Earlier this week, on Oct 15th, the last day of OCD awareness week 2016, I wrote this post on facebook, and I thought I should share this on my blog as well. Though at this point I have no readers, it is something pertinent and important that I am participating in this week. I hope to continue to be a part of this cause and movement going forward….
“Dear friends, I want to bring your attention to something important to me by sharing something about myself. Though I’m not a fan of labels, I like to say I’m many things. Some of which can be quite confusing. Some of which I’m still learning and trying to understand. And that is okay, as I am sure many can relate. 🙂
One thing about me that some of you may not know: I’m a suicide survivor. The contemporary, accurate, or should I say, stigma-free connotation of this would be: I have survived suicide attempts and suicidal ideations. I know this isn’t something pleasant or easy to hear or read or learn about someone. And I understand it has its repercussions. For many unfortunate reasons, it is not easy for anyone to state this. Nevertheless, there is a reason why someone would find value in disclosing it. And I hope that’s implicit in this post. As I share this with pride, not shame, because I believe that when you are able to share it with people, you have owned up to serious challenges that you have overcome, and it allows you to see your own progress to help you keep going, and remind you that you are evolving for the better. It’s a type of pride you earn for every battle you overcome.
Understandably so, some people may cringe at hearing this, and some people may find themselves feeling a certain amount of discomfort knowing this about people. I am not unfamiliar with that feeling. Admittedly, there are things about me that have always created some sort of discomfort to individuals that may be unwilling to welcome or embrace someone that perhaps may be a little “socially awkward,” and just “different” in various ways 🙂 … from disability, to race, to religion, to ethnic background, to personality. Whether it be the stutter that I have when I speak, or the way I choose to dress, sometimes overtly too “cultural,” or “exotic” perhaps. I never really understood it, the exact reasoning for this discomfort, but I had to, (as many do) and continue to have to accept it. This is the world we live in.
I have embraced every intersection of my identity that makes me who I am today; most recently the disability. Though it shouldn’t define you, it’s a part of you. I’m glad I have it. It has made me empathize with all sorts of human suffering, and most importantly, it has made me compassionate. Unfortunately, surviving suicide or fighting a mental illness is a very misunderstood reality for a lot of people, and often looked down upon, or minimized, and not revered as that of say, cancer survivors or other types of survivors from other illnesses. But it matters to me because I have come to understand it. And I have battled this for many years, studying it and enlightening myself, creating a sense of self-awareness, finding coping mechanisms that could help me wake up the next morning. And I see myself, as a Warrior Queen because of my yearning to be better and my yearning to survive it and actually start “living.” And I know there are many other warriors out there that have made it, or perhaps pushing through, but sadly, many also could not survive it.
Today, I can say that I have achieved a sense of freedom on many levels. Although the associated conditions may never evaporate, I am able to say, that for the first time in my life, I finally feel some certainty towards freedom from suicidal ideations. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is for someone who has suffered with this for the majority of their life. I didn’t think it would be possible. When something is so habitual and conditioned in your subconscious and psyche, you don’t think you can make possible the impossible. But it really is. And one may actually recognize when they get to that certainty: the desire to live and embrace life is a powerful one, especially to those who never felt it before. To me, it is quite remarkable how possible it is, if we just don’t give up, most importantly on ourselves and also just as important, we don’t give up on humanity in general….
And that is why I must walk…. For the second year, and on this 10th year of the DC community walk. I Walk for myself. And I Walk for all my brothers and sisters out there who we’ve lost to this unnecessarily, and for those who continue to struggle with these debilitating diseases, invisible illnesses, and more, especially in a world that makes them hide in shame and immense pain.
And I ask you with sincerity and heart, to please join me in this walk “out of the darkness”… Join me in supporting this movement. I ask that you share your story when you are ready. Whether it be your struggle within you or for someone you care about. I ask that you walk with me…, or if you can, you are welcome to donate through me on the link provided here or through the general site, if preferred: http://afsp.donordrive.com/
I ask that we not remain silent on suicide and mental health. Let’s engage in open dialogue about Mental health in our communities.
The hard truth is that the more we remain silent, the more we isolate people who are suffering, and the more we lose lives.
I have been able to come “out of the darkness” and have transformed in the process, though the struggle continues. The majority of the time, I have fought alone, but others don’t have to suffer alone and in silence. When a person has been in these dark places, and was able to find some light, they cannot stand idly by, and watch people suffer in silence.
True Warriors fight to build an army of warriors.
But they cannot bring others out of the darkness through silence. No more silence. Please. We must talk, and we must walk…
I make a promise that I will listen.”
So far, I was able to raise $550.00. I’m not really great at fundraising, but this was more than twice my original goal. I am so grateful. I don’t have the skill or eloquence in speech or writing to state what this means to me. It really touched my heart to see my family and friends donate to this cause through me. It showed me that people were not only willing to support Suicide Prevention, but support me in my efforts for this cause as well. And every suicide survivor needs that type of reminder. At this point, I strongly feel, after all I have experience, that I cannot keep going without being there for others, as a resource or whatever way I can, when there are things I have learned in the process that may be helpful for people suffering.
I believe that we can promote a culture that helps survivors of suicide by simply exuding kindness in our actions, being kind to everyone we interact with, despite our differences. Simple things go a long way. I can vouch for that.
So I am looking forward to the Out of Darkness DC community walk this Saturday. And many more ways I can be a part of this important conversation we must continue to have in our communities.