Kimberly Bragado

I began The Authentic Thinker in May 2017 as a form of self-expression and way of healing. I’d lost almost everything the year before: my job, my apartment, my closest relationships, and aspects of my physical and mental health. I wanted a way to constructively deal with what had been the worst period of my life. Art and writing were my salves.

In The Authentic Thinker, I challenge social preconceptions: How can I show my everyday struggle of coping and celebrate the triumph of overcoming? Is there a way to present myself with dignity and respect for the mind? How can I illustrate the intellect needed for me to navigate crises? What is the potential of a person so closely linked with a damaging, limiting social stigma?

I write, I sketch, I paint, I photograph. I ask questions and attempt to find answers. I create from the perspective of mental health and what my recovery journey with illness teaches me. I want to show how the skills I’ve learned to cope and survive are ones all of us should learn and use, and how a socially stigmatized person isn’t so different. I have the same worries, doubts, fears, and ambitions as the next human being.

I promote respect, emphasize ability, and advocate for mental health. My ultimate goals are to share new ideas, to spread mental health awareness, and to explore creative living through holistic wellness. 

I’m a student of integrative health with an honors degree in communication art. I’ve worked in public relations, marketing, and journalism. My previous experience includes legislative advocacy, group facilitating, and team fundraising. I currently volunteer as a councilmember and public speaker. My long-term goal is entrepreneurship.

I share my story to challenge social convention and enrich collective healing. I hope to inspire, educate, and motivate others to become The Authentic Thinker – to ask the hard, difficult questions that redirect to a richer, healthier plane of existence. If we want a better reality, we must do the work – starting with ourselves. Our best and most profound change happens when we’re brave enough to look into our own mirror, and not flinch.