World Suicide Prevention Day : My Story #IKeptLiving

Saturday, September 10th, 2016 General

Today, September 10th, is World Suicide Prevention Day.

This is my story.

As I was recovering emotionally from my suicide attempt, I knew that I needed to do more than talk. I needed more. I had been saved, I was still alive. It was time for me to pay it forward.

To keep moving..

To keep loving..

To keep serving..

That was the only way that I could quiet the demons in my head.

And so I walked.
20 miles,
in the night.
Through Chicago.
With my mom who almost lost her baby.
And two friends who had lost a father and a brother to suicide.

And then I did it again the next year. 20 miles. Through NYC. With one my best friends who struggled, just like I had.

And I raised $10,000 by rallying my troops and doing a big 2 day garage sale. So many people donated to that garage sale – whatever they could do. Old furniture, clothes, shoes, knick-knacks, and checks if they could.

We advertised my garage sale. Strangers came from all over. My grandpa guarded the sale by sitting in the driveway, shooting the shi* with strangers, while he lounged in a lawn chair, sipping lemonade.

And when these ‘strangers’ realized that 100% of the proceeds were going to Suicide Prevention … some people told me their stories. Some people held their breath and put their hand on their heart.

One woman walked through the garage, slowly tracing the books, beanie babies, lamps, and knick knacks with her fingers. As she turned to leave, with nothing in hand, my grandma and I thanked her for stopping by.
She stopped in her step, turned around, and told us that she had just lost her son to suicide.

And then she took out her checkbook. She didn’t want anything from the sale, but she wanted to support this cause.

I’ll never forget her.

We are all in this together. We have all been impacted by depression or suicide — if not personally, then it at least hits close to home in some way. I’m sure of that.

As I walked those 20 miles, I walked alongside strangers who told me their stories. Why they were there. Why they were walking. There were points, late into the walk, where I literally had to keel over, because I felt like I was going to be sick. The stories were heavy. My pain was still heavy. Each time I stopped, my friends held onto my arms, and kept me going. We were in it together. When one of us was weak, the other was strong.

Reach out.
The best is yet to come.
There is so much to live for.
#ikeptliving
#TWLOHA

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4 Responses to “World Suicide Prevention Day : My Story #IKeptLiving”

  • Shane Odonohue September 11, 2016

    Dana, i just wanted to say that I started following you brcause I like your music. But listening to your video really touched my heart. I know the dangerous power of depression, somewhat in my life, but more with other family and friends,but you are an inspiration. You seem like a wonderful young lady, and i look forward to hearing more of your great music. Hopefully, i will get to hear you live sometime in Nashville. I admire your bravery.

  • Dana Gatziolis September 30, 2016

    Shane, thank you so much for this kind message. I’m sorry that I’m just seeing it now! I am so grateful for your support of my music and my message. It means more than you could ever know :)

  • Debbie September 27, 2016

    *Deep Breath* …beautiful Dana. Thank you for choosing life again and again. You are a beautiful soul spreading an amazing light throughout the world. I just came across this video roughly 16 minutes ago. I’m sorry I missed it when you first posted it – my virtual hug to you may be delayed but I’m sending it now. I know this took such great strength but you looked within and saw a light that guided you through. This message does need to be shared – please keep sharing it. These painful hard stories must be told – keep telling it. We must bring the darkness out into the light so others don’t feel so alone – keep shining. I love you and love that you keep showing up to serve in one of the most important ways possible. You are an earth angel <3

  • Dana Gatziolis September 30, 2016

    Debbie! I just saw this comment and my heart is so touched. Thank you so so much for your support. I love you so much and am so inspired by you. Truly. I will keep sharing <3

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