About Joe Schaefer

I was born with a tail and webbed feet. Not true. Truth is, there’s no miraculous story to tell. I once jumped off my garage as a kid with a Hefty bag held high, thinking it would work like a parachute. It didn’t. But I did start my quest to come up with great ideas and solutions then.

I think my dad was one of the first area educators and administrators to bring computers into schools and that started me on the path to love all things computer. I went on to college only to be booted out of the computer science department and college all together.

But, I got my act together, put myself through college and continued on my quest to try new things digital. It was during my senior year of college though, less than 6 months before my first marriage, that my life drastically changed because of the onset of mental illness and began the many years of diagnoses, medications, and the emergence of a changed me.

Talk Description

Don’t get me wrong, many aspects of my life have been a nightmare for close to 20 years. In that span though, throughout my treatment for a form of schizophrenia, I truly believe that my illness has helped shape me into a kinder, more compassionate, extremely motivated, smart, and responsible adult. In that same time period I’ve learned to live in multiple realities all converging at the same time, a new normal if you will; but, all the while, it has taught me greater lessons on being a person who advocates for others while advocating for myself — a crash course if you will, that has taken me practically to a polarizing shift in who I am to myself and to others. I don’t have the answers for others, nor do I claim to be ‘healed’, but what I have is a message of hope and a strong sense of compassion and understanding for those suffering from mental illness that I aim to instill in others.