I’d like to share a few common questions and comments I’ve received since sharing my story and running our first race:
Are you the only runner blindfolded?
Yes, I am the only blindfolded runner in these races. I have an incredible guide runner by my side throughout the race courses.
Why blindfolded? What do you hope this accomplishes?
For me, this blindfolded experience symbolizes what it can feel like struggling with Mental Health. I hope this unique running initiative inspires others to have an open conversation about Mental Health and sexual assault. By sharing my journey, I hope it helps people understand how they can support someone struggling. With this initiative, I want to show others they are not alone and empower them to find their inner light.
What’s the most challenging part about running blindfolded?
One of the biggest challenges is mental exhaustion. It is terrifying and tiring to be surrounded by darkness and consumed by your own thoughts, which draws parallels with depression and PTSD. There are many times I am emotional as I run blindfolded because I am flooded by powerful thoughts (good and bad). As I run, I have to constantly light up the dark by reminding myself why I am doing this, and how I will help others by spreading awareness of Mental Health.
I wanted to say something to you, but I didn’t know what to say.
I hear this so often. I know it is very difficult to talk about Mental Health, let alone rape and sexual assault. If you don’t know what to say, please do not feel embarrassed, it is okay. I know many people struggle to find the words, or think they will say the wrong thing so they just don’t say anything at all. You are not alone. A few words you could share with someone hurting: I love you, I am here for you, I am sorry, you are brave, I am proud of you, how can I help you? How are you doing today? I promise just by saying something it will mean the world to the person going through a hard time. For me personally, I love and appreciate people willing to reach out and embrace me, as I know it takes so much courage to speak up and try to help.
How can I help right now?
There are many ways you can help! Most importantly, you can share my story and journey with others to shed light on the challenges of Mental Health, and help others know they are not alone. Since sharing my story, I realized there truly is a stigma around Mental Health. It is extremely hard to be vulnerable, and it takes courage to start difficult conversations. Just by starting the conversation about Mental Health with friends and family, you are helping to reduce the stigma. For other ways to help, I invite you to share your Mental Health journey with me when you are ready. You can send your story to me HERE. Please know you are strong, you are brave, and you are not alone.