Why I Walk: AFSP Out of the Darkness Walks
This year I am walking and sharing my two at two Out of the Darkness Community Walks in Virginia. I participated in my first walk in 2017. These walks by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention give people the courage to up about their own personal struggle or loss due to suicide. As speaker and volunteer I can tell you these walks are powerful. They also raise money to help AFSP mission to reduce suicide.
And, personally these walks mean a lot to me here is why.
Why I Walk: Because I know what it feels like to live in darkness. Four years ago I was a promising television journalist. On the outside I looked like I had everything; good looks, an amazing job, a nice condo, and adoring parents. In reality, I lived in constant depression and anxiety. I attempted suicide in 2014, and my life fell apart afterwards. I was homeless, alone, unemployed, and emotionally broken. I’ve found my pathways to recovery: a mixture of spirituality, therapy, and medication management. I’ve been in mental health recovery for two years. When I look back on those darks year there is so much I wish I could say to myself. It’s the things I say now in any talk I give about mental health or suicide prevention. I would say to myself, “Lauren your life is worth fighting for! You are worth fighting for. You are not alone. There is help out there, let me show you. It is ok you are not ok. You are not crazy, abnormal, or unlovable. You just need help.”
I want people to know there is light after dark days. There is help out there. I am living proof. I am a survivor who found help in so many places, and with that help I am rebuilding my life. Some would say a life more meaningful and rich than anything I did as a television reporter. I walk for me, but I also walk for so many of you; the suicide loss survivors, attempt survivors, people who care enough to do this work. I walk to how there is a way out of the darkness.
I now have the distinct honor of being on the Virginia Chapter Board for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. My hope is to bring more suicide prevention presentations like TALK SAVES LIVES, and MORE THAN SAD to more cities in Hampton Roads. I want to educate more people about the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and create meaningful content and projects so support mental health nonprofits.
Learn more about AFSP at www.afsp.org. You can join my walk team here – https://afsp.donordrive.com/participant/Lauren-Hope