health | March 20, 2013

We Can All Heal: Drew Dudley At Love My Life: A Walk For Mental Health

As mental health speaker Drew Dudley told Wilfred Laurier University students in a recent keynote speech, healing is possible for anyone—no matter what they're going through. As someone who lives with hypomania bipolar disorder, Dudley took to the stage at the school's Love My Life: A Walk For Mental Health event to discuss mental illness. The founder of Nuance Leadership Development Services, Dudley is a charismatic and highly sought after speaker on leadership and motivation. At first, Dudley didn't seek treatment for his illness. Then, in 2007, he reached out to loved ones and a psychologist to start the healing process.

That's what he advises students to do if they are struggling with something—even if it's not a mental illness, but just a problem in their life. "You don’t have to start by telling everybody,” he says in a post-keynote interview with The Cord. "I think you have to start by telling somebody that you know who loves you. And [that] doesn’t always mean your parents." He said it's important to reach out and talk about what's going on and not to worry that you are 'burdening' anyone. Further, he advised the audience to live for themselves, instead of trying to check off accomplishments from a 'list' of what society deems as successes. This 'list', he explains, is dictated by popular culture and can make you feel as if you aren't living up to your potential. That can add to the stress and disempowerment you already feel, he adds, and diminish the accomplishments you have achieved.

Inspiring and honest, Dudley speaks from experience to share insight on how to battle your inner demons and find contentment with your life. He encourages audiences to embrace the talents they have—even if they may not be deemed as 'important' by traditional societal standards. When you strive to add value to your life and those around you—instead of chasing after the 'list' of goals society lays out for you—you will eventually find what you are looking for without seeing yourself as a disappointment along the way. Everyone can be successful and everyone can bounce back from whatever troubles they are facing, he says. And if we all feel comfortable doing so, eventually the stigma surrounding mental illness will start to diminish.

Up Next

leadership | March 19, 2013