Today I’m off to Wichita for Skeptics of Oz. After I gave my Skepticon 4 talk on mental illness I got flooded with requests to give the same talk. I was touched, but had to decline all of them. I’m glad I gave the mental illness talk, but it took a lot out of me. I did an interview for a documentary right after that talk and when I later saw the footage I looked dead.
Skeptics of Oz is run by people I know, in a region that is full of friends of mine. When they asked me to give that talk, I felt like I was good to do it again. I’m a little nervous (I’m always a little nervous to speak, but for this one I’m a little more). There’s a reason public figures tend to keep the personal trappings of their minds private. In some cases it’s to put forth an image of someone who has their shit together (although, I think that image is best achieved by being honest about who you are). In others, like mine, I live in a world where people on every side of an issue are looking for some way to get an edge on you. I can’t tell you how many comments from believers get moderated on this site metaphorically tap dancing over my struggles with mental illness, or suggesting that my issues with various types of anorexia make me wrong about people rising from the dead.
But for all the headache in terms of exhaustion and callous people, everywhere I speak I always have a few people approach me to tell me how that talk made their lives better. That’s what makes it worth it. So even though I’m nervous, I’m excited to give that talk again.
Wish me luck.