Yesterday morning, I got up at 5:00 am to walk around a lake and raise money for suicide prevention.
The thing that I’ve noticed about having people I love kill themselves (an uncle and a friend) is that, besides being horribly hurtful and tragic and guilt-inducing, it also makes it seem more like a real option. At least for me. I’ve been thinking about that lately with the slew of gay teenagers who have killed themselves. It’s not just copycatting, it’s more of a feeling that this horrible unthinkable action must be an option, because other people chose it. It can slowly start to feel like a very valid option as someone is in more and more pain. It’s selfish, of course, but it does no good to talk to a depressed or suicidal person about how other people will feel – when you’re in that much pain and despair, you can’t possibly think about anyone else.
I hope that the money this organization raises does two things: makes suicide not feel like a valid option, and make it not feel like a necessity. Let’s help people understand that depression is not shameful and is treatable. And that they don’t have to deal with it alone. That will make more of a difference than you might think.
The email I sent when raising support:
Some of you know that I have been affected on a personal level by suicide. It’s not something I really want to share in a mass email, but I would be willing to talk about it on a personal level.
I will be joining with thousands of people nationwide to walk in AFSP’s Out of the Darkness Community Walk to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide. If you knew me a few years ago when I did a 20-mile overnight walk, it’s the same cause but a shorter walk. 🙂 The walks are located all over the US and take place before sunrise to have the “out of the darkness” symbolism. They’re meant to bring awareness and funds to suicide prevention.
Over 33,000 people commit suicide in the US alone each year (it’s thought to be one million worldwide each year), and the signs are often missed, or the people suffering don’t think it’s possible to be helped. This group does a lot of work with education, which is needed because the stigma of depression and other mental illness is so strong.
I know a lot of you are feeling the economic downturn, so I totally understand if you can’t support me, but I just want to ask if you’ll think about financially supporting, coming and walking with me (you don’t have to raise money) or praying for the cause. Everything’s tax-deductible. Well, the financial contributions, anyway.
To make an online donation please search for my name on www.outofthedarkness.org and then click “support this participant”. If you would rather donate by check please make the check out to AFSP and mail it in with the offline donation form.
Thanks for taking the time to consider a cause that is, tragically, very close to my heart.