Tell us a little bit about yourself. (where are you from, family, hobbies)
My name is Brandon McCoy and I am from Lansing MI. I was raised primarily by my grandmother who had eight kids of her own but managed to struggle and work hard enough to help raise multiple generations
How has mental illness affected your life?
My entire life has consisted of struggling with mental illness, both within myself and so many others in my family. I suffer from bpd, anxiety, and ptsd that stems from sexual, physical, and emotional abuse received from more than a dozen people during the ages 2-14. Mental illness affected my ability to function in school as well as my ability to work. It has even ruined many relationships both intimate and professional through out my life and has even affected my overall physical health. Until the past few years I had been struggling silently with my mental health. I would always pretend to the best of my ability that I was happy and functional like any normal human being, when in actuality, I was unable to do simple tasks or even drive until I was 29 due to my random paralyzing anxiety attacks.
Why did you want to be a part of This Is My Brave?
There have been many highs and lows throughout my life as expected with these types of illnesses, but as of the past few years, and with the #metoo movement happening. I have been experiencing much darker and longer lows, bouts with suicidal thoughts and impulse, even struggling with my anxiety attacks disabling me again and living homeless off and on the past year. My entire life I have been using music as a safety blanket and often, I would only feel sane or at peace when writing instrumentals and playing them in nature or in bathrooms and stairwells... anywhere there was natural reverb. Music has literally kept me alive, but lately it's been hard to enjoy that even. I have been forcing myself to gig and play open mics through my anxiety to try and get comfortable with performing. It is my goal to do this as a career and one day excel to virtuoso status on guitar. I wanted to be apart of "This Is My Brave" as a stepping stone to challenge and prove to myself I can do it. I also hope doing this will jumpstart my brain, energize and inspire me to create more music.
What inspires you to get or stay mentally healthy?
I have had moments in life where during the high manic phase I was able to be extremely productive and successful. I got to experience periods of time being an asset to a community and starting a non profit to help artists like myself. I experienced being a mentor and teacher to younger musicians and taught underprivileged kids how to teach themselves guitar. It's during these times I felt most capable and at peace. I keep hoping and working towards getting back to that mental state and hope to figure out a way to sustain that mindset.
What do you hope the audience takes away from the show?
I'd like to hope we can walk away from this show with more empathy and understanding towards mental illness and it's effects on all of us as a community. But most of all I hope I can deliver a solid performance that allows the audience and myself to experience peace and be present within that moment. Because those moments are a big part of my healing and are literally what I live for.
Tickets are on sale NOW! Click the button below to order your tickets to meet Brandon 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 Lansing 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.