Meet Linda from This Is My Brave Arlington!

From the time I can first remember, I sensed distance and difference between myself and others that I didn’t have words to explain. Perhaps that is why I became a writer. For most of my life, I worked in communications nine-to-five and played with words the rest of the time, writing poetry, scripts, and short stories.

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Over the years, I learned the words for many of the reasons I felt different, but it was not until a doctor told me I was depressed that I began understanding the distance I felt. I was first prescribed an anti-depressant in my 30s and took it reluctantly, hoping it wouldn’t be too many weeks before I was cured. 20 years and 27 drugs later, through the therapy alphabet (applied, behavioral, cognitive, dialectical, etc.), and brain stimuli electric, magnetic, and luminescent, I no longer think in terms of a cure. (Medical science can only do so much – and we’re all thrilled with the progress that’s been made in curing deadly diseases like erectile dysfunction and male pattern baldness. Depression will get its turn.)


I no longer see the distance inside me as something I need to close. My depression sets me apart from some people but brings me closer to others – and those others are the ones who can make me laugh. I have learned to accept the good fortune of a loving mother and fierce friends, even on days when I’m sure I don’t deserve them. I imagine I will be negotiating with depression forever -- accepting the contradiction that it can be the thing that makes me a writer and the thing that keeps me from writing. And in terms of 21st century survival, what skill could be more valuable than accepting contradiction?

 

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Please share this post with friends and family in the Washington, DC 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.