A New Venture

 

I’m really excited — and a bit nervous — about my new venture.

For the past couple of years, I’ve thought about volunteering at NAMI. I finally contacted the local chapter office and met with a program coordinator to find out how to get involved.

NAMI educates people about mental illness and is dedicated to building better lives for those affected. It’s the largest grassroots mental health organization in the nation. They advocate for reform, and offer free classes and support groups for those with a mental health issue, and also for their families. NAMI strives to help end the stigma.

I’m looking forward to participating in a program for high school students. It’s called Ending the Silence. It aims to raise awareness about mental illness among teens. I’ll be going through a training program. After that, I’ll help present and speak to the students.

I feel very close to this, as I’ve had anxiety and panic attacks since I was a child. I know what it feels like to be in school and think I’m the only one experiencing frightening symptoms of panic. I hid it as long as I could. I was ashamed.

My daughter started to have panic attacks at age ten. I understand how difficult it is to be the one going through it, and as the parent, watching my child suffer.

When I was first diagnosed with agoraphobia, I found out I wasn’t alone and that I could receive medical help. That was life-changing. I had no idea that millions of others felt the same way. I honestly didn’t think anyone, not even a doctor, would understand what my scary symptoms were, or what to do about them.

Now I’m panic free, and so is my daughter. I’m passionate about showing people there is hope. I’m nervous about my volunteer work because it’s something new. I’m reaching out of my comfort zone. My life is heading on a slightly different course, as I’m spreading my awareness and experiences toΒ  more people.

I can’t wait to go back to high school and let those kids know how far my daughter and I have come. And that there’s hope for them too.

 

First image courtesy of here

Second image courtesy of here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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59 thoughts on “A New Venture

  1. Go, girl!! You are bringing healing, and I don’t think there is any better feeling this side of heaven than to be used for good πŸ™‚

    My son has struggled since middle school with a full gamut of issues that I believe stem from anxiety. He is in a better place right now (we thank God), but I think a program like that would be really awesome for him and a friend of his. I’ll watch for it, to see if it makes it to our area. Thank you for sharing the goodness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words! I appreciate that so much. I’m really hoping to make an impact on some of the kids’ lives. Even if they keep the info in mind for later, if I can help put the seed in their mind about mental health issues, and the need to reach out for help.

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  2. This sounds awesome for you. Best of luck! I work in a NYC public high school day treatment program, (counseling and psychiatric services within school day), on the education end. I work in crisis room it’s great work, hard but great. Remember you may make impression you aren’t even aware about. Young adults watch us closely. Be yourself and help them from the heart. They will smell that on you and you will have no worries. Good luck, I enjoyed your story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, and I really appreciate your advice. I hope the kids ‘get me.’ I agree with what you said, to be myself and share my story from the heart. Thanks again for your insight. I needed to hear that! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am totally unaware of this program. I’ll take a look!
    But how awesome of you to volunteer! Volunteering is such a cool thing to do, I could probably stand to do some on my own.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Since looking into NAMI’s program, I’ve been amazed at how much they offer. And all classes and support groups are free, which is wonderful. The resources are out there, it’s a matter of spreading the word to make sure people know where to go for help.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi. I met with rejection at Nami. Because of tardive, a lot of people only remember me when I was trying to stop the tears and trembling. That image sticks in their mind and now even though I have it under control, that’s all they remember. The three years I struggled with inadequate often hostile treatment providers were rough on me and left a scar. I’m not even sure I should be writing this….

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  5. Bless you for volunteering in this organisation. I know that it will be scary at first but as time passes it will get easier. Just talking to those children with mental illness will give them hope that they will get better and it is not the end. Much love ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations, Jenny! What a HUGE step! You have come so far in your recovery and made so many gains. We may not actually know each other in person, but I am so proud of you, and I’m so blessed to be following along with your blog. You have so much wisdom and experience to share with others, and I know that you will help many people. I think it’s absolutely normal to feel nervous and scared, and even a bit overwhelmed, when taking on something so different and strange, but you are going to be great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Lulu! This means so much to me. Your kind words give me motivation to continue on this journey with excitement, and less fear. I appreciate your comment more than you know πŸ™‚

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  7. What a wonderful thing you are doing! It’s this kind of thing that shows how, in some ways, the world is getting better. Even though we have more challenges, there are people all over the world being brave and doing what they can to help.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I really appreciate your kind words. I’m excited about doing what I can, even though it’s such a small part in the grand scheme of things. But the more people who talk about it, the more it will do to help end the stigma.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Jenny this is wonderful!! I’m so proud and excited for you. I spoke on a panel to college students about depression, anxiety, and bipolar. I was nervous too, but you are getting training so that should help with your nerves. NAMI is great. I volunteer for American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I did the walk last year and raised money and this year I am on the planning committee. I too am out of my comfort zone; I have to go to places of business and ask for money or goods. In May I went to my state capitol and lobbied for mental health bills; I was sooo nervous about the idea of talking with legislators. I practiced my speech, which helped. But I drove 2 hours to the capitol to meet up with the rest of the volunteers and I was given appointments for meeting with legislators and sharing our story too. It is something I have always wanted to do. Two of the bills were passed a few months later; I was so happy to be part of that. You are going to have a strong impact on the student’s lives. Sharing your story is brave. Will your daughter get to be there? What a great example you are! I find many people living with mental illness, like us, go on to help others and the cause. This experience will open you up to new people and skills and confidence. Yay Jenny!!!!! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Traci! Your comment made me so happy, and it’s really motivating. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Wow, I had no idea you’ve done all that. I have a lot of respect for you… that’s not easy, I can imagine how nervous you must’ve been. But you did it, and it’s great you were able to see positive results from speaking to those legislators. And also to the college students! I’ve found a passion for being a mental health advocate, as you have. I feel like I’m at a point where I can speak freely about my experiences, and it’s positive because even though I’ve struggled, I am recovered. I want others to know that they can get help, and can lead a fulfilling life. Mental health is a part of that. My daughter is welcome to be there at the presentations, and she would be a great addition to the program. But she’s not ready to do that, to open up. Plus she’ll be away at college for the school year. NAMI also has a walk early May, and I want to do that next year. The presenters at NAMI have all been through a mental illness themselves, or a family member. I appreciate that many more people are talking about it, and hopefully, with programs like Ending the Silence in high school classes, eventually the stigma will decrease. Thanks for your wonderful note, I’m so glad to know about your advocacy. And again, thanks for the support and encouragement you give me! It means more than you know πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much Jenny! I am so glad to know that you feel supported and encouraged by me. It’s wonderful that you are recovered and able to share your story and help other people. The walk sounds like a great idea. I agree, people are so much more open to sharing their stories and it is helping with the stigma. Good luck to you! I haven’t been on my blog with all the transitions I have been going through, so I will check your site to see how things are going for you! Thanks for your support and encouragement too!! πŸ™‚ xo

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