I am a geek. I also have panic disorder and depression. Much like allergies, there are times when it's not even an issue and there are times when it's really annoying and acts up. There's "medicine" I can "take" to help with the symptoms, whether it's talking to a friend, or going on a walk, or being alone for a while, or doing a little netflix marathon, and there are even preventative measures I can take to help avoid a flare up of symptoms, like eating right and sleeping right and having fun with friends fairly regularly and not isolating myself-- but it's not something that can be cured. Nor does it have to be curable for someone to live a healthy and productive life. Sometimes, I think it might even be easier for me to live with day-to-day than being allergic to peanuts or cats. I'd hate to be allergic to cats! I'm already allergic to bunnies, haven't I suffered enough? (Real talk though, I still hold bunnies whenever I get the chance despite the 6 hours of sinus misery that follows.) Of course, sometimes it feels like the worst thing to ever happen to a person ever, which intellectually I know is not true (I mean, come on, childbirth is a really rough experience and some people even opt to do it more than once-- thanks, mom, for enduring that and giving me an awesome sister, by the way!) but emotionally, when you're in the midst of depression or a panic attack, it's hard for your brain to process the idea of anything outside your own misery.
For me, one of the things that helps is having things I care about that don't demand a lot from me but are still really fun. It's definitely good to care about big important things like your job or school or a project you're working on, but sometimes they can feel more about the demand and less about the love, and when you find yourself emotionally exhausted from wrestling with constantly encroaching darkness, you need to escape to a place of love with minor responsibility. Maybe it's gaming, or art, or TV, or books-- these things can give you something to care about that won't ask for much in return. These things can help ground you when you start to feel overwhelmed or burned-out. They can help you get out of your head and remind you that there is life beyond the feelings your brain chemistry is stuck on.
It's important to recognize that you're not "crazy" or being some form of selfish/oversensitive/overdramatic/whatever if you have these feelings of being trapped in a really negative emotional state. Feelings are a product of your brain doing some really complicated stuff. Your entire human experience is a product of your brain! And not everyone's brain is the same, and some people have a little less of x chemical and a little more of y chemical, and that's okay as long as you work with it and find ways to have a fulfilling, healthy life-- everyone deserves a shot at that. This means sometimes you need to ask for help, whether it's spiritual guidance, physical or medical intervention, or just someone to talk to without feeling like a burden.
When someone is dealing with thoughts of suicide or self-harm, that can be really difficult. You might not feel like you're worth helping or the time it takes out of someone's day to care for you. You might be scared to talk to someone about your very scary feelings. You might be afraid to burden someone who has no idea how to handle the situation. For these reasons, it is so critical that we have services like Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK), the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. In addition, there are many local state hotlines to turn to. But many people today have a hard time talking on the phone-- it feels uncomfortable in this age of texting and instant messaging via facebook and skype. That's where IMAlive comes in.
IMAlive is a non-profit suicide help chat service. Chats are done through the site, and it's the first online network with 100% of its volunteers are trained and certified in crisis intervention. This is a REALLY important site to tell everyone you know about-- you never know who might be hurting.
IMAlive is able to operate thanks to donations and volunteers. Without those two things, they would be unable to operate. And now I bring you to the very reason why this giveaway is happening: to help fund volunteers.
IMAlive volunteers are fully-trained and certified, but they only get that way after paying $250 to get trained. A friend of mine, Autumn, is trying to raise funds so that she can get trained. I want her to meet her goal and get trained, because not only is Autumn excited to work with IMAlive, but because she is pursuing a career in clinical psychology. Helping Autumn to work with IMAlive and receive these certifications will help Autumn help others for years to come, making your donation literally a gift that keeps on giving. Awesome, right? Who could refuse such a sweet deal?
No one, but Mia from xoMia and I are going to sweeten the pot by putting some coolio geeky stuff up for grabs for supporting Autumn and IMAlive. We both really care about the importance of talking about issues of mental health, and we are both geek girls who thought that one really fantastic way to talk about this issue was by talking about our positive outlets like geekery that help us deal with stress.
Our goal is to fully fund Autumn (and at $250, even $5 from 50 people means she's fully funded!) and then continue on to funding other soon-to-be volunteers. Let's do this!
International entries will be accepted.
You do not have to donate in order to participate in this giveaway, but we highly recommend it. Why not do a good deed instead of buying a fancy latte, especially when you could win a prize for doing so?
Please screen capture your donation and save it for entry verification purposes. That means no anonymous donations-- we have to be able to identify it. We'll only ask you to show it to us via email if you are selected as one of the winners.
When submitting an entry for a donation, be sure to type "your name as it appears on the donation list / $amount / name of the volunteer you donated to" in the box where it asks for the info. Failure to do so will invalidate your entry.
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