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I’ve been hemming and hawing around this post for a few days. I’d like to think it’s because the ideas have just been materializing and maybe there is some truth to that. Closer to the truth though is that what I’m going to write about is heavy and so I’ve been avoiding it.

You may have noticed that I uploaded two new posts to the blog. These were articles that I wrote and published on Huffington Post and then realized needed to be here as well. They are about suicide, depression, and anxiety. Yep, those are things I know a lot about.

I attempted suicide in 2008 and I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. I *successfully* manage them both now and suicide is an option I’ve decided not to choose. And in the tumultuous changes I’ve undergone in 2016, I’ve found myself called to share my experiences and be an example of how you can overcome them.

It started with an intense urge to do 3 specific Facebook Live videos during Suicide Prevention Month in September. 1 about How to Bounce Back from a Suicide Attempt, 2 about Why Remembering Your Story is Important and 3 about What to do about your Moody Friend.

I finally did them and with that, I realized how much my message was needed. Many people reached out to me after each video and expressed how much it helped or meant to them.

I kept getting confirmation on all levels that the things that I had learned over the years to start shifting the scale to more good days than bad days were extremely important to share.

I was reminded that the encouragement to stay above ground and to keep pushing forward to feeling better was something that I needed and didn’t always get. And I also remembered how much it meant when I did get it.

So I felt compelled to show up for the work that the Universe was calling me to do. How could I not? How could I deny that I could clearly see how all my experiences were preparing me for this? I could not with honestly sit back and say no Universe, you've got the wrong girl.

But then my own life hit hard. And I experienced a slew of stressful moments, rockiness and test upon tests. If my year has been about decluttering everything that isn’t moving me forward, this particular bent felt like what activated charcoal does to you – violently rids you of *ANYTHING* that’s still hiding out.

So yeah, I began to doubt that my voice was necessary and that this was the path laying out in front of me.

Then in the span of two weeks, I found out a salsa friend had committed suicide. I was drawn inexplicably to a woman online and found out that her husband killed himself back in August, though he was adored and loved by seemingly everyone. This morning I read about a young 12-year-old boy who self-harms and has threatened suicide many times.

I know that the Universe was speaking to me – telling me Leah – people still need a voice. They need a voice to speak for them and to them. You have to be a part of that.

So I know now that without a doubt being an advocate for suicide survivors like me and those suffering from anxiety and depression is a part of this next phase of my life. If my message can give someone who is where I was CONCRETE HOPE, the strength of belief, or even the flicker of possibility, I will share it over and over again. I will make it a big part of what I do and infuse that message into all the rest of the things I do as well.

I’m ready to be a Voice of Hope for anyone who needs to hear it. 

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