Welcome to the NAMI Colorado Blog


NAMI Colorado's mission is to build communities of hope and recovery by educating, supporting, and advocating for individuals affected by mental illness and their families.

Visit here often to read stories from those who have experienced the challenges of mental illness.  Our bloggers are In Our Own Voice presenters, family members, volunteers, staff, public policy committee members, and NAMIWalkers.   

You are NOT alone. 

NAMI Colorado Blog
12

The Power of In Our Own Voice

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The first time I went before an audience and spoke as an IOOV presenter, I was nervous. I remember my knees shaking (a lot), which is weird, as I’m a performer and stand in front of groups of people all the time. My fellow speaker that night was a beautiful soul, an amazing artist I’d met during IOOV training. We had connected immediately, and I felt safer speaking with him for the first time. On that particular Wednesday evening, we were presenting at an inpatient behavioral unit in a local Denver hospital. The most impactful moment I experienced that night came up during questions, after our presentation. A woman who had been admitted due to a suicide attempt was in tears; she had been tremendously moved by the presentation - my colleague’s story in particular. She said she had a son his age. He had recently been arrested, and was in jail, awaiting charges, She had been forced to call the police when he attacked her while experiencing a schizophrenic hallucination. This incredible, vulnerable woman looked to my friend and asked him how it was that he was standing there in front of her, offering so much hope and living a full life, and her son, diagnosed with the same illness, was in jail. She wanted a reason. And that’s the way it is with mental illness. We want something to blame. We want an explanation as to why it exists. We want it to make sense. We want to be able to fix our lives and the lives of others when hurt exists. For those of us who volunteer with NAMI Colorado, I like to think that we’re here to hold hands with others who have been there, both literally and figuratively. I don’t want people to feel alone. I want people to know there is hope. Hell, sometimes I need the reminder, too. We are here to lift each other up. Becoming a speaker with the In Our Own Voice program has changed my life for the better, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

--Kat

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