And it was amazing! Cary and I did our talk this morning, Managing Dissociation. They accepted our abstract but carved our time allotment from the 1hr 20 min workshop to a 20 minute presentation. So we were sadly forced to drop most of the theoretical framework and deeper issues, and focus really on two things – what dissociation is, and some symptom management strategies, using as examples some Grounding Techniques from our own personal Grounding Kits – that’s mine in the photo above. With a good dollop of encouragement that these things can be understood and recovered from thrown in! This was in contrast to a few of the optimistic speakers I listened to whose approach to an impending time limit was to speak faster. 🙂
It was a mixed audience, which is always tricky. About half put their hands up as being familiar with/working in the field of dissociation. We often find that many of those individuals will be well read with a sophisticated knowledge of the topic. And the other half were entirely new to the field. So the task was to try and engage both groups. I always worry that I’m oversimplifying complex issues and have to stop myself adding in far too much and overloading the audience. We got good feedback so I don’t think anyone was bored. 🙂 I gave out business cards to all and sundry, which was very exciting and terribly organised. In fact I was so excited about handing them out I’m pretty sure I foisted them on a few people who didn’t really want them. 😛 We continued with our approach of making connections with people in other states to build networks and resources and pass on information.
I actually managed to bring that grounding kit in with me and not leave it on the bus, which for someone as dissociative as I can be, was a pretty amazing feat. And then, I even remembered to collect it from the cloak room when the conference finished. Awesome! I very nearly tied the box to my wrist with ribbon to prevent me leaving it somewhere! I am very bad with leaving things on buses and zoning out and missing my stops too. I quite liked the irony that we were giving a talk about dissociation using our grounding kits, which is a situation that tends to make me pretty dissociative… handy having the kit right there! Cary had a can of soft drink in hers and drank it once we were done. I have to bring something more exciting than my lemon next time, I was terribly jealous! Maybe salt and vinegar chips?
I have now passed through the pseudo mania that hits me following a talk, and am deep in the sluggish marshes of complete exhaustion and thank-god-its-friday. I’m starting to learn what I need to do to be able to cope with the intense stress I feel around public speaking and this level of exposure, which is pretty exciting and I’m looking forward to doing more talks. I must say, today the post-talk debrief was particularly excellent, a good chat with an old friend and a celebratory french macaroon! I don’t think it gets any better than that. 🙂
Next year, it’ll be in Queensland in August, and the topic will be Recovering Citizenship… I just have to find sponsorship to get there! Mmmm sunny Cairns!