Today my friend Melanie and I gave four presentations of the NAMI In Our Own Voice (IOOV) to students at the Applied Technical Center here in Rock Hill (it’s a high school). We had a total of probably about 300 students come to our presentations!
Classes started at 8:30, so I got there around 8AM which is really early for me! As we walked into the empty classroom, I was startled again by the dummies. This is a health science classroom, so they have dummies in seats from a car, on stretchers, etc. A little weird at first, but once you get used to it, it is fine. Just gave me a start at first! One of the schools we’ve given IOOV in had hospital beds with dummies in them and that was really freaky!
Anyway, things started out a little rough with me, I was rusty on what I have planned to say. But as the day went on longer, and we progressed through the presentations, I got into my groove.
I usually tell the story of the suicide attempt that I had right after I got my PhD, the one that gave me brain damage. I told that story to the students for the first two presentations. But they didn’t seem to connect as much with my story as they did with Melanie’s. So over lunch I decided to tell a different suicide story– the one when I was pregnant and went off all my meds cold turkey. I think it resonated much more with the students!
We had about 4 students total come up to us after our presentations and ask for assistance. We were able to refer them to their guidance counselor and give them information to help them. It was very good!
We got a picture of Melanie, Hestia, and me. I am wearing a bright yellow shirt, and a rainbow baby pouch that has Hestia in it. Hestia is a small black and white dog, but you can only see her face. Melanie is in a pink floral shirt and has short blond hair, and all of us are looking at the camera and smiling 🙂 You can see one of the dummies in the background!
Now we are home, and we are exhausted! I don’t know if I’ll be able to go to Bagel Boat tomorrow, teaching the four classes (the biggest class had 88 students at the same time) really took a lot out of me!