So I gave my speech today on depression and how it impacts me physically, emotionally and motivationally. I spoke about how tired I always am and how I get strange body aches. I continued by talking about how my depression causes me to be irritable and angry all the time – almost feeling like I’m “hangry” all the time but no amount of food helps. I also mentioned that I always feel hopeless and that I feel suicidal. That said, I also added two positive things that my depression has taught me. It taught me that I needed help and where to find it. It also motivated me to join The Mighty and to be an advocate for mental health since no one wants to talk about it.
I stumbled on some parts but at the same time, I also consciously slowed myself down and tried my very best to not say “um”. I probably accidentally said it about 3 times. When I was done, the applause was enthusiastic. Definitely not something I expected. I was so nervous over how people would receive my speech. After all, there is so much stigma around it. I was worried that people will treat me differently now because how they know I have depression.
My instructor told me that I totally rocked the speech. He said that before the next person comes up to speak (I went second), he had to erase his mind because it was so good that he didn’t want to unfairly grade future speakers. He said that he kept trying to find fault with my speech but couldn’t and commented that I had not only used transitions when necessary but also made connections to the audience, used quotes and citations as well as coherently spoke about every point. He said to the class, “Do the rest of you see, the way I did, how put together the speech was?”. He said it was refreshing to hear a speech that was so well prepared for.
I’m ecstatic. He was super excited about how well my speech went and I’m excited that for once, though I was off script, I was calmer than usual and didn’t use as many filler words as I usually do. I was, for once, not criticizing myself as I spoke – the way I did the first time I had spoken about three weeks ago. I was very hard on myself too. I couldn’t forgive my mistakes. Today though, despite some of the slips and how off script I was, I felt confident and I felt good in the end. I was actually proud of my speech!
After class, four of my classmates approached me and told me that they loved my speech. They also told me that they had depression too at some point of their lives and appreciated me speaking on such a sensitive topic. One girl told me about her struggles and we sat down to talk for half an hour about her boyfriend who she thinks is going through depression too. We ended up having a really serious heart-to-heart talk about depression and how to encourage a loved one to find help. We spoke at length and I really hope that what I said will help her speak to her boyfriend.
Wow. I didn’t think my speech would have that much of an impact! And I didn’t think that speaking about it would open so many more conversations! This makes me convinced that I need to keep talking to people about mental health and to keep encouraging others. I really never know when and who I will impact! It’s very humbling and I feel I humbled to know that my experience and a simple story can help others!