Thank goodness, we can officially say that the 2019 Symposium is now complete. I think that Kimberly Kuman, Association Director, who did so much work to make it a success, would agree. The event included about 150 people when you consider the attendees, their family support, speakers and leadership.
OK, I have to be honest, I went into this event as a newbie, not knowing what to expect, after having been entrenched with the issues related to SD in the last few months. So I envisioned a group of depressed, anxiety-riddled, introverts. However, that was not what I encountered. The Symposium was filled with joyful, very talkative people, who supported one another and gave as good as they got.
One of the doctors speaking at the event said the nicest patients she treats are those with SD. I have to agree, the people I met were the kindest, most accepting collection of individuals that I have ever had the pleasure to meet.
On Friday, the meet and greet included an open mic. session that allowed people to tell their story. It spanned the gamut of those still coming to terms with the disorder all the way to those who have embraced this as a part of who they are. And as one first time attendee who came with her mom said “for the first time I don’t have to protect my mom from anyone”.
The Symposium is a great event where those with SD can come and share their concerns with others who absolutely understand, those who can offer guidance, support and navigation through treatment and the ups and downs of living with SD. It was also filled with information presented by local voice specialists. Since advocacy is the highest form of acceptance for those diagnosed with SD. After sharing two days with the folks living with SD, I was amazed at how those who had gotten to the advocacy stage really supported those who were still struggling with acceptance. I guess what it really illustrates is that core mission of the NSDA is thriving and there is a place where you will always be accepted.
If you read this and have not attended the annual event, I would encourage you to plan to attend next year. It’s already in the planning stage (because you can never start too soon), so we will keep you posted as details become available.