Our LA show produced by The TLC Foundation, is January 22, 2017. We are excited to introduce you to cast member Sharon Johnston!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Pennsylvania and have been living in Los Angeles for more than 10 years. I enjoy hiking, meditating, reading, watching movies, and traveling.
How has mental illness affected your life?
Mental illness played a big role in my identity; particularly as a child because my mental illness was evident by the time I was 9 years old. During the 25 year period of pulling out my hair and eyelashes, I felt ashamed of the way I looked. Every time I met new people, I feared exposure. I didn't get "outted" often but, when I did, it was humiliating and I couldn't predict if it would happen at school, work, or on a date.
Why did you want to be a part of This Is My Brave?
The first reason is that suffering from mental illness is hard; hiding mental illness is painful, demoralizing, unnecessary. Second, I want to show people with and without a mental illness that you can successfully manage and treat mental health issues.
What inspired you to get mentally healthy?
The tipping point was when a man I dated for 2 years admitted that he would never marry me because trichotilomania had no cure. The painful breakup pushed me to focus all my time, money, and energy on overcoming trichotilomania. I joined a support group, learned behavior modification techniques, started going to yoga and used every tool I had to manage my anxiety disorder. Now, being mentally healthy is it's own reward an I'm happy with my own appearance.
What do you hope the audience takes away from the show?
I hope the audience will leave knowing that mental illness can be cured. It may not have a permanent cure but, I've been in remission for a decade.