top of page

Interview with author David Rabadi

As the first Jordanian to come out publicly in Yonkers, NY, writer and mental health and LGBTQ advocate, David Rabadi learned early on in his life he couldn’t conform to the norms surrounding him, but it took some time before he spoke out about his personal truth. In his book, “How I Lost My Mind and Found Myself,” Rabadi chronicles his self-discovery with his sexual identity and mental illness.

Between an exciting writing career and certain difficult psychotic episodes, Rabadi writes about the highs and lows he traversed along his path and what he’s learned. Written with compelling honesty, his book can serve as a guiding light for others to find their path and walk into a meaningful life. Although Rabadi has received both positive and critical responses to his candor, he attests that living anything less than one’s truth robs them of a fulfilling existence.

When did your foray into writing begin?

When I first started writing, I was first doing poetry, and I remember being a senior in high school, and I just started writing how I felt. I didn’t think of myself before that as a writer. I didn’t think about wanting to write. I was just curious to write my thoughts, and I would turn them into poems. Then, ten years later, I was given this opportunity with Splash Worldwide to come on board as a journalist. I’d go to fashion week and different events that would happen around the city and just write about it. I didn’t like writing about events; I liked the part where I could interview someone. My first interview was with Nigel Barker from America’s Next Top Model. I went to fashion week, but I didn’t want to write about fashion shows. I would rather do Q&As. I thought that would be an issue for them, but it wasn’t. They were like, okay, that’s great. If you can get in contact with whoever it is that you want to, and do a Q&A, then we’re all for it. So, that’s when I started writing Q&As at 27 years old for Splash Worldwide. And it was weird because I had this opportunity that most people die for, but I kind of just fell upon this opportunity. I never thought of having a writing career before or wanting to write books. It wasn’t something that growing up I thought I wanted to do. On the journey, I started to feel like I have a story myself that I need to get out there. Writing this book has been very therapeutic and healing. I’m excited that I was able to put it out in the world. I look forward to continuing on my writing career and seeing what other opportunities may come.

I’m sure many, myself included, would call you courageous for daring to live in a way that isn’t congruent with how you grew up. What bolstered that courage and candor?

I knew that something had to change, and I knew that if I don’t make the change, then I’m hoping someone else would make the change. And I couldn’t just wait on someone else, because who knows when that would happen? Change needed to happen. I needed to come to terms with where I was at in my life, who I am in my life, and that I matter. That’s important. My memoir is about being Middle Eastern and gay and having Bipolar Disorder. So there are two stigmas I’m fighting. One is being gay. Especially in the Middle Eastern culture, it’s very taboo. And the other is having a mental illness, and they’re both used in negative lights to this day. That’s sad. I knew I didn’t want to create more mayhem in my life, so I had to take a stand and decide that I’m going to share my story and be an example of someone who was courageous enough to live their truth and inspire others to do the same. To me, it’s very sad, heart-wrenching, that still in the Middle East people get jailed or even killed for being gay. I know that it’s a lot harder for people in the Middle East. I’m lucky enough that I live in the United States, but I still lived with my family and they instilled that culture into us, me, and my siblings. I knew that if I didn’t make a change, it was just going to be a dreadful rest of my life, feeling inadequate or not good enough. In essence, I think the simplest thing to do is just accept who you a