In just about two weeks I am hoping to attend the 2016 NAMI Walk here in Seattle where I will be walking in support of increasing understanding and decreasing the stigma associated with mental illness!
Well it is important to me to show my support for the mental health community both to those who are in it and to those who aren’t. I think creating an atmosphere of community around those of us living with mental illness is paramount to providing support to those who need it and participating in the walk is also a way for me to follow through with my goal of living openly with mental illness.
Living with treatment resistant bipolar disorder has had its share of challenges and I want to show up in mind, body, and spirit where I can say, “guess what, we’re not alone!” I did the walk a couple years ago and found that I was overwhelmed by the number of participants and felt a sort of awe at how many people were willing to be present for the sake of improving our mental health as a community, as a nation, and on a global scale.
NAMI (or the National Alliance on Mental Illness) is an organization that I have had quite a bit of experience with. They conduct free support groups as well as a number of programs (like peer-to-peer groups led by people with mental illness as well as groups to help friends and family learn how to cope, support, and adjust, among others) that I believe are invaluable. Finding support early on after diagnosis can be really challenging, especially for those with little financial support. NAMI does a great job at offering their services to those in need, which is why I am working to raise funds for them through the 2016 NAMI Walk.
Anyone able to spare a couple dollars for the cause can donate to my fundraising page here. Donations, big or small, are greatly appreciated but I hope that even if you do not have the means to donate or you choose not to for whatever reason you take the time in the next few weeks to consider how you can pay forward the support you’ve seen from the mental health community. That might mean lending a non-judgmental open ear to someone in need of one, or even sharing your story with someone feeling isolated and alone. I don’t like asking for money because I know how stressful it can be living with very little, that’s why I wanted to suggest that donating an act of kindness or support or openness to someone else is equally as important and could provide something equally as life changing to someone who needs it.
If you find yourself open to donating an act of kindness or support and want to let everyone know in the comments, have at it! It would be great to hear an act of support being pledged by any of you readers! If you want to do it in secret there’s no shame, trust me -the end result will be just as powerful!
NAMI is a national organization and you can find out more about them (or their work in your area) here. They are hosting walks through the country throurout the year.
Live in the greater Seattle area and have an interest in doing the NAMI Walk for Seattle on Saturday June 4th in Kirkland? Check out the website here!
Finally, once and again you can check out my fundraising page here.
Thanks for your support!