We just returned from the NNDC national convention in Chicago.
What an amazing organization! And what a gorgeous hotel! Wow! Our first national conference was thrilling, eye-opening and we will forever have a boatload of fond memories. I am still in awe of their fine organization, the gorgeous Palmer Hilton in Chicago and the doctors, clinicians and consumers.
Also, Kathleen Stevens, NNDC wonderwoman, and her daughter Heather are two new friends which is icing on the cake. We’ll be in Ann Arbor as soon as we can to hang-out with them. (There’s the little matter of finishing two books first, but they’re at the top of our “to do travel” list!)
Here we are in the program! Woop woop!
Here is the program cover. UIC was the host.
Here is Nora speaking. She did a phenomenal job! I don’t have a picture of me, sorry to say. Will post if Kathleen has one. Nora was a superstar and hopefully I had something worthy to say too. It’s helpful to remember we are a team effort from consumer to doctor to families and all were represented here. It reminds me how critical this circle is.
We sat at a table, in awe, as we revised our speeches and ate lunch. Writers and editors, you know we couldn’t leave our prepared speeches alone! We arrived at the ballroom just in time to set-up our table (books) and get upstairs to change and charge my phone for the square. (You know those cute little white squares that accept credit cards. What clever little gizmos!)
Here is main floor of the hotel. Couldn’t you just live there? I wouldn’t mind all the people coming and going around me. Just send me water and let me plug-in my laptop please! 🙂
And by the way, wouldn’t you know it that the ballroom was called the HONORE Ballroom! Tell me, what’re the odds it was close to Nora’s full name? Crazy I tell you, crazy. When we checked-in she laughed, pointing it out on the way to the elevators, not having any idea we’d be speaking there the following night. Spooky! (Sorry, I’m in to my Halloween vocabulary right about now.)
Thank you to my Heather. (See below.) We left from the hotel together, set up the table together and she helped keep my wits about me. The best part is it’s nice to know I made a friend, a sister and I have a child too all wrapped up into one. (I always wanted kids!!!!Ha ha! Now I officially feel old. And what a whiz she is with technology, working the Square like nobody’s business!) We couldn’t decide which we were to each other so I’ll take all three; it’s three times as fun. And her real Mom, Kathleen. What a pair! Friends for life.
This was the day at UIC or UCI (please forgive my cognitively impaired brain….) That was a lot of fun, to hear bits and pieces of the latest research from the brainiac doctors. They rolled them off like pros. Meanwhile I thought ‘tonight will be a lot different. I hope they are ready to hear ours!’ But I think they understand we are different beasts, doctors and patients. As Kathleen said, “they look forward to the ‘lived experience’ portion of the conference.” GULP.
Gratefully, we sold a lot of books using Kathleen’s idea to bundle them. Our “bipolar chicks” was the most popular one which consisted of my first book, the memoir and our Two Bipolar Chicks book. What a bahgain –yes, misspelled on purpose — at only $28.00. And boy, could Heather sell them! Meanwhile, I while sat there like a deer in headlights. Duh. What am I doing here? You hate to pimp out your books.
I have to say, it was handy to be near the dessert end of the buffet. Captive audience. I highly recommend it and will remember this for next time. It was an ideal placement!
What a whirl of two days! We made new friends, found a highly respectable new non-profit that are pioneers and traveled to the windy city again. We got to eat deep dish from Chicago’s best but don’t ask me the name. Again, I claim cognitive impairment. Whether it is from my meds or ECT, I’ll stop trying to guess which one of these days. Truth is, there is no difinitive answer.
By the way, on a side note, we came back to being highlighted in Huff Post’s Greg Archer’s blog. Thanks for the shout out, Greg! One of my favorite writers mentioned us on Huff Post. Scroll down about halfway and poof: there we are!
Thanks ever to the NNDC and Kathleen Stevens. I’m on board with whatever you want to do – and need – from the Two Bipolar Chicks in the future. Keep doing your fantastic work, research and plowing through to get us to a better tomorrow. Lord knows we need it!
Peace out Chi town.