This Is My Brave Australia Central Coast Show was held as part of mental health month but it also happened to coincide with the end of National Carers Week. As so it was an opportunity to open up a little and share a part of why Men Care Too has and continues to help me.
"Caring for a family member or friend who lives with an illness or disability is rewarding and significant but not without it’s emotional and mental challenges which are often kept hidden, pushed down or to the side because you have to be strong and reliable for the person you love and care for.
For over 20 years now I have, by definition been a carer.
A few years back I started to recognise that my way of thinking and living was not heading down a good path. I am generally a pretty quiet person and for as long as I can remember my self-esteem has been pretty low, I often feel awkward and out of place wherever I go. I prefer to blend into the crowd and no matter where I am, I feel like I could quietly slip away and most likely no one would notice.
The lack of social connections and purpose outside of my caring role was fuel on the fire to all these negative ways of thinking and I knew that things had to change.
I am on a better path now, trying to build purpose and connections through the work I do on Men Care Too and sharing more openly with the people in my life. It’s not easy, I still keep things to myself, I still feel the need to always be strong and reliable and as far as feeling awkward well speaking in front a large group of people doesn’t help that but I’m up here having a go and that’s what I chose to focus on." - Greg Smith
Over the past 3 months it has been a privilege to work alongside the cast and crew involved in the inaugural This Is My Brave Australia Central Coast Show. At times it has been emotional, I have learned something important from each person and seen first hand the power of sharing stories to connect complete strangers.
After months of planning, to see the theatre fill up, the lights go down and the show unfold was a special experience highlighted by the respect and enthusiasm of the audience as each storyteller shared their truths. The one thing that will always stay with me and lift my spirits when needed will be the smiles on the faces of the nine cast members as they finished their piece.
Priceless and heartwarming.
Stigma - it is hurtful; it is harmful; and it is not helpful - Tracey speaking at This Is My Brave Australia Central Coast Show. Read a short review of This Is My Brave Australia Central Coast Show by Sue Murray from the Zero Suicide Institute of Australasia https://bit.ly/2BFN4J2