(7-5-17) If you were fortunate to hear Micah Pearson give his convention campaign speech, it is easy to understand why he was elected to the NAMI board of directors. This written version doesn’t do his talk justice because it is missing the passion and exuberance [with which] he delivered it. Several in the audience interrupted him with cheers as he spoke about his vision for NAMI. This is the third speech given at the candidate forum that I want to share with you.)
Micah Pearson: Why I Am Here!
I agonized over my stump speech.
How would I communicate the intricacies of my platform, the goals I hoped to achieve in working with the other dynamic people? How could I tell of my lifelong struggles to accept, cope, and eventually thrive with my mental health conditions? How can I possibly convey my passion to do the work of NAMI and to do my part to ensure that it touched as many lives as possible?
And most importantly: How would I do all of that in five minutes or less?
Even as I was sitting in my seat on the stage in the banquet hall, squeezed somewhere in the middle of the 16 distinguished candidates, I found myself struggling with all of these thoughts. It wasn’t until I was standing in front of the microphones that I eschewed those goals entirely and decided to simply introduce myself in a way that told people why I was standing there in the first place.
I am here because in 2004 I took a NAMI Peer to Peer class and learned that I was not a broken toy because I live with Bipolar Type I with rapid Cycling and psychotic features.
I am here because in that same class I was not “stupid” because I also live with severe Attention Deficit Hyperactive disorder.
I am here because after I took that class, I was able to call my parents and tell them that they should take the Family to Family class and learn more about the conditions with which I lived.
Pete Earley regularly writes about mental health issues in his blog.