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Monday, November 5, 2012

NHBPM #5: Inspiration

12:13 PM Posted by Tiffany Taft ,
Day 5 of the NHBPM and today's topic is "What are 3 things that inspire you?"  So many things pop in my head so narrowing it down to 3 is actually harder than it looks.  But, I'll do my best.

Andrea & Megan (Co-Founders of The Great Bowel Movement)
We met at CCFA's Camp Oasis up in Waupaca, Wisconsin many years ago.  Megan and I bonded over our shared love of cycling.  Andrea lit up the place with her enthusiasm, and her cabin kids just loved her. I've had the privilege of watching them create and grow a grassroots organization to bring the discussion of Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis into the mainstream. To de-stigmatize these conditions and ease the burden of feeling different or alone for those who live with IBD.  Their personalities are a bit opposite, which is why I think they work so well together.  If I could bottle and sell Andrea's passion and energy, I could send my daughter to college and then some.  Plainly put, she amazes me.  Megan is the epitome of Zen.  She is driven and shares in Andrea's passion to do what's right and help others. They were definitely the first people who popped in my head when I thought about this topic.

Jon Stewart
I don't mix politics with my work, so this isn't where I'm going with this choice.  Rather I admire his tenacity for the truth and pointing out the injustices that happen under the media's watch.  I thrive on humor and satire, and Jon does this incredibly well because he is passionate and resolute in his beliefs.  I don't get the sense that he's let his fame go to his head, rather retains quite a bit of humility.  He is dedicated to causes including Autism, 9/11 First Responders, and OIF/OEF Veterans, raising millions of dollars for Autism research and programs, and garnering attention to the plight of 9/11 responders being denied coverage for illnesses they developed because of their service that led to legislative action.  I think we need more people like Jon, who speak out even when it may not be the most popular thing to do.  Who embrace open debates with those who have differing opinions (see his relationship with Bill O'Reilly).   Because these are the people who push the national discourse and lead to progress.  Whether it's on the national stage or the kitchen table, this type of work is inspiring.

My Clients

Being a therapist is hard work.  It's so much more than the stereotypes that abound about the field.  At its center are the relationships we form with the people we work with.  I'm considered an early career psychologist because I became licensed in 2011, but I've seen hundreds of people during my graduate and post-graduate training amounting to over 5,000 hours even before receiving my degree.  I've heard countless stories of struggles, and victories, with chronic illness.  I've watched people move from feeling completely overwhelmed and socially isolated to resuming their life roles and learning to live with the "new normal."  Don't get me wrong, it's not all happy endings.  I've been fired, told off, and walked out on.  Two of my clients passed away, one from liver cancer and one from a brain aneurysm.  All of these experiences have shaped who I am as a psychologist and, I hope, improved me for the better.  If I'm ever doubting my work, I'm fortunate to have an entire library of memories from clients to draw strength from. 

Whew.  What a great topic for NHBPM.  Can't wait to go read the other entries!