She is a mental health advocate, a writer, and YouTube creator who travels in her campervan across the United States with her service dog Raider, to improve the mental health care system for veterans and civilians alike. She deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in 2003 and was medically evacuated due to a non-combat, life-threatening illness. After medical retirement and a long period of recovery, she earned her bachelor’s in science in psychology and master’s in social work from Washington University in St. Louis. She was the first veteran since World War II to be inducted into WashU’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. As a leader in the St. Louis, Missouri student veterans community, she built and grew three new chapters and organized a consortium of chapters across the region. Some of Angela’s commendations include Veterans of Foreign Wars Legislative Fellow, Wounded Warrior Project Courage Award recipient, and a finalist for Student Veteran of the Year with Student Veterans of America. In addition, she has been a member of the WWP National Campaign Team since 2011, appearing in commercials, print, and other media ads and articles.
After enduring multiple traumas during her time in the military, she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress, major depression, and panic disorder with agoraphobia. Over a period of time, she was prescribed more than 30 psychiatric medications for her “conditions,” was hospitalized seven times, and sought treatment for many years until she finally listened to her intuition which told her there was another way to heal. Her story of overmedication after trauma appears in the film Medicating Normal (2020). During the past three years, she spearheaded the outreach of the film, hosting community screenings of Medicating Normal across the world. She created a safe container for members of the audience to critically think about our modern mental health industry, informed consent, and psychiatric drug use and withdrawal. You can follow her journey online @BeingHumanRV.