Stress levels mounted all round when Sheeznit Naheed attempted to organize no less than 30 avi's in an interactive game of "Have you ever..." to break the ice and introduce the topic of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Not everyone saw the point of the exercise, but it was a brave departure from standing in the auditorium and running through a set of Powerpoint slides. And yes, most of us DID get it, although Sheez must have been sweating bricks by the time he finished getting some order into us and explaining the rules to us umpteen times.
Then it was back to the auditorium. In real life a school psychologist in Columbine, Colorado (yes, that's right...) Sheez knows what he is talking about. And it IS a very serious subject. But, in another departure from convention, he avoided giving us a textbook definition ("you can all Google PTSD and learn a lot...") and concentrated instead on the relationship between stress and anxiety and illness. In his view and contrary to the findings in a recent study "there is TONS of evidence that avoiding negativity, being positive, avoiding stress, are all very effective in fighting cancer...". There were nods all round in the audience.
I can do no better than simply give you the chat log of Sheez's closing words:
Sheeznit Naheed: I live and work with folks everyday who are in the struggle with fear of dying
Sheeznit Naheed: or fear of living another day
Sheeznit Naheed: I know folks who have lived through hell
Sheeznit Naheed: some of whom the world will not let them forget
Sheeznit Naheed: and the strongest of them are fighters
Sheeznit Naheed: or artists
Sheeznit Naheed: or full of faith
Sheeznit Naheed: or they just ride a bike every day
Sheeznit Naheed: or they do awesome things for others in a virtual world
Sheeznit Naheed: whatever it is
Sheeznit Naheed: they LIVE STRONG
Sheeznit Naheed: and I encourage you all to do the same
And yes, there were a few Powerpoint slides. Synergy Devonshire who organized the talk is going to put them up in the Welcome Center so please go take a look. And she is compiling a transcript from the chat log - IM her if you want a copy.
The approach may have been unconventional but the message is likely to stick. And now I'm off to Google PTSD and see what more I can learn...