1. Your message to kids today that you wish you knew back then what you currently know now. Be specific.
I know now is that emotions and thoughts need to be talked about with other people who I feel safe talking to and understand me. ALL THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS. I also know now how to truly grasp exactly how many different thoughts and feelings I am really having and how to not hide them from myself. My message is basically the same, except they need to find other adults that feel safe to talk to, and avoid disclosing information (at first) to adults that don’t’ feel safe. they can also talk to other kids but should only pick kids that also feel comfortable, and preferably have had the exact same problem so they can identify, even if they are kids they aren’t familiar with.
2. How did you learn your lesson or what was your lesson? Did you get hurt, did you upset someone, did you get scared?
I was a straight A student with a national citizenship award and then I developed a critically low self esteem in high school, had the early beginnings of mental illness start to affect my thoughts, then I fell in with the trouble crowd, learned to drink, use drugs, get into massive trouble and break the law, made news papers, became a drug dealer and addict, and then became mentally ill with schizophrenia at 23 years old and tried to commit suicide. recovered, went to 12 step programs, became obsessed with psychology, self taught myself alternative strategies, beat all my problems and got my sanity back, studied motivational speakers, started speaking myself, and have become fully aware of how important questioning our thoughts and feelings are.
3. What you would have done differently back then if you could turn back time.
I speak in high schools to kids and tell exactly what I just told you, I teach them how to talk to adults about what’s going on inside them.
4. Do you convey this message to children in your life today?
Yes. everywhere I go.
– Tom Barthel, speaker, author, Streetsmart Counselling