Yesterday, I did my civic duty and served on jury duty. It’s a reluctant responsibility many citizens in the U.S. serve, me among them. As luck would have it, I wasn’t called to actually sit on a jury, so Providence must have been shining on me a bit. An early birthday present, if you will.
It also reminded me that living in a country such as the United States is a privilege, one that was earned on the backs and lives of millions of Americans who came before me. I am grateful for the opportunity offered me because of what my great grandparents decided to do — to immigrate to America with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Because of their courage, I’m here today, doing what I do.
On events like my birthday, I get reflective and appreciative. I have a lot to be thankful for and I want to ensure I don’t take any of it for granted.
So I’m thankful that I’ve been able to accomplish as much as I have in my career so far. I never imagined that instead of helping a few dozen people at a time in private practice, I would be touching the lives of a million people each and every month. The Internet, of course, made this possible. The combination of the web + information = reducing stigma + guiding people get help.
And that’s what my life so far has really been all about. I knew I wanted to be a psychologist back when I was in high school, and while that didn’t quite turn out the way I had planned, it has turned out well nonetheless. This website, and dozens of others like it, have saved thousands of people’s lives.
But more importantly, they’ve helped millions of people realize that mental health conditions are not things to fear or to deny any longer. The science has shown — through decades’ worth of research — that mental disorders are real, treatable concerns. The Internet has allowed us to bring the science to the people, and give people a voice who weren’t heard before. I can’t tell you how many great people I’ve met over the years who have been so vital in reducing the stigma of these disorders, many of whom have shared their own personal stories and battles with these disorders. These people have changed my life forever. Their efforts — many of which we try to share on the site here — are important to the battle.
My mission here with Psych Central has always been one of providing you the best information possible on mental health and related concerns (such as relationships, parenting, children, etc.). My life is full and rewarding, but it seems like it would be less full and certainly less rewarding without Psych Central being a central part of it.
So on my birthday, I’d like to just express my gratitude to you — our readers, our members, and other professionals — for helping make this dream come true. I couldn’t be more happier that my job is also my passion, and that my passion is able to touch so many people’s lives for the better. It’s the best birthday present I could ever ask for, and one that I try and remember each and every morning when I wake.
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Sep 2009
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Grohol, J. (2009). Reflections on My Birthday. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 3, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/09/10/reflections-on-my-birthday/