I never thought that opening up about my mental illness would provide doors of opportunity as a speaker, advocate, writer, podcast host and peer specialist/recovery coach. Being a suicide survivor is not something most people talk about because of the mental health stigma. I completely understand because I use to feel embarrassed and ashamed. Through therapy, in-patient treatment, support groups and the help of family and friends, I took my power back. I eventually decided to use my communications and media skills to raise awareness and build a brand around mental health to ensure communities of color are educated.
In the beginning of the year, I participated as a cast member for This Is My Brave Show, a non-profit that gives people with mental illness the chance to share their story through essay, dance, comedy, music and poetry on stage. I thought that becoming a mental health advocate meant that I was throwing away both of my communication degrees but I was wrong. I have been using my degrees and professional experience to do more than I could have ever imagined. In fact, on Sunday, October 21, 2018, I am co-producing the fall This Is My Brave Arlington Show which is a stepping stone for my dream of merging media, entertainment and mental health.
If you are battling a mental illness, please know that your life is not over. Yes, you may have to do things differently than others, become easily frustrated with the process and feel like no one understands. I am here to tell you that your life matters. I never thought my life would get better. I lost hope and wanted to die. Today, I am hopeful about my future and I pray that my story inspires you to keep going.