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As typically happens, life has been very busy, so many things on the go, and a lot to work on in my own post-traumatic growth. I was asked to put together a biography/CV for an ongoing project, and while looking for examples of feedback from my talks, classes, and lectures, I remembered these, which I had not looked at since last year.

My goal is to always reach “the one” each time. I truly love it when I can reach more than one who needed to hear the message that what you are experiencing is normal, you are not alone, we are all in this together.

This adds to the post, Reading Lecture Feedback from early 2018.

Feedback will be in “quotes,” any notes from me will be in [square brackets]. The code is to keep students anonymous and reminds me of the semester, year, and the random number assigned to each page. Feedback from students is entirely voluntary, while there was close to 100 in attendance, below are the submitted feedback.

November 5, 2018, 8:00 am class, Christine solo presenter, topic “Victimization, Trauma, and Mental Health.”

RU01A2018: “Did a good job at telling her story. Incorporation of humour made it more interesting to listen to so early in the morning. Did a good job explaining. Overall was a very interesting presentation.”

RU02A2018: “I really enjoyed your presentation and you have provided us with many insights and knowledge. You are passionate about what you do and we can see it through your eyes. I am very passionate about social justice issues that you have discussed with us and you have inspired me to keep standing up for what I believe in. Also, you are very courageous for talking about what you have gone through. I hope one day I can do the same.”

RU03A2018: “Thank you for sharing your story with us last week. I feel more knowledgeable about what struggles LGBTQ communities face on a daily basis and how society can move forward and make necessary changes to create a more positive and safe world. Your presentation was great and the message you were trying to convey came across very effectively. Thank you for your honesty and bravery throughout your presentation.”

RU04A2018: “I thought that her presentation provided me with a lot of important information and facts about things that I did not know. I appreciated her personal connections and interest in the things that she talked about because I felt like she cared a lot about those topics and she was allowing us to take an interest in something that is very important to her. I also appreciated that although it was a very tough subject to both talk and learn about, she was able to lighten the situation and made us laugh throughout her presentation. I would like to say thank you for her time and sharing her stories with us.”

RU05A2018: “I really appreciated your lecture last week as it really opened my eyes to things that I was aware of, but wasn’t fully aware of how much it affects people’s lives. You were really engaged and explained everything very clearly. It was a pleasure hearing everything you had to say. I wish you luck with everything.”

RU06A2018: “Thank you so much for coming in and sharing some of your deepest secrets. It was hard for me not to hold back my emotions because I felt every emotion you were describing. I think you’re so inspirational and after graduation I wish to be doing exactly what you are, helping people on a greater scale. I used to get panic attacks and I suffered for a few years because I didn’t know how to deal with my trauma. My ex was never supportive and I recently ended things and got out of a toxic relationship, so your presentation was great timing. Keep doing what you’re doing because you inspire so many people with your beautiful soul.”

RU07A2018: “I really enjoyed your presentation last week at Ryerson. I think what you taught us is extremely important, and so is telling your story. I learned a lot of things, for example, I did not realize how high the suicide rates were for first responders and LGBTQ youth. I also did not know what an ACE score was, and I think that it is an important thing to know. Thank you for sharing your story and your knowledge!”

RU08A2018: “The presentation was very insightful and I learned quite a lot, not only about the mental health issues that the public and first responders face, but also how I can support or guide someone who may need help to the right resources. I also was especially inspired by Christine’s courage and strength to share her experiences with us. Although we face great struggles and setbacks in the mental health sphere, it is great to see those with first-hand experience working to change the landscape.”

RU09A2018: “I was really moved by your story and lecture last week. I wasn’t aware how severe and real the struggles that LGBTQ people face were, on a daily basis. It was very informative and eye-opening. Thank you for sharing your experiences, it’s made an impact on me. Please continue to do what you do.”

RU10A2018: “Thank you for coming in as a guest speaker to talk about how victimization and mental health correlate. It was also interesting to listen to you about the Adverse Childhood Experiences and gaining more knowledge about it, as it is something that I do want to get into with young children before and after entering the justice system. Also, thank you so much for sharing your personal experiences of victimization as it speaks out to many!”

RU11A2018: “Great insights on trauma, mental health and such. Appreciated personal connections between yourself and the material that were made. Passionate and caring about what was being talked about. Held my attention while speaking.”

RU12A2018: “Thank you very much for taking the time to come and speak to us. Beyond the academic nature of the material, I particularly valued how open and honest you were in general and with respect to your personal circumstances. As someone who has experienced a significant amount of trauma, particularly childhood trauma growing up, I found your talk about Adverse Childhood Experiences and your summary of that research particularly energizing and relevant. I find guest lecturing to be some of the most useful content. Thank you again.”

RU13A2018: “Thank you for coming in and talking. The topics you discussed were really heavy and often shocking, but it was a great learning experience. You made really clear points and I could understand the topics really well.”

RU14A2018: “Presentation was engaging, interesting, and thought-provoking. Presenter was relatable, talked about issues/details that are typically not discussed. Presenter was comfortable talking about difficult subjects in a frank, straightforward manner. Presenter gave ample warning before starting her presentation to ensure no one was offended or caught off guard.”

RU15A2018: “Very insightful. Passionate speaker who has experience in the topic of discussion, which allows for an overall better representation of issues. Information not only valid, but also puts things into perspective. Engaging. Overall great!”

RU16A2018: “The presentation was detailed. Represented all the issues properly with detailed examples. I personally got insight into the life of an LGBTQ person, although not all, but at least one. Now that I know what I can do through the knowledge you supplied to us last week, I will make a conscious effort to help in my own little way. Thank you.”

RU17A2018: “It was very interesting to hear about violence in the LGBTQ community from someone involved in the community herself. The statistics were shocking and really shed light on the terrors that these people often face. I thought Christine did an excellent job of relating to her audience and really emphasized how much community-based assistance is available for anyone struggling with mental health issues or PTSD. Of course, she focused on LGBTQ people, but really spoke to all people, not just one community, as well as making everyone feel like there is hope if one is going through something. Overall, I really enjoyed it.”

RU18A2018: “I think it was really informative and a shock to hear. I was on the fence before about working on the police force, but after hearing your talk, I really want to help others. Thank you so much for coming to talk with us!”

RU19A2018: “The guest speaker was very informative about the subjects and genuinely cared about the topic of discussion. Sharing her own personal story surely gave students the courage to confront their own struggles and possible past abuses. The guest speaker also seemed to genuinely want to help victims and provided information for students seeking help.”

RUProfA2018: “You have been lecturing in my classes for 5 years now. From the dozens of lectures you have delivered, that has to be, without a doubt, the best lecture you have ever done!”

Now you know why I love what I do, even after all these years. We must continue to share our stories and eradicate the stigma around mental health and wellness.

A quick note from my recent travels out to western Canada to deliver some talks and lectures. I had completed a lecture, the focus was the multi-stigma environment for LGBTQ folks and LGBTQ first responders when battling mental illness. No slideshow, no multimedia, just this comical curmudgeon telling stories. A typical format is lecture, Q&A, and then I stay to chat one on one with anyone who was uncomfortable discussing something in front of the group.

This young woman was waiting, and when she stepped up … speaking a little hesitatingly at first, and then it came out in a torrent – “I thought I was the only one who felt like this … I thought I couldn’t say anything because nobody would understand … I have been so ashamed about this …” and I reminded her that she is not alone, we truly are in this together, and there is support out there, after you take the first step of talking to someone. She began to cry, and my heart broke for her multiple times in that moment. I couldn’t hold my own emotions in check, and I cried with her. My host remarked as we were driving to the next event on the schedule, that the true image of these few days will be seeing that moment. They said that it spoke volumes about why our work is so important, the stigma is still huge and we need to keep sharing our stories, particularly the hope that recovery and growth is possible.

Love, sunbeams, and kitten dreams. May you shine.

Christine 💙💙