NAMI Presentation Panel Interview with Cody

Submitted by Shoua Lee, Clubhouse Staff, and Cody Vogel, Chrysalis Clubhouse colleague

The Clubhouse Wisconsin Coalition, made up of all five Clubhouses in Wisconsin, attended the NAMI Conference Apr. 26. Cody Vogel was one of the panelists who supported a table sharing about the Clubhouse Model. In this interview, he shares his Clubhouse experience with conference attendees. Kathy Ziegert, Clubhouse Supervisor, was the panel moderator. For information and resources about Clubhouse International, visit

When did you find out about your Clubhouse, and how has it impacted your life?

It was at the beginning of 2020 when Kathy Ziegert had reached out and asked if I
wanted to be a part of Chrysalis very own Clubhouse and it didn’t take me very long to
accept. Being a founding member of the Chrysalis Clubhouse and from when it began
with 13 members and especially with when we started Covid had come and we weren’t
able to be an in person clubhouse for 6 months we didn’t hesitate to overcome this
obstacle and The Chrysalis Clubhouse has impacted my life so greatly as well as for
others. Chrysalis clubhouse allowed me to go further with my Cooking Skills, my
Communication with My Words and My Writings, My Physical Activity, My Work with
Technology, My Job Skills, My Bonds with Members and Staff, and most importantly it
Gave Me a Community. The Chrysalis Clubhouse helped me become the best version
of me. There were days that would be hard and other days where I was joyful and would
make none stop jokes and make people smile and knowing no matter if I was feeling
down or in higher spirits, having a good or bad day, that I was always welcome and
knowing I had support and if I needed it, I always had it within the Chrysalis Clubhouse
Community. The Chrysalis Clubhouse opened so many opportunities within so many
different realms of my life and the one thing it gave me the most was connection and
bond. Some connections and bonds that sparked out of the clubhouse and have
become some of my best friends. The Chrysalis Clubhouse has done so many
astonishing and bound breaking things for every member as well as the staff, and the
Chrysalis Clubhouse keeps growing. I know our Chrysalis Clubhouse community will
keep striving and reach so many more goals and accomplishments and we can’t do it

Tell us a little about your experience with Clubhouse employment opportunities.

Within the year 2021 and 2022 I had a hard time finding a Job, so at some point The
Chrysalis Clubhouse had Grown to where we got a TE program and looking back I
remember talking to Kathy Ziegert about me becoming our Clubhouses first TE and I
was excited for me to finally get back in the WorkForce. I will say I was nervous going
into this but I had help from My Colleagues and Staff within Chrysalis Clubhouse to help
me. Personally, even though this was helping me get back into Working, I also wanted
to do it for The Chrysalis Clubhouse because I wanted to Represent our Clubhouse and
to show them that even somebody with Disability, that we are just as capable of
Working as anyone else. I was in The Chrysalis Clubhouse TE Program for many like 2
months and I really struggled and when I left the TE I honestly felt bad but The
Chrysalis Clubhouse Community Supported me and at some point in early 2023 I
started reapplying for jobs within Madison. On May 1st, 2023, I got an interview at
Buffalo Wild Wings and I got hired on the spot. When starting that job I had that same
nervousness from when I was in The Chrysalis Clubhouse TE Program but this time I
made it a different mindset and I honestly made it farther than before because of going
through that TE Program within The Chrysalis Clubhouse. It has been almost a year
since I was Hired at Buffalo Wild Wings and I still remain working there!!! I keep at my
job and I’ve made so much stride and improvement within my work. The Chrysalis
Clubhouse TE Program also showed that even despite not being quite ready, it didn’t
mean I failed, it helped me better prepare for my next Job, Which it Did. I am Living
Proof on what The Chrysalis Clubhouse Community has done within Job Goals and

What is one takeaway you want people to understand about the Clubhouse

I want people to see, understand and realize what a Clubhouse Model does for
everyone and when I say that I mean The Members, The Staff, and The Clubhouse
Community as a whole. The Clubhouse Model is Here to Help all of that and each
person within a Clubhouse has something to offer, nobody is more valuable or important
than another. Every Clubhouse is important and in my opinion no Clubhouse is more
important, like even though a Clubhouse may be further within their Journey as a
Clubhouse, but every Clubhouse is Equal because we all are after similar goals. The
Clubhouse Model is Nation Wide and each Clubhouse Learns and Grows off each other
and a perfect example is the Clubhouse International meeting. Each Clubhouse has a
meaning to the Clubhouse Community as a whole and each Clubhouse has the
Clubhouse Model. The Clubhouse Community in my mind is the definition of support
and growth, which the Clubhouse model makes possible. We are the Clubhouse
Community and like I said before, “WE ARE ONE, NOT DIVIDED”.

VIDEO: RoRo’s Story

Submitted by Roshanda “RoRo” Cochran, Chrysalis Clubhouse colleague

Meet RoRo! She feels inspired every day to get up and do things for herself to add quality back to her life. She feels that Chrysalis Clubhouse plays a big part in her journey. 

Opinion | Make long-term care for mental illness a reality

By Adam Brabender, Chrysalis Clubhouse colleague

I was sad to hear of Rosalynn Carter’s recent passing. I knew she was an advocate for the mentally ill, but I wasn’t aware to what extent. Now we all know.

In 1966 she learned about terrible treatment in a psychiatric hospital. When Jimmy Carter became governor of Georgia, he created a state commission, based on her advice, to improve services for the mentally ill. As president he created the National Commission on Mental Health.

As the commission’s honorary chair, Rosalynn traveled the country to hear from experts and everyday citizens, then shared her findings with Congress. In 1980 this led to the passage of the Mental Health Systems Act, a revamp of federal policy, seeking to treat people with mental illness within their own communities. Though repealed in 1981 during Ronald Reagan’s first year, the act created a framework for future progress, leading to the act’s reinstatement in March 2010 with President Obama’s signing of the Affordable Care Act.

In 1987, the Carter Center in Plains, Georgia, funded the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers to support the “unique needs of those who selflessly care for family and friends who are mentally ill.” It built on Rosalynn’s belief that everyone is a “caregiver now, has been a caregiver, or will need a caregiver in the future.” For 46 years the institute has continued to give support to many unpaid caregivers, estimated to be over 53 million in the U.S. alone.

In 1991, she established a fellowship for journalists who covered mental illness. Years later she lobbied Congress to create a landmark law requiring insurers to provide equality in mental health coverage.

So her mental health advocacy legacy is clear. She should be commended for her efforts. How can we continue her work? Who of us is not affected by mental illness — ourselves, our family, our friends? I’m not ashamed to admit that I suffer with a mental illness as well as autism. Thankfully there are better drug treatments today for the mentally ill. But for those of us with a mental health diagnosis, there is still the terrible stigma to deal with every day. More still needs to be done.

A good start would be to reform Medicaid at the federal level so states can include people with mental illness in their long-term care programs, which help keep people out of institutions and nursing homes.

Now, every other disabled group — the medically fragile, the physically disabled, the developmentally disabled, the frail elderly — qualifies for long-term care, but not the mentally ill. Why?

The argument goes that they don’t need it because they get better with time. That is rare. Mental illness is a lifetime illness. It’s time for our two U.S. senators and eight congressional representatives to sponsor a bipartisan bill to make long-term care for people with mental illness a reality and to provide more support for their families and other selfless caregivers.

Adam Brabender is a social work major at UW-Whitewater and the Disability Caucus co-chair with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

Published by The Cap Times on Dec. 17, 2023

A Day At the Chrysalis Clubhouse

“Chrysalis Clubhouse provides mental health support by offering help in the form of social, educational, and career focused services for its members. It supports wellbeing through community to all its members who are known as colleagues. We hope to serve as a beacon of hope to the greater Madison community.”

My name is Erik and I am a Chrysalis Clubhouse member of 3 ½ years. I participate in the daily and weekly function of the clubhouse and support its members and staff in the work-ordered-day which includes social, educational and career-focussed activities.

Typically, I start out the day with leading full-body stretches and focusing onthe agenda including birthdays and anniversaries and what’s for lunch during the morning meeting at 9:00 am. From there, I participate in the preparation of lunch by helping cook and get everything ready for the noonday meal. Frequently, we take a walk through the community after lunch and then get down to meetings in the afternoon. I tend to finish the day by engaging in opportunities for social interaction and closing tasks.

I’ve come to expect Chrysalis’s expertise in dealing with people’s hardships regarding employment. We excel at backing up our members with good quality support throughout the work-ordered day. What Chrysalis means to me is providing a safe, stigma-free environment for members to come and be upheld in their mental health journey. Colleagues and members should anticipate aid for their recovery process and should rest assured that their issue(s) are addressed and being taken care of. Members and colleagues are encouraged to advocate for their own wellbeing and to ask for help if they need it.

As we progress through the work-ordered day we come to realize that the Clubhouse is a positive, reinforcing entity that provides a solid foundation for its members to thrive and flourish. Built on a model that includes everyone, the Chrysalis Clubhouse is an outlet for people to gain the reassurance and support they need in their daily lives. To conclude, I hope you’ve gotten an idea of what it’s like to be a part of the clubhouse workordered day and how we operate. I look forward to many happy days to come and hope you have a better understanding of how the clubhouse works as it continues to grow.

Erik Pettersen, Clubhouse Member

Take a break, its OK.

Summertime, typically, marks the beginning of vacation time for most people.

For the majority of people, this is something they do each year and usually have a favorite place to visit and do so without any guilt or regret.

For others, it might be difficult to go on vacation or even give themselves permission to take a short break from work. Perhaps there is guilt attached to work responsibilities, or it is the financial aspect that scares them.Regret around spending money on a trip when they could have paid some bills or saved it for a rainy day. Not wanting to burden co-workers with your responsibilities, or making the people you work with go without service for a week or two. 

I am one of those who has had a hard time taking vacations or taking long vacations due to work and guilt. Even taking a day off or calling in sick is still a challenge for me. For most of my working life, I have put my head down and worked hard so my family did not have to go without. Often, that meant not going on vacations while the rest of the family did. Barely a day off unless I was seriously ill. Even then, I would still try to go to work.

Over the last few years, I have begun to give myself a break and take time for family vacations and not worry about the work aspect and the feelings that come with it. The work will be done and the business can operate without me no matter how important I think I am. 

By allowing myself to have the freedom from the guilt and stress related to “return to work” workload, I have been able to enjoy these vacations and I am finding that it is not as stressful as I once perceived it to be. And by “turning off” work for a week or two has been incredibly beneficial to my overall wellness. Taking a step away from the day-to-day operations, the people, and the environment is one of the best self-care practices one can have. Preventing burnout, and exhaustion are common in the social work field. We need to take care of ourselves so we can be there for others. 

Revitalize, rejuvenate, and relax so that you can come back and still enjoy the work you do. 

By Kurt Stapleton

Photo taken by Kurt Stapleton at Naples Beach, Fl 2023.

Tips for Utilizing Therapy

By Andrew Lopez, CPS

I’ve been in therapy for a number of years and have had to figure a lot of things out in terms of maximizing my therapeutic services. I thought I’d share some of the knowledge I’ve acquired over the years about utilizing psychotherapy.

1: Ask about the different modalities of therapy. A lot of people don’t know that there are many modes of therapy that include things like cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, EMDR, somatic therapy, equine therapy, and many more.they all have strengths and weaknesses and fit better for some than others. Most therapists are trained in more than one modality and can talk to you about the differences between them. It’s a good idea to talk with your therapist about the types they are trained on as well as once they aren’t in case you need to change to a different therapist. Some forms of therapy work well with certain symptoms such as trauma based therapies and you ultimately have to do a little bit of trial and error to find out what works for you. You can have this conversation about different modalities with a case manager or service facilitator if you have one.

2: Ask for direct feedback. Many therapists will focus on listening while you’re talking about your difficulties and many will hesitate to give direct feedback until invited. It’s a good idea if you’re seeking direct advice or feedback to ask the therapist directly for this. I’ll often ask my own therapist “do you think this is healthy” or “what do you recommend that I do to help with this?”. This not only gives the therapist time to respond but indicates that you are strongly seeking feedback and not just listening. Most therapists will be very direct if you ask them to be.

3: Focus the conversation and direction of goals.  Sometimes a therapist will ask questions to begin the conversation and get you talking about important topics. However ultimately it’s up to you to decide how to utilize her therapy services. If you feel like talking about a certain subject is more important than others you have every right to tell the therapist that you want to work on that goal over others. You can say things like “I’d like to work on this today” and redirect them from other conversations if you want to. A good therapist won’t mind this and will try to meet your needs wherever they may be at. A therapist may suggest working on one subject or goal. But you can set what goals are a priority for you. I sometimes will talk with my therapist about what goals I want to specifically work on.

4: Tell the therapist about difficult areas of conversation.  Sometimes the therapist will press questions in an area because they want to assist you and work on that area. It’s okay for you to have a conversation with the therapist ahead of time letting them know that there are certain topics which are likely to trigger you. It is a good idea for you and the therapist to have a plan on what to do when triggered. Most therapists will discuss this at the beginning of therapy service if the therapy is trauma focused.  Whatever therapy services you are utilizing it’s a good idea to have this conversation with the therapist to let them know what your wishes are if you get into a situation where you feel triggered and unsafe.  There are many options here and your therapist can discuss things like doing grounding activities, redirecting conversation or ending a session early.

5: Ask the therapist for “homework”.  There are many hours in the week and usually you’re just in therapy for one of those hours. Most of us want to work on our recovery for more than just the time we are there sitting in therapy services. One way of maximizing your therapy services is to ask your therapist for activities to engage in our projects to work on in between therapy sessions.if you’re working on a particular symptom you can ask the therapist “how can I work on my own on this goal to address the symptom?” Oftentimes the therapist has a good idea of something’s free to try in small and/or large steps to work on your goals. An example of this was one therapist of mine recommended that I find a volunteer position to aid with my social and self-confidence goals.  This was something I could work on on my own and allowed me to maximize the time that I’m spending with the therapist on other things. The therapist can, if you want to, then check in with your progress on your homework and offer feedback and/or suggestions. This is completely optional but many people find it very helpful.

Obviously there are many many ways of utilizing therapy and you have to find what works well for you. These are just some options to explore and not direct advice or recommendations. I hope that each of you that utilizes psychotherapy finds a way that works for you.

Andrew Lopez is a Peer Support staff member at Chrysalis

Growth and Partnership with Madison Christian Community Gardeners

By Ashley Staley

Raspberry Plans and A Dragonfly Friend

Harvesting Strawberries

Growth is the theme of April at Chrysalis, and for good reason! Spring is a time of change and re-emergence after hibernation, a time of rebirth and renewal as evident by the natural cycles all around us. A very clear example of growth, both metaphorically and literally, is in a garden. Chrysalis reaps the benefits of partnering with Madison Christian Community, where a group of committed volunteers help maintain a food pantry garden, by which Chrysalis Pops is a recipient and participant.

Our partnership has continued to grow and flourish over the years – and this year’s Chrysalis Pops season is another example of growth. Chrysalis Pops, a social enterprise of Chrysalis, is undergoing its own metamorphosis – it is being integrated into the Chrysalis Clubhouse where clubhouse members will support and contribute to helping maintain the business from “Seed to Sales.” Clubhouse members will be out in the MCC garden twice a week; members will not only support the garden to thrive, but will sow seeds of recovery and wellness in their own lives, morphing and growing right alongside the garden. 

I asked Dani Rischall, executive director at Chrysalis, and Jean Einerson, MCC Food Pantry Garden coordinator, to share more about the growth of our partnership over the years. 

  • How did the partnership between MCC and Chrysalis sprout
  • How have you seen the partnership between MCC and Chrysalis bloom over the years?
  • How does Chrysalis benefit from the support of MCC/ How does MCC benefit from the support of Chrysalis?

Dani: The story of how Chrysalis and MCC connected is one of my favorite partnership stories! The experience highlights how meaningful change that is mutually beneficial can blossom with shared values, trust, and an openness to just give it a try. I first met some of the wonderful folks of MCC at a grantee award ceremony through The Willy St. Co-Op Community Reinvestment Fund in 2016. Chrysalis was being awarded funds to start sourcing local, organic produce for Chrysalis Pops and MCC was awarded to support food pantry donations from their community garden. As I was chatting with the fellow award recipients my ears perked up as I heard the MCC folks talking about potential access produce in their gardens and wanting to make sure the produce went to those in need. I was able to share more about our Social Enterprise and plant seeds to further explore a partnership. 

Soon after I was introduced to Ann and Jean, the MCC Green Team Leads who support the  incredible work of their community gardens. I was in awe of all they were able to do, their knowledge of gardening, and their commitment to supporting the community. As I think many strong partnerships do, we started small. The first season MCC donated produce directly to Chrysalis Pops. It didn’t take long to realize that there were more opportunities to make this partnership fruitful. Over the last six years we have shifted to having participants onsite at the gardens supporting the entire community garden process. Time spent at the garden is now a highlight of the program. MCC has donated hundreds of pounds of raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, and cucumbers. These donations not only make it possible for us to make our pops, this partnership also offers opportunities for skill building and community integration.  

We are so grateful for the folks at MCC, Ann, Jean and the entire Green Team for doing so much to support the Chrysalis Mission and Chrysalis Pops.

Jean: A seed was planted 7 years ago when one of our church pastors heard about Chrysalis at a meeting for nonprofits. The food pantry garden team connected

with Chrysalis and a partnership was established.  Our food pantry garden’s mission is to be good stewards of the land.  We do that by growing food for those that struggle with food insecurity.  Relationships with Chrysalis members grew when we watered, weeded and picked fruit and vegetables side by side.  Relationships, like plants, can be fertilized to develop deep roots and grow to be strong and beautiful.  A good garden example of this is planting spinach seeds in the fall.  Watering, composting and keeping the plants covered over the winter will hopefully provide a spring bounty. 

The food pantry garden team values the relationships that have been fostered over the past years. It is a mutual relationship, much like companion planting and hope the partnership will continue to flourish in years to come.

Over Wintered Spinach

Cutting Flowers and a Butterfly

Jean and Ann, MCC Garden Volunteers

Wisconsin State Budget, Chrysalis gives public Comment

Thank you for taking the time to listen to our voices today.  My name is Alysha Clark and I am the Director of Advocacy and Operations at Chrysalis, Inc.  I am also a person with lived experience of mental health and substance use challenges.  I have been a Certified Peer Specialist for over a decade and had the opportunity to watch the Peer Specialist, Individual Placement and Support and Clubhouse movement grow.  At Chrysalis we are lucky enough to have all of these extremely person centered, strength based services in one agency.  Chrysalis is a 501(c)3 out of Dane County, Wisconsin- our mission is to promote mental health and substance use recovery in our community by supporting work opportunities that encourage hope, healing and wellness. 

Chrysalis and IPS, Individualized Placement and Support, (IPS) a model recognized by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to be an evidence based practice- support jobs and the workforce.  Over the last 5 years, Chrysalis has supported 660 new job hires earning over $2,000,000 in taxable income.  Katherine Ponte writes (NAMI, 2019) people with mental health challenges may be unemployed because Society has been telling us for years that they are not able to do work. Thankfully, society is changing and accepting these changes. 

“We are seeing how common it is to have a mental health challenge and how anyone can work and hold meaningful, good paying jobs no matter their mental health status. With programs like supported employment and clubhouses, employers that are willing to work with individuals and their specific needs. Companies are investing in workplace initiatives to have more diversity, equity and inclusion programs and are hiring people with mental health and substance use challenges.”

Currently we are very limited on the funding available to us for these services. These services not only provide tangible tools for employment but they also recognize the humanity each individual with this shared lived experience has.  

Cody Vogel, a current Chrysalis Colleague shares the experience of Chrysalis well:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, there have been many words to describe this place………

Community, Teamwork, Growth, Support, Care, Friendship, Even better, A Family. Everyone that walks in the door has something that drives them, pushes them to heal, recover, and continue fighting through their own symptoms of stress. Each and everyone of us plays a part, and we all matter. We all grow off each other to the point where it strengthens us, and to be able to guide each other, and to know none of us are alone. You see in this place he, her, them, you, I, all of us are here to help through the moments of pain, stress, loss, or any other form of struggles. As well as in my moments of sadness this place provides a sense of joy, comfort, laughter, and meaning. With each event or fundraiser that this place does, brings all of us together, AS ONE, NOT DIVIDED. So what is this place I’m talking about??? The place known as Chrysalis. You see everyone that is a part of Chrysalis has been through HURT, but going through the hurt means there is always a way to HEAL. Everyone here is special and has bonds with their colleagues. To me, I know this place is my Community, but also is my Family, and that will NEVER change. Thank You.”

You can support us in continuing our efforts, 

At Chrysalis we support Statutory language change to include Certified Peer Specialists and Certified Parent Peer Specialists as Medicaid-eligible providers.

We also recognize the need for Clubhouses to be recognized as a psychosocial rehabilitation service as it is in other states (including Michigan and Ohio.)  We ask you to pass Assembly Bill 901 that would provide matching grants to WIsconsin Clubhouse increasing our fundraising efforts.  Implementing a Statewide Medicaid option for billing Clubhouse services and billable tables for Clubhouse specific interventions. We have documents and contacts from other states that have implemented the Clubhouse Medicaid Waiver that we are eager to share.

We also need the State to cover the full cost of CSP. We are asking that counties take set-aside GPR to invest into community mental health systems (including Clubhouse, Peer Support, IPS). These services should also be funded via block grants. 

Thank you for your time!

Submit Comment | Joint Committee on Finance Public Comment Website (

Journey hosts peer-led training about peer support roles in Wisconsin

By Riley Hays, Case Manager and Certified Peer Specialist, Forward Solutions CSP

On February 24, Community Support Programs (CSPs) attended a two-hour training called “The Role of Certified Peer Specialists: A Training for Non-Peer Specialists,” designed to demystify peer support at Journey. 

Organized and led by peer professionals, Tara Wilhelmi of the Black-owned grassroots recovery and wellness organization EOTO Culturally Rooted, LLC. and Alysha Clark of Chrysalis, the training was offered to both clinicians and peer specialists that work collaboratively within Journey CSPs.

During the training, Wilhelmi and Clark introduced the values, ethics, and core skills of Wisconsin’s Certified Peer Specialist role. Wilhelmi and Clark also led a thought-provoking dialogue about mental health and substance use biases and explained the purpose of self-disclosure, a skill used by peer specialists to deepen connection and inspire hope. As the training ended, CSP staff were encouraged to brainstorm ways to increase advocacy for peer support, not only within Journey programs but also in our communities and to our legislators. 

Sharing knowledge and wisdom

Through Journey’s partnership with EOTO and Chrysalis, the creators of the Certified Peer Specialist Learning Community, the training was made possible. “I’m excited for the level of interest and commitment to understanding and integrating peer support,” Wilhelmi said.

Born from a vision of supporting and expanding the peer support movement in Dane County and across the state, the Certified Peer Specialist Learning Community created a cohort of peer service providers, like Safe Communities, Tellurian Behavioral Health, and––you guessed it––Journey. 

Last year, EOTO and Chrysalis met with the cohort for six months to provide technical assistance and train on peer support best practices. With a fast-growing peer workforce of nearly 2,000 Certified Peer Specialists and Certified Parent Peer Specialists in Wisconsin, guiding providers towards implementing true peer support was the goal. 

Now that the cohort is over, Wilhelmi is optimistic about the impact that the learning curriculum will have on peer support in Dane County. “I’m really hoping for their continued partnership because if they shift, it will really change the county’s culture around peer support. If we can adjust and really work in partnership to change the culture, it will be a big step forward for the practice of peer support within non-peer-led organizations in our county.” 

Supporting lived experience

Journey is committed to assuring fidelity to the Certified Peer Specialist profession. Throughout its programs, Journey has provided peer services for decades, but staff with lived experience have not always held the title. For example, our Outreach Workers in the Emergency Services Unit who have shown up for peers in times of crisis. 

Because of Journey’s participation in the cohort, Chief Clinical Officer Nichole Wright had a vision of her own. The monthly Peer Collaborative workgroup, led by Wright and made up of many voices, including peers, is part of Journey’s larger effort in the preservation and expansion of peer support. 

Throughout 2022, Wright endorses that the workgroup met to define the role and responsibilities of peer specialists and reflect on how to best support them. From creating connection spaces to envisioning career pathways, the future looks bright for Journey’s peer specialists. Currently, the workgroup’s goal is to hire a new Peer Supervisor. This role will support peer specialists through ethical and reflective supervision and help develop our peer services array. 

Journey will continue to support the delivery of peer support by advocating for equitable pay. With Governor Evers’ investment in mental health care and bipartisan support in the Wisconsin legislature, we are on the right track. 

As Journey’s peer support initiative strengthens and grows, stay tuned to Pathways for further updates. 

My Big Share Reflection

By Kurt Stapleton

This year, Chrysalis hosted its first-ever Big Share Storytelling event. We had people in the community, staff members, and people utilizing the services here share their stories of hope, healing, and wellness. The weeks leading up to this event were exciting, with a little stress, a little anxiety, and a lot of uncertainty. What was I going to share? How do I write a short story? Will anyone actually care about what I’m sharing? Will my story connect with anyone? There were so many questions that I had to just let them all go and DO IT. Just do it. 

From my point of view, it was therapeutic as I reached deep down into my bag of memories and pulled out one that was both painful and hopeful. Going back to that state of mind I was in and the place I was physically in brought back memories I had tucked away, for what I thought was forever. It was helpful for me to share this story with others as a way to show them a little more about me and what my lived experience looks like. It also helped me refocus on how I communicate with others and particularly, my family. “Have I kept up with this communication or have I fallen back into old habits?” Great questions to ask myself as I go throughout the day.

I heard that some of the storytellers are interested in doing more events like this and bringing their stories to more people to inspire and offer hope. Sharing their unique journey of recovery in their life can be a great way to spread awareness, and advocate for others’ needs. Potentially inspiring others to join this or another event, and share their own short story.