Laughter is Sacred Space: The Human Faces Tour is a unique event of Ted & Co that toured the Midwest this September for Suicide Prevention Awareness month, and is booking now for May 2017 – Mental Health Awareness month. The backbone of the Tour is the show, Laughter is Sacred Space. During the past four years performing this show, Ted met many people who have grieved the loss of loved ones to suicide, or who struggle with psychological or mental disorders themselves. We think their stories are important. This tour is about humanizing the faces and stories of those who struggle. It is also about addressing the stigma attached to mental disorders, and catalyzing a closing-of-the-gap between empathy and informed engagement in the Church, and other community groups, who want to help but aren’t sure how. Here are the three elements of the Tour:
One of the primary conduits of cultural change is through the arts – creating space for people to tell their story, shape their identity, and explore our shared humanity. Laughter is Sacred Space is such an endeavor – Ted’s vulnerable and resonant play about the loss of his best friend and business partner to suicide.
Ted & Co invites NAMI affiliates, or other local mental health agencies, to be part of the event, with resources and sharing to help spread awareness. We hope to jumpstart a conversation between these agencies and churches to equip churches and other organizations to dismantle stigmitization.
The Faces and Stories
This Tour also creates space for others stories (see one example above). Ted will be touring with professional photographer Steven Stauffer, who will take portraits of people who’d like to share their own journey of struggling with a mental disorder; or those who care for loved ones who struggle, or have lost a loved one to suicide.
Below is a true story of a friend of Ted & Co to provide a sample of what the photo/storytelling part of this project is. Share your story here, or click the button at the top of the right sidebar on this page.
If you’d like to book an event on our May 2017 tour for Mental Health Awareness month, visit our booking inquiry page here.
A Story of Struggle, Meaning, and Hope
I have been impacted by suicidal thoughts and self-destructive behaviors at key stress points in my life. I have mostly understood my life story as a process of recovery. I was misdiagnosed, over-medicated, and poorly counseled for 15 years. I was hospitalized for suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and depression a week after my 30th birthday. In the hospital, I learned the stories I had been telling myself were not true: I was not sick. I was not a series of mental illnesses. I am a person who needs structure, accountability, and meaningful relationships to stay sane through the ups and downs of living. I continue to benefit from grounded counsel, which is re-shaping my identity. I also gain spiritual insight and support through a 12 Step Program. I am learning that naming my feelings is part of my healing journey. Because I grew up with mental illness within my family, and also struggled to maintain mental health, I have a unique ability to relate to people who either experience or love someone with mental illness. What I have learned, is the only way through the pain is to feel it, name it, and sit with another person who understands it. I am deeply grateful for what Ted is doing with this tour, and I hope many people come to know themselves through its message in a new way.