I’ve struggled with depression, anxiety, and fear for many years of my life, hiding it from my family, friends, and loved ones. I was conditioned by society and peers to be the strong one, so I was taught to never let them see you cry, aka suck it up and toughen up. After a few severe panic attacks that started affecting my physical health, and in the end triggering RA, it was a wake-up call to make a shift and reshape my life to, what I like to say, Be_again. I know what it’s like to not fully experience life, to not be happy, and to live in fear. And while I’m fortunate that I could find my way out, I know that others need help to find that trail of hope.
I’ve been looking for an organization that was in line with what I feel could cover a spectrum of the many causes that I could align myself with. Mental health, I feel, is the grassroots of this path in so many ways. From my own personal life experiences, it would be easy for me to align myself with parents who have lost children, RA organizations, parents and families of the LGBQT community, anxiety, depression, and the list of what I’ve had to navigate throughout my life could go on. I’m very fortunate to have a wife of 26 years who supports me and who leads me to the trail of seeking personal growth, internal peace, and happiness.
The connection to hiking and mental health is so clear to me. I like the Hike for Mental Health organization’s approach to proving to aid in overall mental health, and the connection with the conservation of hiking trails and education of best practices just warmed my heart. Bonus, that unlike many charity organizations, the donations that they collect actually make it to the hands in need.
If you like to donate to such a great cause please follow this link to my personal donation page:
Mark “Purpose” Waligora – Hike for Mental Health
Hope to see you up the trail NOBO 3-22-20 – Purpose