Saturday, September 27, 2014

AM~Erica Has One More Week

So anyway...

I'm a bit emotional.

I know...I know...for those of you who know me, you may be wondering when I'm NOT emotional about something! But seriously & for reals right now! I am...

In just one week from today, I am participating in an event that is for something near & dear to my heart.
In just one week from today, I am participating in the Out of the Darkness Kansas City walk for suicide prevention.

That's right. This fundraising I've been doing for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is coming up very quickly!!

I cannot fully express how moved I have been from some very supportive individuals. It's because of them that I raised my fundraising goal!

The AFSP of Greater Kansas City is looking to raise $60,000 for research & resources leading to the prevention of suicide, especially by mental illness. The overall goal is still well below what they are hoping for.

I want to do my part. I want to be able to raise funds to support this amazing cause!

If you remember, this near & dear to my own heart...because I suffer. I have suffered. I know many others who have suffered. I know of those who fight. I know of those who have fought & lost.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States right now. That is a tremendous statistic! This just covers those who have actually died by suicide. This doesn't include the number who have tried & failed. Those of us who are still here because we managed to get out of that current war we were fighting...and might still be.

I thought of it this way earlier today:


Mental illness & suicide is like fighting a war. A secret war.

We go in fighting a war not knowing how we will come out of it. We didn't want to be drafted into this war. The ones that make it back alive are damaged. There's the ones that can get passed it for the moment, but most remain haunted by it daily. And, upon their return, it doesn't mean they will never be called back to their own front lines...always with the chance they may not return next time.

Then there's those who fight hard. And sometimes the war wins, taking the life of this loved one who fought so hard for a life to live.

There's those who don't understand this war & wrongly condemn those who are forced to fight it.

Mental illness & suicide is a war being fought every day. It's a war that can be averted if we are honest & open about it happening.


Every day, it's a war that's so misunderstood! Such stigma is still attached, and it hurts. Badly.

I've also witnessed the misconception that it's only suicide if there's a note. Nope. Not always. Many times there will be. Not all those who fight will leave their final thoughts. But it doesn't mean they loved those around them any less. They just didn't want to be a burden to those they love. 

Look...those of us who fight do have our own battles. Just because one is different than another's certainly doesn't mean it's lesser by any stretch! Whether someone lost their own battle, or if someone is still's hard! It's hard to take & hard to accept sometimes. I realize that, especially if you don't understand the battle. But what is being asked is that you talk about it with a willingness to learn...a willingness to try to understand. Making blind judgement on a war you don't understand makes you look foolish.

I am upping my battle warfare. I am in the midst of becoming an advocate for AFSP. It's a really big step to take a bigger role in something I'm very passionate about. Because I know. I've been there. I get it. And others need to know what is being dealt with & how it is planning on being fought as support is being asked for. So I am looking to take on a role that will help move the prevention of suicide forward.

And to help begin this journey is to participate in the Out of the Darkness walk, one week from today. (Remember me bringing that up?)

This particular event is for fundraising to help the AFSP. You can read more about this important organization HERE.

If you also remember, I've been working on raising funds for them. And as I want to help them as much as I can to reach their $60,000 goal, I am $400 away from my current goal. And I would like to be able to reach $1,500 before the walk on Saturday, October 4th.

Click image for my story & to donate

I have a couple of incentives to throw out there:

1. If I reach the $1,500 goal before Saturday, I will streak my hair with purple for the walk. Should look pretty cool in pictures.

2. If I exceed the $1,500 goal before Saturday, I will have all of my hair colored purple for the walk. Should look pretty amazing in pictures.

So, there's a start for you. Because there won't be any purple if the $1,500 cannot be reached. I REALLY want to raise at least that for this organization! It's the least I can do right now while I continue to raise awareness of how real this battle is.

Also, I have had several private conversations with some, in the last several months, who have been in my position. It hurts me to know there's others who have been what I've been thru...but still grateful they are able to talk to someone about it. And, with the stigma still attached to it, they are are afraid to come out of that shadow. I will not be the one to drag them out. I will meet them where they are at until they are ready to speak up. They may never be able to. And we must be understanding of that. But now I want to address those few of you I have spoken with about the struggle:

I want to honor you in this Out of the Darkness walk. I make a solemn promise that I will not share your identity unless you give the OK. But I want you to know that you are being thought of in your struggles (past &/or present) during this healing event. So, I want you to contact me, privately, so I can discuss with you what I want to do. I have some on board already & looking forward to showing there's more of us in this world. You can send me a private message on Facebook or you can email me ( I'm looking forward to honoring the fact that you are still me. I look forward to hearing from you! And, I may track some of you down based on previous conversations. I hope you will allow me to honor you.

I am going to get to hear our Team SOLOS captain, and my friend, Jenn, get to speak to the masses at the walk! I am so proud of her & the message she spreads since losing her mother to suicide. It's been her passion that really moved me to come out of my own darkness to be a voice for mental illness & how it can lead to suicide...and as to who does or does not come out of the secret war alive. And I have also been asked to be a part of the event. I am so overwhelmed by the honor to even be asked! I will be a part of the pre-event. And I'm choked up even thinking about it right now!

And I feel the burn deep down inside to keep going with this passion. I feel like my struggle is part of my calling in this. We will fight this...and want to see an end to it! All of it that leads suicide. To erase the stigma so that talking about it would not bring dark human judgement by our own battles.

Until then, I ask for your support in this event & my advocacy beyond just this coming Saturday as I hope to step up my role for the cause. And if you need reminding of what I've put out there, please check out my "*My Struggles (Depression & Suicide)" tab, above or click HERE.

I'm a bit passionate about it & those who struggle.

Still glad to be a failure. And glad you're still here, too.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

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