Today’s entry is a little personal and really has nothing to do with To Kill A Mockingbird; I hope you will forgive me.
I have spoken briefly, or rather, somewhat around, about my mental health issues. I have mentioned being sad before, and that sadness being an impetus for developing this collection. In truth it went much farther than just a general homesickness, but genuine mental illness. The bulk of this happened during college, where my mental health, tenuous at best upon graduating high school, took a turn for the worse. And then worse. And then even worse.
I loved college, but it took a lot out of me and when I graduated, I moved right back home. I am fully recovered now, thanks to help of good doctors, a year of no stress and no high expectations, being near my family, and having a stable routine.
Without going into too much detail, suicide prevention is an issue that is close to my heart. In addition to my own mental health struggles, I come from a school system that is renowned for its high rate of student suicides and frequent suicide clusters. (Here is an article in the Atlantic that touches on the particulars of this problem if you are interested: The Silicon Valley Suicides.) It’s awful. I no longer live in Palo Alto, but still work in its library system, with children no less, and it breaks my heart every time I hear that another student has chosen to end their life. I, and many of my classmates in the Palo Alto school system, came out worse from high school than from when we started. Preparation for college and “the real world” comes at too high a cost in Palo Alto.
This is all a long-winded way of saying: I am walking in American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Walk this May in San Francisco. It is my first walk for this organization and I am excited to be doing it. I am walking for my fellow Palo Alto student alumnae/i and current Palo Alto students who may be suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts. I am walking for friends and family who suffer or suffered from mental illness and suicidal thoughts. And I am walking for myself.
I set a fundraising goal of $1000 for myself and I would be honored if you donated. All money goes to AFSP, who supports those currently struggling with mental illness, suicide survivors, and the family and friends of loved ones who have committed suicide. They also fund research on suicide and lobby at the federal, state, and local levels for legislation that will help prevent suicide. It’s a worthy organization and a great cause.
My donation page is here and there is a link in it for my team’s page, which explains a little more about why my team and I are walking. My friends and I — all graduates of Palo Alto High School — are all walking for different reasons, but we’ve come to walk together. I hope you’ll support us in whatever way you can.
The blogger upon graduating Goucher College, 2012. Header image is Robert Duvall’s hands in a promotional image for the TKAM movie. Real post next week, I promise!