Student Graduation Speech 2012
Hi! I’m Mark. For the vast majority of my life I have suffered greatly from several extremely debilitating mental illnesses. These apparently affected my life long before I noticed them. But when I moved from Israel to Canada, my OCD and other related illnesses took over my life. For years upon years, I was largely unable to attend school. I spent about two years as a patient at the OCD unit of the Menninger Clinic, but eventually left there without much improvement. I had given up on getting my education. But after I turned 18, my parents left me an ultimatum. Since I was legally an adult they would make me come here by saying I could no longer live with them. I had not yet planned for my future.
I honestly did not think this place would help me, but had no choice but to come here. On Thursday, August 13, 2009, I was enrolled in the Chamberlain School. Since then, this place has helped me overcome many of the obstacles which were holding me down. On an almost daily basis, for three years, I would get overwhelmed or stressed out usually with multiple tasks I needed to accomplish piling up or with anticipation of a hard upcoming expectation in treatment. I don't think I need to spell it out for you that I get overwhelmed very easily. If it weren't for the therapeutic setting I would not have been able to handle it. The staff were able to talk me through everything and I came out on top. Now I will go into the real world where there are no staff to help me pull through. But the practice of getting through these situations with staff should help me be able to handle the situations without as much support.
But don't get the idea that I was stressing out constantly. There were definitely some very good times here too. Many of the staff and students here are really great humorous people and it has been a pleasure to get to know them.
I definitely don’t even want to think about where I’d be without this place. Before I came here, I spent every day sleeping all day and browsing the internet all night. Not that I believe that waking up in the morning and sleeping at night is a good schedule for me. Whoever came up with that idea must have been an Epsilon semi-moron. But this place gave my mind positive stimulation, which it had been sorely lacking in the then-recent past.
Now, I am graduating high school. I am one step closer to my goal of professionally writing comic books. Honestly, like any high school student, I wish I could've attended school without having to come to an out-of-state program. However, I realize that public education would not have worked for me. I needed the therapeutic setting. And due to the depths of my problems, I have made an astounding achievement in pushing them aside, and earning my diploma. I solved my problems.
But I could never have done this alone. This school has helped me immensely. The wonderful staff have supported me through thick and thin. I have befriended some of my fellow students as well. But like anybody, there will be those who I just did not get along with. I hope that these will let this school work for them as well as it did for me.
I would like to thank all the staff, past and present who have worked with me over the just over three years I have been here. I would like to thank my family for their support as well. Finally, I would like to thank those of my fellow students who I consider my friends. It has been a great ride. Thank you for listening.