SHANOO| I'M WALKING TO END THE STIGMA.
Like many women, I dealt with postpartum depression for months. However, for most of that time, I didn’t realize that I was dealing with a mental health challenge but rather wrote it off as “being hormonal.” At the time, I didn’t realize it was something I could seek help for, and I know there are a lot of people who deal with their mental health challenges day in and day out, just believing that that’s how life is. I am walking to end the stigma that you have to wait for a disaster to seek help, and I am walking for all the people who are brave enough to seek help once they start to think something is wrong.
NAPALI | I'M WALKING FOR JIM.
When I began working at Gilead a year ago, I didn't know what to expect. What I found was a community of staff whose sole mission was to give others a chance at a "normal" life.
What I learned is that "normal" is different for all of us, and really, none of us are living the same "normal" as everyone else.
Seeing a mental health professional to take care of your mental health needs (no matter what your level of need is) should be as normal as going to your primary care doctor... and that's why I walk.
Through my work at Gilead, I have been lucky enough to meet Jim, a volunteer who lives locally and has had a personal history with Gilead. In our time together at Gilead, Jim has reinforced the importance of appreciating the small things in life, in finding what grounds and inspires you, and has displayed enough kindness and positivity towards me to last me a lifetime. His wonderful energy would never suggest a personal struggle with mental illness, and Jim is an incredible image of what recovery from a mental illness looks like. We talk about movies, music, cool shops, food, and share stories about our families. On days where I'm overcome with tiredness, stress, or anxiety, I have found time with Jim to be the most inspiring, uplifting remedy imaginable. It's hard to describe unless you know him, but Jim is always ready to greet you with a smile, ask genuinely about your day, and share any tips on local cuisine, shopping, or music to help you enjoy the rest of your week, too.
By recovering from a mental illness, you recover your life. I feel honored to be working at an organization that helps people rediscover what their "normal" looks like, and I am walking to celebrate Jim's successes overcoming his mental illness.