Grateful to Still Be on This Journey: GripCity Founder Reflection

Today marks four years since the day I had planned to no longer be alive.  

Living with major depression can make you believe that the world would be better off without you—that you’ll never feel "normal" again, and that life isn’t worth living.  

I was fortunate enough to be given another chance. Today, I am reminded of how messy and winding life can be and how excruciatingly tough times can lead to unexpectedly beautiful things.  

Most of us have been conditioned or explicitly discouraged from talking about mental illness and suicide. Some of us, myself included, have had the ability to speak freely about these things. Instead of alienating me from others, sharing my experiences has created a tremendous amount of connection and a deep sense of purpose, both personally and professionally. 

A year ago, GripCity launched our Care Kits project through a partnership with New York State's Office of Mental Health. The kits contain a pair of our socks, a journal, a note of encouragement, local mental health resources, and additional materials developed by the Suicide Prevention Center of New York. GripCity Care Kits were distributed to adolescents facing psychiatric emergencies at a facility upstate. Our second pilot is underway and it feels very fitting to be surrounded today by these Care Kits that are getting packed up for distribution.  

Messy and winding, yes. Unexpectedly beautiful, that too.  

Last year, I was invited to serve on New York's Suicide Prevention Council. There, I've had the opportunity to share my perspective on issues related to prevention, wellness programs and suicide intervention strategies. I recently sat on a panel at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) convention. There, I was asked to offer my perspective on research that evaluates the efficacy of various suicide prevention models and practices.  And in the coming months, we’ll start working on a Care Kit for families that we’ll pilot with some incredible partners in NYC.  

Sometimes it's hard to believe that this work is growing. And amidst the chaos of taking on a lot professionally, I have to stop and remind myself that this work brings me purpose, meaning, and connection—sometimes with people I’ll never even meet.  

My takeaway: I never could have guessed this is where life would take me, but I'm so grateful to still be on this journey. 

(Backstory: It was my sitting in sterile, crappy hospital grip socks and feeling barely human that ultimately launched GripCity into existence.) 

Being human is hard. 

If you’re struggling right now, you do not need to suffer alone—reach out and get help. As the nonprofit group Project Semicolon reminds us through their use of the symbolic punctuation: 

Your story isn't over yet; don't put a period where a semicolon ought to be. 

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Hang in there.

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