Meet DC-area cast member Helen Dennis

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I'm a DMV native and I currently live in Upper Marlboro, MD with my partner of 20 years, Rion. I love to travel and have had the fortune to live and teach in Africa and Asia. My background is in education and training, and I've spent the last several years designing international professional and cultural exchanges for emerging leaders from around the globe. Through these exchanges, I've had the opportunity to not only meet incredible thought leaders from over 100 countries, but to also connect them with each other and facilitate amazing exchanges of ideas.

How has mental illness affected your life?

I spent most of my life hiding my incredible struggles with Bipolar 2 from just about everyone around me.I've dealt with the mercurial mood swings, long stretches of deep depression, warped perspectives, and extreme self-doubt that come with this illness since childhood. I was so embarrassed by what I was dealing with, and so incredibly ashamed that I wasn't a stronger person, that I tried as hard as I could to keep it all to myself, leading to isolation and constant anxiety. 

Why did you want to be a part of This Is My Brave?

I hope that by being a part of This Is My Brave, I can help to lift the shame around mental illness, and to show that you can indeed not only survive, but thrive.

What inspires you to get or stay mentally healthy?

So many things. Freedom of from the weight of depression and anxiety. Being present and healthy for my partner and family. Just being able to be my true self.

What do you hope the audience takes away from the show?

I hope that people who may share similar struggles will hear our stories and find the courage to reach out. I'm incredibly thankful and honored to be part of This Is My Brave!

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Tickets are on sale now! Join us on Sunday, May 15th in Arlington, Virginia as we shine a light on mental illness through storytelling.