As a child I struggled with depression, anxiety and self-harm behaviors and they only got worse with age. While in high school and college I struggled with suicidal thoughts and eating disorders along with an endocrine disorder but was able to graduate from Oregon State with a degree in Human Development and Family Science. My focus was to work with children and teens who were where I was…to help those who were angry, scared, anxious and lonely.
It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I made the cognitive decision to want to live and I wanted to be around for my nephews and nieces as they grew up. After losing a childhood friend in 2014 another friend invited me to join her at the Portland Out of the Darkness Walk. During the bead ceremony was the first time in my life that I did not feel alone…that other people truly were where I was, where I had been, and like myself are still learning how to live.
The best piece of advice anyone ever told me was to fill my home with photos of me with people I loved doing things I loved and to look at them on the days that were more of a struggle and that piece of advice has helped me to keep pushing forward. My beads from that first walk are in a special tiny glass chest where I see them every day. A reminder that I am not alone. I am still learning how to live for myself and am a work in progress…and that is okay.
I currently work doing in home care and spend my free time with family and friends, traveling and volunteering with AFSP at different Out of the Darkness Walks and community events like Pride NW. I want to help Be The Voice for those who cannot find theirs.
I leave you with my favorite poem, by Jillian K. Hunt entitled Believe in Yourself.
Set your standards high
You deserve the best.
Try for what you want
And never settle for less.
Believe in yourself
No matter what you choose.
Keep a winning attitude
And you can never lose.
Think about your destination
But don’t worry if you stray
Because the most important thing
Is what you learn along the way.
Take all that you’ve become
To be all that you can be.
Soar above the clouds
And let your dreams set you free.