Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am an Oklahoma-born, Philadelphia suburbs raised girl transplanted to Lancaster County, where I live with my husband. I sing on my church's worship team, and they are like another family to me who can always make me laugh and turn a bad day completely around.
How has mental illness affected your life?
I am a suicide attempt survivor, and have dealt with mental illness since my early teenage years. However, it wasn't until a couple of years ago that I was diagnosed with bipolar. I have been hospitalized several times, with the last two times following suicide attempts. It is a constant struggle between shame and acceptance, something that I am learning to come to peace with.
Why did you want to be a part of This Is My Brave?
The purpose of This Is My Brave is one that resonates deeply with me. I will always advocate for equal treatment of mental illness and for it to be taken seriously. I believe in the power of organizations like This Is My Brave to make approaching such a stigmatizing issue less intimidating for those who struggle, those who support, and those who are merely curious.
Who or what inspires you to stay mentally healthy?
The easy answer here is to say my husband and family, and they certainly do. But equally as inspiring are those people who have found the courage to seek help and speak out. Every single one who shines their light into this darkness helps to make it a bit brighter and we all feel less alone.
What do you hope the audience takes away from the show?
A realization that mental illness is real, and it doesn't discriminate against whom it affects. That it is okay to let people help fight the war in your head. That just because we who are coping with depression and anxiety and any other number of things can put a smile on our face and go about appearing "normal", things are not always easy for us. But perhaps most of all, I hope for acceptance and education.