#IRunFor My Father and People Struggling with Mental Illness - Imagine NJ

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#IRunFor My Father and People Struggling with Mental Illness

By: Kimberly Charlesworth Wielgus

#IRunFor my father and every sick and suffering person struggling with mental illness and addiction. My father was a kind, generous, loving man. He was a veterinarian who loved and cared so much for his furry patients and their families. A devoted husband and father of 3 and a friend to so many. He was quiet and gentle, and appeared happy. But at the age of 53 – when I was only 14 – his mental suffering ended after he took his life. It shocked us all. Depression is easy to hide. But should not be hidden. We need to talk about mental illness, depression, addiction, alcoholism, the loneliness, the sorrow, the feelings of hopelessness, shame, guilt, and the emptiness.

I fought depression and alcoholism, and struggled through my teens and young adulthood. But I did not stay silent about it, and I will not.

I am a survivor and hope to be an example for others.

Life is hard, but I found there is hope. I run also to keep myself in check, maintain my sanity – to pull myself out of the holes I fall into from time to time. I run to keep moving forward, when I feel beaten down. I have a wonderful life and it’s not one I can risk losing – I will not stay silent.

Losing my father to suicide, so suddenly and tragically, led me to dark places I don’t want to return to.

But it also led me to where I am and what I have today, 27 years after I lost my father.

I have found peace.

I have a loving family and friends , a wonderful husband. We own a farm full of animals (and I know my father helped guide me here – thanks dad!).

I have helped others, and continue to do so, in the field of healthcare as a social worker and counselor, and I love what I do.

I have all I need, and more.

I miss my father terribly and wish that people talked about depression more back then, and more now.

Be an example.
Reach out.
Let others in.
Be vulnerable.
People want to help.
And they need it.

Who will you run for? Click here to register for Greta’s Run today!

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