Out of the Darkness – Suicide Awareness Walk

I try not to get too personal with this blog (no, really) but I wanted to talk to my readers about something very important to me. Outside of sexual freedom, feminism and geekery.

jake

Suicide has had a major impact on my life. I have had a number of close friends and family members who have taken their own lives. Between the ages of 14 – 16 I attempted to take my own life at least 6 times. That is something I haven’t admitted to very many people. It is not something I am ashamed of; I just don’t wish to dwell on my past. I took the steps earlier this year to get my mental health in order because it had become a detriment to myself and my relationships. Unfortunately too many people don’t know how or where to begin to take this route.

On September 14 I am walking in the Out of the Darkness¬†walk, hosted here in (Blaine,) Minnesota. I am walking with my cousin in honor of her brother who took his own life last year as a part of Team Jake Higgins. I didn’t know him much after our early teenage years, but I know that aside from his faults he was an amazing young man who loved unconditionally and had a heart of gold.He cared deeply for his friends and his family. I (as with everyone who’s lives he touched) remember him fondly as a fun loving goofball who loved getting dirty, having fun and being a complete goofball.

I also walk for another cousin Marty, who I loved dearly but lost contact with when I was about 17 or 18 years old. I spent a few summers at his family’s farm in Northern Minnesota. I loved that he always disregarded the fact that I was a girl. I fell back in love with video games because of him. We played football until well past sundown and never once did he treat me with kid gloves. I usually woke up before the rest of the household during those summers and would take a bowl of cereal out to the barn and sit in the hay window watching the sun rise and listening to the world wake up. Right about the time I would realize I was still hungry but my cereal bowl was empty; Marty would be coming out of the house with his own bowl, a gallon of milk and the box of cereal. We’d sit up in the hay window and talk about where we wanted to go and what we wanted to be when we were (legally) adults.

Finally, I walk for myself. I personally know what the struggle is like. I know all too well how terrible life can feel like to reach a point that you think dying is the best answer; or the only option to getting yourself out of the hole you’ve dug yourself or somehow managed to sink into. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression since I was about 12 years old. Always finding ways to self medicate; not wanting to admit that I had a problem. I was anorexic for two years, and then bulimic for another two years. After that I turned to drugs and alcohol to “control” my emotions. I cleaned up and won against my drug habit when I was about 18; and kicked alcohol by the time I turned 21. I still drink from time to time but it’s never done to heal my emotional wounds any longer. I see a therapist once a week and take two separate medications for my depression and anxiety.

I reached out to my friends and family recently in asking for donations toward this cause and the walk I am taking in roughly two weeks. I am completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of support I received; in less than 10 hours I not only made my goal but exceeded it. I am humbled by the love and support I have received from the people I know and also perfect strangers (Jedi sent a request out to his coworkers). Admittedly I have continued to ask for donations; solely to raise more funds and awareness for this amazing campaign. I will continue to work with this organization and others like it to raise awareness and to show support to those who are struggling; and also to give support to those who have been affected by suicide.