Welcome to the NAMI Sarasota County Blog
Hello there! My name is Robin Snuttjer, and I have agreed to write a blog for NAMI Sarasota County (NAMI). We will publish a new blog entry every Wednesday starting sometime in April. The blog will feature stories about people who NAMI has helped, and donors to NAMI. I will also make commentaries on mental health issues. Writing this blog is an opportunity that I am excited about. I thought I would start by saying a little bit about myself.
In 2015, I moved to Sarasota with my mother, who I live with. I have schizoaffective disorder, and am on disability. Despite this, I am not idle. I keep myself busy doing many things. Probably what I love most is making glass beads. Perhaps you saw one of my necklaces at the Out of the Blue fundraiser in October. Another local event that I participated in was the FACEing Mental Illness project. My profile describes more about how glass beads helped me recover. Another ongoing project is Our Mad Life. That is a webcomic I produce with my fiancé Leonard Hoffman. I also write a blog with each webcomic. We publish that on Mondays. Another activity is volunteering for the Kadampa Meditation Center here in Sarasota.
I also participate in a writer’s group at my church. That is a supportive group where I can pursue my creative writing. I have always wanted to be a writer, but as my mother always said, “honey, writers write. You don’t write.” Well, after my last break I began writing in a journal everyday. It wasn’t fine writing, but I got used to writing every day. I thought finally I am a writer! Followed quickly by the thought I wonder if I can make money doing this. I took a writing class through ACE last year, and started what I very pretentiously call, “my novel.”
Now, I am working with the vocational rehabilitation office to start a copywriting business. That is a business writing content for businesses designed to sell things (and non-profits to fundraise). As part of that process I have to see if there is a market for my skills (after I beef up my skills.) Writing this blog is a part of that. I am so thankful to NAMI for this opportunity!
Of course, that doesn’t explain why I’m donating my writing skills to this blog. My involvement with the local NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group means so much to me. I trained as a facilitator last year, and I am proud to be a member of such a wonderful group. There are several things I love about facilitating. One is being able to help people. It is truly empowering to realize my experience can help someone else who is struggling. Another thing I love is being able to see people make progress. It reminds me of the power of a support group. I also really appreciate talking to people who know what I’ve been through.
My involvement with NAMI extends back over ten years to when I lived in Alabama. NAMI’s political activity intrigued me. I wanted to be a part of a group that had a voice about mental illness and those who suffer from it. Perhaps I shouldn’t mention it, (I might get recruited) but I was a member of the local affiliate’s board. I also trained to be a speaker in the In Our Own Voice program. My mother completed the Family-to-Family educational program, and then became involved as well. We even went to a couple national conventions. One year we wore beauty pageant style sashes and walked around the capital to promote awareness. We also met with a congressional aide for our congress member. I remember he was very surprised at how costly mental illness is.
What I hope NAMI Sarasota County can do in this community is provide more support groups for people who live with mental illness. I also want an In Our Own Voice program. What do you want to see our NAMI Sarasota County do? How can our NAMI be more effective? Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to your comments and feedback.