Thank you for coming back to check out and read part 2 of my story.(If you haven’t read part 1 yet, don’t worry it’s still available to read check out my home page!)
In part one, you were able to read the full transcript of a 20 minute speech. A bit long for a first timer, but then again I had no training, experience whatsoever in the area of public speaking at that time.
Back in 2013, I had made great strides in overcoming my depression while a trainee at rehab’s National Learning Network (NLN) centre here in Cork. As you can read from part one I had a very difficult time with depression and all sorts of other conditions that came with the depression. It’s was a bloody well hard and difficult time for me and of course it’s tough real tough for anybody battling there own inner demons and so on.
Lucky for me I reached out for help. within one year of being a trainee at NLN I was surprised and well proud of myself that I was able to turn these around with the help of NLN. Let’s face it, if I didn’t find the courage or strength from somewhere to turn this around, put it this way my story would have never been told as I would not be around to tell it!!
In April / May, every year Cork city and county, along with other counties roll out a Life Long Learning festival which opens up the city free of charge to events and educational taster classes to encourage people to try and learn something new, be it a hobby, or considering an educational pursuit or learning what’s going on in our communities.
It is the perfect time for training centres such as the National Learning Network, who has a long tradition of being involved with the festival. NLN opens its doors to invite the outside community and the general public in to visit the centre and to see the amazing talents and achievements of it’s learners and to hear their testimonials of how NLN helps change the perspective of how we see and view people with disabilities and mental health.
That year, the manager of nln and some members of staff asked me would I like to share my story to the public. At first I did not want to, I was scared. Thoughts came into my head such as: why me? why would anybody be interested in my pathetic life, who would seriously want to hear about my problems. Don’t people have enough of there own. What will I say, what will I write, how will I write and so on.
Then I remembered Virgin Air boss and leader Richard Branson’s famous quote:
Giving my first speech was the most surreal and challenging thing I ever did ever!! I was scared stiff, I felt like a little lamb thrown to the wolves. No way was I prepared mentally or physically. To write the speech I wrote and to even recite it was nerve racking. I decided to write the speech in the manner to which I did for a purpose. A purpose to give an honest and frank realisation of what depression is. How it made me feel, and how I hated myself for not been strong enough to deal with it.
Telling my own story, despite the nerves, the panic attacks before hand if I am honest it felt DAM GOOD! Why?? because I felt liberated and felt a new freedom one I ever experienced ever. I felt so suffocated while depressed and my speech, my story was my way of screaming and let it all out and not hold back!!
I delivered my story to, two audiences. two sessions, one in the morning and one the afternoon. The audiences were mixed groups of secondary level students from the nearby schools, members of the local community groups and centres in the area. Also members of Mental health charities such as Pieta House and Suicide Aware and members of National Learning Network, staff and students.
I received a rapturous applause from the audience and don’t regret any of it! I was overwhelmed by the words of support and encouragement and praise from those who witnessed my story. A couple of weeks later to my surprise and unknowns to me before hand, I received the Student of the Year award from NLN for my bravery and courage ( but that’s another story!).
The point of all this, is that, no matter how scared, or bleak our lives may seem or how helpless and not in control of our own destinies. The truth is all that is not true. It really is about finding our own ways and techniques that will help us to cope or deal with whatever life throws at us. It’s a matter of perspective and don’t be afraid or shamed to reach out for help. You never know who is listening or those who are there to genuinely help.
Don’t give up, you can make it through and the storm will pass.
Thank you for reading my story, I hope it will help someone find the courage deep within themselves to find the freedom and hope for a better tomorrow, just as I have.
Is mise Le meas,