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Join the Stigma-Free Society Team! Recruiting a Vancouver Stigma-Free Zone Presenter!

The Stigma-Free Society is currently looking to hire an additional Stigma-Free Zone School Presenter to join our team!

The Stigma-Free Society provides education and awareness about the effects of stigma, as well as peer support for those facing personal challenges in hopes of fostering acceptance of ourselves and others. One of our primary programs is the Stigma-Free Zone School Program.

We are looking for an extraordinary individual to tell their amazing personal story of hope and resiliency in schools to small and large groups. With an initial focus on mental health, we have now expanded our mandate to include all stigmas under the Stigma-Free Zone banner (www.stigmafreesociety.com) with an emphasis on mental health, LGBTQ2+, homelessness, race, and substance use. If you have a powerful story of overcoming obstacles and dealing with stigma, be it societal stigma or self-stigma, we welcome your application.

We are seeking a school presenter with passion and positivity–someone who has lived through and overcome many challenges. If you are truly inspired to share your story with youth in schools (grades 7-12) and occasionally with adults at businesses and organizations, then please keep reading!

This position best suits someone who is VERY accepting and comfortable with themselves and their personal circumstances and is not afraid to talk about their struggles in a public forum. This someone wants to shout their story from the rooftops because they feel that their experiences will make a difference in the lives of others.

A Stigma-Free Zone Presenter must:

  • Be professional and possess experience in public speaking;
  • Be open-minded and willing to learn from different perspectives;
  • Have a positive, respectful attitude and a willingness to be open and authentic;
  • Be comfortable with public speaking and presenting to small or large audiences;
  • Be self-motivated, punctual, and able to take direction;
  • Have an engaging and impacting personal story to share;
  • Prior experience working with youth is an asset

Further Details: 

  • You will create a PowerPoint presentation with the Society’s guidance and it must be suitable for youth in grades 7-12;
  • You will be presenting between 45 to 90 minutes to classes or assemblies and various groups in the community;
  • We will train you. The training will generally take about 2-3 weeks to complete (part-time) and you will be paid $400;
  • We want to put out a very positive message and we welcome stories that are tough. We are seeking applicants who have been through a great deal to get to where they are today and we will work with you to share your story that will encourage others;
  • It is very key to know that if hired, we ask you to commit to work with us for 1 year;
  • There is not an average number of presentations promised, but enough that is rewarding and will give you the skills and practice you need to keep you inspired;
  • We expect you to be aware and educated about various marginalized communities and on what available mental health resources exist in the community; and
  • We pay you a flat rate of $100 per presentation – this fee includes all of your expenses, including gas.

*VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE – You will be contracted during the school year with summers off. This position is best suited to someone who has a part-time job and/or plenty of flexibility in their schedule. We offer a minimum of 2 weeks’ notice for each presentation, so you can plan ahead.

**You require a guaranteed means of transport to and from your presentation. Public transportation is not acceptable as it is very important you are to show up at schools 20 minutes for set-up before a presentation and many schools are not accessible by public transit.

We would really love to hear from you and have you join our amazing Stigma-Free Society Team. Please be sure to describe in your Cover Letter why you believe you have a powerful story to share.

 

APPLICATIONS WITHOUT A COVER LETTER WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED. 

Remember that no matter what our challenges, we can all live extraordinary lives!

We look forward to receiving your resume and cover letter at: robyn@stigmafreezone.com 

Thank you 🙂

Check out Andrea AKA Bipolar Babe’s Message of Stomping out Stigma

Andrea AKA Bipolar Babe’s Story – I am Worthy, Lovable and Appreciated!

Go to Bipolar Babes Blog For Story. 🙂

Hello, my name is Andrea Paquette and I am known as the Bipolar Babe in the mental health community. I founded the Bipolar Disorder Society of British Columbia by launching www.bipolarbabes.com and from the beginning my mandate has been to stomp out stigma. 

 

 

Andrea Paquette, the Bipolar Babe on SHAW TV, Victoria

Thank you to Daphne Goode and SHAW TV in Victoria, BC for showcasing the Bipolar Babe story and the great work of the Bipolar Disorder Society of British Columbia. We are truly grateful for your support.

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A Story of a Bipolar Babe on World Bipolar Day

On this day I recognize all of the people in the world that live with bipolar disorder. I feel every one of us has a very important story to share with the world. It is often in the depths of our depression and challenges where we often realize the pleasure of just being able to live through another day. I have truly learned that from my darkest of moments, I am able to appreciate the most simple and beautiful things of this world. My appreciation for life is beyond measure and to be able to embrace a life that is extraordinary is my most valued triumph.

“No matter what our challenges, we can all live extraordinary lives.” ~Andrea AKA Bipolar Babe

 

UNCUT: Part 1 of 2 – Bipolar Babe’s Mini School Presentation

Visit us @ www.stigmafreezone.com 🙂

Here is Part 1 of 2 of Andrea’s Bipolar Babes Presentation at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary in Vancouver.
Life is about being authentic and Andrea is excited to share her uncut version of her talk. I think it is the funny things like the P.A. system and squeaky chairs that make it seem like you are actually there!

Thanks for your support! 🙂 ~Andrea

UNCUT: Part 2 of 2 – Bipolar Babe’s Mini School Presentation

Visit us @ www.stigmafreezone.com 🙂
Here is Part 2 of Andrea’s Bipolar Babes Presentation at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary. Life is about being authentic so I am excited to share my uncut version of my talk. Once again, I think it is the funny things like the P.A system and squeaky chairs that make it seem like you are actually there! Thanks for your support! 🙂 Part 1 of this presentation may be found at:

Andrea Paquette bipolar babe

Andrea

Hello, my name is Andrea Paquette and I am known as the Bipolar Babe in the mental health community. I founded the Bipolar Disorder Society of British Columbia by launching www.bipolarbabes.com and from the beginning my mandate is to stomp out stigma. The Society has been in operation since 2010 and I am so happy to be the Executive Director of this impactful Charity. Having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 25 years old, I know what it means to face stigma internally and externally. It is my desire to share my personal experiences of living with bipolar and how I have managed stigma throughout my life for the past 14 years. I have been on many amazing Bipolar Babes’ adventures throughout the years and have the privilege of working with hundreds of people as a support group facilitator providing them with the tools necessary, so they can empower themselves. I have also spoken to over 12,000 people about my personal story over the years in the community, while mainly focusing on youth in schools. My most recent cherished moment is being awarded the 2015 Courage To Come Back Award in the category of mental health given by Coast Mental Health. You are probably wondering what I mean by stating that I have faced internal and external stigma. Upon my diagnosis, I did not feel initially stigmatized and I did not know what to expect from others in regards to my diagnosis. However, as time passed I was faced with people kicking me out of my own home and confiscating my key to having ‘friends’ abandon me upon discovering that I had a mental illness.  I have also been internally stigmatized, which was a direct result from my experiences with the people in my life over the years. I was barely able to look at myself in the mirror without shame and guilt emitting from my perceived negative image. Over the years, I have learned to grow more accepting of myself, and I fought against this negative and stigmatized version of myself. Today, I truly believe that I am a good person, who deserves good things in life and I now see myself through the same lens as my loved ones see me. I am grateful to offer hope, love and an appreciation for others. I am both privileged and honoured to share my personal experiences about stigma and my mental health journey because I feel it is a vitally important conversation. I hope to provide encouragement to help others overcome the negative effects that stigma can have on others, and perhaps remind myself along the way that I too am worthy, loved, and appreciated by many. We often need to be told such things and I am here to do just that. Hope to see you in Greater Vancouver at one of our Stigma-Free Zone Superheroes classroom presentations this semester! Currently, I am the sole presenter for our Program, but there are many more Superheroes on the way who will be offering presentations in the future. Please feel free to visit my Bipolar Babes Blog on our Bipolar Babes website. Thank you! ~Andrea AKA Bipolar Babe

VLOG: Thank you for Visiting the new Bipolar Babes Website!

Hello friends,

I want to offer you a personal thank-you and big hug for visiting our new Bipolar Babes website. As we conclude the year 2015, we have reached amazing heights with the Bipolar Disorder Society of British Columbia with the impacting Bipolar Babes Programs. In 2009, it all began with my own quirky and fun t-shirt idea and I wanted to wear the Bipolar Babe name boldly, which was my own form of self- empowerment from stigmatizing myself for having bipolar disorder. This t-shirt provided the catalyst for great things, not only for me, but now for so many people seeking help who live with bipolar disorder and any form of mental illness.

As I reflect on our Society’s last five years of success, I am both humbled and in awe with how far we have come in regards to our growth and the ability to reach so many wonderful individuals with our message of hope and resiliency. I want to share my personal message with you today via my first vlog on bipolarbabes.com and I thank you again for your much appreciated support.

Much love to you. ~Andrea AKA Bipolar Babe

Simplifying Your Life for the Benefit of your Mental Health

Recently, I have decided to simplify my life for the benefit of my mental health. For the first time, I have pulled back from many things and I have realized that I give to much to others and very little to myself. I jump into people's problems and lives upon their request for help, and I so enjoy being the listening ear by providing valuable information about mental health when it is needed, but it has become to be to much. 

I noticed in the last while I have been meeting A LOT of people over coffee to hear about their issues and I provide my advice based upon personal experience. I am careful to not claim to have all the answers. I met five people in one week and by Saturday I was drained, tired and completely mentally unhealthy. I felt run-down and slept for two days and I noticed that I was just running on empty. 

How I Simplified my Life for my Mental Health

I recently adopted a beautiful dog named Ryder and as I spent a lot of my time with him, I started to realize how much I enjoyed his company. He did not have any mental health issues to discuss, did not ask for my advice and he simply walked with me making me smile. I wake up early every morning excited to see him and when I look at his little face, I just cannot help but smile even more. I started to realize that dog walks and spending time alone without people was actually quite gratifying.

So what have I learned about simplifying my life for my mental health over this past month?

  • I actually enjoy being alone with my new companion as walks and time on the couch offer me great solace and time to clear my mind;
  • I have learned that I must have boundaries and learn how to say no, even when it is difficult;
  • I now use the phone a lot more for the purpose of talking with people who want to meet with me in person; and
  • I do not feel guilty for not being the one to 'save' people and in most situations people do have some form of support and I can direct them to resources in the community.

However, this is different for my Teens2Twenties group as they are my priority, I still tell them to call me if they need me at any time because quite often they do not have any support as many of the adults do. I know to still set boundaries with them, but my heart is so soft for all youth that there will rarely, if ever, be an occasion where I say no. For them it is different and this feels perfect with me.

Simplicity in your life for your mental health is imperative and I encourage you to find your own simplicity. When we are caring and understanding individuals, we often give too much of ourselves to others, so truly consider giving back to YOU!

Finding my Nutritional Core

The past two weeks have opened my eyes to some really important facts about life. It started with a friend recommending me to a Naturopath for a food allergy/sensitivity test. I was curious what foods I could be eating that could possibly make me gain weight and feel completely unhealthy. To my surprise the doctor gave me a two-week meal plan. As I left the office and paid a hefty bill, I was dismayed, thinking I just paid a ton of money for a piece of paper. Little did I know how drastically that meal plan would change my life. It is a structured system that tells me what to eat, when to eat it, and how to cook it. It lists all the groceries I have to purchase but I was a tad frustrated by the amount of work I had to put in to make my shop a success. The plan consists of no dairy, no wheat and no artificial sugars, but the grocery list is very plentiful! I began to get excited and I forced myself to cook for the first time in years as the recipes are very easy. I got into a groove within the next few days and began making meals such as quinoa and bean salad to butternut squash soup. I threw the scale in the closet as I was done with weighing myself every day. I also began to change my personal perspective of myself as I was receiving a lot of spiritual counsel over the past month too.

I began to realize that I was not my weight, and I am beautiful the way I am. I did not concentrate on things like losing weight, and forcing myself to exercise like a fiend. I take long hikes here and there with a friend and enjoy the outdoors like never before. I feel so much clearer and less foggy in my own mind. Although I was done with weighing myself, I was instructed to jump on the scale twelve days after my first meeting with the Naturopath. I actually lost 8 pounds in 12 days and was pretty happy about my body shedding unwanted fat that I just don’t need.  I have realized that nutrition is at the core of our being and everything stems from that core. I am also only allergic to Brewer’s Yeast, red grapes and corn. Good thing I don’t drink alcohol!

I recall only a month ago, I was standing in front of the elevator with my weight watchers meals in my grocery bags and I began to cry. I actually said out loud “I don’t know what to do!” I soon found a path that actually told me straight up what to do, but it was up to me to put the work and dedication into my new discoveries. I am doing just that and have never felt more pleased with my efforts as I am dedicated and willing to change my old habits and create new ways of being. Remember, it starts with you to make the decisions in your life for the better and although they are not easy and will require you to work harder, it begins with steps that assess your nutritional core and the rest will come to you. I no longer look at myself in the mirror and scoff, but remind myself to be gentle to my being and know that I am doing all I possibly can to take care of me. Take care of yourself too. xo