I'm now gainfully employed as a speaker for an organization called TAMI: Talking About Mental Illness. Jill runs this program for the Canadian Mental Health Association which brings people associated with mental illness into schools, colleges and university classes to teach students about mental illness. It's a wonderful concept to get people to understand what mental illness really is from someone who suffers.
On Friday, March 6th, I was invited to Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, to give a speech about my experience with mental illness. I'm Bipolar. I became sick at 6 years of age even though I wasn't diagnosed until I was 27. All through my childhood, all doctors said I was just a "spoiled brat looking for attention" even though I was screaming out at everyone that something was wrong with me.
I really enjoyed giving the lecture. There must have been 50 students in the class and as I looked around the room, every eye was on me. I told them about my life and discussed what it means to be mentally ill. They gave me a good ovation. The teacher (a blonde bombshell who is also extremely intelligent with a sturdy handshake) said that I was a "charismatic speaker." Wow.
I'm so happy that was the response from her and Jill gave me two thumbs up. I wasn't that nervous speaking. I did forget what I had said. I talked for maybe 15 minutes and I was exhausted. When I got home, I realized what a rush it had been and I can't wait to give more speeches. Hopefully, I'll hear from Jill soon about more possible opportunities.
I love spreading the word about mental illness. My hero is Clara Hughes who rode her bike around Canada in the pursuit of dialogue about mental illness. Thanks to her, people like me find it easier to talk about my Bipolar.
After leading an adventurous life travelling the world, I can admit that I'm basically stable at this moment and never happier in life. I love writing and am working on three books (one mystery, one adventure and the sequel to That Truthful Place ). A few wonderful opportunities are occurring to keep me happy and optimistic about my future.
Life is good!