I had a wonderful time speaking at the University of California Santa Cruz on May 3rd! The staff and students who organized it were wonderful. My speech was called, “Breaking Down Barriers: A Conversation About Mental Health.“ CAPS told me this was the most well attended mental health event they have hosted. The audience was very diverse, reflecting the diversity of UCSC’s student body. After my speech, we broke up into small groups and brainstormed ways we could help a friend in trouble and talked about defining depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions for ourselves (“Depression to me is…, Anxiety to me is…). For me, one definition I shared from my life is, “Depression is choosing between putting your pants on and folding the towels.” I also answered a few questions about strategies I use to be productive despite depression and how to advocate for yourself with professors and win accommodations. My speech was not taped; I’d say 66% of the content of this speech was new. I tailored it to the concerns of UCSC’s students while also sharing stories from my life with bipolar 2 and my advocacy work. May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
Thank You UC Santa Cruz!
This was one of the best times I’ve had speaking! UCSC knows how to host and the staff–including CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) and Disability Accommodations & Resources–are on the forefront of helping students. They are not just interested in sharing stories–they are interested in giving students coping mechanisms for helping themselves or their friends. I just want to thank everyone at UC Santa Cruz who organized this event. You were all very hospitable. Go Banana Slugs–possibly the most unique mascot ever! I also had the chance to meet and have ice cream with a long-time Fashionably ill reader; I love it when my public speaking travels allow me to meet Fashionably ill readers. (I also really miss Santa Cruz’s 80° weather.) After Santa Cruz, I went to San Francisco where I stayed with family and I saw my literary agent about my book. We talked about strategies and the path forward. I’m keeping readers and friends updated on the journey with my book through my free newsletter, which comes with a Depression Tool Kit for subscribers. (Subscribe here.) I do not know the publication date right now; we are refining the book pitch and vetting offers from publishers.
Interested in Hiring Me? Email Me (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you’re interested in hiring me to speak at your event, you can email me at email@example.com. I have spoken at conferences and universities among other events. You can see a sample of my work from my TEDx Talk here. I was a State Champion and National Semi-Finalist in Impromptu Speaking in college when I competed for Northwestern University. As of this writing, the Talk has over 600,000 views.
–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno