We arrived home in the wee hours of the morning today after a long day of travel. Something that has brought to my awareness is the immediacy that we have come to expect in our fast food culture. There are times that we have forgotten the amazing connection that we have with the world. In the days prior to cars and planes, it would be unlikely that I would even know about events in California let alone travel to them. Yet, my sense of this travel is still that it takes too long. I was really unable to appreciate the ability to travel across the country in a day. I wasn’t able to appreciate the journey it self. I think that mentality we’ve created in our culture to be sad. I strive to increase my mindfulness and awareness of the opportunities in my daily life to appreciate the wonderful and amazing things in this world. But I am not there yet.
That bit of thoughtfulness stated…
I am sad that the conference is over. It went by too quickly. I just couldn’t get to everything even though I kept each day full. I learned so much that I hope to apply to my personal and professional life. The best part of the conference was that it included people with OCD, their families and the professionals treating them. In that mix there were also those of us who are professionals that have OCD. It was amazing to connect with them. It made me feel less alone. It is amazing how much having the diagnosis effects us on a professional level.
As a professional that has OCD and ADHD, I have much to offer those who are in crisis. Why? I have been there. While I believe that all of us treating people with mental illness have compassion for their patients, there is a difference when you have lived it. There is a fine line between being the one treated and doing the treating. And when you have already experienced that reality it changes your perspective a great deal. After having been in crisis, it is easier to understand what those in crisis are experiencing. Additionally, I can offer a sense of hope. I can be an example of the ability to have mental illness and still being functional and successful. It is possible. That is the message I want to send to people more then anything else. You can have mental illness and still be successful, functional and happy.
But there are challenges to. The big one being disclosure. Who do you tell about your mental illness? When and how? I find it frustrating that this question even comes up. It simply shouldn’t matter. But it does. Why? Because there is still stigma around us and that has created a culture of fear. Truth is that those of us with mental illness perpetuate the stigma culture as much as those who are uncomfortable with us. But they are uncomfortable because we don’t let them know who we are because of our fear. Why are we stigmatizing our selves? I don’t have an answer to that. But I think it is something that we have to ask ourselves.
I plan on sharing some of the things that I learned in the conference. Once I’ve put my notes together into something that makes sense to some one other then myself. I’ve got pages and pages of shorthand chicken scratches. I promise that I will start translating them into real English. That’s part of the learning process for me. Helps solidify the ideas in my head. I figure that there are others out there that would think the information as helpful as I do. But if you start feeling over saturated just tell me in the comments. Sometimes I just get excited about things and word vomit all over people. >.<