I recently gave a talk at a youth centre, one close to my home town. A really cool and friendly place for adolescents to hang out, meet like minded people and talk about mental health. A massive shout out to Streetwise 2000!
Knocking on the front door I felt nervous, as I always do before public speaking. However, within seconds all of the anxiety melted away. I was greeted with kindness, respect and complete acceptance. It was as though I was barely noticed (in a good way). Just part of the family, left to settle in and relax. Handed a brew, a biscuit and invited to sit in the cosy seating area. Crazy talk was the norm here, which is basically my dream!
During the talk, I was bowled over by their perceptiveness. They understood things that I didn’t until I was in my late twenties! We talked about CBT, the social media and a whole range of things. It made me feel quite emotional to know there’s a safe place for youths to be 100% themselves. No need to hide how they’re feeling or be afraid of judgement. Never alone.
When one of the girls started quoting a section from my book (by heart) and said how much it helped her, I very nearly lost it. The reason I write is to help others avoid going through what I did for so long. So to know first hand that I have indeed helped, meant the world.
I could’ve stayed there all afternoon!
So to Gemma Philburn and all the people at Streetwise.. I salute you. You are AWESOME! 🙂 xx