1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am Paul Grace-Neal, a proud Black Trans man, Ordained Reverend in the United Church of Christ, and Licensed Practical Nurse. I was born in Texas but was raised in the DMV. I have an identical twin sister who identifies as cisgender. I love poetry, and singing.
2. How has mental illness affected your life?
Being Black, mental health issues and treatment were often stigmatized. I grew up in an environment of alcohol overuse, and domestic violence. I later married then divorced due to alcohol and substance abuse, and violence. My circumstances were symptomatic of my mental health challenges and diagnosis as Bipolar.
Having being diagnosed with Bipolar and having family and friends struggle with similar issues has been bittersweet. There are times I can press through and accomplish far greater than I can imagine. There are also those times I sulk and feel hopeless. The joy is that I'm still here through God's grace and will continue to allow God to comfort and protect me.
3. Why did you want to be a part of This Is My Brave?
I have attempted suicide more times than I care to remember. What keeps me going today is that I have a story to tell. This Is My Brave is a safe place to provide hope for others. If I can survive, so many others can survive too.
4. What inspires you to get or stay mentally healthy?
My story changes lives. People gain strength and hope from my encouragement and fortitude. I would hate for someone to falter as a result of something I lacked.
5. What do you hope the audience takes away from the show?
Fortitude and Resiliency. No one else has to die. Don't listen to the voices that tell you you are no good or less than. You are a vital contributor to society. Never stop giving, living, or loving yourself.
Tickets are on sale NOW! Click the button below to order your tickets to meet Paul 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 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.