Keynote to NAMI Lane County about schizoaffective and bipolar disorder psychosis and grief
Today, I said “GoodBye,” to my friend, Amy Meyers, marketing consultant in Portland, Oregon.
Amy is moving 109 miles away. Losing one of your best friends, like Amy, and all the precious moments you spent together: walks through Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, laughter and lunch at Pastinis, the famous Taco House and Laughing Planet, and spending time at the NorthStar Benefit Auction which she helped organize, is like losing a family member. She made it possible for me to display many of my oil paintings at the Auction. You can never replace those magical moments. It was hard saying, “Goodbye.” She was ‘indispensable.’ Because I have a mental condition, one might think that you could dip your shoe into the muddy waters of major depression- a mental disorder which affects 15 million American Adults each year- and lose your appetite or interest in things, or maybe go without sleep- unable to study and enjoy life- if you lost your best friend. She was there to console me about the deaths of my mother and brother and gave me compassion. That meant a lot. Even though our visits may be few and far between, I still have an obligation to myself and to all my friends and contacts. That is, to love and keep on loving and giving. When I am feeling sorry for the time I’m losing with someone, I can look at it this way- I can keep on creating. By using my imagination, I can create new books through my writing and sewing, and keep on painting new paintings. If I tend to get overly depressed and lonely, I can talk to my therapist, doctor, or a friend. Amy was an education coordinator at NAMI Multnomah, where we met. I had been accepted into the NAMI Oregon In Our Own Voice Program when we connected. Because of her influence, she made it possible for my painting, ‘My Happy Place’ to be hung at the Peninsula Children’s Learning Center in the Family Advocacy Office. The photo above is of Amy wearing her hat and the picture below is my painting, ‘My Happy Place,’ the place where I was at in my mind when I gave my Keynote Address to NAMI Lane County. Gifts of friendship are priceless.