Thursday, February 5, 2015

NAMI "In Our Own Voice" Training

Nearly ten years ago, when I was in college I had to take a speech class. I remember it was one of the classes I disliked most! I am painfully shy. Talking in front of groups of people was not my forte.... back then.

Last year I wanted to be involved with raising mental illness awareness. I was curious about publicly speaking to people about mental illness and help stomp out the stigma of it! I told Sister this and she suggested I go to the NAMI “In Our Own Voice” program.

I checked out the NAMI website. The IOOV program looked very appealing to me! I sent an e-mail of inquiry. Not long after that the IOOV Coordinator e-mails me back. She tells me that training is in Montgomery. In a few weeks to be exact. I told her that I am very interested but maybe at a later date. The coordinator suggests I submit my application anyways for future use. I snail mailed my application. I ended up being chosen to train as an IOOV Presenter! The coordinator informs me that the room, meals and mileage are paid for. I am excited! I will be going to Montgomery!

My friends thought it was an excellent idea that I go to Montgomery for training! I manage to scrape up the money for a rental car. My personal car is old. I do not trust it to last over an hour on the interstate!

It takes me a few hours to reach Montgomery. The drive was not bad. The hotel I would be staying at was fairly easy to find. I arrive a few minutes late but am thankful that I am there and that I made it safely!

Class starts training on a Friday afternoon. When the Georgia trainer introduced herself to me I immediately realized who she was! I recently read her blog. She lives with schizophrenia too! I ask about her book and she gives it to me for a discounted rate since we were peers! I was super excited to meet her!

There were about ten students in training. I talked to most of them. They were warm and friendly. The trainers were helpful and encouraged all of us. I was worried that I would have a difficult roommate. Thankfully she turned out to be kind and caring. After class we would relax in our room and talk for hours about our lives. We felt comfortable with each other.

Training was intense but fun! I enjoyed all of it. A lot of information was absorbed. The second day of training was when we did our presentations. I was very nervous at first but the more I practiced, the more comfortable I became! On Sunday we reviewed everything and did some trouble shooting. At the end was a graduation ceremony!

I was so excited to become a NAMI IOOV Presenter! The goal of our presentations is to provide a sense of hope and recovery for those living with or without a mental illness! I want to show the world that people with mental illnesses really are not much different than people without a mental illness! We can achieve our goals and live an independent high quality lives too! Stay tuned for the next blog to read about the presentations I have done!