I gave a talk for a very large crowd this weekend. It was such a great experience- and I am very aware that a few years ago it was an experience that would have been too stressful for me to even contemplate. But after years of work, I am now well enough to reach a dream- to help people who are in crisis by talking to them in a live setting.
I did all that I needed to do to stay well. My trusted business partner Sheri went with me- she helped with all of the set up. My hosts did all of the preparation for the talk. I made sure I got enough sleep the night before- and I had a plan ready for how I would feel after the talk.
In the past, the paranoia would have started as soon as I got off the stage. Yes, that soon! I take care of a lot of this by telling the audience that I will get paranoid- this gives them an idea of what a person with bipolar goes through as well as giving me a reminder that paranoia is normal for me- I don’t have to believe it.
It also makes everyone laugh.
Once the speech was done- I followed my own rules and said to myself, “Great job Julie. I am so proud of you. You did a great job.” and that was that. No second guessing and no self flagellating. This is a huge change for me. I’ve worked hard on it.
I went to a new location and gave a big presentation without having mood swings. all right!