We're so proud to introduce you to our Des Moines, Iowa cast of storytellers! The show is on Friday, March 31st at the Temple Theater in Des Moines. Tickets are on sale now! Let's get to know Des Moines storyteller, Marcy Shrub.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I carry many labels...mom, friend, therapist, advocate, and wife. I am married to my partner Mark and we have three boys. I live in the Des Moines area now, but grew up in SE Iowa. I attended Iowa State University in Ames a long time ago, and returned to the University of Iowa School of Social Work in Des Moines in 2012. I graduated with my MSW in 2014, and work in Des Moines as a licensed mental health therapist. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, being in nature, shopping, reading, rollerblading, yoga, and being creative. If I can be outside, that is likely where you will find me in my free time. I serve on the Board of Directors of the Eating Disorder Coalition of Iowa as the Vice President and hope to be able to advocate and be a voice for all who are impacted by mental illness.
How has mental illness affected your life?
I wasn't really aware of the impact mental illness had on my early life until I was well into adulthood. We didn't talk about feelings when I was growing up. I remember feeling 'bad' as a child, often feeling guilt and shame, even though I was a relatively well-behaved child. I labeled myself stupid as a result of struggling with math, even though now I know that was likely due to being a young kindergartner. I didn't know that then, I just knew I struggled and that made me 'stupid'. Feeling inadequate followed me around for years, leading me to try really hard to be perfect which likely was what led to an eating disorder. I have struggled with depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder for many years, often too scared and ashamed to share my story with others. I have lost jobs, relationships, and by far the most difficult to accept has been the loss of precious time away from my children (and husband) due to the need for treatment. I have been judged by others, and still fear judgment, but I know that I am doing the right thing.
Why did you want to be a part of This Is My Brave?
I saw the audition information for This Is My Brave - Des Moines on a NAMI FB post late one night and signed up to audition right away so I couldn’t change my mind. I have had moments where I have wanted to scream my story from the mountain tops and other times I wanted to bury it all out of fear and shame. Over the years, I have sought help or been highly encouraged to seek help on many occasions. The denial was so bad. Each time I felt ashamed and embarrassed and never wanted to tell anyone.
The old insecurities and fears of not being good enough, the worry about being judged, and the avoidance of dealing with the underlying issues kept me in a horrible shame cycle. And those insecurities and fears are what keep the stigma alive. This is why I chose to be part of This Is My Brave, because there is no more shame. It's time to speak out about the importance of seeking help and to eliminate the shame. The struggle has contributed to who I am today. I no longer fight for my worth, because I know I am okay and I believe I don't need to strive to be perfect or be accepted. I have learned to do the best I can and let the rest go. I had a lot of people who held onto hope for me before I believed it myself, and for that I am so thankful. I want to pay it forward because I survived and so can others.
What inspires you to stay mentally healthy?
What inspires me to stay mentally healthy is my family, my children, and my career. Watching friends die as a result of Eating Disorders. Experiencing discrimination because of the Eating Disorder by medical professionals and not wanting others to think they are alone. I realized that I lived for a reason, hoping some day my story would make a difference.
What do you hope the audience takes away from the show?
I hope the audience takes away the message to never give up! I care and so many other people care. I'm not perfect and you don't have to be either. You are not an illness, you are a human being, worthy of goodness and capable of overcoming. You are worth fighting for, and it doesn't matter what you have done or what has been done to you, you are worth it and your story matters!