Friday, March 25, 2016

Stigma Stories




Last night we almost didn't leave the house… snow with a forecast for more freezing rain threatened to ruin our evening. We didn't want to miss out on the book release though so we trundled into the car. Slippery roads and horrendous rush hour traffic slowed our pace to a crawl. Even with our Subaru we couldn't race along. An hour and a half later we were there.

We snuck into the back of the room to catch the last of the presentations by people from the 'Client Advisory Council of Champlain', an organization dedicated to mental health and addiction services. It was finally time for Cathey to unveil the new website and the Stigma stories book. She went around the room mentioning people who helped her and suddenly my face and shaky voice were on a huge screen. I could have hid behind my chair as we watched the video. The editor in me wondered why I said things one why when another would have been better. Why did I say that at all? Well, you know - who is your worst critic? Usually yourself.

The dogs got lots of oohs and aahs, as did Grace. After Cathey's presentation, we filed into the room that was laden with sandwiches of all types, salads, and desserts. I talked to many people, most introducing themselves with comments about my lovely dogs. It's too bad I didn't bring Spike as he would have been a huge hit, but as it turns out it was the right decision. The meeting room was cramped with rolling chairs and people with plates on their laps. Spike's refresher course had not had enough time to cover those distractions. I thought back to the days when he was a 'working dog' and marvelled that he would have navigated his way through an event like this like a pro.

This event reminded me of how much I have to be grateful for. Many of the authors that I spoke to are unable to work and without a partner to support them. They live in assisted housing on limited incomes. Many struggle with their illness on a daily basis, although many were stable and functioning well. I am so grateful that I’ve had support from friends, coworkers, family, and especially Carm.  I am blessed.

my video: https://youtu.be/3P66YA6azGE

the stigma stories website - all stories are available for download - www.stigmastories.ca

My story can be found on the website as "My Little Dog Spike, by Laura S.". I'll post my story onto my blog tomorrow.