2019 NAMI conference 4


Yesterday Brad, Marija, Doc, and I headed down to Columbia for the 2019 NAMI conference. On Friday, we had a peer retreat in the afternoon. Normally for our peer retreats we go to White Oak for a weekend and there is lots of down time. This year, they had the peer retreat on Friday, and we also got to attend the NAMI conference on Saturday. I was super happy to see my friend Laura!!! We only get to see each other at these NAMI SC events like once or twice a year, so it is special.

Laura gave a really good talk on food addiction. And I was on a panel about recovery. Unfortunately there were lots of questions about service dogs, so I kinda dominated the conversation for a bit. Eventually I had to say I wasn’t going to answer more service dog questions at that time! I hoped I didn’t take over too much…

The retreat part was pretty fun, but I wish it lasted longer and had more times for us to interact with each other! Friday night was the auction and awards ceremony, which everyone was invited to. Brad got the NAMI Stigma Buster award, and I was very happy for him! Too often I get recognized because I have the cute psychiatric service dog, and Brad gets less attention even though he does an amazing amount of work for PSDP and psychiatric service dog users.

The conference was Saturday, and boy was it a doozy! The day started off well with a talk about expecting mothers with mental health conditions which was really interesting. But as the day progresses, everyone ran over time, and instead of keeping people on track, they just eliminated ALL our breaks! This is not a good idea for a bunch of people with mental illness– we need down time to process. And I needed to be able to potty Hestia occasionally!

At lunch we sat with Laura and her family, but the talk at lunch ran way over (as usual) and I just HAD to take a break… Hestia was about to explode and I was feeling ill. So we left the talk early and went outside. Well, there was a street festival going on… So no rest and relaxation outside! I tried to get Hestia to do her business but like a million dogs kept passing by and I was doing worse and worse and like 10 people tried to pet Hestia even though she was clearly marked as a service dog!

Well, by that time I was just done. The 10th person came over, said in a silly voice “Oh I just love dogs!” and reached out as if to pick Hestia up. I blocked him with my hand and practically shouted at him “SHE’S WORKING!”. I felt awful, but I just couldn’t take anymore!

So we went back inside, as there was a talk on suicide I wanted to see. But I was so triggered by everything that Hestia was all over me. I tried really hard to calm down, but unfortunately the presenter felt the need to yell into the mic the whole time. I mean she was really yelling! I could have heard her two rooms over even without the mike amplifying her voice! So after like 5 minutes of that, I was doing even worse. I left, and found my friend Doc sitting outside, too. Then Marija came to check on us and we hung out for a while until that talk was done.

I was able to listen to the last talk, but by then I was so exhausted I just wanted to get out of there. We had an hour drive home, and then when we got home I rushed over to the vet to pick Ollie up. Only I got there two minutes after they closed! That means I have to go out tomorrow and get him, ugh. And that means he has to spend another night at the vet’s, poor guy.

On the bright side, I did get a video of Hestia doing a revolving door and some pictures! Brad is really doing poorly lately (so poorly we cancelled our next trip), so he couldn’t get out his camera and take pics. That means I took all the pics with my cell phone. Yeah, not great quality, sorry.

Veronica with Hestia sitting at a table with the other panelists on recovery!  Veronica is wearing a blue lace dress, and Hestia has a purple vest on.
Veronica with Hestia sitting at a table with the other panelists on recovery! Veronica is wearing a blue lace dress, and Hestia has a purple vest on.
Veronica and Hestia with our friend Laura.  Laura has bright red hair and is wearing a red dress with white polka dots.
Veronica and Hestia with our friend Laura. Laura has bright red hair and is wearing a red dress with white polka dots.
Veronica and Hestia with Elizabeth, a blond woman wearing a black dress.
Veronica and Hestia with Elizabeth, a blond woman wearing a black dress.
A selfie of Brad, Veronica, and Hestia.  Brad has a straw hat and a green blazer.  Hestia's face is out of focus as she was moving when the picture was taken.
A selfie of Brad, Veronica, and Hestia. Brad has a straw hat and a green blazer. Hestia’s face is out of focus as she was moving when the picture was taken.
Brad, Veronica, and Hestia sitting waiting for the auction and awards to start.
Brad, Veronica, and Hestia sitting waiting for the auction and awards to start.
Betsey, a woman with short brown hair and a turquoise dress, kneels next to Brad.
Betsey, a woman with short brown hair and a turquoise dress, kneels next to Brad.
Veronica with Hestia puts her arm around Doc, a man wearing a black shirt.
Veronica with Hestia puts her arm around Doc, a man wearing a black shirt.
Veronica and Hestia with Marija, a woman with black hair and a turquoise and white striped shirt.
Veronica and Hestia with Marija, a woman with black hair and a turquoise and white striped shirt.
Veronica with Hestia and Mieke and Bill.  Meike is a woman with blond/white hair and a multicolored shirt.  Bill (whom Hestia has a huge weakness for!) is wearing a striped grey shirt.
Veronica with Hestia and Mieke and Bill. Meike is a woman with blond/white hair and a multicolored shirt. Bill (whom Hestia has a huge weakness for!) is wearing a striped grey shirt.
Veronica with Hestia leans back and poses with Dan, a man wearing a blue button down shirt.
Veronica with Hestia leans back and poses with Dan, a man wearing a blue button down shirt.
A selfie of Hestia on Veronica's lap.  The picture is taken from below, so you see Hestia from below and Veronica's face behind her.
A selfie of Hestia on Veronica’s lap. The picture is taken from below, so you see Hestia from below and Veronica’s face behind her.
A similar selfie, but this time the focus in on Hestia, and Veronica's face is mostly hidden.
A similar selfie, but this time the focus in on Hestia, and Veronica’s face is mostly hidden.
Brad watches the auction, and Doc is in the background.
Brad watches the auction, and Doc is in the background.
A closeup of Hestia during the auction.
A closeup of Hestia during the auction.
Hestia's back is to the camera, but she is looking over her shoulder near the camera.  In the background you can see the auction audience.
Hestia’s back is to the camera, but she is looking over her shoulder near the camera. In the background you can see the auction audience.
Hestia looks up at Veronica (taking the picture) wondering when the auction will be over!
Hestia looks up at Veronica (taking the picture) wondering when the auction will be over!
Brad sits in his power chair at the front of the room, looking at Betsey who is talking at the podium.  Betsey is introducing Brad for his award!
Brad sits in his power chair at the front of the room, looking at Betsey who is talking at the podium. Betsey is introducing Brad for his award!
Brad holds the mic and gesticulates as he accepts his award.
Brad holds the mic and gesticulates as he accepts his award.
Brad wearing a red blazer and a newsboy hat reclines and looks at the program for the day.
Brad wearing a red blazer and a newsboy hat reclines and looks at the program for the day.
At lunch, a closeup of Hestia's face with our friend Laura in the background at the other end of the table.
At lunch, a closeup of Hestia’s face with our friend Laura in the background at the other end of the table.
Brad took this picture of Hestia helping Veronica (wearing her peacock dress).  Hestia is up on Veronica's chest, and though Veronica has her back to the camera, Hestia peeks over her shoulder at the camera.
Brad took this picture of Hestia helping Veronica (wearing her peacock dress). Hestia is up on Veronica’s chest, and though Veronica has her back to the camera, Hestia peeks over her shoulder at the camera.
Brad poses with Pat, a woman with grey hair and a pink shirt.
Brad poses with Pat, a woman with grey hair and a pink shirt.
Doc and Marija smile while sitting at the table waiting for the last talk to start.  Doc is wearing a black shirt, and Marija has a blue shirt on.
Doc and Marija smile while sitting at the table waiting for the last talk to start. Doc is wearing a black shirt, and Marija has a blue shirt on.

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4 thoughts on “2019 NAMI conference

  • Jennifer and Bunny

    Hurray, Brad! Thank you for allllll of your PSDP work!!

    Please, all of you, get some good rest, okay?! πŸ’πŸ’šπŸ’›πŸ’œ

  • deborah rubin

    I don’t know how you two manage to get around as much as you do. I get so freaked out even thinking of going someplace new. I have to move to subsidised housing sometime next year and am already upset. Also for Eowyn, who will be 10 in a few days and has lived here with me since she was 4 months old. Especially with her seizure issues, something so traumatic could trigger a seizure. She’s been clear for over a year but the neurologist says it’s still possible. And I’ll be so much further from the vet and the emergency clinic.
    I have more than once physically blocked someone from touching Eowyn and almost yelled She’s a service dog she’s working don’t touch her!! So I know how you felt.

  • Elaine Jordan

    I’m glad y’all get to still get out and I’m so proud of you both for all the work you do
    I hope both of you get some much deserved rest and I hope you don’t obsess about losing your temper, it hapoens!
    Even to “normal” peopleπŸ˜‚
    Take it easy