Leslie’s Daily To-Do’s – Rejoice My Mental Health While Eating Some Angel Food Cake
Today is World Mental Health Day. Like many of you, I too have suffered from mental illness. It’s ok, don’t be ashamed. We have all had our moments of insanity. Mine isn’t what you might think. And how and when I overcame it, is uniquely ME!
I was 40 years old, going through a divorce and standing at the edge of the cliff of life…scared to death.
From the time I was 5 years old I was a dancer. Yearly recitals would put me on stage in front of hundreds of people. In high school and college I studied theatre and performed in several productions. I was ALWAYS the little performer. The one thing I couldn’t do was sing in front of anyone. Scared me to death! I would sing alone in my room with my radio, but NEVER in public!
My days on stage came to an end when I married in my mid twenties and became a mother to a beautiful baby girl. Soon after the birth of my daughter, I developed a severe case of anxiety disorder. I’m talking 23hrs of dread and fear a day. It was debilitating. I was afraid to leave my home, much less EVER perform on stage again. No one around me knew how bad I was suffering. I could hide it very well. After all, I was an actress after all! During that time, I taught high school children about life through drama and helped start a theatre company for their parents and others in the community. My anxiety was like a vice grip on my life that I hid until my mid thirties. But I finally decided to take control of my life by dealing with and throwing away past baggage. It’s the best medicine!!
At 40, I felt stronger than ever! My theatre company was holding auditions for the musical, Chicago. I saw the musical as an opportunity to overcome my long standing fears. It also meant a chance for me to leave my old life behind with a BANG!!! So, I DID IT! The director gave me the role of Velma Kelly! What, she was the lead!!! I couldn’t do that! Or could I? YES! I could! Perfect!
Opening night, backstage before the show, I was nervous and shaking. I wanted to run but running meant going back to my former life. And THAT was out of the question. So, I took a deep breath and walked up the steps of the set, stood behind the curtain ready to make my entrance. As I heard my cue and stepped out into the spotlight, it was at that moment, I owned the night…I owned my life.
Now for that Angel Food Cake!!