30 Stories 30 Years

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6 03, 2019

Bettie

Bettie I don't know if any mental illnesses run in my family, but I was told that my grandmother on my dad's side suffered from some difficulty that caused very rough times for her children. Back then, I don't know if they even put a name to an issue with mental illness. My daughter Betsy suffered from depression. For her it was a dark, lonely time, and for the family it was a constant worry and trying to stay on top of increasingly risky behaviors. Her brothers worked hard to outsmart her next move; I slept at her door; we rescued her from numerous dangerous escapades; and then finally we had to reach out for help in a two-year rehab facility and school. We all were involved in family counseling and family discussions of self-awareness [...]

6 03, 2019

Jen

Jen When I turned 12, I knew what depression was. It hit me out of nowhere, and it didn’t go away. I wasn’t the only young teenage girl who struggled with mental illness. I watched two of my best friends, D and C, struggle as well. They both tried to commit suicide before they were 14. My parents didn't want to talk about it—they told me C had a liver problem from taking too much Tylenol. Later, D told me she was attempting, and I called 911. The police broke down her door and took her to a mental hospital. Today, D says that was what she needed. In my household, I was not allowed to be mentally ill. I was not allowed to get on medication. I told my parents repeatedly about how much I [...]

6 03, 2019

Jimmy

Jimmy I’m Bipolar Type 1/Mixed. I was working a full-time job and had a nervous breakdown. I was living what one would consider a "normal" life, and my world came crashing down around me. If it weren’t for my family and friends, things would have been so terribly different. I have to credit my doctor for his intervention, too. Without him, I wouldn’t have been so quickly diagnosed, and my path would not have been as easy. I found an organization called The Comfort Zone, a Triangle depression and bipolar support alliance for people who have mental challenges. I’ve been a part of that organization for over 20 years. It’s near and dear to my heart. Because of them, I have found strength and support when I needed it. I walk for them because they [...]

6 03, 2019

Lori

Lori My mom and her twin sister were diagnosed in their teens with paranoid schizophrenia back in the 1960s. While my aunt is alive and managing quite well, we lost my mom in 1987 at age 38. I was nine years old when she passed. 2017 marked the 30th anniversary of my mom’s passing. Early that year I started researching events to participate in that raised money for mental illness/mental health treatment and research to pay tribute her memory. That’s when I found the Race for Steak/Walk for Hope. I had no idea that this wonderful fundraising opportunity existed in my backyard and that the Foundation of Hope has been involved in the local community for almost the same exact length of time that my mom has been gone for. I thought it was a [...]

6 03, 2019

Andrew

Andrew The first Walk for Hope my wife and I did was in 2003. I had known of the Walk since moving here in 1993, but in 2003 my step-daughter was having issues, including a stay at a mental hospital—she would eventually be diagnosed with borderline [personality disorder]. It was a one and done for us at that point. Then 2010 ended the worst three-year period in our lives. During that time, we had four friends bury children. Three were due to mental illness. I approached the family of one of the children who died and asked if they had ever heard of the Walk for Hope. Shockingly, they had not. I asked if it would be all right to form a team in their son's honor. They agreed, and that is how Team Michael Carpenter [...]

6 03, 2019

Jeanne

Jeanne I had a situation with depression for three years and saw how I needed help. After I recovered, I realized that people who are struggling with mental illness needed help in support groups so they didn't feel all alone out there. For the last 19 years, I've been a facilitator for NAMI Wake - National Alliance on Mental Illness for people with mental illness, and also with family support for people with mental illness. When I first started, I thought medication would take care of it—that once you started medication and therapy, you were gonna be well. But it's not that easy. I saw that medications weren't sophisticated enough or helping people well enough, that people were suffering from side effects; they weren't recovering fast enough. I knew that there needed to be more research. But [...]

6 03, 2019

Meghan

Meghan I walk for a lot of reasons and a lot of people, but most of all, I walk for my mom. She has suffered for most of my life. I would literally give anything to be able to find a cure for her and others who suffer like she does. My mom suffers from depression and paranoid schizophrenia. It's easy to think about the impact it has had on me and on my brother and on others in our family, but I often think, most of all, about the way that my mom suffers every day, often in silence—and she is often so sick that an expectation that she will find help on her own does not exist. I'm told that she struggled a lot with depression after her own brother committed suicide in [...]

6 03, 2019

Thad

Thad My name is Thad J. Eure. I am the son of Thad and Alice Eure, and I have been diagnosed with bipolar disease and schizo-affective disorder. Forty years ago, I probably could not have even written my name down; but here I sit in a calm, clear-headed, rehabilitated state of mind, writing one of the most important letters I will ever write. Chronic mental illness literally swept away my adolescence and early adulthood. After I had gone through 10 years of hospitalizations in seven different mental institutions, back-to-back, my parents reached a state of helplessness, hopelessness, frustration and desperation. Out of this dark abyss came a fragile and delicate ray of light that would one day become the Foundation of Hope. The Foundation was established on the premise (and the hope) that mental illness [...]

6 03, 2019

Allison

Allison Mental illness had never touched my family until the summer of 2014, when we discovered my brother Ryan (pictured) was sick. Ryan was the life of the party—wonderful sense of humor, tons of friends. He worked for the town of Cornelius in their Parks and Recreation Department. Everyone who knew him loved him. No one would ever have guessed he was silently struggling with depression and anxiety. Fast forward to June of 2014: it was no longer a secret that he was struggling and needed help. My family and I did everything in our power to get him the help he needed. His lack of health insurance due to not being able to work was our downfall. One of the many things I am hoping we as a nation can change is how our [...]

6 03, 2019

Charlotte

Charlotte I learned about the Walk for Hope at work in 2007; ours was the agency who helped put the yearly TV ad together. I didn't need a lot of convincing to join our team—I've had depression and anxiety most of my life, and around about that time, the panic attacks I'd had since childhood were becoming debilitating. I'd arrive at work and realize I couldn't remember the commute. I'd melt down out of nowhere. I began experiencing hypochondria and agoraphobia. I racked up thousands of dollars in medical debt for mysterious issues no one could seem to diagnose. I was physically healthy, and yet I could barely function. Other members of my own family, too, had long been treated for the same issues that plagued me; and other illnesses I'd escaped, like alcoholism, had [...]