3 November 2015

Mental Health...and Mail

Several years ago the library system I work for implemented Staff Development Day.  It's an opportunity for staff to come together under one roof for seminars and training which will translate into better internal and external customer service.  It's also when the organization recognizes years of service from its employees.  The day starts off with my colleagues, system-wide, trickling in looking like they would rather be in bed and sporting a large cup of some form of caffeine.  By the end of the day the atmosphere is electric...which could have something to do with more caffeine and a fair bit of candy and chocolate left over from Halloween.

This year the focus was on mental health.  Our plenary speaker was Elizabeth Manley who won a silver medal in figure skating at the 1988 Olympics.  What most people didn't realize is that she was in the depths of depression throughout much of her teen years and leading right up to the Olympics.  Her story had many in the room wiping away tears, especially when she played the video of her performance; when we realized everything she had to rise above to perform so well.  She almost dropped out her event before a hockey coach made a passing comment in which he mentioned that he saw her as a champion and wanted his team to be inspired by her.  Elizabeth went from feeling worthless and inadequate to uplifted and empowered by one person's kind words.  Her depression wasn't magically whisked away but in that moment her perception of herself changed.

Yesterday was a sobering, and mentally exhausting, day filled with lectures, training sessions, role-playing, and some really fun moments catching up with staff from other locations.  Last night I was in bed by 8:30.

A new day has dawned and I was so happy to find the latest copy of The Persephone Biannually in the mailbox.  To the staff at Persephone Books...never underestimate how much it means to see that envelope!


It's always interesting see which piece of art will grace the cover...


...and which bookmark will be added to your collection.  Even if I don't own the Persephone title it's always fun to theme bookmarks with a current read.


And the short story by Winifred Holtby gives me an opportunity to share my latest acquisition, a never-been-read copy of The Crowded Street.  I bought it on Saturday during a 'stop the car!' moment when we passed a bookshop fifteen minutes before closing time.

Coincidentally, the book was first published in 1924 but I'm just a tad late for the 1924 Reading Challenge recently hosted by Simon and Karen.  Perhaps next year?

6 comments:

  1. I'm glad your staff day was so inspiring, Darlene. It's always good to hear the stories of people who have overcome more than we can imagine. I'm hoping to see my Biannually any day now & I do envy your Virago copy of Crowded Street (what inspired you to visit that bookshop at the last moment, I wonder?). I have the Persephone edition & I loved it so I hope you can get to it soon.

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    1. This particular bookshop is across the street from my dentist. I'm usually off on Mondays so that's when I book my appointments, but the bookshop is closed. When I realized this was my chance to catch the shop open (it's on the other side of the city) I jumped at it!

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  2. How great that your workplace has days like that, Darlene. At work we spend a lot of time trying to encourage companies to set up these kinds of development days and its wonderful to hear what an impact they have. Manley sounds like a very powerful speaker.

    And I completely agree about the lift you feel when the Biannually arrives! Mine came last week. I had a bad head cold and was feeling very pathetic and sorry for myself but the sight of the Persephone envelope cheered me right up - not enough to make the cold go away, alas, but at least I had good reading material while I was laid up with my cold.

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    1. The benefits spread from the employee to family members so there's definitely a ripple effect. I can't tell you how many times my husband has used techniques I've talked about when there's a situation at his place of work.
      Hope you're feeling better now, Claire. The idea of a day off from work is always appealing until you're knocked down and miserable with a sore throat and stuffed head.

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  3. Darlene, your day at work sounds uplifting as well as intense. I can understand being in bed by 8:30! I share your enthusiasm for the Persephone catalogue. I am staring at mine right now and can't wait to crack it open. It's always a mood lifter and reminds me of my visit to their shop in London. It is truly a little gem.

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    1. The time change isn't helping either. Last night I went out for dinner with some friends from work and half of us wanted our pyjamas by 8 pm. So sad.....
      Here's to a lovely weekend with a bit of quiet time for reading, Sunday!

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