Sex. Drugs. Rock and Roll.
Yep. It was the theme of this year’s Mental Health America conference. And for good reason.
“Why did we choose this theme? Why be so public about complicated, personal, often embarrassing issues? Because fighting in the open has been the mission of MHA since Clifford Beers dared to utter his now famous words: “I must fight in the open.” So we are going to do just that.
These issues are real – across all age groups – and are far from black and white. It is time to take mental health, mental illness and addiction—and all the messy and sometimes uneasy truths that accompany them—out from behind closed doors—and discuss them openly. Together. Even if it makes some uncomfortable. It is that important.”
I couldn’t think of a better way to fight in the open – and it was an honor to present for the second year in a row.
What’s so great about songwriting?
Can Writing Make Recovery An Adventure?
My book, My Beautiful Detour, is a memoir/self-help and choose-your-own adventure novel, because that is what recovery has been for me – a call to adventure I had to choose to answer. Now, I’m passionate empowering others to do the same – “fighting in the open” through sharing my own personal experiences, providing the public with a comprehensive overview of the psychological and physical impact of trauma, as well as the tremendous GIFTS that can be achieved on the other side.
I fight stigma through stories. So can you! We all have a story that needs to be shared.
I have been told how rare it is for a survivor to speak so openly and honestly about their personal traumas, paint such a vivid picture of positivity on the other side of recovery, and also provide such practical, accessible tools which encourage others to do the same. My goal is to show that we should find our uniqueness not in what has happened to us, which can further victimize, but rather, in what we choose to do with it. We are deserving of feeling any negative, painful, or stigmatized emotion that accompanies our trauma – we just need to find the safe container in which to do so.
What a wonderfully passionate, enthusiastic mix of mental health advocates passionate about creativity, building compassion, and fighting in the open.
Check out some wonderful pictures from the conference here!
Last year, I presented for MHA’s theme of their conference : Media, Messaging and Mental Health. What do you see on TV, hear on the news, listen to on the radio, see on posters, billboards, and read in magazines that tell you to think, act or look a certain way?
Check out 25 Messages to Melt Stigma and Reclaim Your Power here.
Music has always been a powerful resource for me. As a kid, I was always writing songs in my head, daydreaming about producing my own musical with original songs. But songwriting proved to be instrumental in helping me discover my own voice again after my life took a dramatic turn.
Songwriting was my safe way to express all of these unwieldy emotions. Songwriting literally gave me back my voice!
You can check out some of the other wonderful speakers here.
Four Skills to “Fight in the Open”
I got to share once again about the four hardcore resiliency skills I love to blab about so much – because they work!
- Gratitude (Make an A to Z Gratitude List)
- Hope (Lie to yourself…seriously!)
- Creativity (Doodle for five minutes, then rip it up – it’s just for you!)
- Sharing Your Story (Not ready? Read about someone else’s)
If you try any of these tools, I’d love to hear what it was like for you! Be sure to send me a note, or tweet me @amyoes! If you look at the hashtag #mhaconf17, you’ll hear all about this amazing conference .I can’t wait for next year!
You can view the key points I discussed in the PowerPoint presentation I gave. Make sure you take a look at the slides – I didn’t get a chance to go through each one, and there are a TON of great resources here!
What are some other highlights I mentioned? If you click on the hyperlinks, you’ll find some more fun articles and tips.
- How can you turn your life into the best story you’ve ever read?
- How can you use adversity to create a story that can help yourself?
- It’s okay to feel negative emotions when life takes a “detour.” In fact, we SHOULD feel angry, upset, frustrated, etc.
- How do you practice “mindfulness” within those difficult experiences?
- What’s the key to dealing with negative emotions? Finding your CONTAINER.
- What’s a container? Anything that can contain all of the “not so fun” feelings you might encounter on a detour.
CREATIVITY is the best container you can find.
In this storytelling workshop, we learned that the best way to find the story within YOU is to think about the “detours” you’ve had in life.
And what’s a detour…? Find out here.
Do you have a DETOUR story you’d like to share?