Performer’s Spotlight - Dara Zycherman
As we draw near to another special event "Mind Over Matter", we took the time to ask performer Dara Zycherman some questions about her story and her experiences with mental illnesses.
Does telling a story about mental illness differ from any other kind of story you might tell?
All stories are personal but stories about mental illness fall into the category of being deeply personal. They also require quite a bit of explanation; it's not a topic many people fully understand. If you are a physicist telling a funny story about an experiment you performed, you'd probably have to weave in some education about physics to enough a lay audience understood. Similar situation here.
How comfortable do you feel talking to strangers in the audience about your experiences with mental illness? Does it feel different than telling this kind of story to your friends, family, or coworkers?
I actually find it easier to talk to strangers about my experience because: (1) There is a certain detachment that makes it less emotional and weighty; (2) I may actually be able to help someone. I don't know the background of each person in the audience
How does your husband’s condition affect your own well being?
When we were together, I was worried about him all the time. It built up a lot of anxiety within in me, and I was always questioning whether I was supporting him in the right way. I was always wondering if there was more than I could do.
Does it help to hear other people’s stories about their own mental illnesses?
Very much so. There is a certain degree of isolation that occurs when you experience mental illness or are in a relationship with someone suffering. There is a feeling that no one understands what you're going through. Hearing other people's stories helps break down some of this isolation. That being said, it makes me feel terribly bad for them as I have a sense of what they and the people around them are going through.