This Is My Brave recently brought on two new interns and a new volunteer and we wanted to introduce them to you one at a time. First up, Molly!
Hey everyone! Thought I would take a second to tell you a few things about myself to start off this post! I recently graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a BA in Public Health. I'm planning on attending DeSales University Physician Assistant program in the fall. I currently live in Arlington, VA but plan on moving to Allentown, Pennsylvania in 3 months. In my free time I enjoy running, swimming, hiking, coloring, and baking.
How did you find out about This Is My Brave?
Last spring, I saw a Facebook post regarding the upcoming May show in Arlington, Virginia. I hadn't heard about the organization prior to this, but the event description sounded like something that I'd really enjoy, so I attended. I believe that there is so much power to storytelling and the effect that it can have on others is tremendous. I think that idea of having productions in various cities across the country is a very innovative idea and such a great way to break down the stigma surrounding mental illness.
What's your connection to mental health?
There is so much stigma surrounding mental health in our society. Many people are reluctant to seek help due to the way that society views mental health disorders. After dealing with a difficult first year of college I understood the degree of stigma surrounding mental illness. During the next few months many of my friends at college struggled with mental illness but we all didn’t discuss it because of the stigma. This led me to join Active Minds, a national organization that empowers students to speak openly about mental health on college campus across the country.
This organization really helped me become more comfortable with speaking openly about my past experiences with others. By the end of my senior year of college I understood the importance of reaching out to others and asking them how they really are. You never know what really lies behind a smile until you take a moment to stop and listen.
How have you overcome your struggles?
I am someone who has always loved to be around others and make a difference in others' lives. I find that when I am depressed and really don’t want to do anything, forcing myself to be around others helps me feel a little better even if it is the last thing that I want to do at that particular moment. Smiling, laughing and carrying on a conversation when depressed may take a lot more energy than normal but it kept me from spiraling downward and away from negative thoughts.
My family and friends have also been a huge support system. They have supported me through the difficult times and have never left my side. And by sharing my story with others, I have gained quite a few new friends along the way. The depression and anxiety that I face will always be apart of who I am but certainly do not define me. The daily support from family and friends remind me that is the case.
What would you tell someone who might be going through something similar?
My biggest piece of advice to anyone dealing with mental illness is to not compare yourself with others around you. This is something that many of my friends in college struggle with and it definitely affected me. One of my favorite quotes is “Comparison is the thief of joy” - Theodore Roosevelt.
It is so important to listen to how you are feeling and take care of yourself. Incorporating self care techniques that help you through the difficult times is key. Your daily goals may be much different than your best friend’s but understanding that yours are just as important is key to overall mental wellness.
Why is ending the stigma important to you?
Ending the stigma surrounding is so incredibly important to me because I have seen the effects of stigma effect my close friends, family and myself. Stigma is preventing many people from seeking treatment that they are in need of. Stigma is keeping us from helping loved ones. Stigma is making mental illness a private topic not one that is widely discussed. Stigma is preventing us from achieving mental wellness.
There is so much that can be done to change those phrases. The more that we share our stories and discuss mental illness openly, the more we're creating opportunities to break down the stigma.
It takes a village to run a non-profit, and we're so grateful to Molly for sharing her time and talents with us as we grow our organization. So happy to have you on our team, Molly!!
We're looking to add another Social Media Intern to our team! If you know someone, or you yourself are interested, please check out our posting & apply!