When I was a senior in college I thought about killing myself. It wasn’t the last time.
I've struggled with depression for much of my adult life. The confident, extroverted, commanding persona you see onstage is the very opposite of what I feel when depression takes the wheel.
Things could have gotten much worse for me if I hadn’t learned to embrace my sadness. I was trying to live with a false sense of happiness; a fabricated joy that fit me like a loose glove.
I had to understand that it was okay not to be okay.
I channeled my sadness into art and music and exercise and travel and photography and more. I tried to find myself in my work and poured every ounce of my energy into helping others. If I couldn’t be happy, at least I could make other people feel good.
I’m not claiming that depression shouldn’t be treated or that mental health is overtly simple. Treatment is necessary and mental health is a complicated problem to solve. My daily thoughts are confusing and complex, as I’m sure yours are as well. But learning to be okay with my thoughts helped me get through a really low point in my life.
The recent deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain hit me hard, as news of any suicide does. After losing one of my best friends to suicide two years ago, I’ve become deeply affected whenever I hear of someone taking their own life.
As a result, I’ve become an advocate and an activist for suicide prevention. I’ve taken part in numerous volunteer opportunities for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention over the past two years, including turning my own show into a fundraiser earlier this year (with all proceeds going to the AFSP).
This fall I’ll be running the Chicago Marathon on Team AFSP. My goal is to raise $500 for the organization, which will help with their efforts to #StopSuicide across the country.
I’ve never asked for help. Any opportunity I’ve gotten thus far in my career has been a result of hard work and persistence. Any success I’ve had is a result of my own time and energy, and not the charity of others. So, it is not an easy task for me to ask you to donate.
But that’s what I’m asking.
If you enjoy my blog or my show or my videos or my photos, I’m asking you for a small donation. If I’ve been able to bring a smile to your face with a mind reading show or you’ve thought “That is SO true!” when reading one of my essays, I’m asking you for your help.
Just $5 to $10 is enough. You’ll be giving to a wonderful cause that helps people in need, sponsors research, and changes lives.
This fall, when I cross the finish line after running 26.2 miles, I’ll be so grateful to you for your help.
In the meantime, I’ll keep doing shows, writing these essays, and working tirelessly on my career all by myself. I don’t want your help on that. I’d rather you give your money to a good cause, which could use it way more than I could.
If you struggle from suicidal thoughts, please know that it’s okay not to be okay. If you need someone to talk to, send me an email. Or, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. Someone is standing by to listen and help.