I am Functional and So Can You

What’s the first thing you think of when someone is called “mentally ill”? Many probably imagine someone unkempt, babbling incoherently on the street or locked up in an asylum.

I am mentally ill, but despite my multiple diagnoses, I am a functional member of society. I’ve been able to deal with my mental illness with treatment, support, and lots of work, and if you’re suffering from mental illness, chances are that you can as well.

In this session I will tell the tale of how I discovered that my feelings of worthlessness and dread were more than just bad moods and how I came to accept that I have mental illness, but mental illness doesn’t have me.  By telling what helped me, I hope that attendees will be able to recognize signs within themselves or those they care about and find ways to get help, accept that mental illness is not a damning diagnosis, and get past the stigma that surrounds people with mental illness

Audience Level
Beginner
Topic
Being Human
Timeslot
3:00 - 3:45 PM
Conf Day
Room
Maine
Speakers
Profile picture for user Dorf
EPAM
Lead Software Engineer

JD Flynn has had mental illness most of his life, but didn't admit it until his early 30s when he decided it was time to do something about it. After a decade-long career in emergency services as a paramedic, JD made the jump from the ambulance to the text editor. Since then, he has worked up to the title of Lead Software Engineer. He's been active in the local Drupal community by helping to organize MidCamp from 2015-2020, the Midwest Drupal Camp held annually in Chicago and was a co-organizer of the Drupal Chicago Meetup Group.

His life was changed by OSMH (Open Sourcing Mental Illness), a 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on opening the conversation on mental illness, which led him to telling his own story to as many people who would listen. As someone with mental illness who is not afraid to talk about it, JD has presented on the topic of Mental Illness in the Tech Community to local user groups, regional conferences, and national level events at locations such as MIT, UC Berkeley, Washington State Convention Center, Guaranteed Rate Field, and DePaul University.

In addition to speaking about mental illness, JD is a member of the Drupal CWG and a contributor to Docksal.

When not speaking or coding, JD plays baritone saxophone in Windiana, a professional level wind ensemble out of Valparaiso, IN, and Michigan City Municipal Band, the oldest municipal band in Indiana that is currently performing its 154th season.