There’s little old me, after speaking at a mental health event in South London this morning. The lovely lady pictured, Siobhan, hosted and organised the event that brought together some local people to discuss how we perceive people with mental illness.
And this all started with a 25 second video on Instagram around September last year, and here I am invited to speak at some mental health events. Considering that I used to run away from anything to do with public speaking, this is quite a transformation. Knowledge is power. It’s ok to stand there and talk, but better if you have knowledge of your subject. And people like honesty and realism.
There were two other powerful speakers who shared their experiences and a lot of what they said resonated with me. We all did a clever activity where we were given an envelope with a person’s face on it. We were asked how old they might be, what job they do and what kind of mental health struggles they may endure. Then we opened each envelope and read a sentence describing their struggles. Very ingenious idea that got everyone talking and I explained about the stock phrases that people use. Say a person is struggling with mental illness but smiles. A person that doesn’t know might say “He/she is happy. He/she looks normal!”. What I’m saying is that mental illness is invisible, unlike a broken arm.
Then it was me. I had a script to follow, because as the years advance, my memory isn’t what it was! But I hope it was well received and I networked with some other members of the audience and I hope to do more of this, at a later date.
I have to admit that I wasn’t feeling particularly enthusiastic about going. I felt weighed down with all the stuff that is going on and the pressure to perform. But I got up there and dismissed those anxieties and spoke. It gave me a little bit of a lift. Back home now, and the anxieties return of course.
It was a superbly organised event and Siobhan seems a driven and likeable individual who wants to make sure others have a good and fulfilling life. It was her first event organising and though she was worried and a little nervous, it went off smoothly and I hope this is the start of a career of running such events in the future.
Nice day. They’ve been few and far between this year, but when they do come along, they’re worth holding onto. So as I said to begin with, a short video and here we are. You never know what is around that corner, and that is the beauty of life.