Well I cannot believe another year is here, and it is time for the Out of the Darkness walk already! It often surprises me how I have transformed over the last few years doing these walks.
Year one, I was a HOT mess! I only joined the committee because I had just met my friend Kerry at the beach in Waikiki and after becoming friends on Facebook I saw a post about starting a walk in her step-sons name, and she actually wrote the word suicide!! I thought to myself “wow this lady has some….guts!” Come on what did you think I was going to say she had…. Well, on the day of the walk (or maybe the day before) I said thanks for letting me be part of this, but never again. It had taken an emotional toll on me. She is so kind, she said she understood but asked that I still attend the walk and post walk dinner. I did both, the latter having my arm twisted by another committee member Melissa. That car ride with her that night was another game changer. I could count on both hands at that point the people who knew my secret; that I am a suicide attempt survivor.
Now let me say this, I chose that title of attempt survivor and not lived experience. I have had those, like flying over the Grand Canyon! Attempting to end my life, in my opinion should not have a PC name – I chose to call it exactly what it was, without shame!
Anyway, moving on to year two! Holy cow what a change a year can make, this year I was the guest speaker at the walk! I had the opportunity for classes from the State of Hawaii, courses to attend; it was truly a year of great growth for me. In addition, I had multiple speaking engagements where I was honored to share my story.
Year three, we had just PCS’d to Fort Bragg and I chose to virtual walk because I had no clue what was where, we had barely gotten our household goods and my husband had just taken a job that I knew would be extremely demanding, but man did I underestimate how demanding! Anyway… moving on! I missed the friendships and spirit of the walkers from the previous years. Even though year one was hard, you still feel the sadness, support, joy and love at these events.
Now here we are at year four, and there is actually a walk in Fayetteville this year so I will be walking again! Sadly Doug will not be here with me this year, and I am curious to see how I will feel being there without him, being all by myself. He has supported me through this entire thing, from March 2011 when I attempted to end my life through today and he has never wavered. Well, even in the years before when I had threatened and taken measures to end my life. I never feel like thank you is enough to say to him, so I continue to fight to stay happy and healthy, both mentally and physically.
September is a special month for me, not only is it my birth month but it is also suicide prevention month. It is the month I write a story of my growth and change over the past few years. My only goal (well duh beside raising money) is to let even one person know you are not alone, there is help and you can step out of the darkness and there will be a hand reaching up to help you out of that darkness. I often wonder what my life would be like if I had asked for help instead of pretending I had it all together; but then I think sometimes that is just my journey and I am okay with this ending. If I can just help or reach that one person, then the struggle was worth it to me.
I leave you with this song, I love it because it reminds me that no matter what we see on the outside of someone, their internal struggle may not reflect what we see on the exterior.
If you need someone to talk to please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and you will be connected to a skilled, trained counselor in your area 24/7. No matter what problems you are dealing with I want you to find a reason to keep on living.