Journeyman's Row
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"Find Your Voice" Conference

Posted on April 23, 2017 at 1:00 AM

Welcome again for the latest updates and writing progress. On Thursday the 20th, for the most part the NAMI organized "Find Your Voice" Recovery Conference went really well. It was a new experience for me being around people from the community who share similar mental health issues, as well as being around so many mental health providers. It can be so easy not to see the wood for the trees. If you aren't stigmatized to keep to yourself about your differences from other people, or the mental health symptoms you do have, you still might not necessarily realize the bigger picture of details.


The devil is in the details, as the saying goes. Since November, I have seen and met with some mental health providers in this region. But even during the setup time for the first couple hours of the Conference, I still was taken aback by how many health providers who do deal with mental health. To see so many there even for a relatively small city like ours, it was an interesting treat. My hat goes off to everyone who attended. Though, you'll have to excuse the other unexpected reaction I had just afterwards.


I felt that not enough people from the general public were there and know exactly why I feel this way: my ambition. I don't expect every single person who would have been available to attend to have been at the Conference. There wouldn't be enough room in any building here locally to accommodate so many people. Crazy, right? But I couldn't help feeling a sense that in combination with all of the other important issues in the world, mental health awareness should be a priority too. Maybe even a little greedy that this cause should be in the national spotlight right now. I know I feel so empowered right now to create change and that I should pace myself. When the tide finally begins to turn against social stigma and mental health is taken more seriously, then maybe I will pace myself. :)


I would also like to thank the presenters for their invaluable contribution during the Conference as well. In particular, the key note speaker, Elisha Coffey, with whom I was fortunate to network and speak one on one during break periods. It was such a relief to share my advocacy efforts with someone so energetic, so comfortable and experienced with mental health, and to attend her presentation. I hope in the weeks and months to come I can gravitate towards similar pillars of the mental health community to begin discovering solutions for my career anxiety. Oh what a moment that will be when I finally tackle that most difficult of issues in my life. Before you know it, when I get my life on track I'll be hearing wedding bells and end up getting married.


Preparations are still progressing for the local May Is Mental Health Month Conference event, in which I will be one of three to four people giving speeches about our personal experiences with mental illness. May 24th for anyone in this region who is interested to attend. This will mark the first time I have ever given a speech to a captive audience about my personal experiences with suicide, depression, and mental illness. Yes, the first time ever. Although, I will not post the final draft of my speech here to make sure it is reserved for public speaking only, the speech is already eight minutes long and incredibly compelling. This speaking event will also serve as the beginning stepping stone hopefully into a path of career development. Coffey is but one resource I expect to network with in order to resolve my career indecision, because while I have been advocating and seeming to have a lot of experience, I am still in my own mental health recovery.


It will be such an honor also to be speaking with the other presenters for May 24th. I have been well acquainted with one of them, Crystal, and she has turned out to be someone I am beginning to look up to more for what she has been through. May 24th is just a date I can't wait for. It should be very exciting as that time draws nearer.


To wrap this up, since Easter Sunday I have finished "Gone, But Not Forgotten"© and it turned out to be what I feel is my best story yet. The main character ended up being so compelling, Eliza Oshii, I feel she is the best character I have ever written. On the other hand, the final sixth short story has hit writer's block to get underway. "In Love & Fear"©, which will involve more secondary characters, a new inner city setting, and a romance angle with the theme of anxiety-driven intrusive thought to serve as the antagonist. I will keep pushing forward to work out the kinks and write it hopefully to be finished by the end of May. By then as well I intend to rewrite chunks of "To Have Loved & Lost"© also, but my goal will still remain to be finished with the writing project before June.


I have also created a new Blog Category, called To Know Me Better, in an effort to organize specific blog posts in which I share mental health information about me personally or essential details about who I am.  This way, mental health professionals, potential employers, and the general public can go straight to these posts to get a good idea about what I've been through and who I am as a person.


Well, I want to thank you all once again for tuning in to WWHY 100.4 FM broadcast of the Journeyman's Row radio show. It won't be too much longer now until I resume regular blogcasting and I encourage you to check back again on May 7th for my next update. Take care until then and God bless.

Categories: Inspirational, Public Outreach & Volunteering, "Just Before the Dawn"©

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