mental illness, NAMI Convention

So, being in a place without all of my tools available and being on my own came to a head today.

Today was an early morning.  I was up at 5:00a and we left the house at 5:40a-ish.  The bus left Fort Collins at 6:00a.  The reason I went on that earlier bus is because they moved Patrick J Kennedy’s book signing from the middle of the day (when I would be in another session) to before the opening plenary from 7:30a t0 8:30a.  So I got there in time to buy a book and stand in line to have him sign it. Here’s the tweet when I stepped in the room:

I am in the same room as . No biggie.

So just being in the room with him was exciting.  I saw other people getting their pictures taken with him and was like, “Yes, I shall do that too.”  He’s done a lot for people with mental illnesses and, well, he’s a Kennedy.  So I asked the woman behind me to take a picture with us (you know, me and Patrick J Kennedy) so she did.  These are the pictures of us (notice I’m wearing a “Practice Reckless Optimism” t-shirt.  You can get one here)-



We’re just adorable.  And he was super nice.


So then I walked through the exhibition hall and read signs without making eye contact with any of the people in the booths.  hehe.


Mmm.  Opening plenary was amazing.  Colorado’s governor and Patrick J Kennedy spoke and I was incredibly moved.  Lots of claps and cheers.  Made me happy to be there.  I believe that many people were moved by the speeches.  I think I’m going to get a cd of that session.  I might want to listen to it over and over.


Then there was a workshop about youth and young adults.  I may have gone into it because I thought it was a group for young adults but it wasn’t.  That makes me kind of sad because this year, without a young adult track or even just sessions geared specifically for the young adult population, I feel kind of alone at the convention.  Like I’m sure happy to be in Denver for this convention and am feeling the spirit of advocacy to go back to Iowa and make a difference in my communities there.  But I’m sad because, as opposed to being surrounded by young adults that I could identify with and got to spend quality time during and after hours of the convention, I’m not really connecting with people on more than a “Oh, have a nice day,” or “Can I sit here?” type of way.  In addition to my depression and OCD, I also live with social anxiety.  It’s hard for me to just approach people and connect, especially if they are older than I am.  I have this constant feeling that I’ll be devalued because I’m young and my brain tends to make word soup and I think (mind reading, I know) that people would assume that I’m uneducated and don’t have anything to contribute.  I know those are distorted thoughts, but they seem so real…as most distorted thoughts do.  Tomorrow I’ll try reaching out more.  But today, it was hard.  I think it may have been because of the early morning.

In the afternoon, I was having a lot of pain in my body and it was making me nauseous to the point where I just went out and camped out in a bathroom stall because I felt like I was going to puke.  I did not puke (thank goodness) but I still felt like utter and complete crap.  So I made the choice to leave the convention and skip the last two hours of sessions I had planned to go to.  One of them was the state caucus which I really wanted to go to but I really didn’t want to puke on or near anyone. So I took the Mallride back to Union Station and got a chai tea that the barista recommended, that had actual ginger juice in it, after I asked if they had any drinks with an above average amount of ginger.  And guess what!?  It does, in fact, have a lot of ginger.  I sipped on it slowly and my stomach started to calm itself.  My body aches were still present so I’m glad I headed to Fort Collins earlier than planned.  When Johanna (and Hawkeye) picked me up from the bus stop, we went right to get some acetaminophen at Walgreens so I had some in my backpack for times such as this.  Johanna and Brad are a strictly NSAIDS family and with my clotting disorder/being on warfarin thing, I’m a Tylenol only type gal.  😉  It all worked out.  I took some pain reliever at 6p-ish and hardly hurt right now.  Awesome!  And I put it in my backpack so I have it tomorrow.  And I’m sure Johanna has something ginger around her house for me to take with me if my stomach decides to rebel again.


Tomorrow’s going to be a good day at the Convention.  Research updates in the morning (I’m so excited!) and a couple of sessions in the afternoon.  I am very tired and am going to go to bed in nine minutes.  So goodnight all.  Sleep well and I’ll see you in the morning.


Bonus: Hawkeye driving 😉


Hawkeye is such a good buddy. ❤


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