Happy New Year! Our LA show produced by The TLC Foundation, is January 22, 2017, just 20 days from today! We are excited to introduce you to cast member Julia Robinson Shimzu!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a writer and a non-profit professional in Los Angeles. I love to take long walks and long naps and I swim for joy and relaxation. Ichiro and I have been married for 35 years and our adult son became ill when he went away to college and was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was 19 years old.
I have focused my career on serving as a voice for disadvantaged communities, including abused children, impoverished families, homeless adults, formerly incarcerated and for people living with mental illness. In my career, I have always been moved and motivated by a need to serve, and am deeply connected to storytelling as a means to achieve that. Now, I tell my story of the journey our family has taken to help others feel less alone.
How has mental illness affected your life?
Mental illness is a thread that runs throughout my family. It was not until our treasured only child was diagnosed with schizophrenia that we realized the full impact of mental illness on our lives. Our son’s illness has taken much from him, and has given us so much as a family, and as individuals. It has brought my husband and myself closer together as we work to find ways to help our son and it has given us a purpose in life, to help others facing similar challenges.
Why did you want to be a part of This Is My Brave?
When our loved one was first showing signs of mental illness, we struggled to understand what was happening and we did not know how to help. We learned…mostly the hard way…and we made many mistakes. Although I wish, I wish, I wish I had known better sooner … there is no undoing the past. This is My Brave is my chance to move forward, to share some of our story, to let others know some of what we went through, to share some of what we have learned.
What inspires you to get or stay mentally healthy?
I am determined to be there when my loved one who lives with mental illness needs me. I am determined to be there for others who are on this journey and need help finding the way. It has not been easy to learn to live with a loved one with mental illness, and yet I have earned wisdom that others can benefit from. I am inspired to stay healthy to help others.
What do you hope the audience takes away from the show?
There is hope, you are not alone.
We have found support by being open about how mental illness impacts us and our family members. We have found that by talking about it, others feel free to share their own stories. We are all stronger when we open ourselves to others and when we share … both our challenges and our hope.
This is My Brave…and this is my hope…to let others know they are not alone.
We're ending stigma one person, and one story at a time.
Hope to see you there!
We're so excited to announce that our friends from Depressed Cake Shop will be on site selling beautiful (and delicious) gray cakes and treats so bring your sweet tooth!