–Trigger Warning: this post discusses suicide and suicidal ideation. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)–
A lifetime ago, I met Cristi Motto Comes (pronounced “Combs”), aka Motherhood Unadorned, while she was raising money for suicide prevention and promising to dye her hair blue if she reached her goal. Of course, she surpassed her goal, and ended up with some rockin’ blue hair. Since then, Cristi has written a guest post at Do Not Faint, and much more impressively, walked all night long for the Overnight Walk Out of The Darkness to raise funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It was Cristi’s proud smile I saw, an image from an Overnight Walk photo, when I thought about whether or not I could commit to a smaller, daytime Walk, here in Connecticut.
I just dove in, head first, because the negative voice that whispered “what if you fail? what if you raise nothing?” was suddenly drowned out by a phrase I learned at my HypnoBirthing training: “what if it’s better than you ever could have imagined?”
It’s been under twelve hours since I created a team to raise funds with a local friend, and I have already surpassed my rather modest fundraising goal. I’m just… speechless.
The team is named for this blog, because I was in a hurry to get things started. I only discovered this local walk a few days ago, in the local paper our new town publishes. (We only moved two miles, but we technically crossed a border.) Last year, this town broke records in the number of walkers and funds raised. It’s a pretty great surprise to learn that we live in a place that fights stigma and raises awareness in such a public way. We’ll be walking on great trail on a Sunday afternoon.
I wish that I knew nothing about suicide and just joined in all local charity events. I’m sure that Cristi wishes the same. She lost her dear friend to suicide. I will never meet Rachael, who once corresponded with me about her depression, because she died last year. We suspect suicide. My father, his sister, me, a number of my friends–we have all been in hospitals while we were at risk. I spent the darkest night of my life planning my own death. When the sun came up, I knew who to contact. I got help. I clawed my way up out of the darkness.
I want every person who feels that darkness closing in to know exactly where to find help. The AFSP can help accomplish that.
For my dad and my aunt and my friends and myself and Cristi’s friends and all of your loved ones, I just had to sign up for this event practically in my front yard. Wish me luck in my fundraising efforts. If you are local, please join the Do Not Faint team! If you can, please consider donating something. This is a small thing, this afternoon walk with my family and a few hundred friends and neighbors. But it’s something.
–Just one more time: If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)–
More information, in pretty flier form: