My blog has been silent this week as I pondered away from my computer. I have been thinking about who am I as a person, who I would like to be, and the path that will lead me through that transformation.
On Monday night, I had a life-changing experience. I stood up in front of a room of strangers, and I delivered a TED-style talk on mental health. First, I shared statistics, the numbers that rule the mental health world. Second, I shared a brief synopsis of my mental health history, and third, I asked my audience to consider sharing their own stories with friends, family, and the public through social media. The reaction I got was so intense that I thought I was having a hypomanic episode. A few listeners came up afterwards and told me their stories and thanked me for sharing mine. One upperclassman asked me if I spoke publicly regularly. This shocked me, because I had been ridiculously nervous. What shocked me most, however, was how receptive people were to the message of fighting stigma. I felt the tea light within me blaze into a torch, the flames licking my heart and providing me with a penetrating warmth.
I can say with a high degree of certainty that I have found a mission. I had stumbled upon it earlier, through my blog, but now my sense of purpose has been renewed and invigorated. I want to do everything possible to share the message that mental health issues truly affect every one of us. My first step is creating a video version of the talk I delivered so that it can be shared online. I am in the preliminary stages of developing a podcast that will allow others to share their experiences with mental illness. The ideas are spinning through my mind faster than I can capture them on paper. I am excited to wake up each morning and continue this effort.
The only troubling part about this discovery of passion is how it fits into my academic life. I am currently a chemistry education major, but I want to focus more on psychology and media. I’m not sure how this will work out. I’m going to avoid making any decisions just yet as I continue to develop my cause as a hobby.
After such a long time of shiftlessness and murky dissatisfaction, a feeling of usefulness is a welcome change. Despite the rain pouring outside my window, I have a sunny disposition. Bring on the rainbows.