I have a feeling you’ve probably heard, but…The Climb Out of the Darkness, the world’s largest (and most fun!) event raising awareness of postpartum depression, anxiety, psychosis and pregnancy depression is coming this June to benefit Postpartum Progress Inc., the registered 501c3 nonprofit organization founded by the amazing Katherine Stone. (Yes, Katherine you are amazing! Am I right ladies?!)
LEARN MORE: If on the off chance you haven’t heard about the climb, you can find a handy Overview HERE.
REGISTRATION: Would you like to participate? Register HERE by June 2, 2014.
MAP OF CLIMBS: Want to see a map of the currently planned climbs all over the world? Yes I said WORLD. There are currently 86 scheduled climbs in 5 countries (Switzerland, Canada, US, UK, Australia). Map available HERE. If you don’t see one near you, you can still coordinate your very own climb in your hometown. Let us know!
I personally just love the visual and feelings “climb out of the darkness” evokes. It so perfectly describes us warrior moms fighting our way out of the darkness of postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar and psychosis and finding our own light and strength on the other side.
Thinking about this upcoming Climb Out of the Darkness, I wanted to share my thoughts. I have a lot of experience doing charity events, and while charity climbs and walks are just that — events to raise funds and awareness — I know they can be so much more to us on our healing journeys. They have been for me.
While in the throws of my own postpartum mental health crisis in 2010, a dear lifelong friend of mine took her own life. It threw me for an even bigger loop, but it was then that I began blogging about mental health and suicide prevention as part of my healing process. Its also the time that I found Postpartum Progress and joined Katherine’s community of Warrior Moms. Its why I’m on PP’s Warrior Mom Leadership Team, and why I regularly donate to Postpartum Progress, Inc., and its why I also actively volunteer, walk and raise funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Both of these non-profits speak directly to my personal passions and my own experiences with mental illness. And they both do incredible work. I visibly see each making a difference in so many lives, especially mine.
Doing a climb or a walk for any organization you hold dear can be a life-changing experience. Its where we build community with others who understand. At a Climb Out of the Darkness you will be with others who have been there. They just get it. You may even connect with a mother who has never shared her story, but on the journey of your climb she may finally have the strength to share her story with you. How powerful is that? And I’m willing to bet you will make lifelong friends too.
Back in 2010 when I lost my friend, another woman Jenni also lost her dear friend Kristi to postpartum depression. We had never met, but somehow through the miracle of social media met via Twitter. Several months later she flew cross country to visit her in-laws in Seattle and we got together for lunch. Three-hours later and we were friends for life.
When in 2013 I decided to do the Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in Washington DC, I encouraged Jenni to join me. This is a BIG 17 mile walk literally overnight from dusk till dawn, so not an easy task. But she agreed to do it and we both went. Participating in that event changed my life. I walked with Jenni and several other women I met for the first time in DC. We walked an entire night together pushing ourselves physically and sharing ourselves emotionally. It might sound corny, but it seriously was like a giant hug of love and support.
I don’t think its an accident that both Postpartum Progress and the AFSP use the profound phrase “out of the darkness” to describe their mental health events. It feels like kismet to me.
I’m actually doing The Overnight again this year, this time in Seattle, and once again Jenni is flying cross country to join me. Our friendship, support and healing journey continues.
I think yours can too if you participate in the Postpartum Progress Climb Out of the Darkness this June.
Note: Most Climb events will be held on Saturday, June 21st. A handful will be held Sunday the 22nd or the weekend prior to or following June 21st. Check the Climb map to get specific details on each event.