May 13

First Public Speaking Engagement


I was asked to speak to a College Mental Health class today and was excited to have this opportunity.

The students were great and asked many excellent questions on my experiences living with Panic Disorder, the stigma of mental illness, and how I was progressing. It has reconfirmed my feelings that Anxiety and Mental Illness remains in the dark, with many misconceptions, and light must be shed in order for education and progress to be made.

The key point is:

Mental Illness is not a life sentence.

There are many support systems in place, caring people, and help available to people looking for assistance. This is the key, as I tried to ignore my Panic Disorder for years and it led to many difficult times. I don’t wish that I said something or sought help years ago as the experiences I went through shaped who I am today and have added character and strength.

I was in a self-employment program that was assisting in making Level Up Living a business that would allow me to continue this website. I presented my business plan yesterday to an outside panel, which felt I would not be able to generate sufficient revenue and decided to terminate me from the program. They did give some valuable suggestions on ways to improve the website, for which I am grateful. Being kicked out of the program was a shock and disappointing as I was reflecting back on my year of change which started on May 14th, 2010, my birthday:) Last night was difficult as I found myself feeling lost and having thoughts of despair. I attended the “Courage To Comeback Awards” presented by Coast Mental Health and it highlighted the impact of Mental Health support and provided tremendous inspiration. I found myself using the advice that I give to others in that everything happens for a reason and obstacles are temporary roadblocks that can be overcome with determination.

Speaking to the class today confirmed the need for this website and its goals. I’m working on a few videos and will continue to keep this website going as I created it for the people that matter: Anyone that comes here to find inspiration, information, and support.

Although my funding is now cut off and I no longer have access to a business advisor, it’s not the end of levelupliving.com. There are a few intangibles that cannot be stopped:

  • Desire and the power of the human spirit. I will not allow this setback to be more than a minor inconvenience and with the amount of support I have received, this will only make the site better.
  • Take away my funding, I’m gritty like sandpaper!! So I no longer have funding or support…big deal. They cannot take away my laptop, Internet connection or desire to assist people struggling with anxiety.
  • Everyone has their own opinion. The panel felt it wasn’t a profitable venture. There could be a variety of factors, perhaps they don’t understand online business, either way, what matters is that I will continue.


Thank you for your support, it means a lot, let’s see where this goes:)



determination, overcome obstacles, panick attack

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