My Reflections on Winning 2nd Prize from the National Council
WHAT IS FLIPSWITCH ABOUT?
Flipswitch, the podcast and blog you are reading, is about resilience and empathy. With podcasts like Can’t Sleep? Hear 3 Ways to Tackle Manic Nights or Insomnia or 3 Ways You Can Fight Winter Depression or SAD, Flipswitch helps people with depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses succeed in school, work, and relationships. I interview people, be they high school students or thirty-something authors and attorneys, who constantly defy our stereotypes of people with mental illness. They are smart, successful, funny, and compassionate.
WINNING 2ND PRIZE FROM THE NATIONAL COUNCIL
Last week at the Hilton Hotel in Chicago I had the privilege of meeting people who destroy mental health stigma at the National Council’s 42nd Annual Conference. I was there because I won 2nd Prize in the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare and Eli Lily’s Reintegration and Awards of Excellence 2012. The annual awards celebrate advocates who have helped people thrive despite mental illness. (You can see pictures of my portrait--all honorees had their faces "Warholed" and a close-up with my mom.) Over the next few months, you will hear many of the honorees on this show. One of the honorees I met, Mindy, is the owner of a restaurant that employs people with mental illness. Mindy’s life reminds me that empathy goes hand in hand with resilience. After all, if you have a mental illness and are hardworking but no one will give you a chance, what can you do?
3 LESSONS ON STIGMA, COMPASSION, ILLNESS, & WORK AND SCHOOL
I asked Mindy where her wellspring of compassion comes from. She told me that her whole adult life she has been in love with her husband, a man who has recurring brain tumors. She married him despite being fully aware of his illness. They have endured many operations together.
Mindy blushed when she told me that after all these years her heart still skips a beat when her husband walks into the room. From my interviews with accomplished Flipswitch guests and my talk with Mindy, I’ve derived three lessons on illness and expectations:
- Compassionate people show understanding towards others regardless of whether the problem is mental or physical. Mindy cares deeply about an employee whether that person’s wounds are visible or not.
- People with illnesses (mental or physical) should be judged by the content of their character—not their diagnoses or other such labels.
- When it comes to school and work, people with illnesses should be judged by the quality of their work—not the stereotypes of their illnesses.
Author, Jessica Lynn Gimeno
- Have you ever suffered discrimination at work or school because of stigma?
- Has Flipswitch ever given you hope?