**update, due to my surgery, I've been benched this year :( very disappointing...BUT my dad's still in it to win it and the fundraiser must go on!!! and don't worry...I'll be back in all my running glory next year so watch out Hartford!**
This year I am proud to once again be raising money for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). But also incredibly proud to be running 13.1 miles with my dad - who will be running his 1st 1/2 marathon at the age of 60!
Why am I supporting NAMI this year:
My focus this year is a bit different than last year. Recent events over the past year have stirred up much controversy and frankly - even more stereotyping of the mentally ill. It seems everyone's now talking about the "problems" that need to be addressed in the way the country handles treating and identifying those with mental illness. How many people have you heard that say "We need to do more"? The first step of "doing more" is educating ones self - there have been so many broad statements made, "anyone and everyone who has a mental illness is a threat" "people with mental illness are the only one's who will act out violently" "the mentally ill should not be allowed to own weapons." While there may be SOME truths to SOME of this there is far more education that needs to take place before anyone can make these generalized statements that are nothing more than stereotyping. AND, there is a significant difference between someone who is mentally ill and someone who's just plain deranged. I'm no expert but I know a little bit. We are not going to improve on ANYTHING unless there is more education on these matters.
There is considerable unfounded stigma and discrimination toward the mentally ill based on the popular notion that psychiatric patients are dangerous people. When you think about it and educate yourself - people with depression have a mental illness, and are in fact, "psychiatric patients" but are much more likely to be a threat to themselves than others. People who are bipolar often times act out impulsively, in ways such as, indulging in extreme spending sprees, engaging in promiscuous sexual activities, decreased need for sleep, an overwhelming amount of energy and talkativeness yet when they hit lows can be extremely reserved, isolated, and hopeless - and yet again, these symptoms pose much more of a threat to those who suffer from them than others. And what about Schizophrenia? The following link is a representation of what auditory hallucinations may sound like to those who are diagnosed with Schizophrenia, I'll warn you, this is a bit disturbing to hear but if you listen, the violence in the words being said and the incredibly degrading statements are directed at the individual hearing these voices, not at others. http://youtu.be/0vvU-Ajwbok. Of course as with any diagnosis of mental illness there are various levels of intensity. Two people with the same diagnosis may have very different ways of channeling their reactions to their medical condition.
So before everyone continues to jump on the bandwagon of discussing mental illness and how it should be addressed, let's all take a moment and learn more because knowledge truly is power.
Supporting NAMI benefits everyone, not just the mentally ill. Please consider donating and as always - no amount is too small. You will also notice I've double my fundraising goal from last year because of the importance of the cause and, because I far exceeded my goal of $500 last year so why not raise the bar this year!
Some notes and info about NAMI and Mental Illness from their site:
Mental illness affects everyone. Nearly 60 million Americans experience a mental health condition every year. Regardless of race, age, religion or economic status, mental illness impacts the lives of at least one in four adults and one in 10 children across the United States.
People living with mental illness need help and hope: they need a community that supports them, their families and their recovery.
Because mental illness devastates the lives of so many Americans, NAMI works every day to save every life.
NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raise awareness and build a community for hope for all of those in need.
NAMI is the foundation for hundreds of NAMI State Organizations, NAMI Affiliates and volunteer leaders who work in local communities across the country to raise awareness and provide essential and free education, advocacy and support group programs.