My struggle with anxiety and depression is not unlike many others, we all suffer one way or another and are plagued with negativity that feels like we are alone. We are not alone. YOU are not alone.
In Spring 2014, I felt utterly lost and hit rock bottom. Upon seeking treatment and building a support system I am happy to say I am still here today and thriving. However, in Christmas 2014 my world was shattered when I was informed my best friend growing up committed suicide. It’s still hard for me to even write this out, nearly 4 years later. I relapsed, but with my support system I was able to seek additional treatment to help cope with the loss of someone I considered another brother to me and shaped who I am today. We began walking in the Didi Hirsch Alive and Running 5k the year after he passed. We have been walking every year since and continually raise funds and support for those suffering or coping with loss.
In Fall 2016, we lost Chris’s dad to suicide. I knew I needed to be strong and a pillar for his family, as I knew firsthand how devastating and confusing the aftermath is. It didn’t stop myself from feeling like one bad decision was going to haunt me forever. It won’t. There are some things in this world we cannot control and we have to learn to better let go of the things we can’t control. We can only control how we respond and how we learn and grow from it.
This last year, I was able to get Chris’s dad added to the memorial banner as a surprise for him and his family.
We walk every year for me. We walk for Austin. We walk for John. We walk for all those suffering or surviving and hope to help erase the stigma and create more places for help and treatment.
The future is stigma free.