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Changing The World With A Play

My one-woman show is something that I believe can impact people's views on mental illness, which is something that affects so many people around us, whether you know it or not.

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Changing The World With A Play
Olivia Leenhouts

"If you live a long life and get to the end of it without ever once having felt crushingly depressed, then you probably haven't been paying attention."

Did you know that one in five adults in America experiences a mental illness? Did you know that nearly one in twenty-five adults in America live with a serious mental illness?

After being a piece to these statistics myself, I read the show, "Every Brilliant Thing," and it helped me to grow as a human that deals with these illnesses. I realized from that moment on that this show would also be able to help others, so I knew that even if I couldn't directly change one person's life by portraying this story, I'd at least be able to be a part of the movement to end the stigma around mental illness.

Every little bit helps.

"Every Brilliant Thing" is a play written by Duncan Macmillan. It starts off with a narrator who's seven years old. The child is picked up from school one day and taken to the hospital because their mom has attempted suicide. Not knowing anything about suicide, the child makes their mom a list of "every brilliant thing about the world" or at least, everything worth living for. The play continues on through the rest of the narrator's life and the constant back and forth of working on the list to help their mom and struggling themselves with mental illness.

Mental illness affects people in your life that you may not even know about. This play shows us that it's ok not to be ok, but it's also ok to ask for help. We should not live feeling as though we cannot feel anything but depressed. Those around you care about you and this play shows that if they care enough, they will do anything to try to help you.

Since this play is so close to my heart, I decided to make a fundraising page with an organization titled NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. This group is dedicated to improving the lives of everyone that may be affected by mental illness. Whether it be the loved ones, peers, or even the person themselves, NAMI provides education, support, and awareness to all so each and every person can live a better life.

While all of this may seem great and inspiring or whatever, the sad thing is that the message will only reach a few people. Not many people are willing to attend a one-woman show, especially college students. I can do everything that I can to tell this incredible story and raise money for an amazing cause, but there's a possibility only few will attend the show. Will this stop me from moving forward with this project and trying to make an impact on the world with this message?

Hell no.

Despite being a nerdy college theatre kid, I am still able to make an impact on the world, or at least a few lives and that, for me, is enough. Anyone can make even the smallest impact in this sad world, if only they try hard enough. Even if it only reaches a few in your community, word will spread and your small event will make a difference. I hate seeing college students that think they will never make a difference and that those cheesy sayings are lies.

They are only lies if you sit around waiting for someone else to act out your idea.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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