means that it is difficult to conduct research on the causes of mission creep. Anecdotal evidence suggests that organizational planning that focuses on an organization’s impact within its community is more likely to result in programming that successfully meets its mission and serves its stakeholders, thus avoiding mission creep.

This strategy, which I’ve termed adaptive impact planning, prepares an organization to make decisions that are in line with their missions and their founding intent. The American Alliance of Museums should more actively encourage planning, in order to create a positive association with conversations about mission, and should seek out quantitative data regarding the relationship between planning and mission success in order to determine what has helped organizations like The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles to successfully navigate mission management while others have failed to remain faithful to their mission statements

Download the full PDF of my thesis here.

Read a quick take on the process, which has been refined through

Shocktober | application prototype

Building a solution for The Arc of Greater Loudoun County to collect pledged donations. The Arc’s annual fundraising event, Shocktober, includes a partner program called the Trail of Terror. Shocktober visitors are referred to businesses included on the Trail. Each business provides a discount to customers and donates a portion of the proceeds back to The Arc.

This report outlines a web app we designed to keep track of those visits so The Arc can more effectively collect the appropriate funds.

Techniques and processes:

  • Conducted background research and wrote a literature review about cross-sector partnerships between nonprofit and for profit entities
  • Established design goals and considerations based on our client brief
  • Conducted moderated paper prototype testing with rapid re-iteration
  • Conducted moderated and unmoderated technical prototype , employing Axure

Major Contributions:

  • Wrote the following sections: Relevant Background Research, Cross-Sector Partnerships, Design Considerations, The Technical Prototype, Final Recommendations
  • Created paper prototypes, conducted moderated testing
  • Built technical prototype in Axure, conducted moderated testing and unmoderated testing
  • Designed and formatted report

Literature Review:

Woodbury-Lit-Review-Revised.docx

Final Report:

Leonard-Woodbury-IDIA612-Final-Paper

Final Presentation:

Leonard-Woodbury-Final-Presentation