Friday, October 18, 2013
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!