Winning Speech

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Winning Speech

Post by Guest on Wed Aug 26, 2009 2:30 am

Hi All,
I am a member of a toastmasters club which is all about gaining the confidence to speak in front of people, and today I took part in our club speech competition where I gave a speech about depression. I pleased to report that I took first place. I will now polish up the speech a bit and then enter the area competition in a few months time. I thought I'd share the speech with you here.

Taming the Big Black Dog

Have you ever woken up in the morning and simply not had the energy to get out of bed? Have you ever lost your enthusiasm for life, so that lying in bed counting the cracks in your ceiling sounds more appealing than getting up to face the day? Mr Chair, fellow toastmasters and guests.

Depression is also known as the big black dog but the formal term selected by the American Psychiatric Association is Major Depressive Disorder. Depression is a lot more common than we think. Statistics show that 1 in 5 New Zealanders will experience depression or another mental illness. There are just two aims of my speech today. They are, to increase awareness of depression and to give advice on how you can help those around you that suffer. I will convey these messages by challenging a couple of myths .
Myth number #1, depression is just a sad mood. Sadness is a healthy human emotion, and a response to events such as loss. Sadness is often temporary. Something happens, we cry and we pick ourselves up. Depression, on the other hand is a prolonged period of flatness. It is not so much intense feelings of sadness, but of feeling constantly flat. Of having very little interest in life, no longer being able to enjoy the things we once enjoyed.

One interesting statistic is that depression is reported twice as much in females than males, however males are more likely to commit suicide. I believe this a result of gender stereotypes, with many men holding a belief that it is not acceptable to talk about their feelings. “Aww mate just snap out of it” is a common response, but a very unhelpful response. I’m not sure if anybody here saw the documentary on Sunday night, but a quote that really sticks in my mind was a psychiatrist who said “Telling somebody with depression to snap out of it is like telling someone with Alzeiheimers to remember things” It’s ignorant. I believe with greater awareness and acceptance of depression, more men will come forward to seek help.

Myth number #2, antidepressants cure depression. We’re probably all familiar with antidepressants medications. Brands like Prozac and Xanax are prescribed so much they have become household names. But don’t let this fool you into a belief that antidepressants CURE depression. What antidepressants do is essentially numb your mood a little bit, so that instead of being completely overwhelmed and unable to cope, you are more receptive and likely to benefit from what is really going to help you, and that is counselling.
Counselling and Psychology is such a complex field that there is no way I would be able to adequately explain what counsellors do to help fight depression, but some of the more common issues addressed is building self esteem, challenging negative thoughts and dealing with traumatic events of the past.

Diet and exercise also play an important role. The catch 22 about depression is that people who suffer also lack interest and motivation, and are therefore often unwilling to help themselves. And they don’t look after themselves. For example, when I am struggling it is often my diet that suffers. I have so little desire to cook or eat healthy that I end up consuming mostly junk food and take aways, which itself causes me to feel low and depressed.

So how can you help those who may suffer from depression?
• Empathise – don’t sympathise.
• Listen, but don’t teach
• Don’t judge.
• Give them hope.

In conclusion, I hope that I have been able to increase our understanding of depression, by challenging some of the myths and letting you know how you can help people that suffer from this horrible condition.

My name is Geoff and I suffer from depression. But please, know me before you judge me.

Guest
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Re: Winning Speech

Post by Guest on Wed Aug 26, 2009 3:39 am

Hi Geoff, that is such a good speech, really informative and easy to understand. It must have been hard for you to say that very last sentence in a peer group. You are a brave and strong person. And VERY talented ofcourse. sunny

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Re: Winning Speech

Post by daze7 on Wed Aug 26, 2009 4:56 am

Well done JK - that is all so good. Good on you for owning your depression before a group of people ... and being able to give your speech. Public speaking can be very hard for many people. I hope you've given yourself a big 'pat on the back'. And thank you for spreading the word about depression and it's symptoms, effects, and what sort of support etc is helpful.

Daze
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Re: Winning Speech

Post by Guest on Wed Aug 26, 2009 5:01 am

well done JK! Smile

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Re: Winning Speech

Post by peterpam on Wed Aug 26, 2009 6:16 am

Thankyou Jaffa, you rock. What a great speech and well done you.

peterpam

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Re: Winning Speech

Post by Guest on Thu Aug 27, 2009 6:31 am

congratulations JK - a well deserved win! and may i say - the guts it must have taken to stand in front of your peers and others and deliver that....well done man, well done

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Re: Winning Speech

Post by Guest on Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:42 am

Thank you guys, I really appreciate your feedback. I might ask for your help later on in the year to see if theres anything I should change before I give the speech again at the end of the year.

But yay, a small victory for me

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Re: Winning Speech

Post by daze7 on Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:38 pm

Hi JK, I'd call it quite a large victory! As I've been told 'don't minimise your achievements' !

Daze
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