Since the beginning of time, the only thing in the world that is absolutely predictable is change. “Nothing endures but change,” said Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, around 500 BC. A century later, Plato, another Greek philosopher, suggested a similar idea when he said, “Comparing time to the flow of a river, it is not possible to step into the same river twice.” This notion, that change (recent, current and anticipated) is always with us, is repeated by philosophers and writers from all over the world, in every religious belief system and in every period of history. Change, indeed, never varies in its certainty.
Change can be paradoxically frightening, challenging and exhilarating in turns. It can even be all three simultaneously. For people living with mental illness, and those who love, live with, work with and support them, there are many levels of change that must be met every day.
Right now, the world is changing so rapidly it feels difficult to keep up, even on a day-to-day basis. Changes in our own lives may feel like drops of water sprayed from the rushing river, but all is in flux – family structures, neighborhoods, communities, technology, public institutions, workforce realities, health care options, national and global economies, and modes of communication and connection are just a blur of motion through the rapids. Sometimes we feel swept along, and other times we want to stop the rush, control the river, contain the disquiet that change brings. Regardless whether the change is positive or problematic, change impacts us every day.
NAMI helps individuals change their own lives for the better, through knowledge, inspiration and support. When we understand the degree to which we can affect change, or not, we can make decisions in our best interests and in the interests of those living with mental illness. NAMI’s programs promote strength in recovery and resiliency in the face of unexpected change.
NAMI connects people in communities and builds strong partnerships with other nonprofit and faith organizations, mental/behavioral/physical health care providers, public funders and private donors, elected officials, researchers, teachers, parents and advocates.
At the 2017 NAMI Washington state conference, we want to explore the theme of “The Challenge of Change: Promise and Progress in Mental Health.” We are looking for workshop proposals, speakers and experiences for attendees to come to a deeper understanding of how we respond to change and our successes in driving change on personal and community levels.