Road to Resilience Disability Services Event

By | November 8, 2019


(jazzy music) – Road to Resilience. My name is Vincent Mas
and I’m the assistant to the Director of Disability
Services at Berkeley College. There’s a few of housekeeping notes that I wanted to tell you about. There is an accessible
bathroom in the back towards the right. The women’s room in on the right and the men’s room is
in the back to the left. There are refreshments in the back so please help yourself
and please make sure that you have a program booklet
and that you have registered and logged in with your email
address in the front desk. There are Berkeley student volunteers here if you need help or if you need assistance or if you need to have,
if you have any questions feel free to ask them. Today’s event is being live streamed on all of our college campuses and it is being recorded. So, I would like to introduce you to the Director of Disability Services, Dr. Sharon McLennon-Wier. (audience clapping) ♪ Where there is desire
there is gonna be a flame ♪ ♪ Where there is a flame ♪ ♪ Someone’s bound to get burned ♪ ♪ But just because it burns
doesn’t mean you’re gonna die ♪ ♪ You gotta get up and
try and try and try ♪ ♪ Gotta get up and try and try and try ♪ ♪ You gotta get up and
try and try and try ♪ – Good afternoon. – [Audience] Good afternoon. – Thank you so much for coming. Welcome to the Road to Resilience. This is our third annual
disability awareness event and this year we’re gonna
spotlight some wonderful women who have great courage and energy regarding their disability,
domestic violence, sexual trauma. Before we do that I just
want you guys to know throughout the afternoon
we’re gonna give you some salient facts. There may be a quiz later. No, I’m just joking. But we’re gonna give you some facts so that you understand the
importance of the aspects of disability and sexual trauma. Before we begin listening
to our wonderful speakers, I just want to take an
opportunity to introduce our leader of our college. Michael J. Smith has been the President of Berkeley College since 2015. He’s a great leader in trying
to help all of our students in achieving the goal. The goal is acquiring their
degree but more importantly is to get gainful employment. He understands that all students, with and without disabilities,
want to change their life. They want to become a tax payer. They want to become a parent. They wanna become a citizen. They want to become an employee or owner but they want to give
back to the community which they reside in. So it’s very important
and education really helps all of us achieve that goal. So, without further
adieu, Michael J. Smith. (audience clapping) (“We Take Care of Our
Own” by Bruce Springsteen) – Good afternoon, good
afternoon, good afternoon. – [Audience] Good afternoon. – Hey everybody. So how often do you get
your own walk up music for something? Can you imagine like you get up for it, you’re going to breakfast, like, oh, where’s my walk in music to that? But this is a, Sharon, Dr. McLennon-Wier, is so good to me about this. There was one time I did an event and they did some walk up music for me and they didn’t ask me what it was, they didn’t tell me what it was. They were just saying, well,
there’ll be walk up music and they call my name and
the music starts playing and it’s Madonna’s Vogue. (audience laughing) So Sharon, thank you very much. I will forever be grateful for
your musical choices for me. But it is a real pleasure
for me to speak here again for the third year. These events have always
been so eye-opening for me. You know, as I said,
you get to a certain age and you think you know a
lot and you’ve had a lot of experiences and it’s events like this where your eyes really get open and your ears get open and
your mind gets expanded. Dr. McLennon-Wier has
done such a tremendous job in sort of bringing together
these very, very diverse concepts, ideas, and putting
it in a very meaningful way to help expand our
experiences and knowledge and I tell ya a little story
about Dr. McLennon-Wier. About four, five years ago, it’s not a bad story, it’s a good story. (audience laughing) She’s always worried around me. I don’t know why. I make her nervous she says. But I adore her, absolutely adore her. She, we, about four years ago we were getting statistics from
our student development area and they’re talking about
the level of services and accommodations that we were providing to students at Berkeley
College on a statistical basis and they were benchmarked
against national numbers and the numbers that we
had at Berkeley were low versus the national numbers
and it didn’t make any sense to me on the surface. I just didn’t understand why that was and I just had a sense that
we weren’t really serving the students who were
coming to Berkeley College or identifying the students
who come to Berkeley College in a proper manner because
we had resources that did it in addition to other things that we did. But we made a commitment to this space and we went out and we said
we needed to hire someone who could work singularly in this space and be focused and be
experienced and intelligent in this space. So we went out, we put the
position description out there and I had the opportunity
to meet Dr. McLennon-Wier and I have to say that
within minutes of meeting her I was in love with her
and I knew that she had to work for Berkeley College because she’s so real and she’s so honest and she knows what she’s doing. She’s talented and from the
time that she’s come in, she’s done amazing things
for Berkeley College students and our numbers now make
a lot more sense to me because we’re identifying students. One of the things that we
laid out for Dr. McLennon-Wier was to report on the level of services that we do provide to
students at Berkeley College and she sends a report twice a year and the quantity and
the quality of services that Berkeley provides
is just extraordinary and really indicative,
it’s not necessarily that we are providing the service because in one aspect
we’re legally required to provide the services but to the extent and the depth and the
breadth of which services that are being provided
to college students at other institutions as
well as Berkeley College is truly, truly amazing. When you sit and you may think you know the various things that
are done to accommodate learning for students and
you see all the magnitude of the diversity of things that are done in order to have students succeed, you are really truly, truly amazed and the one thing about Dr. McLennon-Wier that she does is that she’s very on top of what’s going on and
what’s in best practices and what are the things
that are really gonna impact and move the needle for our students? I often say now when I speak to groups that getting into college
now has never been as easier. It’s never been as easy to
get in college as it is now and the reality is getting
college has never been harder. Students are so distracted. There’s so many things,
disruptions in their mind. They come into the educational space with a lot of challenges and
on various different points being able to do college
level work and those who have the ability, that
have diagnoses or have issues, we feel particularly able
to support those students very, very well at Berkeley College because we’re generally interested in them not coming to Berkeley College but we’re genuinely interested in them leaving Berkeley
College but we want them to come to Berkeley College,
come across the stage, shake my hand on the center of the stage. I hand them their diploma
and they walk off the stage into an exciting, interesting,
meaningful career and life. So that’s what Berkeley
College is all about. We’re very, very well supported
with Dr. McLennon-Wier. As I said, I consider
myself very, very privileged to have the ability to work along with her and this today is, you know,
out of 365 days in the year, it’s just is one small
fraction of the type of thing that she does by
curating these type of speakers that are come in and
it’s always interesting to hear the speakers because
there has never been one time or one speaker that I personally didn’t learn something from. So, to all of you who come
today and to those of you who are watching in
the streaming universe, listen up, you are
going to learn something that is gonna be meaningful
and it’s gonna increase your effectiveness to get more
and more students graduated into successful lives, no matter what their characteristics are. So, enjoy the day and thank
you Dr. McLennon-Wier. (audience clapping) – Did you move it on me, Michael? Oh, no you didn’t. Okay, sorry about that. Thank you Michael. That was a wonderful speech. Okay, so time for a test. I’m gonna give you some disability facts, just to keep it interesting
before we get to our speakers. A disability can be a
physical, psychiatric, mental, or emotional
impairment that substantially limits gainful, excuse me,
that substantially limits major life activity and that’s by the Americans with Disabilities Act. You should know that based
on the CDC records of 2018, right now we have
approximately 61 million people in the United States
living with a disability. So that means one in four individuals. This is something that is progressive and also a person with a
disability can be anybody. You can be a veteran. You can be gay or straight. You can be a person
that’s Jewish or Catholic. You could be rich or poor. You could be a republican or a democrat. So it affects everybody. We also have some statistics
on domestic violence. Ladies. – [Woman] Every nine seconds in the U.S. a woman is assaulted or beaten. – Around the world, at least
one in every three women has been beaten, coerced
into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often the abuser is a
member of her own family. – Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women, more
than a car accident, mugging, and rape combined. – Studies suggest that
up to 10 million children witness some form of
domestic violence annually. – Nearly one in five
teenage girls have been in a relationship said a
boyfriend threatened violence or self harm if presented with a break up. – Every day in the U.S.,
more than three women are murdered by their
husbands or boyfriends. – 92% of women surveyed listed
reducing domestic violence and sexual assault as their top concern. – Domestic violence victims
lose nearly eight million days of paid work per year in the U.S. alone, the equivalent of 32,000 full time jobs. – Powerful statistics. So as we listen to these
wonderful speakers, I want you to keep in mind that some women acquire disability because
of domestic violence and sexual trauma. Some men acquire a disability
because of sexual trauma or domestic violence. So this is equal access
for both men and women. I would like to introduce
our first speaker. Dr. Susan Carpenter is
an Associate Professor at Kingsborough Community College, City University of New York. She works in the behavioral
sciences department at Kingsborough. She’s dedicated to working with
students with disabilities. Right now she sits on a
committee that’s trying to develop and integrative program. Part of Kingsborough to integrate people with intellectual disabilities
into their curriculum and provide a certification
for students that are enrolled at Kingsborough Community College. She holds many degrees internationally. She has a doctorate from Australia. She has a masters degree from New York and she has a bachelors degree
from, I believe England. She has traveled. She’s on sabbatical this semester and she has traveled from London, England. She came in last night to present to us on her experience in disability. She’s written many books
and she’s just so awesome. You can read the rest of her
bio that I can’t remember at this moment but it’s all good. I had the privilege of working
with Dr. Susan Carpenter at Lovell School in 2004
and we have been colleagues and friends ever since. So, with further adieu,
Dr. Susan Carpenter. (audience clapping) (“Gonna Sit Right Down and
Write Myself a Letter”) – The music that’s
playing is by Fats Waller, I’m Gonna Sit Right Down
and Write Myself a Letter. So that’s a clue to the disability I’m gonna be talking about today. It’s an invisible disability
and I’ll get you thinking about what that possibly could be. I’m Gonna Sit Right Down
and Write Myself a Letter. So thank you so much,
Dr. Sharon McLennon-Wier for organizing this event. She has been a great friend and colleague for 14 to 15 years and it’s my pleasure and privilege to be here
and we flew in last night and here we are. So yes, that was Fats Waller. There’s a picture on the PowerPoint here. He was alive from 1904 to ’43. African American pianist
and the words are. ♪ I’m gonna sit right down ♪ ♪ And write myself a letter ♪ ♪ And make believe it came from you ♪ Hands up, who knows it? (laughing) Okay, great. So, yeah, Dr. Sharon
McLennon-Wier is really innovative in her work here at Berkeley College and really Berkeley College
is now a leader in the field of disability and such programs like this bring people together
and get people thinking and changing their ideas about disability. So thank you again, Dr. McLennon-Wier. So my professional work, as
Dr. McLennon-Wier mentioned, is at the moment at
Kingsborough Community College, part of City University of New York and I’m training student teachers. And they’re gonna be early
childhood and elementary teachers and paraprofessionals and of
course my experiences in school and in my life inform my
work working with them. I’m particularly committed
to working with students with intellectual disabilities
and including them in higher education and
my research and sabbatical in the UK is looking
at opportunities there which are not as great as in the U.S.A. If you’re interested in
programs for students with intellectual disabilities
in higher education, go to the website Think College and it will show you all
the programs in the U.S. I’m also involved in
inclusive intergenerational music programs with an organization called Reach Out Arts. Again, you can look on
their website online, Reach Out Arts. So, here is a photograph of me. I guess I’m two or three in a little cart and my older brother of
seven years older than I is pushing me and we’re looking
directly at the camera here and yeah, he was seven years older than me and was obviously in school before me and I wanted to go to school
just like my big brother. I wanted to have homework like he had. And this is in the UK, okay. This is, well, I’ll give away my age. I was born in 1957 so I guess
this is probably around 1960. And here I am looking very cute. (laughing) I guess I’m about eight with a hair band on. My hair is tied back
in a red school uniform and striped blouse. So the 1960s in England were
obviously exciting times. The Beatles, Carnaby
Street, hippies and so on, but in terms of education,
things weren’t that progressive and I, although I was
eager to go to school, I didn’t do well. I really didn’t do well at all. I think the teachers kind
of thought, oh, she’s sweet, she’s kind, but not very bright. So, yeah, here is a quote
from many of my reports. She doesn’t concentrate. She must try harder. (laughing) And, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to concentrate harder or (laughing) concentrate harder it
doesn’t actually work but anyway, that was often on my reports. My parents sent me to
a small private school hoping that I would improve. So, there’s a wonderful workshop that is online called
F.A.T City and it’s called Frustration, Anxiety, and Tension. And, it’s a workshop
that is led by Dr. Levine and I highly, highly
recommend you watch it and I’m going to give away
what I’m talking about any minute in terms of this
workshop that’s online. F.A.T., spelled F dot A dot T. So, frustration, anxiety, and tension is certainly what I felt as a child. So, anybody guess what
possibly my undiagnosed disability could have been? Well, I had never been diagnosed but I probably, probably
had dyslexia of some sort. Probably. Disfractured dyslexia, some
kind of learning difficulty and in the 60s in the UK, those weren’t words
that were known at all. And I think the same here probably too. And thank goodness things
have changed since then. So here is, I just found this recently in one of my old exercise books. My mom kept everything and
suddenly they’re useful. So, here is from 1964,
I was seven years old and rather bad handwriting and it says, once upon a time, spelled A-P-O-N. And, I called him Snookes, C-O-L-D. Instead of C-O-U-L-D. And, that’s how I heard
it and I know today we look at emergent reading and writing in early childhood but
certainly then it was wrong and there are red
letters and crossings out over the misspelled words. And here is a page from a science lesson and it’s six out of 10. And the, I think I can do a pointer here. Maybe. Here we go, yes. So here it says, separate
spelled 25 times. This was my homework to spell
it over correctly 25 times and I can tell you now, I
still, every time I write separate I have to think how it’s spelled. It’s not with an E. And here is my arithmetic and again, the bottom is in red is the D. Where’s that red light gone to? Here we go. Anyway, it’s on the bottom
right corner, a red D. Lots of crossings out. Obviously quite confused there. But now I’m dealing with
very complex finances and I do arithmetic in
my head very quickly but anyway, at that stage
and with that teacher obviously wasn’t doing well. So yes, the teachers’ attitudes
were one of intolerance and obviously ignorance
and there was a lack of information and
understanding on their part. They didn’t mean to mean really. They just didn’t know how to help. And, thankfully now
there are many, many ways that people with learning
difficulties can be helped. So, I did go on and I did
get a degree in fine arts. I failed a lot of art history exams but I was definitely a
visual learner and I got by. I did get by and I got what’s
called a two one in England. So you have to think how
do you or your students or your clients learn best? Do you learn visually,
orally, kinesthetically? And so they’re good things to think about in terms of universal design for learning, another good resource look up, UDL. Universal design for learning. And in 1989, I was fortunate to come across Dr. John
Diamond, a medical doctor, psychiatrist, and a man who
decided really to commit his life’s work to researching the arts for health and well being. He’s now in his 80s and still going strong with his research and part of his research was looking at how to help
people with learning difficulties through the arts, through creativity. He also works with the acupuncture points, with procedures, with
supplements, but most of all with creativity and with music. And, really with his help
I continued my studies and went to Lehman College in 2002 and got my masters in special education. This is a photo of me in
my gown in Lehman College in the Bronx and I started to really enjoy reading and writing. I was reading and writing
about the benefits of music for children on the spectrum with autism and all of a sudden,
it became a lot easier and so I got my masters and then I went on and got my doctorate at the
Australian National University in Canberra and I researched
and did a case study of what’s called the Hand in Hand Intergenerational Music Program and it worked with students
with behavioral problems, and emotional and behavioral problems and taking them into senior
centers and nursing homes and allowing them to become the helpers instead of being helped and we were amazed at how empathetic those students were. Anyway, I brought my thesis with me. It’s about two and a half
inches thick and very heavy. And so, yes I wrote every page and it took a great deal
of effort but I got there. So that is my doctorate. You’re very welcome to read it. (audience laughing) (Susan laughs) So, tips that help me. Everybody is different. That’s the first thing to say is people with learning disabilities, everybody has their own way of learning and their own kind of processing
problems, if you like. So I’m very clear in
saying these are things that help me and some
of ’em could help you. So, ask for help. Ask for help. There is plenty of help out there now in terms of disability and accessibility. It’s not extra time anymore. There are all sorts of
technology and resources that students can have. How many folks are
students here right now? Yes. So, yeah. And you can ask your
accessibility office for help. Secondly, I’d say take your time. Breathe. This goes for everyone. Go with the flow. I think often people with disabilities, with learning disabilities,
things are broken up and if you can allow yourself
to just go with the flow and to breathe, it helps because so often ourself esteem is low because we fear that
people think we’re stupid but in actual fact we just
learn in a different way. Reading backwards and mirror
reading is very useful. Read the sentence backwards
and then all of a sudden when you read it forward,
it becomes very fluid and I’ll just do this right now. So. Let’s find, so I’m going to read the
sentence, the top of page 169, just arbitrarily. Significant was concert
or performance traditional more a with contrast the. Now I’m gonna read it forward. The contrast with the more
traditional performance or concert was significant. Now I probably should have
read you the sentence first and then read it back
and you would have heard the difference but anyway,
if you read backwards there is this fluidity that comes with it. I’m gonna skip the next one
because we’re gonna do that in a moment. Just be aware of limitations. I was at a wonderful
exhibition in London recently of William Blake’s work,
11 rooms full of paintings and prints, incredible,
but I knew my limitation. I said, I’m just gonna
look at a few paintings. There were ones that I
specifically wanted to see and I just focused on those. I couldn’t take in 11 rooms
of paintings and prints. It was too much. It was an overload for me. Taking notes, making
lists, write things down. You don’t have to remember everything. Take notes and make lists. And, yeah, creativity, very important to develop your creativity. So going back to movement and procedures, Dr. Diamond worked on
a number of procedures to help with chaos and do
you all know the exercise where you pat your head
and you rub your belly? Okay? Now the thing is there
are eight ways to do this and we’re going to do it together. (laughing) And you have to sing Row, Row,
the Boat at the same time. And naturally you think, oh my goodness, I’ve got to do this with my
left, this with my right, and sing and remember the words but actually the singing helps, okay? And everybody knows Row, Row, the Boat so you don’t have any excuse. Okay? So it goes like this. So you’re gonna pat your head and then you’re gonna rub
your tummy, hand to the left. Pat the top of your head up and down, up and down, up and down (background noise drowns out speaker). Okay, and now you’re gonna go. ♪ Row, row, row your boat ♪ ♪ Gently down the stream ♪ ♪ Merrily, merrily, merrily ♪ ♪ Life is but a dream ♪ – Now you’re gonna do
the other way around. You’re gonna circle your
stomach the other way. ♪ Row, row, row your boat ♪ ♪ Gently down the stream ♪ ♪ Merrily, merrily, merrily ♪ ♪ Life is but a dream ♪ – Change hands. (audience groaning) Yes. This is number three. So you’re gonna pat up and
down and rub your belly. ♪ Row, row, row your boat ♪ ♪ Gently down the stream ♪ ♪ Merrily, merrily, merrily ♪ ♪ Life is but a dream ♪ – Okay, very good. So that’s just three of them. There are actually eight versions. The other four are circling on your head and patting your stomach in and out and you’ll find if you look in the mirror or have somebody watch what you’re doing that one or two of them
are gonna be more difficult to do than the others
and those are the ones that you need to concentrate on and they will help with your chaos and being able to take
in information more. Okay. So, moving on. How we doing for time? Oh really? Oh shoot, okay. So, yes, the Me Too movement. It’s really opened up a lot
of conversations for women and for me, Dr. Sharon
McLennon-Wier called me up and as we often do, talk about our work and spark ideas off
each other and she said, I’m organizing this event
and do you know anybody, maybe at Kingsborough,
one of your students that could talk about
disabilities and sexual abuse and I’m thinking to myself, hmm, not sure. I’ll think about it, Sharon. I’ll give you a call back. Well, then I’m thinking,
actually that’s me. (laughing) So this was the Me Too moment for me. So I called her back
and she was quite taken by the fact that I hadn’t spoken to her about my experiences but anyway, so this is my Me Too
moment and coming out. So yes, I did have
experiences in my childhood, also as a teenager and also as an adult and I have to say as an adult,
when the police were involved their response to the assault
was really abusive too. This was in London and they
were like, well, you know, you shouldn’t be here
anyway and it’s your fault kind of thing. So anyway, I won’t go
into the details of them but just to say that I
always thought that, well, everybody, all women, all
girls, have these kind of experiences and it’s just
part of growing up and so on and I began to talk about
it to Dr. Diamond’s wife, actually many years ago and she said, that wasn’t right. That really wasn’t right and, of course, I think often women do
feel like it’s their fault or that it was no big deal but actually it’s a good idea to just
take a moment and say, that wasn’t right and that
it could be affecting us now. So, a few tips. Again, just things that
happened that help me is the awareness of it,
that those events did happen in my past and that they may
be affecting my responses to the present day. And those responses
are no longer relevant. That was then, this is now. And, just to have that awareness, just as the same with
the learning disability. To be aware of one’s
limitations and to be aware, yes, this did happen and it
may be affecting my responses. And, of course, women often have patterns of being attracted to
negative, violent relationships and it is possible for somebody
who has had sexual abuse to have a loving
relationship and my husband, Michael Gobber, thank you, is there and has helped me a great deal. (audience clapping) So, I’m just gonna do a
very quick rand up here and this is a simple visualization and a little meditation
that everybody can do. Again, it was researched by Dr. Diamond and it’s for anybody who’s
had any kind of abuse and it’s this idea of, for women, to have a visualization
of the moon in your belly and for men, it’s to have the
image of the sun in your chest and we can just take a minute
now and think of those images and it can relieve stress and reduce fear and be very calming in what we know are very stressful times for us all in our society right now. So, we’ll just take a minute
to visualize that in your mind. So you can do that any time
you like at the bus stop or on the train. (laughing) So my work now obviously is
informed by my experiences and I try and bring out the
very best in my students and I try to be encouraging
and to look at their strengths, always to look to their strengths. This is a classroom at
Kingsborough Community College and the graduation also
and this is with students with intellectual disabilities. And my last slide, I
promise, is there’s always a reason for a behavior. There’s always a reason if
a child or person is bored or lacking in concentration
or doesn’t concentrate. There’s always a reason so as teachers, as people working with
people with disabilities, or as parents or grandparents,
look to people’s strengths and courage and look to their strengths. Thank you. (audience clapping) I believe I’m gonna answer questions now. Is that right? Yup. (woman speaking softly) – [Woman] Do you want
me to bring some around? – [Sharon] Anyone have questions? – [Woman] So, could you
elaborate a little bit about intellectual
disability and just precise, you know, be a little bit more precise? – Yeah. There are different terms
in different countries. In England they’re actually
called learning disabilities. Other people call them
developmental disabilities. In the U.S. at the
moment, the term is still intellectual disability. So, it is for people who are, have a certain IQ and the
CUNY Unlimited Program that we’re going to be
getting out at CUNY in 2020 is for students to audit classes and be members of the university. They won’t be getting a degree but they will be formally
students at the university and be able to contribute and my research is really seeing how those students with intellectual disabilities
contribute greatly. Yeah, yeah. – [Joshua] Hello. – Hi. – [Joshua] My name is Joshua. I had a question before I left. I have a disability myself
and I suffer from ADHD learning disability. – Uh-huh. – [Joshua] And I wanted to
ask (microphone buzzes), oh, when you first noticed
you had your disability, like, how did you feel
around family members and other people that you grew up with? Like, how did they look at you like after you let your guard down and
talked to them about it? – Well, as a child people
didn’t know of the disability so they just thought I wasn’t very bright. I didn’t get good grades at all. My parents put a lot of
money into my education (laughing) and things didn’t go very well as a child. So, yeah. Does that answer your question? – [Joshua] Yeah but how did
you manage to deal with that in adulthood? – In adulthood? – [Joshua] Yeah. – Well, it’s a long– – [Joshua] Sorry to ask. – It’s a long question but basically I, like I was saying, you just
have to become aware of it and aware of your
limitations and just realize that you process differently, that you learn maybe in different ways. My husband can sit and
read for hours and hours. I can read for maybe 15 minutes. I need to take a break then. But that doesn’t mean
to say you can’t read. It just means you’re gonna break it up and learn in that way. And you don’t have to feel bad about it. (laughing) Okay? (audience clapping) – During her 39 years of
service in public education, Dr. Cornigans has worked as
a teacher and administrator. She holds a doctorate in
education from Hofstra and a certificate in Christian ministry from New York Theological Seminary. At the present time,
she’s a graduate student in the Master of Divinity Program at the New York Theological Seminary. Dr. Cornigans is currently
an Associate Minister at the First Baptist Church of Bay Shore where she serves as the
Coordinator of Christian Education. She’s a member of the
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the
National Speakers Association, and Toastmasters International. In addition, she volunteers
as a rape crisis counselor with the Victim’s Information
Bureau of Suffolk County. Please welcome Dr. Linda Cornigans. (audience clapping) (“Strong Finish” by Jonathan Nelson) ♪ In this race ♪ ♪ That we run ♪ ♪ You gotta have endurance ♪ ♪ Because it’s a marathon ♪ ♪ I was born ♪ ♪ Sure enough to win ♪ ♪ In pursuit with faith ♪ ♪ Until the end ♪ ♪ I’m going to have ♪ ♪ A strong finish ♪ – Good afternoon. I’m gonna try and take this mic out without destroying the podium. Thank you. There are times in our lives
that you never can forget. The experience is so ingrained in you that it follows you throughout life. I had just such an experience
when I was 13 years old. I was at home. I was upstairs and I
hear this crashing sound and then I heard yelling and screaming and I left my room, I
walked down the stairs. I got halfway down the stairs
and three of my four siblings were huddled in front
of the television set. They were not looking to
the left, nor the right. They were just straight ahead at the TV. I looked to my right to see my stepfather dragging my mother by her
hair through the house as he beat her. I turned to my brother who was upstairs and I said, bring me a baseball bat and I stood in the
stairway and I took the bat and as he came through with my mother, I leveled the bat at his head. He must have seen the shadow
of the bat coming towards him because he deflected it. It hit the light bulb. Glass shattered everywhere
and I ran out the front door and I kept running and
I didn’t stop running until I heard my mother call me because I reasoned that
if she could call me, then he wasn’t beating her. I came back. That was my introduction
to domestic violence. Can I have the next slide? I knew I had to get out
of that environment. I was 13. I didn’t have any money. I didn’t know how I was gonna get out of that environment. I have a picture behind me of myself and my four siblings. This is taken, I would
say sometime around 1959. The little boy that’s
standing in front of me, my baby brother, he was
dead before the age of 40. The little girl next to me, my sister, she was dead before the age of 63. My baby sister in the front died at age 52 and my brother to my right
is currently incarcerated and will remain so for
the rest of his life. That’s when I learned my first lesson about domestic violence. It never has just one victim. When I went to my family, I was just not really believed. Not that they didn’t think that my mother and my stepfather fought. They knew that, I think. But they kind of felt I was
exaggerating the situation and then one morning, this
was quite a few years later. I was a senior in high school. There was a major
confrontation and I jumped in the middle of it and
for my efforts I got my own set of black and blue marks. And that morning my
stepfather left for work, my mother left for work,
and I left for school and I remember walking down the street and thinking if I turned to the left, I will be going to high school. If I turn to the right,
I have just enough money to get on the bus, come to New York City and come to my family. I got on the bus and
when I shared my story, arrangements were made for me to come and live with my grandmother. Worlds opened up to me. My grandmother lived in New York City. I came here. I went to work right
here after graduation. I was able to go to Hunter
College and get my BA. I was able to go to New York University and get my masters in special education. And then I got a job on Long Island and I thought now I can rescue my mother. I’ve got a good job. I’ve got an apartment. Now I can help her. And that’s when I learned my next lesson about domestic violence. You cannot rescue
somebody who does not want to be rescued or who is
not ready to be rescued and the anger that that
brought in me is indescribable. I was furious. I thought about the nights that
I stayed up late listening, worried, thinking I was
gonna have to run out and get the police or in
some way rescue my mother. I was so angry. I felt like I had just poured so much into trying to rescue
someone and now I’m able to rescue you and you don’t wanna leave and that just really made
me angry but you know, when you walk around
with that level of anger, you’re twice the victim. For me, I had to find a
way to release that anger. Now some people go for therapy. Some people go for counseling. I went to church and
I was fortunate enough to be in a church where
I could grow spiritually and where I could leave
that anger on the alter and move on with my life. But what it’s done for me is to give me a commitment, a mission, to educate people about domestic violence. Because you see, back in
the 1960s, domestic violence was thought to be a family matter, not something that was illegal and as I listened to the previous speaker and I recalled in me
how I would go to school and teachers would say, you know, Linda has so much more potential. She’s not doing well. But you know, back then you
didn’t go to guidance counselors and say, well, I’m not doing well because last night there was a
lot of commotion in my house. You just didn’t share that
kind of information then and if you did, it wouldn’t necessarily have a positive result for you. You could end up being
taken out of the home and being put in foster care. So it was a very difficult time. Things have changed in
many ways for the better but in some ways it has
not changed for the better. I just wanna, could you
show the next slide? We have technology now and with technology you
could get 911 just like that. But also, one of the things that happens is that if someone is an
abuser and they’re stalking you or if a victim has tried to leave, you can put an app in their
phone and track their movements. So even with the progress
that we have in technology, there’s still a downside. Give me the next slide. The computer, some websites
that provide information for victims of domestic
violence have a kill button so that if you disconnect
from the website, someone can’t come along and
find out where you’ve gone. All websites do not have that. Just certain ones. So the computer for all of its assistance, can also be a detriment. Next slide. Cameras, nanny cams. Now abusers have the ability
to set up hidden cameras so that they can watch your
comings and your goings. These are things that exist. These are things that victims of domestic violence live with. Next slide. We frequently think, well,
why don’t they just leave? Why don’t they go? Well, one of the main
reasons is that is the most dangerous time for a victim
of domestic violence. This is when you pick up the newspaper and you read that someone
has gone to the place of employment of a victim,
injured that victim, and anyone around the victim. It is an extremely dangerous time. Leaving is not something that they can just automatically do. First of all, they have to
decide that that’s what they want to do and second of all, it has to be carefully, carefully planned. Next slide. This slide really touched me. He beat her 150 times. She only got flowers once. The sad news is that many
cases of domestic violence end in death and that happens frequently when the victim tries to leave
because domestic violence is all about power and
control and once the abuser realizes that they no
longer will have the power and control over you,
then all bets are off. That’s when it’s dangerous. This slide addresses the three Ps. If someone is going to
leave an abusive situation, they need to prepare to do
that and the first thing they need to do is to photocopy
all important documents. You need to have copies
of social security cards, driver’s license, anything
that you would need, birth certificates for your children, medications, you need to have copies of your prescriptions because
you might have to leave just like that. You may have to, that person,
that victim may have to wait for a specific time when they
can get out of the house. Important items have to be packed. Clothing, medication has to be packed. For yourself, for your children. You need to have a code word. Something that a helper
or a friend will know because you may be on the phone and you don’t want the abuser
to know what you’re saying and the code word may mean when he leaves or when she leaves, because
this is another important thing. Domestic violence impacts
the rich, the poor, the, no boundaries as
far as race or ethnicity or sexual preference. Domestic violence cuts across all of that. So you may need a code word that says that when the abuser
leaves, I’m going to leave when they go out of the house. You need to have that cooperation. And the final slide. Oh, we’re back again. (laughing) The three Ps again. Photocopy important documents. And finally, if you want to be a help or a support to someone,
there’s several things you can do. One is to have a phone number
of professional services for that individual. Another thing is be a listener. You know, when a person is
experiencing domestic violence, one of the techniques
abusers use is gaslighting. And by, I don’t know,
there may be some people in the audience who are
familiar with the movie with Ingrid Bergman called Gaslight where her husband tries to
make her think she’s crazy. Well, domestic abusers will do that. They will tell you that it is your fault and if you hadn’t done X, Y, and Z, I wouldn’t have had to beat you and they just browbeat their victims. I attended the National Coalition
Against Domestic Violence Conference in Washington, DC
and during that conference there were two people involved
in law enforcement there. They had recordings of
individuals who had been arrested for domestic abuse and they
were making phone calls. Now, they know that the
phone calls are recorded but they also know that very
few people in law enforcement have the time to sit down and
listen to every phone call but there’s certain techniques
that they use when they call. They might be blocked
from calling the person that they’ve been abusing so what they do is they call their mother. Meaning the abuser’s mother. And they let the, and
they send a message to her which she is to deliver to the victim and you keep in mind
that sometime that victim might be dependent upon the
mother-in-law for child care and if the mother-in-law
is not doing the child care then the victim has no one
to take care of her children. So they will also call and try to make the victim feel guilty. Look at what you did. You put me in jail just because I hit you. You know I have a short temper. It’s all your fault. Your fault that I hit
you and then your fault that I’m in jail. So, the mindset of the abuser is not one that recognizes the abuse. Many times in a church
setting you will have, sadly, religious leaders who do not understand the nature of domestic violence and they’ll want to counsel the couple. You don’t counsel in domestic violence. The violence has to stop first and so there’s a lot of
work that needs to be done within the church in terms of how to handle domestic violence. What can you do? Be a friend, be a listener. Offer support and support
does not necessarily mean move in with me. Support could be as simple
as every time the person lets you know that they have experienced abuse of some type, just make a note because at some point in time that person may want to get an order of protection or a stay away order and
what the judge wants to know is is there a pattern of abuse? Was this a one time event
or is there a pattern? And if you can say to
that person, you know, every time you came to
me, every time we talked, I wrote that down so I can tell you that on January first
and on February second and on March third you were attacked and you can take this to the judge and then you can get
that order of protection. So listening. The one thing that you should
be very, very cautious about is not making your support
contingent on what they do. In other words, you don’t
wanna say to the person, look, I’ll help you but
you gotta leave that person because you’re putting them in jeopardy. You’re putting them in danger. Questions? – [Man] Hi, I have a question. I’ve heard that in a lot
of circumstances the, a barrier for the victim to
leave this type of relationship is partly because the
abuser controls the finances and then that person can’t
necessarily have access to money or even bank
accounts or things like that. I was just wondering what
your thoughts were on that. – Absolutely. That is one of the ways that an abuser controls the situation
and that’s why someone who is planning to leave
does need assistance. They may need to squirrel away money and take that money and
give it to someone else. They cannot leave it in
the house but absolutely. One of the techniques that abusers use is to separate you from your
family and your friends. Just to share with you a brief situation, my daughter is 23 and she
had her first boyfriend, her first real love, and she
happened to mention to me that sometimes he play fights. And I said to her, nah,
no, no, no, no, no, no. There’s no such thing as play fighting. If he puts his hands on you, he’s wrong. Don’t let him do it and don’t
let me find out about it because he’s not boyfriend. I’ll leave that there. (audience laughing) – [Woman] So as a faculty
member of a college and working with many, many young people and maybe you get a sense
that things aren’t right, is there anything one can do or is it really you have to wait till the person comes forward
and asks for help? – Don’t wait for them to come. Chances are they will not come. I would just reach out and say, you know, I notice that things are
a little off with you. I notice, you know, I
just want you to know that I’m here for you
if you wanna talk to me, that I support you. Okay, I would encourage you
to jot down this number. I would also recommend
that you check the website for the National Coalition
Against Domestic Violence. They have a wealth of information. If you join that coalition they have quite a number of webinars
that will keep you informed. I will say to you that
everyone in this room probably has someone
in their social circle, in their work environment that is experiencing domestic abuse. It may be a man, it may be a woman. It exists. So, just be alert and be
willing to be a listening ear and a support. Thank you so much. (audience clapping) You’re welcome. I’m rushing to get out of your way. – That’s okay. How you guys doing? Enjoying yourself so far? Are you learning a lot? Good. You’re supposed to say yes. I wanna hear yes. – [Audience] Yes. – ‘Cause I can’t see you so I
gotta know you’re here, okay? (audience laughing) All right, thank you for coming again. All right, we’re on to our third speaker. I’m just so emotional. This is so powerful. It’s hard to get up here and
actually share your story so I really appreciate these
wonderful ladies doing that. Okay, we have another traveler. Our next speaker, Ms. Amanda Babcock. She’s all the way from Utah. Anyhow, she is a senior
business owner of accessibility for the University of Utah. She also holds many degrees in English that she was a bachelors from
the University of Alaska. She has her masters in English also from the University of Utah and she’s currently
working on her doctorate on education and leadership
with a specialization on disability which I think is great because we need to understand
as leaders in education that people with disabilities
also want to be policy makers. So I think that’s wonderful. Also if you read her bio,
one interesting thing I wanna note is that she actually lived in the state of Alaska for nine years and three years of that time she lived with no running water. So I am just curious how did you wash? (audience laughing) Anyhow, here is Ms. Amanda Jean Babcock to tell her story. Thank you so much. (audience clapping) ♪ Woo hoo ♪ ♪ Woo hoo ♪ ♪ Woo hoo ♪ ♪ Woo hoo ♪ ♪ Well my heart knows me
better than I know myself ♪ ♪ So I’m gonna let it do all the talking ♪ ♪ Woo hoo ♪ ♪ Woo hoo ♪ – The answer to that is
that I had an outhouse for essentials and they
have showers everywhere all over the University of Alaska campus and so it’s just, it’s a common thing. But yes, it was an adventure for sure. Well, thank you so much
for having me here. I’m really excited to be
here and share this with you. I have not ever presented this information about myself in this way. So, this is a new
experience for me as well but I hope that it’s
valuable for all of us. When people ask me about my childhood, I answer with one word. Violent. When I go through the
litany of my experiences, people sometimes challenge me on whether I’m telling the truth and
for a long time, I wasn’t. It took me decades to understand
that witnessing violence is itself a form of violence. That running from your home, being displaced from
everything that you know is a form of violence. For years I downplayed the
nature of what I’d experienced because it was my mother,
not me, taking the blows. It was my mother, not me,
with water colored patterns of fresh and fading bruises on her skin. As I got older, I learned
that there’s another kind of violence, insidious, quiet. Sometimes indescribable, familiar. If I had more time I would
tell you about my father, the monster of my youth. An alcoholic, violent, who
smoked in his tiny house with the windows closed
while I could barely breath. My asthma triggered and
constricting my throat while I watched the gray
swirls of cigarette smoke twirl and change shape
in the air around me like a toxic, monochrome aurora. I had memories of talking
with a woman named Kay who told me I could draw
pictures and later asked me questions using an anatomical doll. I don’t remember any sexual abuse directly but my three year old
self kept those images of the doll in my mind and in my memory. Those dolls and the questions
that came with them. I remember my father tickling me trying to provoke a reaction of some kind and how he persisted even after I said no, after I screamed at him to stop. And when he did stop, I would lock myself in the bathroom for hours weeping, trying to find an escape
route, a barricade, feeling violated and consumed somehow. There’s no sex in his tickling
but there didn’t need to be. My body remembered. If we had more time I would
tell you about my brother and how, as we became
teenagers, he became my abuser. I’d tell you about the
violence of our fights, about the doctor years later who asked me, based on seeing the calcium
deposits on my hands, how I had managed to break
those tiny bones so many times. To this day, he remains the
only man who has ever struck me. My brother was the first
to bully me for my body, to tell me that I had no
value because I was fat and unattractive and no man
would wanna have sex with me. He allowed his friends to bully me, to mock me, to make comments
about my size and my worth. All of this emotional abuse, of course, happened in the spaces between
our physical altercations, no physical evidence left behind but sibling abuse is still
not commonly recognized as a legitimate form of abuse. It is still discounted as kids being kids and when one of those kids runs and hides, pushes themselves into the corners and underneath the spaces
in beds and stares out at that doorway through
which their abuser may walk, it’s not recognized. It’s seen as a failure
of the child who hides. Toughen up, stand up for yourself. If you didn’t do X, they wouldn’t do Y. You’re weak and you are
complicit in your abuse. Insidious, quiet, and sometimes
indescribable violence. If I had more time, I’d tell
you about my next stepfather, a man who made me
fundamentally uncomfortable from the time I was 10. He was ominous in the way that the street beyond the pale glow of
a streetlight is ominous. When I became a teenager, his
grooming behavior started, talking about my cleavage as he drove me to my first eighth grade dance, giving me neck massages
and positioning himself so that he could kiss me
gently right behind my ear and linger there, whispering hello. Positioning himself naked on his bed knowing that I would pass by and see him. By the time I was 10 also, I’d
begun writing in my journal about the darkness inside my mind, a sense of evil I had
inherited from my father. I wrote for years about this darkness, this inevitable force I
thought had been bred into me. I wrote that I felt that it
was only a matter of time before my mind, this
separate sinister entity became so powerful that I would succumb. I believed I was fighting
something entirely separate from myself into which I was being pulled piece by piece until I
wouldn’t exist anymore as anything but that darkness. I don’t know how much
the abuse I experienced if that affected my mental health. I don’t know if my years of depression were born into me or cultivated. For a really long time, I had abuse survivor impostor syndrome. I told myself that I was
stronger because I had seen all that violence and
that it wasn’t that bad. It was just my life and
people other than me had it a lot worse. But that way of thinking
is a form of avoidance, avoiding the truth of what happened to me, avoiding the truth of
how it affected me then and how it has impacted me since. The real truth is that I didn’t overcome my mental health issues. I haven’t overcome my trauma. Trauma is written in the body. It is inherited through generations and I come from two families
with a lot of trauma. A lot of physical abuse, substance abuse, and mental illness. I come from people who come from people who have experienced layers
upon layers of trauma. So I’m not here today
to give you a narrative of how I overcame my mental health issues. That would be a false
narrative and a harmful one. Inspiration porn. This is about understanding who you are and accepting it and
about using vulnerability to create and leverage resilience. My path to authentic
resilience started in 2016 and it happened through vulnerability because I was so broken
I had no other choice but to be vulnerable. A few years before, after I had my son, I went through a two to
three year experience of postpartum depression. I used to think about not existing, about how my life would be meaningless and my family’s lives
would be better without me. I was passively suicidal. I would think arbitrarily about driving off the freeway on ramp at full
speed and hitting barriers. I wasn’t actively wanted to die. I just didn’t want to exist anymore. I couldn’t function as a person and so I functioned as a machine, going through daily motions,
smiling and laughing and engaging with people as a mask. Looking at my family and realizing that I didn’t feel anything, numb. The thing is I didn’t
realize this was depression. It happened so slowly and
became so embedded within me that I didn’t see it happening. It was so different from
other depressive episodes I had before that I didn’t recognize it for what it was and it was
only after irreparably damaging some close relationships
that I was shocked into self awareness. So in 2016 as I slid slowly into the worst depressive
episode of my life, I knew what was happening. I saw it happening and
I knew what it meant. I couldn’t leave my bed for days. I didn’t sleep for days at a time. I missed work over and over again. I missed deadlines in
my doctorate program. I withdrew from one class and
stopped attending the rest. I was hours away from committing myself to inpatient psychiatric
care when I was able to meet with a psychiatrist
through my school’s student counseling center. And I walked out of there
with five prescriptions, Effexor, Gabapentin, Xanax,
Trazodone, and Seroquel. I had landed on a teeter
totter of mental health. The meds got me sleeping again but they also made me gain
60 pounds in four months. I felt more connected to my
brain but utterly removed from my body. I couldn’t run anymore because the weight has caused me foot problems
and I felt like I was wearing someone else’s body. But my body was still mine, still a problem set of trauma. The new reality of my figure
triggered the self loathing and inadequacy that
had been burned into me in my youth by people like my brother and eventually I discontinued those meds, going cold turkey off Effexor. My brain burned with electrical shocks of withdraw from that drug. And I realized that this
could not be my reality, the cycles of depression,
insomnia, panic attacks, disconnection and disassociation, feelings of self loathing and insecurity, those cycles could not be the
reality of my life anymore. And it was then that I began
my path to authenticity, to developing resilience
that could override the darkness inside me
and keep me moving forward when the chemicals in my brain
are working to drag me down. I didn’t get that authenticity
through medication. I didn’t get it through therapy. Those things came later and
wouldn’t have been possible for me at the time. Instead, I started my path to resilience by shifting to a stance
of true authenticity. I started dismantling the mask of wellness I spent years perfecting. I began dismantling that
persona of the confident, put together woman whose drive
was a product of self esteem and not a desperate attempt
to stave off my self hatred. I dismantled the filters and the facades and the characters I
played imitating someone who wasn’t mentally ill, who
wasn’t crippled by depression, someone who never questioned
her competency of validity. I dismantled it all
and I can show you how. Slides. So, like other Xennials, that generation between Gen X and millennials,
I take a lot of selfies and I like to post them
all over the internet. They usually look something like this. So these two pictures are me in a park on two separate days with one of my dogs. I have three dogs. This one just happens
to be super photogenic. (audience laughing) So, I probably have more
photos of my dogs on my phone than of my child because he
doesn’t like his photo taken. So I have a lot of these selfies. Next slide. I also have selfies like this. This is my husband and I doing something, drinking some beer, having a good time and a picture of me at
a sanctuary for goats and this is the last of a series of photos in which I go from smiling with a goat in a selfie to the goat
trying to eat my hair. (audience laughing) As you can see by my expression, I’m not so much horrified as surprised. Next selfie. Sometimes my slides look like this. That’s me and my husband
again in a convertible down in Florida this
summer on a family vacation and the other one is me taking a selfie in front of the Western
Governors University building when I started my first day of work at Western Governors on April first. This was a big step for me. It was a big move in my career and I was grateful to be there and I wanted to document that moment. But sometimes, next slide. My selfies look like this. This is a photo that I
took in September of 2018. I was sitting in my car
and I was parked outside of a mall parking lot. I had gotten in my car,
desperate to escape whatever I was feeling and
I was crying uncontrollably. I was panicked and I was
scared and I was desperate. I couldn’t control what
was happening in my body or in my mind. I took this selfie and I
sent it to a friend of mine because I couldn’t talk about
what was happening to me. I sent it to her because she’s
a licensed clinical therapist and I needed someone in
that moment to ground me. Oftentimes, this is the
face I wear in private, crying, blotchy, disgusting looking, red and I often show it only to a few people. My friend was able to talk to me. I couldn’t talk by the phone. I needed text that day but she sat there and texted me for almost two full hours and gave me tools and moments
and things I could hold onto to get me through that moment. And so, this is how I began dismantling the masks that I wore. I began showing my real face. This ugly, crying, wet
with snot, panicked, and exhausted and defeated face. I began showing myself
as I knew myself to be. Broken and damaged, lost and aching, out of control and spiraling
downward over and over again. I began showing myself as I am, ambitious, intelligent,
capable, and loving. I showed both of my realities
and I merged them together. I began talking about
my mental health issues. I disclosed my struggles
and communicated to others about how I really was feeling. I began using myself as an example when talking about
students with disabilities in higher education. At Western Governors, I make my case for aggressively pursuing
accessibility by talking about my own depression, particularly since 2016 and how that depression
affects my cognition, my retention, and my ability to focus. I talk about my brother’s addiction. I talk about my mother’s
toxic behaviors without shame because they are my reality and the more I talk, the more I realize that in my vulnerability,
I am making connections with people and within myself that I’ve never experienced before. I found empathy and
understanding in my advisor, my professors, my manager, and colleagues. I wasn’t punished for the
effects of my depression. I was supported. And since I became being my
radically authentic self, I noticed that I was more
capable of seeing myself clearly. I could recognize those
early signs of my depression or anxiety or insomnia
creeping up around the corner. The more I talked about my
mental health matter of factly, the more normalized it became for me. The more I came to
understand and accept it as just who I am. It became less of a
demon, that dark invader in my mind and more of a
condition to be managed. The more I talked about my mental health, the more capable I was of managing it. I accepted and even embraced the truth that I will be on medication
the rest of my life. I made appointments for physical therapy, for chiropractic care. I met with my doctor to talk about long term medication management. I found a therapist that I
like and who works well with me and she is helping me work
through some of the underlying effects of all that childhood trauma. At the end of the summer
in July and August I was fighting away another
serious bout of depression. My dissertation work had
come to a grinding halt. I canceled plans. My house was a disgusting
wreck and I’m okay with that because I learned how to
be gentle with myself. I’ve learned how to accept
when the best I can do each day is literally just to wake
up and get out of bed. And you know what, that self
acceptance and kindness, coupled with the support
of those around me, I kept myself afloat. I stopped that downward spiral
into the absolute bottom. I stopped myself from hitting. I felt the pain and I pushed
myself to keep making choices, to keep taking action. It was hard but it happened. I didn’t do those things
to make myself resilient. I had become truly resilient
through doing those things and that is what allowed
me to make my choices and take that action. And sometimes when I
share this information about myself with people,
they ask me for advice and I don’t like that. Anyone can give advice. Ask any parent struggling with
a tantruming child in public and they will tell you, everybody has advice about parenting. But lots of advice is not helpful because it doesn’t come
from within yourself and it’s not grounded within what you know to be true about your situation. Advice is well meaning sometimes but also a little more
than someone else’s opinion and interpretation of your truth and that someone isn’t you. So this is what I say instead. Instead of giving
advice, share your truth. Be vulnerable. Tell your history, tell your present. Do it in a way that is
raw and honest and open. Make yourself uncomfortable
and share your experiences and allow others to share theirs with you. Share your truth and instead
of what you will have is, sorry, share your truth and what you will have is
one person who understands your truth and has shared
their history with you. Share it again and you’ll
have another person who shared their truth with you and their truth will just some more enough to be familiar and useful. When you share your truth, you do not get a tick box of things to do, a list of skills that you need to acquire. When you are raw and honest
and open and vulnerable about who you are, it invites honesty and vulnerability in other people. So you don’t walk away
with the effects of advice. You don’t have that checklist
to go through in your mind of all the things you should be doing but then you also could be doing wrong. Share your truth. You will not have a checklist. You will have a community and that is what I have found. So, I’d like to end this
by thanking my community, those of them that are
here, my husband, my son, and my nephew, my community
who’s watching from Utah and everywhere else and I’d
like to thank all of you for joining my community in this moment. It means more than you know. Thank you. (audience clapping) – [Woman] Questions, questions? – [Man] Any questions? – You can ask me anything. (audience laughing) I meant it too. (audience laughing) – [Man] Well this is, you composed this
presentation so beautifully and you mentioned writing
early on in your life and I was wondering whether the writing has been helpful for you. – So, from about the time I was 10 until I was in my mid
20s, I was an obsessive, I was obsessive about self documentation and so I kept a journal
until the time I was 10 until my late teens and then that switched to writing letters to people
that were important to me and I would sit down when
I was about 19 years old and I would write letters
that were 30 to 60 pages, sometimes twice a week to people and those letters functioned
as a journal for me because I didn’t really
expect them to respond to everything I said but it allowed me to process my experiences
and it allowed me to make connections that I
wouldn’t have otherwise made without writing and so,
when my grandfather died, right before he died I was sitting in his hospital room with him
and I was holding his hand and I was writing about his death and what that meant and
what that would mean to me and sometimes when I miss him, because he really was like
my primary parent growing up. My mother parented by proxy. She was never there. She was a student first and
then she grew her business and so my grandparents raised me from, until I was about 10 or 12 and then my mom relied on the schools as a
proxy to give me structure and direction in my life and
when the schools didn’t work, she gave me doctors
and when the medication they gave me didn’t work,
she just kind of gave up. One time she actually took
me to juvenile services to have me checked in for the night because she couldn’t manage my behavior because she didn’t want to. Right? It’s easier for someone else to do it and so, sometimes when
I miss my grandfather or when I’m feeling a
struggle connected to that, when I lost my grandmother
three years ago, I go back and I read those letters because I have them in physical copies. I made literal photocopies
before I sent them off and then I typed them up into my computer and I use those as
checkpoints within myself and you can trace my progression in terms of just who I
was becoming in general but also in how I understood my depression and how I understood my trauma because in those early
letters I didn’t know that it was trauma. It’s only very recently, and I’m 40, that I was diagnosed with complex PTSD. And so, writing has always
been an essential part of who I am and when I had
that depressive episode in 2016, I lost my ability to write. I could stare at a page
and I could read a sentence and I wouldn’t understand
what that sentence meant. I would sit and I would
stare and try to write the most basic sentence
about anything, right? Disability studies is a
field in higher education that blah, blah, blah. I couldn’t write that and
it was horrifying to me. I was terrified for my life. In fact, talking about it
is making my heart race because my whole life writing had been my primary identity and my primary way of understanding myself
and that depressive episode took that away from me. I couldn’t compose, I couldn’t understand like word for word and
that was why I almost checked myself into the
psychiatric hospital because this one fundamental
aspect of my identity was being taken away and I
couldn’t allow that to happen. I could miss work. I could be fired. I could damage my
relationships with other people but when it came to
taking away that ability for self analysis and documentation, that scared me deeply and so that’s why I thought about doing that. You’re welcome. – [Man] I have a question. – Sure. – [Man] I loved your presentation. – Thank you. – [Man] I thought that you
mentioning sibling abuse is very interesting and something
that we don’t talk about but my question is how
did your family respond to you understanding sibling abuse? – Well, my mother didn’t acknowledge it and she didn’t see it. She wasn’t there, as I’ve mentioned. My mother is also one of those people who cannot accept accountability and she has a need for control and anything that you would tell her that she could interpret
as a critique of her or her behaviors, her choices, she will shut down and turn around on you. She will gaslight you,
she will invalidate you. And so, a lot of what she would say is you need to toughen up or you just need to avoid him. And, what’s interesting about my brother is that when he was 17 he
had his appendix rupture and he ended up going
into emergency surgery in which they nicked a blood vessel and left him bleeding internally. And so, he was on a
morphine drip after that, after they did that repair
and that has led him from 17 years old, onto
a path where he has been a severe drug addict the rest of his life and my mother supports him and my mother doesn’t
understand why this person that I shared with her some
of the more gruesome details of my experience with him, she cannot process why I
have chosen to be estranged from my brother. She gets upset. My grandmother got upset. They would tell me like blood is better, blood is deeper than water. He’s still your brother and I do love him. I will always love my brother but I don’t like him and
he’s not a safe person and so over the time since
I’ve moved back to Utah and since I had my child
and not wanting to expose my child to my brother, I
won’t go over to her house or allow my son to be
there when he’s there and what that has led to now
over the last five years or so is that my mother has
abandoned any attempt at family dinners. She’s abandoned attempts
at like Thanksgiving and things like that and so
we’ve created our own tradition. We go on road trips every year. And so, it’s hard for her but she also feels an
immense amount of judgment because I am very critical of her support of my brother all this time. I believe that she is
financing his addiction and has been for 20-some odd years. He hasn’t had a job in
nearly that entire time but he always supplied
with housing and travel. She would buy him Fender
Stratocaster guitars that he would then pawn. It’s a very toxic and
unhealthy relationship and so when she comes at me with criticism about not being involved with my brother or like minimizing my experience with him, it’s been hard but I’m learning how to just walk away from it because her perception
of it is not accurate and it’s not valid and
it doesn’t need to be my perception of it. – [Man] Thank you. – You’re welcome. All right, thank you. (audience clapping) – Okay, our last speaker is Janelle Carl. Janelle is a 31 year old
first generation Latina. She is married, has an
amazing little boy named Lucas and is also a dog mom to
a black lab named Sheldon. Janelle has lived in
New York her entire life with short stints in Montana,
England, and Switzerland. She earned her bachelors
degree in classical studies from Tufts University in Boston and completed her masters
degree in school counseling at NYU’s Steinhardt School
of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Janelle has worked as a guidance
counselor for five years and currently teaches high
school equivalency classes at Dutchess Community College. Please welcome Janelle Carl. (audience clapping) (“Can’t Stop This Feeling”
by Justin Timberlake) ♪ I got this feeling inside my bones ♪ ♪ It goes electric wavy
when I turn it on ♪ ♪ All through my city ♪ ♪ All through my home ♪ ♪ We’re flying up no ceiling when we in ♪ – Okay, so good afternoon. I’m really grateful to be here. Thank you to Dr.
McLennon-Wier for inviting me to speak today. It’s an honor to stand on this stage with the three phenomenal
women that have just spoken right before me. As Vince said, my name is Janelle. I’m 32, I turned 32 in August but I wrote that in July. It’s okay. (audience laughing) I have a pretty wonderful life. You know, I have a home. I have a family that loves me, friends that support me, work that I love but years ago I really never fathomed to
have a happy life again. So, the Oxford dictionary and
Dr. Wier said this already, a disability is a physical
or even mental condition that limits a person’s senses,
movements, and activities and as I began writing
this speech for today I wondered, was I even
qualified to be up here, to be a speaker here? And as of, you’ll find out later, that was really thoughts that
contributed by my disability. Like, the belief that I don’t fit in, the belief that I will never be enough, the belief that you’re not
qualified to be anywhere, or to be here. So I never considered
my anxiety, depression, or eating disorder to be disabilities, even though they did interfere heavily with my daily functioning. And so, just to make sure I researched the government definition and news to me, depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders
were disabilities so here I am. (man laughs) I wasn’t diagnosed with
generalized anxiety disorder or depression until my college years, until my senior year in college but just because a doctor said it, didn’t make it true to me. As my 20s raged on and time passed, life’s circumstances as
well choices that I made forced me to reflect that
whatever that was going on in my brain that was
affecting my emotions, my behaviors, my thoughts,
was indeed an illness or something that needed to be treated. But to put the story together,
I have to share with you a little bit about my childhood. I was a very uneasy child. I was worried always about
everything and extremely anxious. I was a worry wart. I would obsess over things. Even now I can feel
the knots in my stomach that I used to feel when I was a child. A couple of examples,
part of a school play all I had to do was skip across the stage. All 60 or more other of my classmates were able to do their part
and I wasn’t able to do it. I froze. On a trip to D.C., I got lost and instead of walking
towards a security guard who was likely looking for me, I froze and I hid behind the pillar. Once at church, that was
actually when I was seven. Now I’m almost nine years old and I really had to go to the bathroom. It was only, I only
had to turn the corner, the bathroom was right
there but I had to pass in front of people. I felt that, oh my goodness, just passing by them, it’s
just, it’s embarrassing. I don’t want them to see that
I have to go to the restroom. And so, what did I do? I just stood there for
a half hour, an hour, I have no idea, frozen, and you can imagine what happened next. I was almost 10 when that happened. Now I really didn’t have close friends in elementary school
because I was very focused on being the teacher’s friend. I was very bright and well behaved so it wasn’t really hard
to become a teacher’s pet and now I would rather
hang out with the teacher than to go for lunch and recess and I would go above
and beyond on a project or hand in even two or three book reports when all I needed was one. So I had to be the best. I had to be well liked and
accepted, perfect even. Rejection would be disastrous and I was only in elementary school. So this way of thinking and being really would later affect my decisions and impact my life greatly. Then something happened. I was in sixth grade. I was one of the smart girls. There was another girl that was smart. Obviously, I didn’t really like her. All right, we really
didn’t like each other. Okay? (audience laughing) So I told a friend that feeling and it turns out that he
was better friends with her and so we had an assignment
and she misplaced her homework and now with this newfound
knowledge that Janelle doesn’t like me they said, Janelle must have stolen your homework. Okay, I was 11 years old. The rumor went around the classroom. People stopped talking to me. This girl’s mother actually
worked at the school as a monitor and during
recess I heard and saw her tell my classmates not to talk to me and not to be my friend. And so, days I went home,
this went on for about a week or two, I was crying and crying. My mom would comfort me
and help me feel better. Finally school administration stepped in and she was forced to
apologize to me in front of the classroom but not before
the damage had been done. Now, this may not seem like
a really big deal to you but as a child, that’s a pretty big deal and it could be really
traumatic and it was for me and it would affect my self
image and my social interactions for years to come. The following year I entered middle school and then high school. Middle school and high school were, I don’t wanna say a little bit of a breeze but middle school was very small. I had a very close friends. I went to a private school
so it was very small. So I thrived in that environment. High school, I went into a high school with thousands of students,
so being one in thousands, you don’t really get noticed. So I was fine. Okay, so I had, but I still
had my tight knit group of friends and we got
along and I succeeded. I was in honors classes. I did student clubs and activities but I still had this debilitating anxiety. Now what I mean by that
is the anxiety came to me when the image of perfection
that Janelle needed to be, when the fear that I wouldn’t
be able to get there. And so, I would lose sleep over math exams ’cause math was a very
hard subject for me. Okay? And, it was just, it was just difficult. Now, what happened in 11th grade and sixth grade with the student, it would affect how I was
in high school and college. I rarely participated in class. I just wanted, I was afraid
that if I said anything I could be targeted or disliked. And so, as a defense
mechanism, I put up a facade that I was getting all right and social events and classrooms. In reality, I wasn’t okay. I was never truly able to
be myself around others. I had to be someone else to protect myself and this would play a
huge role in me truly not knowing myself because
I spent so long hiding. I’m in my 30s now and it
still affects me to this day. I walk into a room and I think two things, they’re talking about me or they automatically don’t like me. And so, I’ve worked on that but it’s still always going
to be in the back of my mind. Now, being a child and
having undiagnosed anxiety and having the amazing
protective factors that I had, my family loved me, I had
a home, I had siblings. Having that anxiety undiagnosed
and going to college and just being away from home
and having all that stress, anxiety and depression, they
really came in full force as I left late adolescence
and entered young adulthood and I thought that I would get better when I got accustomed to
being far away from home but I really didn’t. I wasn’t just homesick. I had a difficult time
connecting with my peers. I had isolated myself. Everyone seemed so different. Everyone’s so social. They knew what interested them. They seemed very sure of themselves and I sure didn’t feel that way. I started to feel isolated and alone. Very alone and so thankfully my sister, who’s here, she went to the same city for college and so I was able to spend
every weekend with her my freshman year but every
time I wanted to come back, not wanted to, every time I
had to come back to campus, this like awful dread, terrible
dread would overcome me. And so, I also felt very, I went to a pretty competitive college and so when you’re really
not the only smart one there, right, ow everyone is super smart, and you don’t measure up
to that, that kind of, you know, that really affected me and so I had to, I still
did well in my classes but I should have been doing better, at the level of everybody else. Now, so I had to find
something else to be good at and so I decided to focus my
efforts and all of my energy on losing weight and getting thin. And so now with anxiety and depression, I significantly increased
my risk of developing an eating disorder and so I did. So the summer following my freshman year I lost weight in a very unhealthy way. Going back to college my
sophomore year I vowed to tell, I said, you’re not
gonna gain this weight back and when I did I started over
exercising and under eating and the cycle just began. Even though I had friends, I was very unhappy with myself. I was very unhappy with my body image. I was feeling the pressure
of choosing a major and a career at that time. I was depressed, having the signs of an early eating disorder
and I was overly anxious. I convinced myself that at 19 years old, I had to choose a major and career that I would have for the rest of my life. Now, when you grow up
with a mind like mine, you end up having a lot
of different distortions. One of the infamous ones
in black and white, right? So, either this or that. If you don’t, if it’s not
this, it has to be that. No gray areas and if I
didn’t make the right choice, I would ruin my life. And so that was just a
very heavy weight on me and I was barely holding on
by the end of sophomore year and I was extremely
depressed and I had bulimia. By that time it had really developed. Now I was completely
shocked and unprepared when adulthood rolled along. Like I mentioned before,
when it’s undiagnosed as a child and then you’re, you have no idea that you have it. You have no idea that
there’s anxiety out there or depression. It just, it really
affected my college years. Now, all of a sudden I
had to make decisions that laid down the path
for the course of my life. As of this young adult
who had hidden herself, her personality, who
she was her entire life can now make an informed decision
on what was best for her. I felt hopeless. How could I know what was best for me if I didn’t even know me? I studied abroad to run
away from, you know, just what I was feeling
and really blaming it on the environment in London and I had a spiritual encounter. I really believed that God had healed me, that my depression was away,
the suicidal ideation left and but I still had not
addressed the behavioral, emotional, and social issues within me. Now I did have an amazing
year and it was great, however, depression is a lifelong struggle and it was inevitable
that it would return later if I really, if I didn’t
proactively and intentionally work to recondition my
behaviors and re-wire my brain. I returned to the U.S. my senior year and it wasn’t London anymore. It was back to university here in the U.S. I had met someone who I
became non-existent to. I was struggling with
what to do after college, what kind of job I was gonna have and I was obsessed with rethinking and wanting to just do things over again. I had felt that I made mistakes
in the past differently. I wanted do overs. If you had only chosen this, if you had only said that, if you only done this and I had a lot of trouble
accepting what was, forgiving myself, and moving forward. I was able to graduate. My last semester was really difficult but thankfully I was able to graduate but not without the constant
self deprecating thoughts, lack of self worth, and
honestly hating myself. I went to grad school at NYU. I did really well in school. I succeeded in school but
personally and emotionally and socially, I was
really, really struggling. Half way through my grad school program, a friendship that meant a lot to me ended for reasons that were unwarranted. Don’t we all, don’t we all
think they are unwarranted? The circumstances surrounding
the end of that friendship were extremely hurtful though
even though I’m pretty sure my friend didn’t mean for
it to hurt me that much. But I internalized a lot
of things at that time and it further shattered my self worth, my self image, and my identity. And this is where I
reach my breaking point. I was already with anxiety,
depression, and bulimia and the fact that this friendship ended, that just completely shattered my world. My energy levels dropped. My motivation dropped. I did not wanna get out
of bed in the mornings. I would cry myself to sleep. Okay, I did not want to fall asleep because I did not wanna
wake up the next morning and feel this sadness and this rejection and this pain again. And also, I just continued
to engage in this cycle of binging and purging
characteristic of bulimia multiple times a day
really as self punishment ’cause I hated myself. As my psychologist would say, the punishment didn’t fit the crime. When he talked to me,
he’s like, the punishment is not fitting the crime. You’re thinking that you
did all these things wrong and you just have to accept it. I took a leave of absence. I stopped going to classes. I did not wanna get up in
the morning like I had said and so I took a leave of absence from NYU but it soon became apparent
that I needed much more than just weekly counseling sessions. And so, months passed
without me feeling better and suicide came really to
the forefront of my mind. Suicidal ideation was strong
and I had multiple plans to carry that out. After a session with my psychologist, he deemed that it wasn’t
safe for me to leave and so the rest is history. I spent a week as a patient
in a psychiatric floor and I voluntarily admitted myself. They sent me to the hospital
and I signed the papers and I said yes, I wanna
be here because I did not wanna live like this anymore. I spent nine months at
an intensive outpatient treatment program, actually
not too far from here. I was very blessed to be able to go there, very privileged. I do realize that. There’s not that, there’s not too much access
to mental health resources in lower socioeconomic
groups and I’m very grateful that I did have that blessing to go to an intensive treatment program. The program saved my life. I did cognitive behavioral
therapy in groups, dialectical behavior therapy. We ate our meals together
in order to help me change my thoughts around food and eating. We had group therapy
and after nine months, April ninth next year will make nine years that I’ve recovered from bulimia. (audience clapping) But recovery is a lifelong commitment, decisions that I have to
make every single day. Thoughts still come back. It took me years to fully
address and work through all the wounds in therapy. I had to unlearn the false Janelle and like Amanda was saying,
really find my true self because I wasn’t that person so I had to basically break down and just build myself
up again a new identity. That was the only way to my healing. It was painful. I did the work but I gained so much. Now I wanted to answer, Dr. McLennon-Wier gave a couple of questions and so I’m just gonna
answer those just from, so one of them was how has your disability affected your life and I just
gave a chronological order. So, that’s how anxiety and
depression, eating disorder affected my life. How has it interfered with my life goals? Well, I’ve hidden for so
long, I hid for so long and I never really
allowed myself the chance to explore my interests,
my strengths, my desires, my wants, and my values because we all decide at some point what we’re gonna believe in, right? Some of us are gonna stay with
what mom and dad taught us but then through experiences,
through traveling, through meeting new
people, through thinking, you develop your own values. However, I never let myself do that. I was always very black and white and so I really believe
that it did prevent me from really knowing who I was and doing what was actually going
to make my heart happy and my life happy. So I know that I have multiple degrees. I’ve traveled a lot. I have a list of accomplishments but sometimes I look back and I’m like, I made those decisions
when I really didn’t know the true Janelle and so
I wonder what decisions I would have made for my future if I hadn’t gone through what I did and if I didn’t, and if
I had known my true self. I wish I had known when I was
younger that I had anxiety and that I was predisposed to depression. I feel like, I mean, it wasn’t my fault. I could have saved myself a lot of grief. My parents didn’t know either. But it was left undiagnosed and untreated and when I became an adult
and serious decisions had to made about life, it just became too overwhelming for me. One life goal that I
wasn’t able to achieve because I was always just
so worried and worried was I trained for the Boston Marathon and I qualified for it because of, through charity, all right? I’m not an elite runner. (laughing) Because I was gonna run through charity. I was only weeks away but
I kept telling myself, you’re not gonna do, you can’t do this. You’re not gonna be
able to do the 26 miles. It’s gonna be hard. You’re gonna feel like your
heart’s coming out of your chest and even then I still didn’t accept that I had that, I could
get help for the anxiety and so I relinquished my
number and I didn’t run. Ugh, I know. I regret that so much but
hey, no regrets, right? But, now, with all of that said, childhood trauma, it can’t be ignored. Our experiences, they lay the ground work for how we behave and
think in our adult lives and our brains are so
elastic when we’re children and so, it builds our experiences, especially adverse ones
build our brain architecture. And so, I just wish that
in my parent’s culture it hadn’t been so taboo to
talk about mental health and that it would have
been more disposed to help and even in our country,
maybe 25, 30 years ago, 20 years ago, mental illness, you were either a misfit, an outcast, considered crazy and
so there really wasn’t that education out there and conversations are opening up a lot more now nationally and I’m really grateful for that. Managing your mental health
should become as normal as treating and managing physical health. One other thing, in all those years in
high school and college, I looked fine and if you ask my friends and the people I was hanging out with if they had any clue
hat I was going through they would say no and
that really reminds me about the recent high
profile deaths of celebrities that have died by suicide recently. You don’t know, you can’t see it. Sometimes you can’t see it and so if you are feeling a certain way or if you know someone
who has tendencies, okay, to, like I did, just reach
out and see how they’re doing and ask for help, and ask, and have them, and tell them that you’re
there to help them. Almost done. Resilience and courage, I did have, hold on, I gotta find my paper. Okay, here we go. Honestly, having this
disability is actually helped rather than harm me. They’ve made me a lot braver. It took a lot of courage to
go to my treatment program every single day. It was an outpatient treatment program. I would get on the bus, get on the train, only listen to positive
music that would encourage me and motivate me. My feet felt so heavy,
my mind was so heavy but I found that courage to go and even working through
your issues in therapy, it’s very painful. Very, very painful and so, it’s very painful when
you have to speak about what hurt you, who hurt you, and when your social workers, the only progress when
you can see progress when you’re leaving the room and you’re basically in tears because what you just said was just, you felt finally so
validated in group therapy and you finally felt
like you were being heard and that is the beginning of healing. I’m grateful for my parents
because with anxiety I could have not done any or anything or a bunch of things that I wanted to do but they always pushed me. Even if you’re scared, you can do this. Even if you’re fearful,
I know you can do this and without them I wouldn’t
be where I am today. I just wanted to share that one of the questions was employability. I’m almost done. (laughing) Have you had trouble finding employment? I didn’t have trouble finding employment. You don’t answer those questions when you’re in an interview, right, and it’s, mental illness is invisible. But what I did find was
that there is really a lack of support for mental
wellness in the work place. There’s a lack of emotional
training and awareness. Managers need to learn how to handle or deal with someone who struggles. There needs to be training
on mental resilience and managers. When profit and output
are priority for companies then we’re kind of like machines, right, without regard to our mental
wellness and our mental health and so, no I did not have
trouble finding employment but I believe that there
should be a lot more education in the work place. Um, yeah. I think. Okay, finally, I don’t know how
these pages got so mixed up. (audience laughing) They were all in correct order. Okay, finally, this
disability does not go away. So even though I recovered from bulimia, the recovery is a life long process. Anxiety, I will always have anxiety. Depression, I will always
expect me to somehow some time have another depressive episode. I’m okay with that. I’ve accepted that fact. I manage and I treat my
depression as best as I can. I see my psychiatrist often. I go to counseling every week. I am on two medications. I am self aware and try
to really self care. When I know and when I feel
that I might be turning that point, I bring myself
back and I use the tools that I’ve learned. And now, I accepted this part of me and it’s the cards I was
dealt with for a reason. I always believe it’s for a reason and I’m prepared and
equipped for when life becomes harder to handle and manage. I know that life is beautiful. I’m not giving up. I know there’s so much to see and do, so many people to meet and to love. So many places to visit and explore. I want this life with its ups and downs. Years ago I would have
never been able to say that and now I can. So if you struggle, you can too. Hold on, there is hope. You are worth it. Find the help that you need. Stay on, I know many us can say, people are, oh, that was only for a period of time. I don’t need to do that anymore. But, I’ve accepted that this is gonna be for the rest of my life and
I’m healthy and I’m happy. There’s hope, you’re worth
it and stay the course. Thank you so much. (audience clapping) – [Sharon] Any questions for Janelle? – Any questions? – [Sharon] Come on, you
have to have one question. (audience laughing) At least let her earn her keep. Come on. No? All right. Do you guys wanna cry? Oh, someone has a question. Okay, good, we won’t cry yet. – [Man] Thank you. As someone that has anxiety, I understand how hard it is to go up and speak in front of people. I was just wondering what tools do you use to help manage the anxiety? – Well, I love music so
I talk to Alexa often. (audience laughing) And I tell Alexa to play a song for me. What makes it better, I have
a two and a half year old son so I watch him dance
and that’s very helpful. But, you know, exercise has helped because anxiety is also a lot of energy built up inside of you so when you exercise, you kind of, you let all of that out. So that has been helpful. I love to read. I like to read. Even if you don’t have time and it’s only like five
or 10 minutes before bed, open up that book and read. When you finish a book, you’re like, yes, I finished that book. Coloring. You know, there’s all those
adult therapy coloring books. That’s helpful. Spending some time outside. Yes? – [Woman] Which one do you like? (laughing) – Oh, there’s many. I have a Harry Potter one. And I love that one ’cause
I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. Yeah, usually when, I have so many but when
people ask me it just, it goes like this but
I hope that was good. – [Man] Thank you. – Okay. – [Sharon] Any other questions? – [Woman] I have one. – [Sharon] Okay. – [Woman] Is there a microphone? (laughing drowns out speaker) Sorry. Uh, yeah. How did you motivate
yourself to get out everyday to go to the therapy,
the outpatient therapy? How did you get yourself out of bed? – Honestly (sighs) I don’t know. It was just this inner strength, this will that I didn’t
wanna live like this anymore. That maybe there’s a little bit of hope and that maybe somebody
can help me get there. Yeah, I don’t, there was really, it’s very, very difficult. You have to dig really, really in deep but yeah. – [Sharon] Any other questions? Thank you Janelle. – Thank you. (audience clapping) – So, before we conclude,
I just wanna thank all of our speakers and
everyone for coming. I am so emotionally drained right now by listening to all these stories. I’m inspired, I’m hopeful, I’m optimistic. I wanna do more. Sometimes we get stuck in
our own little situation and we feel that life is not so, it’s bad because of whatever
thing we’re thinking about at the moment but honestly, it’s precious and there’s always
someone else dealing with something more difficult than your own. I think sometimes we have to
put things in perspective. I’m just grateful. So it’s a good day. I just want all the speakers to come up because this is a little
different this year with the Road to Resilience. I think it’s always great for
someone to share their story but these were powerful
stories today, weren’t they? Okay. (audience clapping) So if all the speakers could come up, I have a little ceremony,
a little thing I wanna do in thanking you for coming
and sharing your story, traveling all over the
world to be with us today. So, We are the Champions. Come on, Ian (laughing). (“We Are The Champions” by Queen) So the speakers can get on the (mumbles), so can all the speakers get, what I would like to do is
give each speaker a gold pin in honor of their story and their journey. ♪ We are the champions my friend ♪ – So Vincent, you wanna
help me give out the pins? Make it loud, Queen is good. Turn it up. ♪ We’ll keep on fighting till the end ♪ ♪ We are the champions ♪ ♪ We are the champions ♪ ♪ No time for losers ♪ ♪ ‘Cause we are the champions ♪ ♪ Of the world ♪ – All right, who’s next? Oh well, thank you so much. ♪ I’ve taken my bows ♪ ♪ And my curtain calls ♪ – So put them on, we gotta take a picture. Berkeley’s all about pictures. ♪ You brought me fame and fortune ♪ ♪ And everything that goes with it ♪ ♪ I thank you all ♪ ♪ But it’s been no bed of roses ♪ ♪ No pleasure cruise ♪ – All right, they’re
gonna put their pins on because they’re gold stars, right? All right, let’s cheer for these ladies. Come on. Give them a clap. (audience clapping) Thank you. ♪ We are the champions my friend ♪ – You guys are great. Thank you for sharing your stories. Can we get some pictures? ♪ And we’ll keep on
fighting till the end ♪ ♪ We are the champions ♪ ♪ We are the champions ♪ ♪ No time for losers ♪ ♪ ‘Cause we are the champions ♪ ♪ Of the world ♪ ♪ We are the champions my friends ♪ ♪ And we’ll keep on
fighting till the end ♪ – Are they done? Okay. So, you can turn it
down just a little bit. ♪ We are the champions ♪ – I just wanna thank,
this takes a long time to put together and
this year was incredible because I did a national call to women through all the psychological listserves and this is why we have people coming from all over the country. So I’m really grateful and I
just wanna thank Vincent Mas for being my right hand and really dealing with my craziness and perfectionism. (audience clapping) But I really wanted you guys to experience the awesome of these ladies. Also, I wanna thank our great IS team. They always deal with my
little particulars and details. Right guys? But it always works out so nice. Thank you for being there for me and being there for
students with disabilities and I just wanna thank, my boss is here. Are you still here, Diane Recinos? Okay, Diane is here and
she’s a great supporter. Supporter, supporter. I’m tired. It’s been a long week. But I just want you guys to know, all the staff that came out,
teachers, students that came and those who are listening live stream, I hope you value your experience and value being here at Berkeley
because it’s an opportunity that we have to heal and teach and we’re not just
giving someone a degree. We’re giving them a life,
we’ll give them opportunity and that’s so valuable so,
is Kevin Luing still here? Oh, he had to leave but anyhow, I just want him to know that we thank him and his family for this college. So, thank you. See you next year. We are the champions. Play the music. (audience clapping) All right, thank you so much.

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