I was born and raised in Montgomery County, Maryland. I come from a large extended family to whom I am very close. My family is very supportive and loving. We all get along very well, and we are very lucky for that. I enjoy shopping, spending time with my wife and my friends, playing bingo, arts and crafts, and did I say shopping? I also enjoy traveling, trying new restaurants and cooking. My whole life, I have felt different. Out of place. I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere.
My mental illness affected my relationships with family and friends. It affected my mood, my behaviors, work and school. It lead me down a dark path and I began using substances to self medicate, which in the end, only made my mental health worse.
I wanted to be apart of This Is My Brave, because through all the hard times in my life, I never quite knew how to put how I was feeling into words. I felt all alone and I didn’t know how to ask for help. I was ashamed of the way I felt.
I knew when I entered recovery that I had to share my story. I knew that there were other people out there that felt just like I did and who needed someone to talk to who would understand. I am here to share my story and to let other people know that they’re not alone. There is power behind our voices. Helping others and breaking the stigma are my passions.
Through the process of recovery, I have gained lots of things. I am happily married with a baby on the way, I have great relationships with my friends and family and I have a job that I love. I also gained self confidence, I have gained my voice and I have gained unconditional love for who I am. Those are things that I couldn’t achieve when I wasn’t mentally healthy. They felt so far out of reach. I hope that people who hear my story and the stories of others today take away hope and love. Hope that people with mental health do recover and to unconditionally love those who suffer from mental illness.
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Please share this post with friends and family in the Arlington 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.