When Harper invited me to be a part of a giveaway to promote IMAlive (specifically, Autumn's campaign to become certified), I immediately said yes. This cause is close to my heart for so many reasons.
I don't talk about it much online, but I have anxiety and depression. There are days (sometimes weeks, sometimes months) where my brain rules over any sort of reasoning, logic, or reality. It can be difficult to overcome the panic that things will never get better, or the feeling that nothing you do really matters.
While my anxiety and depression are a part of me, they aren't my whole identity. The cool thing about identities is that we have the power to choose who we want to be. I am a geek, an intersectional feminist, a grad student, a vegan, and a cat lady, all by choice. I know that, for me, focusing on all the things I can choose to be and do makes me feel at peace.
As Harper mentions in her post, one of the best things to do when I feel this way is to be gentle with myself. I have to choose activities that make me feel good, but don't require a significant amount of effort. For me, that means it's really hard for me to feel motivated to, say, go for a run when I'm depressed, but geeking out? Totally works.
I'm an advocate for discussing mental health, because otherwise mental health will continue to have a stigma surrounding it. At the same time, it's important to acknowledge that mental health issues, especially suicidal thoughts, can feel impossible to talk about with friends or family. While suicide hotlines have been crucial for assisting those in need, many feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger on the phone. (I used to have really, really bad anxiety about phone calls, so I totally get it.)
That's why IMAlive is so wonderful - it's chat-based suicide help, so nobody has to feel awkward about phone calls. Even cooler - every single one of its representatives are trained and certified. Services like IMAlive save lives every single day. But here's the tricky part - IMAlive is run by volunteers and donations. Becoming certified costs $250. Autumn, Harper's friend, is raising money to cover her certification and training so she can help those struggling with mental issues.
We're giving away some of our favorite geek swag to show our thanks for supporting Autumn and IMAlive and to maybe help someone else out on a not-so-good day. Our goal is to get Autumn's training funded - and if we accomplish that goal, who knows? Maybe, as a group, we can help several volunteers reach their funding goals and, in turn, help save lives.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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.