Today at the state hospital where I work, our leadership staff had the entire professional staff hear the professional and personal presentation of a fellow mental health professional talk on this lady’s story of recovery. This was as remarkable story and “witness,” as they call such a presentation in the fundamentalist Southern religious circles as I have ever heard.
I was a little uncomfortable at the start of this presentation in all honesty as I knew this was going to be one of those riveting moments in anyone’s journey of self-improvement, self-discovery and professional development that I have had many times over my working and personal “career” as a mental health provider. This lady had already presented her story and stories all over our large hospital to every unit and service in the hospital over the past few days. I had attended one such session with the staff from my unit and heard her unique style of presenting and remarkable, make you sit up and step outside yourself, re-examine your oldest most stubbornly held precepts, kind of talk. I had already started letting myself undergo the beginnings of what I knew by today was shaping up as a personal “paradigm shift. I was also curious to see how she would present herself and her story to a very large conference room full of many professionals such as I who can be an intimidating audience. I was also curious to see what additional she would have to say as I had been nailed in my psyche by what she had had to say the first time I heard her speak a day before, as well as the reactions of my colleagues. How many would be moved? Would they be as moved as I had been?