My name is Alex Lasa and I've been dealing with mental illness all my adult life. In my early 20's I had my first psychotic break a short time after I transferred from our local community college to the University of Miami. I loved music, wrote original songs, and had ambitious plans to become an audio engineer/producer. At that time I had financial, scholastic, biological, and emotional factors affecting my thought processes. I started having strange thoughts and visions. These thoughts were erratic and started affecting my reality. I found myself dropping in and out of school. I was isolated, alone, and afraid and no one seem to know or care about what was happening to me. I had things I wanted to accomplish, but my mental health was an obstacle I could not circumvent.
I've realized over the years that my mental illness has a way of clouding my judgement and this affects my life. When I face situations and life challenges I may tend to feel overwhelmed and as if a problem has no solution. The anxiety, racing thoughts, and hopelessness are overpowering. In the past my insecurities would take over and I would assume the worst possible outcome. I would shut down completely. As a result, I would feel worse and continue the downward spiral until a self fulfilling prophecy would manifest itself. The cycle would feed on itself until I would become psychotic. Today with medications and treatments I am somewhat able to control these ruminating thoughts, but must constantly fight to keep a balance.
Mental Health Advocacy has become a crusade for me. I've found a sense of purpose by sharing my story with the world and by giving a voice to the many who go unheard and unnoticed like I did for so many years. In my quest for support I found organizations such as the Key Clubhouse of South Florida and NAMI Miami-Dade. It was during one of NAMI's Mental Health film festivals that I met my lovely girlfriend Program Coordinator Denise Llerena. As a NAMI representative she happened to come across an email from This Is My Brave. They were looking for people willing to share their story. She forwarded the email to me since she knew I was passionate about music. I sat on the email for a while until one day I got inspired and signed up for the audition. Denise was surprised and excited for me when I made the show. It is like the perfect fit for me: Music and Mental Health. I feel this may be the moment for me to share my music, my story, and my illness and the possibility that it may help somebody process really just makes all the struggles seem worthwhile. At this point I am really glad to be a part of This Is My Brave.
I've been dealing with mental illness all of my adult life. It's only now that I'm in my late 40's that I feel I've learned how to manage it. After being in denial for many years I finally accepted it and began taking my treatments seriously. I now believe that it's just like any other illness. Illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. To maintain my mental health I take all my medications as prescribed, see my counselors and physicians on a regular basis, and make sure to reach out and stay in touch with my support system at all times.
One thing I want the audience to take away from my performance is that mental illness can be managed and that not all people with mental illness are violent. We have dreams and aspirations even though in some cases it may not appear so on the surface. Most of us are just doing the best we can. Many suffer in silence and reach a point where they may no longer be able to contain their grief. We need to help them break that silence. Communities need to respond and act together before it's too late.
Tickets are on sale NOW! Click the button below to order your tickets to meet Alex and more brave storytellers. This is one mental health performance you won't want to miss!
Please share this post with friends and family in the Ft. Lauderdale area. We're all affected by mental health and addiction issues, and the more we can support each other, the easier it will be for people to seek help. This Is My Brave is proof that Storytelling Saves Lives.