“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.”Dolly Parton
I really tested myself this week and whilst it was difficult – I am happy that I decided to go with the opportunity.
It may be surprising to you, BUT I have a fear of public speaking. Reflecting to my primary school years, I had a not so lovely teacher who mocked me whilst speaking and he also mocked a facial feature of my nerves at the time. This has clearly impacted on me, both as a child and on my adult years.
I love chatting with friends and clients BUT when faced with sitting out the front and leading a discussion in a more open forum, my nerves and previous experiences put the anxiety in me and at times – I have even had the occasional panic attack.
I am continuing working on this and have actively put myself in situations to test this on many occasions; facilitating at work, Mental Health First Aid training, sessions at the social work conference and many other openings. Whilst the work is always in progress, some days are so much easier than others and is dependent upon my vulnerability and self-care regime at the time.
Over the past week, leading up to the event – I was fortunate to have my family visit. Both over the Easter period and the following week, in which we all attended the wedding of close friends. The visits and occasions were fantastic and looking back – this also assisted in my big moment.
The ABC were bringing a panel of QandA to my town and a friend asked if I would like to attend. I sent through my request a few days earlier and was encouraged by the show to submit a question by a certain time. I sent through a question and then sat back waiting to attend the event.
“With the mental health crisis, both locally and nationally – WHY did the government cease the extra 10 sessions under a Mental Health Care Plan? 10 sessions per year is insufficient for some clients AND it stops them utilising crisis services and Emergency services.”
Imagine my surprise on the day of the broadcast, one of the producers contacted me to let me know that I was one of eight selected to ask my question to the panel (time permitting). I did have the thought to take the easy route and deny my attendance OR refuse the offer. However, squashed this and said that this was fine.
So fast forward 6 or more nervous hours and my moment in the spotlight happened. Yes, I was apprehensive and felt my feet shaking (as I am certain that those sitting on each side of me felt). My voice had a quiver BUT I managed to ask the question and even respond to Stan after the panel had a go at attempting to answer it.
We can all overcome anxiety and fears – it does, however, require a lot of work. Both before and during…..