Last week I was honored to co-host the This Is My Brave show in Greenville, SC. The event was a huge success as there were 200 people in the audience and 150 viewers on Periscope from all over the world. Rebecca Shafer and Julia McDonald co-produced the show and Rebecca also served as co-host with me. The non-profit's co-founder Jennifer Marshall kicked off the evening with her story followed by 11 individual performances.
I started the ConquerWorry.org platform five years ago, so you can imagine that I thought that I had heard just about every 'story' surrounding a mental health struggle.
Last week I learned that I was wrong to make that assumption. One story in particular struck me as so powerful that I wanted to share it with you.
A young woman named Annalise Sinclair shared an articulate account of her battle with her mental health. I met her before the show and she outwardly appears to be the girl next door. Someone you would hire to babysit your kids or house sit for you while you are on vacation. For her performance, she detailed her struggle with mental illness and overwhelming suicidal thoughts. She shared that she had planned her own suicide down to the day, but had one obstacle to overcome. She had acquired a cat and being concerned for her cats well being after she was gone was important to her. So, she decided to drop the cat off at her mothers house before she took her own life. On the day she decided to take her own life, fate intervened. Her mom unexpectedly came home as she was dropping off her beloved cat. That started a discussion and saved Annalise's life.
As Annalise was eloquently sharing her story from the stage, I was sitting behind her. I could see her mother in the audience, watching her daughter tell her harrowing story of mental anguish and suicidal intent. I was choked up, but her mom was smiling. That choked me up even more!
While it can't be quantified, Annalise and all the cast members had a dramatic impact on the lives of people who are struggling and their loved ones.
After the show I heard from people who watched the show online. The one story that I heard brought up the most was the story of 'The Cat Lady.' I know from experience that there are many young women out there that need to hear the story of 'The Cat Lady' and others like it. That is why the This Is My Brave organization is so powerful. Annalise's cat is not the only one in her house saving lives. Storytelling Saves Lives.
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