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DBSA Conference is Done

2013-06-18 11.42.22Greetings from Bal Harbor!:) The DBSA National Conference 2013 Downtown Miami is done! We enjoyed the last day on Sunday and have been beaching here. (Maybe more about that in another post?)

The conference was a whirlwind. On Sunday, the girls were busy again with caricaturing attendees (check out photos below IF you wish).  The kids brought a lot of joy to others. We heard much unsolicited, positive feedback which was encouraging as parents! (Don’t all parents need to hear something positive about their kids now and again?!)

It’s sad:( that some out there–do harbor:

anti-kid attitudes/prejudices, or anti-elder attitudes/prejudices (or prejudices in general say against the mentally ill or others)…my hope is that by our family volunteering in our local community and also, by having the kids participate in the DBSA event…any barriers or lack of tolerance for youth, etc. would be overcome by positive interaction(s).

Chato participated/chuckled in the comedy night!:) You can check out video here (when it’s posted): Mental Health Humor

I was thrilled to have met ‘Strong’ individuals working hard ‘together‘ to make a positive difference for others in their respective communities. Thus, exhibiting the theme of this year’s conference: “Stronger Together.”

Together…i like that word a lot!:) i like it better than apart. i like it better than exclude. Yes, all of us feel stronger, (whether we deal with mental challenges or other challenges), together when included, right?! If you’ve ever been forgotten, left out, left behind or discarded as unimportant or felt useless or treated as such…You understand all too well (as do i) the painful meaning of the word: Ostracism!…

Tragically, the poor, the sick, the abandoned, the betrayed, the bullied, the misunderstood, the misjudged, the underdog, the envied, the rich, the hated…all live ostracism on some level, huh?

(Sorry people, but this post tone is kinda bittersweet.) The reality of ‘this’ life: IF it’s a box of chocolates??…some chocolate is dark and semi-sweet. Doesn’t it stink: when you’re positive, you’re sure…almost without a doubt…that piece of chocolate picked from the box…is the one you thought it was…then to your dismay…a bite down into total disappointment cause it’s not creamy in the middle, but hard as a rock and now you’re afraid you’ve chipped a tooth…i’ve been forced to swallow my share of hard, unsweetened chocolate unwittingly…how about you?? (Good thing for dentists, eh?! lol:)

1 definition of ostracism:

“exclusion by general consent from common privileges or social acceptance”…there are so many little ways directly or indirectly each of us can make one another feel included, loved, appreciated or ostracized. (i.e.Yes or No. Hi or Goodbye. Smile or Frown. Open Heart or Closed Heart. Open Mind or Closed Mind. Open Hand or Closed Hand.)

Little hands can do big things. Big hands can do little things. When there is the will…there is the way…one finds the way to make it happen: i can’t or i won’t isn’t a consideration; ever.  Genuine Friends of compassion pass the grenade test…whether that test is literal or symbolic. Genuine friends of compassion don’t scheme against each other…but are there for each other no matter what!!:) i would catch a grenade for You…(and have)…may be, that’s why i’m bleeding words (and all over this post) to virtual strangers…but, do (you) even care?? (how can one care (about) what they do not know (about)??) It will be okay: cause i totally believe in forgiveness and its power to heal.

If You, my dear reader, are a true friend of compassion (i hope/know You are🙂….PLEASE keep reading my post…IF NOT… stop reading/just exit NOW…!

You know (no!) what??…i LOVE chocolate too much to stop. (and i’m not talking over-consumption btw.) i will not stop looking for the lost piece and hope i can swallow easily. Nor will i stop trying/doing whatever it takes to be a genuine friend of compassion…whatever the blood loss…or word loss or convenience loss or energy loss or money loss or dignity loss or luxury loss or life loss as in my own. May be, this piece…(a small piece)..of my pathetic writing…is me tending to my open, raw wounds. How do you tend to yours?!…we all have wounds, right?:(…i hope yours heal fast. Mine: may take a while but i accept that…(that, my empathetic reader, is my (personal) course (by choice) of compassion). We all pay in one way or another for our choices.

“No one has love greater than this, that someone should surrender his soul in behalf of his friends,” ~John 15:13

What’s your course of compassion?! Keep choosing the course of compassion...not an easy choice…it’s the loving choice, the wise choice!🙂 i wish You the Very best in your course of compassion!:)

Back to the DBSA conference: it was a JOY to speak and learn from Karen Curlis L.S.W. …”The voice against Stigma & Discrimination.” She uses compassionate language/terms to embrace and include differences.  She’s not a fan of the term ‘mental illness’ …she prefers terms such as: “those with shared life challenges or shared life experiences.” We discussed the importance of adopting kinder terms that do not alienate or hurt others. Karen is the 2012 SAMHSA Voice Award Fellow.

  • SAMHSA’s Voice Awards Fellowship Program is a pilot project designed to give consumer/peer leaders in the behavioral health community the skills they need to amplify their voices to promote important behavioral health messages through storytelling. By sharing stories about resilience and recovery from a unique personal perspective, together, the Voice Awards Fellows will shape public perceptions of behavioral health and promote social inclusion in the workplace, in schools, and in communities nationwide.

Our family had the opportunity of meeting my Hubby’s (Chato Stewart) blogger buddy at BP Hope, Melody Meozzi and her husband, Matthew… (For context check out: Melody Moezzi, Me and the DBSA and Stronger Together)VERY Cute couple and down to earth! What i caught of Melody’s key note address: point i took away: her encouraging advocates of Mental Health to “Fight for It!”

DBSA Conference is Done

Joan Winifred

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APA Reference
Winifred, J. (2013). DBSA Conference is Done. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 17, 2019, from


Last updated: 23 Jun 2013
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