Saturday, May 24, 2014

Evening Event

Evening Event
Left to right:  J. Jill Slim Ankle Pants in Citron, Blue Lace Agate Pendant, Aerosoles Loafer in Tan and Cream, J. Jill Black 3/4 Sleeve T-Shirt, Lane Bryant Ponte Knit Jacket in Black, Shoulder Bag in Black, LL Bean Trench Coat. 

I had a big event this past Thursday.  May is Mental Health Month, and my local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, for whom I work as a volunteer, had three community education events, the last of which was this past Thursday.  Dr. Lloyd I. Sederer, of the New York State Office of Mental Health came to speak at South Beach Psychiatric Center.  I was one of the people who worked on the planning committee, and it was my idea to have him present a talk for the NAMI NYC Staten Island members.  

He gave a talk entitled, "Helping a Family Member Receive Mental Health Care."  The audience wasn't exactly large, and the media didn't show up.  It was raining and cold, and people don't usually come out in the rain.  I had arranged the media coverage, and all the news outlets (NY1, the Staten Island Advance, and Staten Island Cable) had said they would come if they could spare the staff.  So it wasn't definite that they would show, and I guess they couldn't spare the staff.  

However, this turned out to actually work in favor of the audience, because they were more comfortable talking to each other and making connections during the question and answer session, than they would have been if there had been a larger crowd and a media presence.  As it was, there was a warm, friendly atmosphere in the audience, and people had a lot of questions for Dr. Sederer.  If he wasn't able to answer the question, somebody in the audience was sure to connect with the person and offer information and support.  I saw a lot of that going on, and it made me feel good that people are always willing to reach out and help each other in time of need.  

I was having my own mini-crisis before I got ready to go to the event.  I got a bad case of the pre-show jitters, and I started shaking and got very nervous and I started thinking I wouldn't be able to go.  So I called my brother John, who knows me very well, and knows how to motivate me.  I told him that I needed him to get me to go and do what I needed to do, without telling me to do it, because that would make me feel more anxious.  Tricky, right?  Well, he came through.  The first question he asked was, "What are you going to wear?"  I told him I was going to wear my new citron J. Jill ankle pants, with a black t-shirt and black jacket and tan shoes.  He had no idea what color "citron" was, so I explained it to him.  Then he asked me what I was nervous about.  I said I was afraid of something going wrong.  He said, "Edie, it's the 21st century.  Something is always going to go wrong.  It's a miracle if nothing goes wrong."  He ended our conversation by saying, "Get out there, have a good time, and rock those citron pants!" 

As usually happens, he made me laugh at myself and my needless worrying.  I realized everyone had taken care of what they were supposed to do, and if there were any problems, we'd be able to deal with them, which is what happened.  The guy from Staten Island Cable didn't come, but two of our members, Pete and Rachid, were able to film Dr. Sederer's presentation.  So it all worked out, and I was worried for no reason.  I told Mary Ann, another member of the planning committee, that I was anxious before getting ready, and made a joke of it, saying, "I was worried about the usual ... things going wrong, unpredictable weather, cataclysmic events, vampire attacks ..."  She said, "That last one, that's a definite possibility."  Those sneaky vampires, they're everywhere! 

It turned out to be a good event, and we were all pleased with the results.  It was a pleasure to work with Dr. Sederer.  Thanks to everyone who worked to make the event a success:  Dr. Sederer and his staff at NYS OMH, Mary Ann and the staff at South Beach Psychiatric Center, and the NAMI members who worked on the planning committee and helped at the event:  Linda, Pete, Rachid, Patty, and Jack.  You folks are the best, and I'm pleased and proud to work with each of you. 

Here is what I looked like in the outfit: