Friday, October 18, 2013

TGIF

I'm feeling thankful for the children this week.  This group was at the Zoo and they were having a blast.  They had a list (like a scavenger hunt) to check off the animals they had seen.  Their enthusiasm was infectious.   I was there with my own class.  The learning never ends!

I also spoke in front of two classes of 9th graders at a local high school.  I'm a speaker for Stop Stigma Sacramento and this was my first gig.  The kids bounced into the classroom, full of that energy that only 13 and 14 year olds have.  Their teacher reminded them many times to settle down, to pay attention and give respect to their guest speakers.  I was first up in both classes.  I spoke without notes, because I'm used to public speaking, and I know that reading off a paper in front of teenagers is going to put them to sleep, pronto.  Well, I really engaged them and they asked great questions.  There I was, presenting myself to a group of people as a person with mental illness: clinical depression.  I talked about how good my life has been, despite having this illness; I spoke about having diabetes and how there isn't stigma attached to that, so why should there be stigma attached to mental illness?  Our job as speakers is to show our audience the real face of mental illness.  Everyday people.  Just like me.  Like the organization's motto says, "Mental Illness: It's Not What You Think."  We also provide information on how kids can get more information and help if they need it.

The kids were respectful, curious, and attentive.  They also revealed information about themselves that took courage to say.  They give me hope for the future.

Hope your future weekend is a good one!  Go hang out with some kids!

3 comments:

  1. That's great! Both the zoo and the school. Way to go.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds good to educate the kids before or when they are dealing with something themselves and realize they can get help. I've used that comparison a lot of times that if we can say diabetes is an illness why not mental disorders that are often chemically produced. I guess it goes back to the Puritan thinking where prayer can solve anything... except obviously it cannot. I've had some bouts of depression, not for years now but did take Prozac when I realized I was not functioning. It solved the problem of depression but I felt it also suppressed creativity. Perhaps drugs today do not.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Kudos to people like you who are willing to teach youngsters and speak plainly to them about clinical depression. There's an extensive history in my family and my own daughter has this nighmare illness.

    ReplyDelete