Meet Iowa Corridor Cast Members Mindy Pfab & Emily Dlouhy

We are thrilled to introduce you to Mindy Pfab and Emily Dlouhy, two of our Iowa Corridor cast members. The Iowa Corridor show is this Saturday, April 22nd at the Ballantyne Auditorium on the campus of Kirkwood Community College.

Meet Mindy

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Mindy (Melinda) Pfab. I am 28 years old, and currently work in the social services field with at-risk youth ages 11-17. I grew up in the tiny town of Zwingle, IA. Est. population 97. I am the one of 5 children, and the oldest girl. I have an older brother, a younger (and only) sister, along with 2 younger brothers. I grew up for the majority of my life with my Father and Step-mother on what one may consider a hobby farm of sorts with an ever changing (and ever-increasing) assortment of both indoor and outdoor animals. I have always loved to write, read, and most of all- dream. I’m an active thinker and question-asker, and have expanded my creative outlets to include painting, drawing, graphic art/design, photography, videography, and spoken word. Lastly, I absolutely have come to adore rollerblading (and yes, I proudly bought into the whole 90's image and sport a brightly colored hippy fanny-pack), and all things dance!

How has mental illness affected your life?

Mental illness has been part of my life before I even knew to call it an illness at all. My step-mom was diagnosed with Bipolar and additional secondary diagnoses from a variety of trauma and harmful experiences throughout her young adult life. My stepmom was most certainly 'rapid-cycling', in the fact that I can summarize my childhood experiences in one thought, 'like walking on eggshells'. With what seemed like a constantly unstable home life, my stepmom’s manic and depressive swings would keep the mood in the household ever-changing and so I learned from a young age that the ability to remain unattached from people/places/things. Stay small, stay unnoticed and out of the way. Growing up in mental illness, inevitably complimented my own perfectionistic type 'A' ways, and following hard after the belief that to remain disconnected from everything around me was consequently both the thing that kept me alive and in my head.

Mindy Pfab.jpg

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

I heard someone say once that it was a 'privilege that she not only had a voice, but a platform in which to speak from and people that would listen. It is a privilege, and a luxury that countless others do not have- with privilege comes a responsibility to use our voice to tell not only our stories, but to pave the way for others to be told as well.' This quote summarizes why I decided to share my story, because I have a responsibility not only to others..but, in many ways also to myself. If responsibility is what gets me on this stage to cast light onto something that so many hold shamefully in secret, than I'll take it- because I know what it is like to hide yourself away in shame for fear of what certain judgement would come if anyone dared know the secrets you held.

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

My hope is that as the audience walks away this evening that they are able to see themselves through a different lens. To see themselves as separate from any diagnoses. Any words spoke over them as truth, any lies said or merely perceived, and see themselves as they TRULY are. Yes, in the exhaustion, the weariness, the constant striving for perfection, the struggle for acceptance, and all the shame, despair, depression, and anxiety ridden fears that their thoughts are riddled with--- SEE YOU. See the strength, the determination, the refusal to give up and give in. See your dreams, give thanks that no matter how hard it has been to visualize them, that underneath the rubble of life they are still there vibrant in color and beauty, as pure and undefiled as they were from their beginning. And then, make a choice.

Meet Emily

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am from Cedar Rapids IA. I have one kind of amazing older sister. As for hobbies, I guess you could say I love to draw and sometimes paint. I love all things nerdy, such as video games, Anime, music, movies, and those conversations that go really deep.

How has mental illness affected your life?

My mental illness has affected my life by making it hard for me to connect to other people and make friends. In some circumstances, it has even stopped me from participating in really amazing things because I was too worried.

How do you stay mentally healthy?

On a brighter note though, I believe it is responsible for my quirky personality. I'm motivated to stay mentally healthy because of those closest to me. They are always there for me when I need it, so I want to be there and mentally healthy for them.

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

I wanted to be in This Is my Brave because I want to let everyone know that even very young children can suffer from mental illnesses, and even though it never really goes away, it does get better and there are multiple ways of coping; you just have to find the right one for you.

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

I hope the audience takes away that they are not alone in whatever situation that they are in. I also want them to know that it's natural to think you are not good enough or a failure but in reality you are always a hundred times better than what your mind shows you, believe me I know as an artist I struggle with this a lot.

ome hear Mindy and Emily and all our Brave cast members end stigma one story at a time this Saturday. Get your tickets before we sell out. Hope to see you there!