We're so proud 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. Let's get to know Des Moines storyteller, George Worthington.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I lived in Minneapolis for the first ten years of my life, then moved to the Chicago area because my father was assigned a different sales territory. I attended public high school, then two years at Indiana University. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, so I joined the Navy and spent two years aboard a destroyer in the Atlantic fleet. When I got out, I went to work for my father, selling agricultural products. I met my wife at a party neither one of us had wanted to go to, and we were married a year later. We moved to Des Moines in 1971 to be closer to the center of my sales territory, and began raising our family: two daughters and a son. I learned to fly airplanes and logged about 600 hours of flight time which I enjoyed greatly. I play guitar and I enjoy writing. I retired in 2008 and I now have more time to enjoy my children and five grandchildren. In 2016, my wife and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary by taking a cruise down the Danube River.
How has mental illness affected your life?
Mental illness has affected my life by making it difficult for me to function in society. I have struggled with clinical depression all of my life. As a young child my parents used to ask me “What’s wrong with you?” As I got older, the episodes became more frequent and darker. I couldn’t function for days at a time. I disappointed the people I love by not being emotionally available or physically able to participate in the normal stuff of life.
Why did you want to be a part of This Is My Brave?
I want to be a part of This Is My Brave in order to help de-stigmatize mental illness. I believe that it can be conquered, in part, by talking about it and helping society to understand what it is and how it affects us. I also believe that we should advocate for additional medical research into illnesses that affect the brain. Many diseases have large powerful campaigns that funnel millions of dollars into research. We deserve no less.
What inspires you to get or stay mentally healthy?
I’m inspired to stay mentally healthy because the alternative is a toxic, corrosive state of being that no one should have to endure.
What do you hope the audience takes away from the show?
I hope that members of the audience will become more comfortable with using the term mental illness. I hope they will see that we are fairly ordinary people. I have a mental illness and I could be your neighbor, your co-worker, or your cable guy. I hope that members of the audience will leave the show with the belief that mental illness can be just as devastating, just as deadly, and more uncontrollable than many of the other, more well-known diseases that can afflict any of us.