When you meet Chris Darling for the first time, you are struck by her energy and passion and self-deprecating humor. She shares openly about her work leading a Search Engine Optimization firm helping local businesses and contractors get found on the internet. You learn about her work with Rotary. She runs and is even competitive in local 5 K events, meaning she actually places in them. She has really robust relationships. This is the picture of a well-rounded, active individual enjoying her life. It is hard to believe that she still struggles with mental illness. But she does. She openly shares that she is amazed she is still here on the planet. She believes, though, that she is here in part to share her story as a way to help others.
In this moving talk, Chris calls out the stigma that surrounds mental illness and asks the audience to consider doing the most constructive thing that can be done: talk about it. As someone with a mental illness for whom simple human connection has been life saving, Chris models the reality that the fear surrounding this difficult subject is penetrable through respectful open dialogue. Drawing on stories from three distinct perspectives, this talk takes the audience through what it means to be, live with, support, or interact with someone who has a mental illness - and why connection is critical to help everyone stay on the right path.
Mental illness is so prevalent in our society, yet most of us don’t want to talk about it or are willing to admit when help is needed. Chris Darling is a powerful speaker who, through her own struggles with mental illness, brings us into her world and makes us see the importance of having that conversation. She drives home the point that everyone deserves treatment and the chance for a positive life — in an assertive yet gentle way. I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to hear Chris speak at TEDx Wilmington and can’t wait to see her at future speaking engagements.
Chris’s style is humorous, raw, and real. Her insight and powerful delivery bring a relevance to the topic of mental illness that is so profound, you’re actually drawn to it. You want to know more, you want to be part of the solution. Chris’s talk showed me that I can make a difference simply by being myself, by reaching out, by caring. What I do matters. It matters a lot. Chris strips away the stigma and shows her audiences that talking about mental illness (whether you have it or whether you know someone who has it) and becoming part of the solution can be much more simple and elegant than we realize.
Simply put, I was not prepared for the live TEDx talk that Chris Darling delivered at Baylor Women’s Correctional Institute this year. Chris spoke passionately and eloquently about mental illness and how less secrecy and more awareness can make a huge difference in the lives of so many - for both those who struggle with mental issues and their loved ones. Her retelling of a pivotal encounter with one counselor who refused to sign off on treatment was inspiring, and really drove home the message that everyone has the potential to make a difference. I am very sure that Chris’s talk that day helped others on their own path to wellness, and I look forward to seeing her live on stage again.