“Fragapane Phobia” is a 40-inch by 30-inch oil on canvas painting with pins, balloons and candles attached. I paint popped balloons on top of a green, blue, and pink gradient. Throughout the image I impale the balloons with colorful metal pins, some of which are holding up real popped balloons hanging aside the painted ones. On top of the painting, I have 23 birthday candles with 22 of them having been melted as, at the time, I had celebrated 22 birthdays. A birthday is usually thought of as a bright time in our lives and a celebration. However, if someone struggles with the idea of life in general, the birthdays become a record of the days that we have lived rather than a means to look toward the future. Each one that we experience becomes further masked in uncertainty for the future. At times it becomes difficult to predict whether we are going to make it to our next one, and for some who plan out their deaths, it can be an out of body experience when they make it to a birthday that they did not think they would have. This depiction of a celebration that has ended is deeply evocative of the many lives that have been lost due to the mental health crisis we are experiencing in America. It is painful to know that each day, someone new becomes a victim of their own mind. My hope is that this painting solidifies the necessity that when someone says they need help, that we each reach out a hand and offer that help.