“1 in 5 Americans live with a mental condition.
Your support ensures no one is alone in this fight.”
This year, for my birthday, I wanted to switch things up a bit. Instead of getting more “stuff”, that I don’t necessarily need, why not put the money to better use and support a good cause.
Around this past Christmas, I did a bit of research on how to communicate to others that I did not want any gifts, something that I never thought would be so difficult! Of course, I have always appreciated everything that was ever given to me, however, I am at a point in my life that I really don’t want any more things. What I found were suggests like, ask for experiences (such as tickets to an event, or gift card for a night at a hotel) or suggest something handmade and/or edible (in assumption this lessens the cost, or if its edible, once its consumed, its gone) An idea that stood out to me the most, was to ask your friends and family to donate to a charity, of your choice, in place of any gifts. What an amazing idea! Although I did not put this plan into action for the holidays, I had every intention to create a fundraiser for my birthday, the following April. Now, the only thing I had to do, was chose a charity/organization that meant a lot to me.
NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) is an non-profit organization that is dedicated to building better lives for the millions that are affected by a mental illness. What once started as a small group of families, almost 40 years ago, is now one of the largest mental health organizations in our nation. NAMI offers educational programs, awareness events, such as NAMIWalks, and a helpline you can call where they can answer all your questions regarding mental health issues. And because they rely on gifts and contributions, I felt it would be a great idea to create a birthday fundraiser page to do my part in supporting their cause.
This type of organization is very important to me. I have struggled with my mental health, pretty much my whole life. Late last year, it was finally the time to ask for help. Since then, I have started seeing a therapist and began taking medication, that I feel has really made a difference in my day to day life. It hasn’t been until recently though, that I felt even remotely comfortable to talk about it, and now that I am (well, I am still working on it) I realized I could potentially help others who suffer too. I’m not a professional, and I can’t even pretend to know everything, but I do know what it is like to live with the stigma that comes with mental illness. By becoming more vocal, I hope that others in my life (or just others in general) may be inspired to be open up as well. Or maybe I can inspire those who don’t understand mental health/mental illness, to take the time and truly educate themselves. As the saying goes, “the struggle is real.” That it is! Even now that I am on medication, and in therapy, the bad days still occur. The panic attacks still occur. All the overthinking still occurs. That is just my life, it is part of who I am, and that is okay.
For anyone who feels they are alone in this, you aren’t. And if I, personally, can do anything for those who feel like they are, my door (email/social media) is always open.