This year I have decided to take a bold step, not only for myself but for all the people that are affected by depression, self injury, bipolar disorder and a myriad of other mental illnesses that can create the path toward suicide.I am walking in the AFSP Out of the Darkness Overnight Even though I have personally struggled with depression self injury and suicidal thoughts in the past, that is not my greatest motivation. My passion and my drive for taking a stand and making a difference is fueled by my personal story, but my strength comes from the belief that we can make a difference in this world by breaking the stigmas that are attached to these mental health issues.
It starts small. But little by little we can make a difference. I am choosing to do this walk not only because of the money it will help raise, but because it also gives me a platform to talk about the things “we aren’t supposed to be talking about” For so many years I had to hide who I was and how I was hurting because society, mainly my family, had taught me that this was a weakness not a sickness. One of the first responses my family had to my struggle was to tell me that they thought “I was stronger than that” And that was the downfall. I felt I was failing not only as a daughter, sister and friend, but as a person because I wasn’t strong enough to deal with my issues and just walk away like everyone else did. But with the help of mentors, adults and friends who really understood my struggles I was able to break that stigma for myself. I no longer viewed my cutting or depression as a weakness… I finally saw it for what it was, an addiction and a sickness. And that opened up many opportunities for me to get help. I was no longer ashamed of my faults, but I understood that I needed outside help to address them and deal with them.Had I allowed my life to be ruled by the stigmas of depression, cutting and even therapy…I don’t even think I would be here today.
That is why I believe in second chances and paying it forward. I know that I have been given a second chance at life, and I just can’t let it pass me by. I have no shame about my past and my struggles because I know that they are the reason I am the person I am today. I don’t try to hide my past because I know that there is someone out there who can benefit from hearing my story. And so I have taken this second chance and have decided to help others.
I have enrolled to go through a mentally vigorous training to become an Online Suicide Intervention Specialist. I am more than half way done with the training which means I am much closer to being able to help people firsthand.
And by walking in The Out Of the Darkness Overnight I have opened up the opportunity to talk to my friends and family about this cause and why it is important to me. I want to let others know that they are not alone in their fight and that there are people out there who care and want to help. I want to tell those who are hurting that it is ok to ask for help, it is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength to want to get help.
It’s time to tear down the walls, the help break the stigmas of society and create conversations where people in need can feel safe to ask for help. It is time for us to take a stand and be a voice in the darkness for those that are broken. Let us join together to show them that we care.
If you have ever been personally affected by suicidal thoughts, or have lost someone to suicide, or you just have a burden on your heart to help…would you consider donating to this cause?
No one should be alone in their struggle, together we can raise awareness and raise funds to help provide treatments, counseling, support systems and above all.. HOPE and LOVE to those who need it most.