Chloe Grabanski first joined TWLOHA in 2008. She arrived in Florida from North Dakota to join our team as an intern. Chloe has worn many hats over the years and currently leads The Storytellers (High School) program. When it comes to TWLOHA’s involvement with National Suicide Prevention Week and World Suicide Prevention Day, Chloe is the Queen. It was her idea two years ago for TWLOHA to participate. We ended up making a special Title shirt and info card, and the response came as a great surprise. Last year was our first time offering a pack, and the campaign ended up being the biggest and best in our history. Chloe was again the driving force.
In the blog below, Chloe shares a few words about her story and why this campaign means so much to her.
When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a scientist. I also thought I should be a country music superstar, a teacher, or maybe even the president. That was one of the best things about being a child: Life, no matter what, always seemed like it was full of endless possibilities. On any day of the week, I could be anything I wanted. And no dream was too big.
As I grew up, I thought I had to put myself in a box to be happy. I limited what I could do, and when. I gave up on dreams when things seemed too hard. I put myself down, and what I wanted out of life stopped being a priority. Soon, the parts I had been playing were consumed by depression and anxiety. I could hear this nagging loop in my mind telling me, “You don’t matter. No one cares. Stop trying.”
So I did. I withdrew from my friends and family. I was determined to live as distant from others as possible. I had decided I would be nothing because that’s what I had accepted I was.
That was nine years ago. The past few years haven’t always been easy, but they have continued to be full of possibilities, something I thought was only reserved for my childhood. Things got better when I began to let people in. When I sat across from a counselor for the first, third, and hundredth time. When I accepted that I’m not irreparably damaged. Here I am, days after my 27th birthday, and I can tell you that it’s not too late to change. That’s the beautiful thing about time.
Time gives you a chance.
We may play many roles throughout our lives, but they are ours to create, pursue, dream, and change.
You are important.
You have a voice.
Your life is a story.
And no one else can play your part.
Which brings me to this: You’ve heard TWLOHA talk about the statistics surrounding depression and suicide. More than 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. Two-thirds of those living with depression never get help, and untreated depression is the leading cause of suicide. In America, suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 24. This is why each year, in an effort to change these numbers, organizations come together to focus on suicide prevention.
This year, we hope you’ll join us for National Suicide Prevention Week, September 8-14, and on World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10. The theme for this year, decided by the International Association for Suicide Prevention and World Health Organization is: “One World Connected.” Our message is this: “No One Else Can Play Your Part.” It’s one we hope you’ll feel connected to and be empowered to share with others. It’s something everyone deserves to know.