We're so excited to introduce you to our Des Moines, Iowa cast of storytellers! The show is on Friday, March 31st at the Temple Theater in Des Moines. Tickets are on sale now! Let's get to know Des Moines storyteller, Chelsey Smith!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m from a small town --Carlisle, Iowa – which is a suburb of Des Moines. I have been in the Des Moines area my entire life, and truly love it here. I am an introvert at heart, although upon meeting me, you will be fooled to believe that I am an extrovert. When I’m not at work, I love to read a good book, journal, spend time with my girlfriends, watch sporting events, go to coffee shops or out to dinner. I also love to volunteer. I am an only child and have a very small family. We’re a pretty close knit group. I have a BA from Grand View University in Des Moines and am a proud alum. I love to keep learning and growing in all the ways that I can.
How has mental illness affected your life?
Mental illness has affected every facet of my life….but if I was going to highlight the top two ways – it would be in jobs and relationships. Relationships have always been more difficult for me because of the intensity of my emotions. I am very passionate – and when you pair passion with constant irrational thoughts – it turns out to be a bad combination. I find it very difficult to explain myself, which in turn isolates and pushes me away from those I want to be the closest to.
Why did you want to be a part of This Is My Brave?
I wanted to be part of This Is My Brave because I want to show the audience (and the public in general) that seemingly “normal” and successful people often struggle with mental illness. I also want to bring a better understanding to people who have never struggled with it. The more we bring it to the light, the more others will feel comfortable opening up about their own struggles.
I am tired of the facade. As much as I want to hide from who I really am, I also have an equal desire to open up about it. I am hoping to give people who are closest to me a better insight into some of the things they have experienced with me.
What inspires you to get or stay mentally healthy?
I’m inspired to stay mentally healthy because it gives me a sense of accomplishment. It’s like – I am fighting this huge battle day in and day out and I’m doing it! I’m conquering it. It gives me strength and confidence in myself that I can do the hard things. I fail on many occasions, but I get up the next day with a fresh desire to try again. Hope is what keeps me going. Hope that it can and will get better with the right care.
What do you hope the audience takes away from the show?
I hope the audience gains a more compassionate view of those who struggle with mental illness. I hope they are able to see mental illness with a fresh set of eyes and learn that it can often be something out of our control. I hope the audience gains a desire to love, support, encourage those who struggle.
In three weeks Chelsey and her cast mates will take the stage to share true, personal stories about surviving and thriving, despite mental health issues. We hope to see you there!