In April of this year, I was asked to be a speaker at TEDxBrum.
[Photo Credit: Jonathan Cherry]
To begin with, I switched into self-sabotage mode with really strong feelings of not being good enough. I felt like an imposter in what was such an incredible line-up and as though I stood out like a sore thumb among people like Sacha Romanovitch, the first female elected as CEO of a major accountancy firm, Adnan Sharif, who is a Consultant Nephrologist and has been nominated for a 2016 Nobel Peace Prize and scientists Alberto Vecchio and Andreas Freise who map colliding black holes.
The other part of me, knew that it was the next logical step – to pop my head above the parapet, to step out from behind my laptop, to stand on stage and actually ‘speak’ about my experiences of depression, rather than tapping away on my keyboard and plopping them in the internet, as I do every day.
I was both terrified and electrified. In my head, I was going to face-plant the stage as I walked on, would be heckled, people would hate it so much that they would leave and all sorts of other negative shenanigans. My anxiety was having an absolute field day.
But I also know that unless we take these opportunities to talk about depression, to allow ourselves to bring our vulnerability, challenges and pain to the world, the stigma will forever live on – leaving a path of devastation in its wake.
And so, I stood on the stage, left a part of me on it and did the not-so-attractive cry face thing when I received a very kind standing ovation (thankfully the cry-face thing was left out of the final edit!).
[Image Credit: Lesley Imgart]
I still can’t believe I did it.
The support, love and kindness I’ve since received has been staggering. No hecklers, no boo’s. An enormous Mexican wave of truth, courage and kindness.
Depression and The Power of Us
The theme of TEDxBrum was the Power of Us. A totally apt theme right there because it’s the Power of US (yes, YOU and YOU and YOU) that has led to Blurt being able to facilitate Peer Support for over 2,000 people who are affected by depression. We couldn’t do that without YOU – your shares, likes and comments on social media, the generous donations and support of BuddyBox. You shake your pom poms at us every single day, without fail.
Thank you for supporting Blurt, for embracing a vision I had back in 2010 (from my bed) and thank you for being so super kind to one another, and to me.
You can watch my TedxBrum talk below or find it on YouTube here.
And as always, caring is sharing: please share this post/video. You never know who might need it.