I was born in Fort Smith, Arkansas, but spent about half of my life in Wichita, Kansas. I have lived in Fayetteville for about 30 years and now this feels like home. I met my husband in Wichita and we were married for 30 years until he passed away in 2009. I have an adult son with autism, who is an incredible artist and historian. He, like most people with autism, has a narrow range of interests, but is totally compulsive about them. He knows the entire history of the US and Russian space programs and is fascinated with space travel. His collection of airplanes and space ship models is slowing outgrowing his apartment. My interests (hobbies) are gardening, herbal healing, quilting, embroidery, writing, reading, drawing, cooking.
My son, born with autism, has been misdiagnosed as mentally ill for years because at the time of his birth, very few people knew much about autism. When medical science did become aware of autism, the condition was seen as caused by “refrigerator mothers”, mothers who are cold and cannot nurture. Fortunately that perception has changed. As a result of misdiagnoses, and mis-placement in schools and agencies, he has developed diagnosable conditions. I am also a therapist who see clients with mental health issues.
I decided to be a part of “This is My Brave” because I am a Black woman and there is little cultural awareness currently in our mental health system. This lack of awareness has often caused professionals to see my people through their misconceptions about the culture. Black women are often seen as strong and angry first before the professional gets in close enough to know their tender hearts. My son is sometimes seen as dangerous because he is black, big, and male. In attempt to connect with him sometimes professionals immediately go to basketball. He was raised by a mother who knows nothing about sports, and neither does he.
I see my mental health as the infra-structure for everything else in my life. I know that the lens through which I see the world is filtered through my perception of reality. That reality can be clearly seen or warped by emotional distress. So knowing this, I try to give priority in my life to self-care before I try to take care of the rest of the world. When I can do that, I can remember and notice the beauty of life, and the joy of living.
I hope that everyone speaking has an impact that broadens the audience’s concepts of mental health and healing.
Tickets are on sale NOW! Click the button below to order your tickets to meet Dorothy 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 Bentonville 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.