If you know me, then you know my passion for promoting suicide prevention…if you don’t know me…then you know this about me now!
My current endeavor involving these efforts to promote awareness and end stigma and prevent suicide involves the Kansas City Out of the Darkness Community Walk, a walk that benefits the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and their efforts both locally and nationally. I am a big fan of AFSP and I am really excited about this walk that is coming up on October 17th. But, truth be told, I’m also feeling a wee bit of anxiety.
I am a part of the Walk Committee (a small group) of people putting this event together and I have some responsibilities that I can call all my own. These responsibilities include PR work and contacting local radio and television stations. I am not having the best of luck… it is difficult to get responses from the busy and hard workers in these media sources and it is difficult for me to find large chunks of time to get things accomplished. That being said…I need to make some more progress, and I’m feeling the heat, the pressure, of an event date that is quickly approaching!
So, if this is causing me some stress…why do it?
Last year I walked in this first ever event in my city. I did not know that it was a new event. I was inspired to take action in regards to this cause and I did an internet search that pulled up the walk. I was just in time to register with only a matter of days before the walk began…and at the time, walking the short 3 miles seemed like a really big effort for me, as I was dealing with severe fibromyalgia symptoms. I walked, I even raised a little bit of money, and I felt absolutely wonderful about what I was doing. I had a new source of hope for myself and a new hope that I could share with others.
After suffering from depression since a teenager and having attempted to take my own life in the past, I feel a great compassion for others struggling with depression and having suicidal thoughts. I feel like I have a way to help others who suffer by being a part of events like these and by helping raise awareness about the need for suicide prevention. Also, I have been given the opportunity to shed light on how a person who is suicidal is actually feeling and how their mind might be operating when an attempt it made, sharing much needed information to loved ones and family members who have lost someone to suicide. It is horrible to see the pain of those who have lost loved ones but it is a gift that I am able to share my experience and I hope that it may somehow ease that pain for them.
I, too, have lost loved ones to suicide. My grandfather died by suicide in 1998 and I have lost a friend to suicide as well. Recently, some friends of mine lost their brother to suicide. It is all around us, yet people often don’t speak of it. It is a tough topic, it is difficult to understand, and the reality of it is very sad…but being involved in promoting its prevention can be a beautiful experience and one in which peace and comfort is found.
I share this all with you as a glimpse into what is going on in my life right now, but also, on the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day, I urge you to pay attention and take action regarding this cause. If you can help me spread the word, I would be overjoyed by the assistance. If you can donate to my fundraising page (as I am a walker in the event as well) I would be equally appreciative. If you feel led to look for a walk near you and register in one of the hundreds of walks going on around the country, that would be fabulous. And if all you can do, is tell yourself in a quiet place in your heart, that you are not alone, that others understand your loss or struggle…that is okay, too, and a huge blessing to me.
One of my new life tapes that I tell myself and sometimes others is “put your passion into action“. This is my passion and the action that I am taking about it. I want to reach others before they fall into the dark pit of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts…I want to help those grieving over losses by honoring the memory of their loved ones…I want to break down the silence and stigma surrounding this issue and it’s many ramifications.