Thrivers in Action: Podcaster, Angela Inez Carter
Updated: Apr 11, 2020
To my Thrive readers, I am launching a new series called "Thrivers in Action," which will profile women and men who are open about discussing their own successes and challenges with their mental health, as well as those striving to make a positive impact in the world. I am so pleased to introduce my first Thriver in Action, Angela Inez, who I had the pleasure of meeting through a Facebook group recently. She was raised in the midwest by her grandparents on a farm, and now lives in my native state, Maryland. She has a podcast called The I Am Project, which is a serial drama show to highlight that mental illness has many faces.
Name: My name is Angela Inez
Title: Writer, Podcaster, Poet
City: Silver Spring, MD
Tell me about The I Am Project and why you started it and what your mission is.
I met my biological parents when I was 18. My mother displayed unusual behavior, such as mood swings within a 20-minute period. I assumed she just hated me and that's why she abandoned me, and then meeting me only confirmed what I assumed at that time. The other two times I encountered my mother, she continued to display this erratic behavior toward me. Fast forward several years later, I live in Maryland and receive a phone call from my mother's Oncologist telling me she has six months to live. Shortly thereafter, her doctors shared with me that she is Bipolar Manic Depressive. It wasn't until she was dying when her doctors told me that she was bipolar manic depressant.
I began researching mental illness in order to further understand how it affects the person as well as those around them. Being a writer, I didn't want to just write a book on my experience with my mother. I wanted to write about the different types of experiences people have, wrestling with mental illness, whether they are aware of it or not. The podcast seemed to be a perfect vehicle for that where I can really stretch my creative writing muscles.
The "I Am . . ." Project is a non-profit as well as the name of my podcast, created to raise awareness of mental illness and addictions through performance art.
Tell me about your personal experience with mental health and mental illness.
My personal experience with mental health and mental illness began when I discovered my mother was bipolar. I was on the receiving end of her negativity and I just assumed it was me. But it was not about me. Three years ago, I began having anxiety attacks as a result of losing my 98-year-old grandmother. She raised me from when I was six weeks old and losing her hit me at my soul.
What advice do you have for others who may be experiencing mental illness challenges?
My advice is simply, you are not alone. There are so many resources available. And you should never feel ashamed if you are having an episode. My non-profit/podcast is called: "I Am . . .," kind of like an affirmation of admitting and not avoiding. I see mental illness as an unwanted guest who takes up permanent residence inside your mind and takes control of your thoughts and emotions until . . . we take our control back by seeking help.
I've always been that strong tower that family and friends lean on for advice or whatever. Even I have felt taken down a little by my anxiety.
What can the family members and/or friends supporting those with mental illness do to support them?
Family members and/or friends can be that support, if they can handle it, through patience and understanding. Being open to listening, and maybe counseling for themselves can show they are in your corner.
What do you do to support your own mental health?
Besides seeking therapy for myself, I take mental health breaks from work. This can be leaving early to get a facial or pedicure. When I take a mental health day, as I call it, I use that time to just go write--surprise, surprise!!