I was very recently invited to be on the Board of Directors for the Utah division of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and attended my first meeting last week. NAMI Utah exists primarily to advocate for not only those who suffer mental illness but also for the families and friends of those who suffer. They provide support groups, classes and mentoring while also reaching out to legislators to educate them on how they can promote treatment in public policy. It’s a very small grassroots organization with big ideas, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.
What I bring to the board is firsthand experience with what it’s like to suffer, enter treatment, and live successfully with this illness. “Recovery” is a tricky word when you enter this territory because for many of us this is a lifelong battle. It can be a lot like diabetes or arthritis in the sense that we treat it and manage to live our lives despite it. I will always have to take medication, and I guess in a sense the ability to be okay with that, to accept it as my reality is my own version of recovery.
I’m late to the game, but this Saturday NAMI Utah is holding it’s annual fundraising event called NAMI Walks, a 5k stroll through Liberty Park in Salt Lake City with thousands of individuals whose lives in one way or another have been affected by this illness. THANK GOD IT’S NOT A MARATHON.
I set up a fundraising page here: namiwalks.nami.org/armstrongmedia
I know money is tight, but if any of you would like to help out the funds raised through this walk pretty much ensure that NAMI can operate for the next year. I have personally met and talked to people who did not believe that their family member suffered from anything until the classes provided by NAMI opened their minds. It’s truly amazing work.
I’ll be there Saturday helping out with registration and participating in the walk, and Cami said she was going to join me. I said only if she shows up wearing a turban or an outrageous metallic 70s jumpsuit. ONLY THEN, CAMILLA.
If any of you would like to join us, I’d love to see you there. We don’t have to worry about shin splints, plantar fasciitis, IT band syndrome, broken feet, or chafed nipples! SUCK IT, MARATHONS!