The Overnight Walk for Suicide Prevention is something I have been participating in over the last 5 years. And it has impacted my life in so many ways. But something I have just been reflecting on lately, are the friendships that have been fostered because of these events. If I had never chosen to participate in my first walk 5 years ago, I would have never met any of these people. People I am BLESSED to call my friends.
They say that tragedy bonds people together, and while that may be true, I believe that more than anything… HOPE is what creates these amazing bonds. I am so amazingly overwhelmed by the strength and the love that these people pour out each and everyday, as a result of what they have been through. Each and every one of our stories is different. Some have struggled, some have lost, some live each day supporting and loving on someone who struggles with mental health issues. But together, we have taken that pain, and put it into power in order to help others. To create a brighter future and a safer place for those who are in the deepest pain.
The people I have met on these walks have inspired me. They have invited me into their lives, and into their stories, and have become a part of my own. Together we wage war, on stigma, on shame, and against the negativity that tries to keep us silent. We band together with a battle cry to our government to recognize that these issues need to be addressed, for we are losing far too many of our people. We crawl into the trenches to rescue those who have been hurt by the words of the world, to bandage up their wounds, and let them know … they have not been left behind. They are not forgotten, and we aim to save every single life that teeters between life and death.
We are a people who have known the depths of great pain. We have seen the ravages of addiction. We have survived our greatest losses. We walk a daily battle against our own minds. But we are strong. We are determined. We are warriors.
And this year once again I band together with my tribe of warriors to walk through the night, and bring suicide and mental illness out of the darkness and into the light.