Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Butterflies In My Tummy

Not long after I completed my training, I received a call from the director of “In Our Own Voice”! She suggested I do a presentation with another presenter!

This is the real thing! I have always been nervous of talking in front of groups of people!However I wanted to get my personal story out!

What do I do first? I started practicing my speech in front of my AL best friend, Bear and the cats. Later on I enlisted Marianne and her cousin to be a part of my audience. The more I practiced, the more my confidence grew. With the encouragement of many of my friends I knew I was capable of giving my presentation!

My first speaking engagement was at a day treatment. Therefore I would be speaking to people like me. These people were struggling with mental illnesses as well. My partner was a good singer and funny too! After we presented I knew this was something I wanted to continue doing.

My AL best friend and I made dozens of calls to get me booked for IOOV. We talked to the director of the group homes of Altapointe. I was able to do several presentations at different group homes. One of the consumers liked me so much that she tried to kiss me right on the lips!

In January I spoke to the nursing students at Springhill College. I was extra nervous because this was my first non consumer group! Getting my story out overpowered my nervousness! At the end Sister encouraged the students to ask us anything. They had some interesting questions to ask us. They were really interested in our presentation.

My most recent presentations were for the staff at the Salvation Army. They were at two different locations. The first one was for the women's center. Today I talked at the men's center. As usual I had butterflies in my stomach! Unlike the first time I knew I was capable of doing this. A common thing several people have told me is that I do not seem nervous talking. That I seemed natural. I was pleasantly surprised about this.

I want to be able to do these presentations for a long time! I really enjoy them! The purpose is to remove the stigma of mental illness! I want to show the world that people with mental illnesses can be successful! Not all of us are confined to group homes for the rest of our lives! We are contributing members of society too!