The show America’s Got Talent brought me to tears this week, when Anna Clendening, a 20 year old woman who suffers from depression and anxiety disorders, stepped out on that stage and sung Halleluja. She openly stated that only 2-3 months ago she was bed ridden due to her illnesses. She was very open and honest about her pain and suffering, as were her parents.
I was not only inspired by her; but the way people responded to her. Her parents supported her immensely. Nick Cannon escorted her to the stage because she was so nervous. The crowd clapped to encourage her. Howie Mandel whom I admire greatly for being open about his own disorders, applauded her bravery. Howie Mandel has OCD disorder and specifically an irrational fear of germs, mysophobia. He said he understands the difficulty and told her that the fact she even showed up was amazing. I can attest to his statement. It seems not long ago that I was bedridden myself. It is terrifying how the mind can literally cripple you.
I was truly moved by her courage. When she sang, her emotions came through her voice giving me goosebumps. The crowd roared as they gave her a standing ovation. After she finished, Howie Mandel went to the stage and hugged her, despite his own disorder. As the two of them stood on that stage, I cried. Here were two people fighting their illnesses. It was truly an emotional and beautiful experience.
“Live is full of peaks and valleys, you have seen and experienced a lot of valleys, tonight young lady you are on a peak” were Howie’s last words to her as the crowd screamed. The judges loved her and voted her in for the next round. I look forward to seeing and hearing more of her.
The whole occurrence proved to me how far America has come in our awareness and toleration of mental illness. I was truly moved and inspired.