I am so freakin' nervous for tomorrow y'all. Months ago I signed up for an 18 mile overnight walk to benefit Out of the Darkness Walks, an organization dedicated to bringing awareness to depression and suicide and providing support to those who, as I always called it, were "getting to the bad spot".
See, I've battled depression myself. And let me tell you, it was a battle. My college years were some of the hardest of my life and one year in particular almost killed me, or rather, I tried to kill myself. I felt so alone and unhappy and couldn't shake the feeling that something must be wrong with me. I dropped out of college. Me! The high school teacher, dropped out of college. It took me a while to realize that was I was dealing with was depression and it was only through medical help that I got better. Other than the doctors, my mom saved me. She welcomed me back with open arms and never pushed me to open up or share. I felt safe again. I went back to school. I went back to work. I met my friend Casey who taught me how to love myself again. I drank Shirley Temples instead of alcohol. I went to the gym to feel better, not to punish myself. I enjoyed my life again. I owe my life to those two women. I am lucky that I had a tribe, not everyone does.
Out of the Darkness Walks look to help people who are like I was. People who need help. People who need to hear that they are not alone. People who need someone to go to even when they feel like a burden. People who need to need to hear that their life is worth living.
After having Emmalee, I battled against Postpartum Depression (PPD). There were LOTS of factors in play and every day was harder than the last. One day I just broke down. I had to admit that the feelings I was having felt so much like what I had experienced years earlier and again, I went to the doctor. I felt guilty for despising my husband and my child, and I knew that only a doctor could make me feel right again.
I'm at a point in my life where I am the happiest I have ever been. I have a loving husband and two amazing children. I have a large family who loves me. I have a job that makes me feel fulfilled. I have a home I love and so many things that fill it. I literally can not imagine why I ever wanted to miss out on this.
I often share my stories with my Senior students. As we talk about the big scary world and how sometimes things don't always go as we plan, I share my struggles. I tell them that failures will happen, mistakes happen but it's in how we get back up that determines our success.
Kristen Bell has recently come out talking about her out fight with depression and says something along the lines of "You wouldn't deny a diabetic their insulin, so why deny those who deal with depression what they need to be healthy??"
I support people like Kristen Bell who can be so forthcoming with their battles. I support organizations like Out of the Darkness Walks who want to help people. And hopefully, as I walk 18 miles through New York City tomorrow night, you'll support me.
Please follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and leave me little bits of love throughout the night. PM me your personal stories and remind me why I'm doing this. Remind me why it's so important that I keep going.