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"Full Catastrophe" Living and Experiencing

I came to NAMI through In Our Own Voice, in 2010.  I was only 2 1/2 years out from a catastrophic suicide attempt, and I was learning everything I could about mental illness to try to understand what had happened to me.  I signed up for more information at a NAMI On Campus event at ASU, and soon after got a call from NAMI NC, asking if I'd be interested in training to present.  I hesitated, but only for about an hour.  Then I signed up.

            Being an In Our Own Voice presenter was a paradigm shift for me.  Although I was nervous at my first presentation, I found that talking about my illness was like riding a bike -- once I could do it, it wasn't hard any more.  After that I could open up about my journey whenever I had an appropriate audience and opportunity.  Mental illness was no longer something I had to hide.

            When I went to my first NAMI HC meeting, which consisted of half a dozen people, Steve Moeller made me vice president!  I went on to serve on the Board for six years, during which NAMI HC grew by leaps and bounds.  Lots of "new blood" on the Board revitalized it, and soon we were having 30 people and great speakers at our meetings.  We had teams at 2 of the NAMIWalks events in Raleigh, brought Marya Hornbacher to Boone, and had representatives at multiple conferences.  One of the highlights of my time on the Board was the NAMI National Conference in San Francisco, which I attended with president Caroline Bond.  It was so affirming to see and hear our impressive national organization representatives, such as medical director Dr. Ken Duckworth.

            My own recovery began in an intensive care ward in Winston-Salem in December 2007.  I am profoundly grateful that I have sustained my mental health since spring of the following year.  But I, like all of us, have to always be aware, take note of symptoms, do a medicine check with the doctor, find new ways to stay healthy and balanced.  I can't ever take my recovery for granted. 

            The latest tools in my kit are mindfulness, meditation, and yoga.  Reading the book Full Catastrophe Living, by Jon Kabat-Zinn, changed my outlook permanently.  Awareness, acceptance, and stillness are skills I had not ever knowingly practiced.  They've helped me enormously as a parent and I can always turn to them when chaos starts edging its way into my life.  For this reason, I'm very excited about our April speaker!

            Although I am leaving the Board, partly to keep that balance in my life, I will remain an active and enthusiastic member of NAMI High Country.  I believe our organization is an important source of support for those dealing with mental illness and their families.  With respect to my own recovery, I have often thought to myself, "If I get sick again, this time I'll have NAMI."


-Laura Anne Middlesteadt, Vice President
Melissa Selby - Community Care Clinic
Come out to the Watauga County Public Library at 7pm this Monday, March 7.  Melissa Selby, who works at the Community Care Clinic as the Executive Director will be speaking.  


Mindfulness and Mental Health

Our meetings are in the Watauga County Public Library conference room.  Watauga County Public Library in downtown Boone is located at 140 Queen Street, behind Mast General Store.  If you get there before 7pm you will be able to go in the main door.  After that we will enter and exit through the side door. 


A PDF of this newsletter can be found at

National Alliance on Mental Illness, High Country Chapter

828-278-9293 (message only, please leave a message so we can call you back!)

PO Box 2343
Boone, NC 28607

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