1.) Born and raised primarily on the East Coast, I am the middle child of three girls. My parents divorced while I was away in college at Arizona State University, and each moved to different states. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, but my passion has always been for Psychology and Behavioral Health,
which is the field I transitioned to over 12 years ago. My family is not close with each other at all, but they do try to be supportive. Since moving back to the East Coast in 2007, I have been able to improve my relationship with my mother, and a part of my niece and nephew’s lives.
2.) Mental Illness has affected my life in every way imaginable. In addition to psychiatric symptoms, a trauma-filled past has made some areas of my life significantly more challenging. I have significant memory impairment prior to age thirteen, from sustained traumas which continue to impact me today. Moving so frequently growing-up, combined with mental illness made friendships difficult. My recovery journey has included in several misdiagnoses, and separation from some immediate family. Conversely, mental illness has also been a/the driving force in my life journey and professional career in the field of mental health and advocacy.
3.) I am participating in “TIMB” to educate the public, family and/or friends (including my own), that MI is not voluntary, it is a disease whose stigma must not be feared but, must be educated about and understood. Most importantly, I want people to know that although MI can be extremely debilitating, often scary (for all involved), and at times simply infuriating, that recovery is different for each individual, but that Recovery is Possible!
4.) Initially my “inspiration(s)” for recovery came from various people or places. Today however, my inspiration comes from refusing to give up, aiming to fulfill my dream of becoming a Licensed
Professional Counselor (LPC), and ultimately be happy. I am driven to achieve this by my support dog, McKinley, my niece and two nephews who look up to me, and whom I want to be a role model and confidant in their lives. I have an amazing treatment team and support network in my life, and want to be an example for others who may be struggling, or know of someone who is, that MI does not mean your life/world ends, it just takes a different path.
5.) I hope the audience takes away from this show that education, understanding and believe recovery is possible for those with MI. I would like the audience to understand “MI is a disease”, it is “Not a choice”, and by openly discussing or educating not only themselves, but others too, the Stigma associated with having a mental illness can dissipate. Lastly, I wish the audience will have a better understanding about MI, and may be able to better support or encourage someone to seek, or who is receiving professional help.
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Please share this post with friends and family in the Northern Virginia 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.