Published on November 7th, 2013 | by Jennifer Killi Marshall1
(Blog) How You Can Help with This Is My Brave: The Show
If anyone knows how scary it can be to talk openly about mental illness, it’s me. Having been hospitalized four times for mania, I’ve felt the weight of the blank stares from people who don’t get it. The awkwardness of having to change the subject for fear of being humiliated. It hurts, and has made me feel more alone in those moments.
But they are few and far between now. I’m finding that the more people with whom I share my story, the easier it gets and the less I receive those unknowing glances. Because people are starting to get it even though it’s a slow process of educating and teaching acceptance.
One in four Americans lives with a mental illness. Chances are high there is someone in your life who is struggling right now, or has struggled in the past, or will struggle in the future. We need to stamp out the fear of being stigmatized for talking openly about mental illness. The more people who are able to speak out about their experience, the more lives we will be able to save.
Someone who is suffering at the moment you tell your story could be inspired to keep fighting. She could decide to hang on and push through the hurt to get to the path of recovery. And someday hopefully, she’ll tell her story to help others because she saw how much hope and inspiration she once found in a stranger’s unselfish openness.
That is why I created This Is My Brave. We’re coming together with our voices to do our small part to silence stigma and raise awareness around what it’s like to live with a mental illness. Through the sharing of personal essays, slam poetry, and original music, This Is My Brave participants will give the audience a new, more positive perspective on mental health.
We’d love for you to check out our recently launched crowdfunding project: This Is My Brave on Kickstarter. By supporting our campaign, you’ll help us create a show which will change the way society talks about mental illness. Thank you in advance for your help in getting the word out!