Friday, July 20, 2012

My Artist's Corner and the ECHO Clubhouse


Recently I gave a talk in Burnaby about my story of recovery. I arrived at the ECHO Clubhouse on Canada Way on a hot afternoon. With me, I carried some books, a water bottle and my prepared speech on paper. I took a deep breath and entered.

The Canadian Mental Health Association in the Lower Mainland has many services including the ECHO clubhouse. It's a supportive environment that provides activities for people with lived experience of mental illness. One of the programs at this location is My Artist's Corner that offers classes to members in drawing and painting. Materials are supplied for a small fee. They have art shows, guest speakers, and guest artists.

So in the My Artist's Corner art room, they set up chairs and passed out popsicles. I was formally introduced and the group applauded me about receiving the Courage to Come Back Award.

I talked about some of the things that had helped me cope with my illness. They were friendly, receptive, asked questions, and complimented me. Some of the audience had already read my memoir. One comment that for me to speak openly about my story in person was better than the book. I asked them questions too.

I left on a high note after chatting and signing some books.

It's important to remember that sometimes it's not about one's status and accomplishments in life, but the connection between one and others. If I didn't feel connected to my family and others, would I find joy and contentment in my life? Giving to others is rewarding. Very often it comes back to you.