The road to becoming a speaker is tough. It’s something I explored for a little over a year now. It takes time to get your name out there and to book gigs. With the help of a lot of great people, I’ve learned the business side of the speaking world, which is something I would’ve never been able to pick up on my own. I made some good connections and I know I helped others.
Still, it’s been frustrating. I spend an hour or two each week on social media, promoting my blog posts. I spend the same amount of time writing those entries. I send out between 10 and 20 emails a week to orientation directors, activities departments, and counseling centers at schools. I follow up on those emails once or twice. Yet, I get little response. If schools do respond, they often don’t have the money to bring in mental health speakers. As I said in this post, schools do a great job of saying they want to help students with mental health, but not always putting their money where their mouth is. That’s not to say I expect them to spend cash on hiring me as a speaker, but generally, I don’t see the funding at schools for mental health programs.
The fact of the matter is that I quit a well-paying job over a year ago to focus on mental health speaking and it hasn’t brought in the income I hoped. I've had other work on the side to keep things going and perhaps I should give it more time—another six or twelve months.
But the reason I'm taking a break from speaking is that I came to realize something this past year. In my experiences with college students, my interest is in working with them in a direct manner. I had a lot of difficulty in college and grad school with my mental health. I very much want to work on a regular basis with such students in a university setting to help them work through their issues.
I’m ready to make another transition in my life. I’m going to graduate school for clinical social work. At this point, I’m not sure what graduate school I’ll attend. But, getting that degree will enable me to work at a college counseling center and help students on a daily basis.
For a long time I’ve wanted to do this work but I feared I would not enjoy it or lacked the patience needed. I remember how stubborn and difficult I was in my twenties. I recall how much grief I gave my therapists.
But I am more secure in myself now. I receive a lot of encouragement from my therapists, friends, and strangers who tell me I’d be a good therapist. I’ve matured to the point where I can handle a twenty-something version of myself. And I very much want to help people going through tough experiences.
I will leave my website up for the time being. The things I write about in this blog—loneliness, suicidality, anxiety, depression, and existential issues—are areas in which I will focus my practice. I’m very excited about the possibilities ahead. I'm also eager to utilize the passion I have to help others so they can deal with the mental health issues that I struggled with in the past. If I can help even one person, then it’s worth it.
This blog is an exploration of the subjects of belonging and loneliness. I also look at mental health issues. I seek to provide content to my readers that is informative and helpful. If you don't want to miss anything, sign up for my email list.