Depression and anxiety are powerful. Over the last month I have experienced both quite heavily. Although stopping the I'm 1in5 cross Canada tour due to a serious physical illness was the smart decision, it was an incredibly tough one to make. I have gone through the "what if's" about a million times, and it has stirred up feelings of inferiority, of self doubt, of self hate. This is how the disease I live with works. I felt like, by stopping the tour I was failing myself and others. I had it in my mind I would die for this cause, because its just that important to this journey I'm on. I want to reiterate something very important, before you read any further: THIS IS NOT OVER.
This, for myself, is a journey to become a whole person, not a perfect person. I have had experiences that have not only taught me very important life lessons, but also taught me that life is not easy. Through my time on the west coast walking on the road, and receiving great media awareness, I discovered there is an abundance of pain in Canada. I received a ton of messages from mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters of someone in there immediate family who is suffering through addiction, sexual victimization trauma, and or mental illness. The most frequently ask question was:"what can I do? Is there anyone who will help them?" This caused great heart ache, as it became more and more clear just how far we, as Canadians, must come to erase this stigma attached to addiction, sexual victimization trauma, and mental illness.
As the window to cross the entire country closes for THIS YEAR, it doesn't not mean that this is over. Starting August 1st, 2015. I will set out on roller blades, and running shoes from the Terry Fox Monument in beautiful, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and travel south east into southern Ontario, and ending in our capital city, Ottawa, Ontario. I will travel between 40 and 45 kms a day, taking 2 months to complete the distance of 2300 kms. I will still have my hockey stick and ball, and our goals of creating as much awareness as possible will continue. We will try to raise 500,000$ and give 10 existing Canadian Organizations half of the funds raised(25,000$ each organization), we have only had one organization asked to be removed from our beneficent's, as we now were not crossing the entire country. We have room for 1 organization looking for much needed funds, with similar values, vision and mission as I'm 1in5.
Dedication, and commitment are attributes that make this as successful as it is. As the abrupt stoppage of the Cross Canada tour happened, some of our followers lost faith, lost hope, and had to remove themselves from following the on-going journey. We have a great core of humans that are dedicated and commited to making this continue to be as fulfilling as it is, or more. I am forever grateful to those individuals who have never lost hope, faith, or vision that this will happen. As some know, the physical part of the tour is extremely draining. We had a medical personal resign just 3 days before our departure to Victoria. For the I'm 1in5 All Ontario Tour 2015, we need a dedicated, and 100% committed nurse/medical person. This has to be one of the most important pieces to making the continuation of the tour going. If you are a nurse/massage therapist, We would love to hear from you. We are looking for individuals to give an hour or 2 a week for the next 4 weeks to help with planning, routing, and fundraising. Please consider giving your time to help with this summers tour across Ontario. If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out our form here.
Despite the struggles within my own mental well-being, this is part of what makes me whole. To know that someone will be able to share there own story, That someone will be able to gain some freedom from within there own mind, That 10 organizations will benefit and grow to provide amazing , MUCH NEEDED, resources to those who still suffer in silence, For all 1in5 Canadians to gain strength from pain. The need has never been greater, and the time is no better than now. The struggle of depression, and anxiety may live in my life today, but I will learn to Love myself again. I will learn to be motivated by the fears that keep my disease active. I will stay mindful of my surroundings, and take appreciation in the generosity of others towards a collective goal. I'm 1in5 will become part of a Canadian Network of healing and recovery. With dedication, commitment, and support, we will give millions a voice, thousands a place to share their voice, and hundreds to hear their voices. We may just help save a life .
Much Love Paulie