About Last Night

I’ve done quite a few events and interviews over the last month or so since my book was published but last night was by far the most meaningful one yet. As I mentioned last week I was asked to be a panelist at an event called Community Conversations at the Richmond Hill Public Library where I was to speak about Mental Illness and Stigma. In preparation for the event I was sent a series of 4 questions beforehand on the topic of Stigma in which I would be asked to discuss in front of the group along with a short bio about my journey and then followed up with a Q & A from the audience at the very end.
One by one each panelist discussed their views on (1) the harmful effects of the Stigma surrounding mental illness, (2) the most commonly held stereotypes about mentally ill people, (3) our strategies on how we as a society can help diminish the Stigma and (4) our thoughts on the important and urgent need for more access and funding to better educate the public about mental illness in order to increase understanding and empathy.
I was BEYOND anxious and overwhelmed all day yesterday and especially as I sat in my big, comfy chair waiting for the event to begin. I sat there looking around the room as the other panelists and guests arrived one by one and the anxiety and overwhelm just kept building. By now my head was filled with so much negative self-talk I thought it was going to explode! I wanted to run for the nearest exit screaming and crying (but I was in a library afterall and didn’t want to distract the 100’s of kids trying to study!) And no amount of breathing or grounding exercises seemed to be slowing down what was going on inside my body and mind either, but then the Moderator started to introduce the panel 1 by 1 and when I started to tell my story to a room full of strangers all my anxiety and overwhelm seemed to dissipate.
Suddenly I felt a sense of belonging and that by sharing my story and speaking from my heart on a topic I have so much passion and understanding for and knowing that I could possibly help someone feel less alone, feel like it’s ok to not be ok or feel a sense of comfort from within their own community made all the anxiety and overwhelm all worthwhile.
Everyone in attendance last night had their own reason for being there. Some may have been mental health educators or professionals, some may have been mental health advocates, some may have been in need of some guidance for their own mental wellness and some may have been there to seek advice on behalf of a loved one in need of support.
But whatever their reason was for being there, they all have a story to tell, we all have a story to tell and we definitely need more evenings like last night so that more and more people can have a safe place to feel like they can start telling their story and know that someone is listening. I know I want to hear it; how about you?
#mentalhealthawarenessweek #mentalillness #mentalhealth #stigma #endthestigmatogether #youareenough #choosekindness #itsoktonotbeok #startaconversation #educationiskey #dontsufferinsilence #speakyourtruth #courage #wheredidmommyssmilego #amazon #rhpl

Author: Kim Fluxgold

Wife, mom of 3 beautiful children, dog lover, creative sole and children's book Author. Sharing my journey with depression and anxiety through blogging in hopes of educating and ending the stigma.

2 thoughts on “About Last Night”

  1. These are great comments Kim. I too thought it was a really engaging evening and I am grateful to the Library for hosting this. I am going to put an e-mailing out which will include a description of the event. I noticed that you had some good shots of the panel. Could you share them with me so that I may put a picture in the Home on the Hill e-mailing. I may quote you if that is ok. Also may I have your e-mail address? Kathy


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