I have done speaking engagements in many places from coffee shops, running groups, retirement homes, universities as well as black tie events where I have been the key note speaker.
In my talks I tell my story of how I won my life back from the darkness of depression. My goal is to get people talking, by telling my story openly I break the stigma behind depression and mental health. I let people know that the way they feel is the same way I feel and if I could change so can they.
I tell my story from the beginning, how my struggles with depression started. I then take you on my journey through my life showing how my depression and anxiety and my negative way of living grew and grew, how it controlled me and almost ended my life. I then talk about the events leading to me making the call for help and changing my life.
I then talk about what led me to writing my 1st book, living a life of purpose and finally living my dream I had since I was just a little boy. That dream of finally being myself after 38 years of struggling with depression.
I cater the rest of the talk to the theme of the night.
-Whether I am just telling my story, doing a reading from my book and opening the floor to questions.
-Talking about stigma, how it plays a role in all our lives, whether you are the one struggling or you are the one trying to learn, help and understand what is going on with the people who you love in your life.
-The power of writing and how it helped me learn to embrace the tools I was being taught use, how writing became my voice when I did not have one. I talk about my latest book/course "Creative Writing For The Mind, Body & Soul".
-Writing for wellness work shop, were I teach the 1st section of my "Creative Writing For The Mind, Body & Soul" book/course. Teaching people to use writing as tool to help with their mental health.
-Mindfulness and Meditation. How at first, I was so against such silly things, that this hippie trippy stuff could never help me. But over time and after a lot of practice it became a natural thing. How Meditation is now a part of my everyday health and well being. I give examples of how I started to use Mindfulness and Meditation. I share simple breathing exercises and also walk the audience through one of my Guided Meditations.
-Radical Acceptance. I talk about how I stopped drinking, accepting the truth that drinking alcohol was fueling my depression. I talk about how through a mood monitoring exercise I was able to see the affect drinking was having on my mental health and over all wellbeing. I am now 6 years sober, I take great pride in the fact that I acknowledged this problem and took the steps to better myself.
The over all theme is that only with hard work, an open mind and the willingness to change can we all accomplish great things in life. That beating depression is possible and worth the fight, that there is always time to change your lives. But most important above all “Only with open Conversation can we break the stigma behind depression, let's start talking and do it together”
I talk about the day I walked into therapy with no hope of getting better and being so pessimistic that nothing the therapist could ever do for me could help. But then I explain how this therapy that was catered to me by my therapist started to work. That I actually not only started to work on the things I was being taught, but I embraced my new tools and made them my own. Everything in my life started to change, even the unnatural started to feel natural over time, I realized everyone deserves to be happy even me.
Author/Public Speaker/Wellness Writing Coach
Peer Support Worker