Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Barbara and I am from Lancaster County. I grew up in the small rural community of Mount Joy and Manheim. I went to Manheim Central school district. I come from a family of 6 of which I am the youngest. I live in an apartment in Lancaster city with my new emotional support cat whose name is Eva that I rescued on New Year’s Eve, thus the name. I work part-time at Mental Health America of Lancaster County as an Administrative Assistant. For hobbies and interests I enjoy many crafts like crocheting, scrapbooking, cooking and baking. I enjoy doing things with my friends like watching movies at home or at the theatre. Mostly I enjoy my job and the people I work with; they are a big part of my support network.
How has mental illness affected your life?
Mental Illness has affected my life in many ways. First and foremost it has robbed me of a large part of my life; about 10 years or so. I lost friends, my home, my job and my ability to function normally.
Why did you want to be a part of This Is My Brave?
I want to be part of This is My Brave because I have a story to tell and I believe it is a story that possibly could empower someone who may be struggling as I did and give them the courage to step out and grab the golden ring and work toward recovery. I also want to challenge myself to meet other people who have struggled as I have and make new friends that can understand my struggles and hopefully get empowered by their “BRAVE”.
Who or what inspires you to get or stay mentally healthy?
My friends inspire me to be mentally healthy. They remind me that life can be good even though I have a mental illness. They see the good and positive in me and support me. My faith also is the biggest catalyst to keep plugging away. I get empowered when I attend a church service or a special ladies meeting at my church.
What do you hope the audience takes away from the show?
I hope that people see that mental illness is not like leprosy. Mental illness is not contagious and we are still people with abilities and talents that benefit the planet. We are not aliens. I hope people learn more about how to speak and act around people with mental illness. I believe that education stops stigma. I hope that people that don’t know much about mental illness will discover that we are real people and not defective in any way.
Hear Barbara's story, as well as seven others and two inspiring talks during our Harrisburg collaborative event with Someone To Tell It To and author Tim Madigan. No tickets are needed for this free event, but you can sign up on Facebook if you plan on attending to let your friends know about this event we're calling Creating An Authentic Life Through Storytelling.