Hey! How’s it going? My name is Dale Wayne Williams. I’m 24 and I was born in Texas and raised in rural Northern Michigan. My parents met in the Army while stationed at Ft. Hood. We moved up to Michigan when I was two after my father left active duty and took a job as a police deputy in Clare County. I grew up on a 55-acre farm about 8 miles from a village of 900 people. I graduated high school at 16, got my bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology at 19, and currently work for Volunteers of America Michigan! I love movies, theatre, singing, dancing, the arts, and travelling.
Mental illness is what has always tried to hold me back and keep me from fully enjoying life. When I was younger, I thought I could do anything; however, as depression and anxiety took root in my psyche, I began to feel like I was nothing. I found myself withdrawing from the things I love, the people I loved, and the world in general. My teenage and early adult years were spent in a daily battle to find the will to live. Thankfully, I have found ways to grow beyond my illness and hope to continue an upward trajectory in my life. My mental illness will not be what defines and defeats me but is something I will use to be a kinder and stronger person.
I love telling stories whether they be myths, jokes, or life experiences. This Is My Brave gave me an outlet to combine one of my greatest passions with something that has had a profound impact on my life. Speaking with others about my struggles with depression and anxiety is not easy in many settings and despite knowing many people in my own life who live with mental illness, it is rarely talked about in an open and frank manner. When I first saw the social media posts about This Is My Brave and the work that is done to destigmatize the discussion of mental illness, I knew I had to be a part of this!
I am inspired to stay mentally healthy day in and day out by all the wonderful people I have met while teaching, performing, and otherwise working with Lansing community theaters. I was given an amazing opportunity to teach at a children’s theatre in East Lansing where I met many children who were struggling with many of the same things I did as an adolescent, namely depression, poor self-esteem, and bullying. With them looking up to me, I knew I had to stay mentally healthy to show them the amazing things life has to offer no matter what you are struggling with. I am doing this for all the kids who were like me, capable of doing anything, but being held back by their struggles.
Mental illness isn’t something to be ashamed of or even something that is uncommon or strange. Speaking openly about mental illness is the only way we can destigmatize it. Be willing to speak with others about what you are struggling with and be especially willing to listen!
Tickets are on sale NOW! Click the button below to order your tickets to meet Dale 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.