I had been searching, over the past few years, for an organization that I could lend my voice to when it came to mental illness awareness.
I had contemplated many, and given my voice to certain campaigns, but something was lacking for me. The ups and downs with conversation about awareness started to wear me down, and once my daughter was diagnosed with mental illness, my desire to speak out became more important to me.
I “hit my wall” with depression in 2011, and have hit it twice more since that time. Both times going off of my medication when I “felt better” and was confident that I had the tools I needed.
I am not afraid to ask for help. Not like I was the first time. Now I know when I am not right. Now I know when my brain chemistry is off kilter. I am not ashamed to say I am medicated, even though my brain wants me to feel otherwise.
The big difference between now and 2011: I know my life is worth living.
Don’t get me wrong. I still have bad days, even medicated. I know that my medication is not going to make me 100%. That’s okay.
Each person experiences mental illness differently. My illness is different from my daughter’s, even though we have the same diagnosis.
Most people think that there is a “generic” way to feel with depression and anxiety, and while there are certain symptoms associated with those mental illnesses that are “generic”, everyone’s experience has differences.
Not that long ago, I saw a call for Ambassadors for Worth Living. I had been following this account for a few years, as I knew the founder. Knowing Keith Anderson (our families have been friends for what seems like forever, and I grew up calling his mom and dad my Aunt and Uncle), it was easy for me to reach out and say that I would LOVE to be a part of his movement, this organization. Bringing awareness to what we experience and speaking out to break the misconceptions about mental illness as an advocate is very important to me, so this is a fantastic fit.
Through Keith, I met up with Shannon Pierangeli (we have been following each other via social media and had no idea we were a part of this movement together, lol), and WL Running Ambassadors was born. I am super excited about this next step, and cannot wait to move ahead with the ideas Shannon and I have been chatting about.
They say you know when you’ve found your “place”.
I’ve found mine.