"Speaking of Depression..."

I suffer from clinical depression. Many people whom I know and love suffer from this same illness. Clinical depression is a very difficult thing for many people to talk about and so most of us - with the illness or without - don't. As a result, the stigma and misunderstanding of clinical depression are rampant and we lose many wonderful and beloved people to this crippling illness. Also, many who suffer feel ashamed and alone and friends and family feel helpless and at a loss for the words or understanding and resources required to give the help that their loved ones need. Many of you are familiar with my performance background. I have a background in theater and graduated from the Portland Actor's Conservatory here in Portland in 2004. I have been telling stories on stage for the past couple of years. I am a winner of The Moth's StorySlam and tied for 2nd place in The Moth's GrandSlam competition. I have performed for Back Fence PDX's Russian Roulette series, Tad's Storytelling nights, Unchaste Readers, Portland's Blumesday (A tribute to Judy Blume), and most recently for Planned Parenthood's benefit show at The Alberta Rose Theater. I also produce my own storytelling show, YARN, here in Portland at The Clinton St. Theater. I have my own consulting company, Full Resolve Consulting, where I write my own workshops using my certificates and experience from both The Portland Actor's Conservatory and Standford University. I teach these empathy and creativity based workshops for school districts, non-profits and other companies around Oregon and Washington.
As a storyteller, I share the deepest and most personal pieces of my life on stage. It helps me to share with others because I don't feel so alone when I invite people to see what this all looks and feels like for me. I am currently working on creating a show about clinical depression. My goal is to present this show to the public with all of the truth, struggle, pain, humor and honesty that I have to give. I hope that by reaching as many people as I can with this story, I can do my part to begin a conversation which I believe is the way to bridge the distance and fear that many people face when they wish to help themselves or others. I am going to work hard and do my part to eradicate the stigma around this illness and to offer people a safe and inclusive place to begin understanding and to feel understood. I would like to offer tickets to this new show on a sliding scale basis with all proceeds going to the Portland branch of NAMI, The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. I am asking for your support to pay for venues, production and marketing costs, most of which I can not afford to pay for myself. My pledge is to offer my very best and to speak loudly and often on behalf of so many who can not find the words. My mission is give some relief and understanding to those people who, like me, are living with clinical depression and to offer a valuable resource to those who are struggling to understand and support someone who is living with this and who desperately needs them. I want to start a conversation because conversations like these can change the world and save lives. Honestly.
Thank you for your support and for spreading the word about this endeavor. My whole heart is in.
xo Lesley  


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Lesley Harper 
Portland, OR
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