Donna was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She knew at the age of 2 how much she loved music, She had memorized and sang her first song: “I am Woman” when the song came out in 1971 when she was 4; began playing organ at 7; 12-string guitar at age 10, was in a christian music group at 11 where she was singing and playing each week in front of hundreds of people;. She also wrote and sang her first song at age 14. She now plays over 10 instruments, many of which were self taught. Donna had dreamed of being a music therapist.
However, she began self medicating with alcohol, drugs and food while a teenager. At age 22, she had made her first attempt at suicide. At 29, was diagnosed with depression and PTSD which had gone undiagnosed since childhood. Everyone just said Donna was lazy because she was good at math and music so she should be excelling at other subjects. She was eventually diagnosed with BiPolar II, Complex PTSD, anxiety and OCD.
Donna’s journey took many turns...which included moving to Maine in 2002, leaving a very abusive relationship in 2010, and going through an intensive trauma therapy in 2013. After 49 years of trauma, depression, mania, and suicide attempts, she felt she had been reborn into the world when she was asked to write a letter in March of 2016, meeting her local legislator and then testifying in April, Donna made a comment that led her and her legislator to forming the Behavioral Health Coalition for Maine. This led Donna to applying to be a peer support position. She has now been a peer support in an emergency room since December; she is the volunteer and first peer support at another hospital and the coalition just had there one year anniversary and celebrated the passing of a law requiring secondary school teachers to take youth mental health first aid!
She has learned to acknowledge, accept and manage her illness...and fighting the stigma (discrimination) against mental illness is just one of her priorities.
Tickets are on sale NOW! Click the button below to order your tickets to meet Donna and more brave storytellers. This is one mental health performance you won't want to miss!
Please share this post with friends and family in the Lewiston, ME 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.