What an exciting and terrifying year it has been already. I had the great honor of being asked to provide a Soul Care workshop for the Suicide Loss Survivors Healing Conference and to give a plenary speech at the American Association of Suicidiology’s Annual Conference in Portland Oregon just last month.
I am so grateful I started with the amazing loss survivors. They humbled me in every way and truly proved the power of peer support. I am not saying I would have run away and hid from the Soul Exhaustion plenary hoping that no one knew who I was, but I am saying that the suicide loss survivors gave me such powerful feedback about the Soul Exhaustion model that I got up on that stage with only a little fear.
The AAS audience proved to just be a bigger tent from the loss survivor workshop though and I was once again surrounded by people who loved the concept of Soul Exhaustion, thought it was desperately needed and have even talked about how to get my presentation back to their communities. In fact, shhhhhhhhhhh, I might be headed to Alaska (a place that is absolutely on my bucket list).
And while it is exciting and thrilling to be receiving so much support and love in this journey, I would be lying if I told you it wasn’t a pretty overwhelming and frightening experience. I have worked so hard to get my career to where it is and there is fear about the potential consequences of straying so far away from the medical model and also, being so transparent with my own experiences. I wish it wasn’t true, but judgement and discrimination do exist within the mental health fields and there is always the risk of consequence when you share personal stories. With that said, I have felt a moral calling to do it anyway as I am often out in the community encouraging law enforcement, construction workers and others to open up and share their stories. It felt hypocritical to me that I wasn’t sharing the risks with them.
And so not only did I do a plenary at a national conference in front of up to 1,200 people, I also decided to apply for the Babson College TedX. I am thankful that the team at Babson TedX saw the importance in bringing this discussion to their audience. I presented on Saturday March 25th with my Keynote, Soul Exhaustion and Forgiveness. Even though I truly despise feeling so exposed and vulnerable, I have decided that I will in fact share it. Enjoy a piece of my work that I hope acts as a springboard for the goals I have in the years to come.
So here it is: