It was a really nice night as we were very spoilt with an amazing dinner, while we talked about the pre submitted questions that had been sent through. We discussed who could add something to each of the questions.
It was worth being on the panel just for the amazing meal! It was fun to have Alison there. She has done so much work on the Facebook page - taking photos and sharing people's mental health stories.
During the holidays I had bought Mark's book (he was also on a documentary on the ABC called 'Changing Minds') and I took it along because I was hoping he would sign it for me. He was more than happy to and wrote a lovely message in it for me.
It has been lovely to spend a little bit of time with Lindi who was on the organising committee. She has been through so much especially in the last few years, and even though our stories are different it's nice to spend time with people who 'get it'.
On Monday our friend Dan sent me a message with this article from The Mercury newspaper.
Monday was our first day back at school and it was so busy as we had two new enrolments as well as having to teach, but most of the day I was just thinking (stressing!) about the forum which was on that night. I have done bigger things that the forum, but I was still very nervous about getting up on stage and having to talk in front of so many people. At the dinner the night before Penny asked me if there was anything I didn't feel comfortable talking about, and I told her I was happy to discuss anything because I find it helps me to share, and hopefully what I say will also help others. I think that I was just mostly worried about getting up there and sounding like an idiot, but I knew that I could only say what my own experiences were and I knew the other panel members would have a lot of knowledge and expertise to hopefully back up what I may add to the discussion.
Penny was so good at keeping it all flowing well. At the end of the night she said to let her know if there was ever any issues I would be happy to discuss on radio with her. I think a career change may be in order! ;)
It was so great that so many people came along. The first half of the forum was answering the pre submitted questions which were mostly about depression and when to intervene. The other panel members were Michael Bailey (CEO of the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Dr Judith Watson (a local GP), Lisa Alexander (Australian netball coach), Dr Mark Cross (Psychiatrist, author, lecturer, clinical lead and developer in the TV documentary 'Changing Minds' on the ABC and lots of other things ☺️) and then in the second half Caitlin Thwaites joined in as well(Australian netball player).
It was so nice to have so many friends and my Mum there to support me. The second part of the night was taking questions from the audience. As expected there were a few questions to the doctors and then I was so shocked that someone asked me a question! The question was something like how have I come so far in the past five years. I can't remember all of what I said as my answer but said that I imagine if the situation was reversed and it was Aaron who was left behind with the boys, and I was the one who had passed away. I try to live my life like he is watching down and imagine what he would want me to do... which means keep going, make new memories with the boys. I also said that having something to look forward to helps and that finding something positive every day no matter how small it is. I shared that at first you take things minute by minute but gradually things become easier and now I look forward to things in the future. I of course went home and thought of a hundred other things I should have said, but it was lovely to see a post on the Facebook page from the lady who asked the question, saying that something I said had helped her.
There was lots of positive feedback about the night, and it was so nice to hear that people felt like was able to contribute to the night with my personal experiences. I felt very out of place on the panel as the others were all professionals in their fields, but I think it was a good mix on the panel. During the intermission Mark told me that I was making him emotional and was so lovely to me at the end of the night and gave me a big hug and said he will see me next year, as he is hoping he can come back down for it again next year.
We were all very spoilt with thank you gifts from sponsors as well. I love the Cocobean was one of the sponsors!
As usual I always get so stressed during the build up to big events I'm taking part in, but now I'm feeling a bit sad that it is all over. As a part of Mental Health Week some of the photos that Alison has taken and put up on the Facebook page are being displayed in town in Dicky White's lane in the Quadrant Mall. We went to check them out last night.