484 push-ups

I share over 20 videos below on all sorts of suicide and mental health topics – be sure to scroll down

Pick Me, Pick me

There’s an Internet challenge going around to raise awareness to the 22 American Veterans who die on average each day from suicide. I felt like I was the kid on the sidelines jumping up and down, waving my arms, saying “pick me, pick me”…and then I was nominated by Kelly Hanink (we were on the Eden Prairie Fire Department together – and we both are well aware that suicide and PTSD also affect our police officers, firefighters, EMS providers, and ER staff).

My 22 Days

I did my push-ups from August 6th, 2016 through August 28th, 2016. I’m grateful for all of the people who joined, encouraged, or filmed me during these 22 days, and especially to Tracy McKibben (Pearson co-worker) who accepted my challenge and continued doing push-ups for 22 days to help raise awareness to this important message.


Educational and Inspirational Videos & Articles

Most days, in addition to the video I posted of myself, I posted a link to new educational and inspirational videos on suicide and mental health issues. I hope some of these videos land well with anyone out there who needs to hear these messages. Here are the links and brief messages I posted on Facebook throughout my 22 push-up challenge.

Day 2 article. A perspective on depression. Be there for all those around you. If you are struggling in any way, please let others know.

Day 3 article. Six-time U.S. Olympic swimming medalist Allison Schmitt recently shared her struggles with depression and suicide. Way to go Allison for sharing your message, fighting stigma and helping save lives. A few key messages I took away are when Michael Phelps sensed she was struggling and said, “I know you’re not yourself…I’m here for you if you need help.” The article also says they “thought it was a passing phase” and “I really underestimated the depth of what was going on”. Yep – that’s how depression works. It’s sneaky. Watch out for those around you – it can make all the difference.

Day 4 video: Here’s one of six, short Talk With Me videos. These are put together amazingly well (by Peter Cannon), and they get my heart racing and put me through all sorts of emotions. The whole point of these videos is that people who are struggling want and need to be heard (“talk with me”). Watch out for those around you & listen – it can make all the difference.

Day 5 article. From Amy Ferris emphasizing the importance of really connecting with others – and keeping the message simple (“i. know. how. you. feel. i have your back.”)

Day 6 video. An article from Guideposts in their “Our Returning Troops” section. This story gives the perspective of a soldier struggling with PTSD and suicide, and how he continues to get through that every day.

Day 7 video and Chirpstory. Echos comments I heard John Moe say during last year’s Stomp Out Suicide 5K keynote, something like “You know what depression hates? Depression hates sunlight, matching t-shirts, and balloons.” You know what else it hates – crazy push-ups and funky dancing with great friends. Thanks Kristin Danner, Wendy Cummins and Colleen Thompson for making our Sweet Corn 5K on the brick streets of Adel, Iowa so much fun today. Today is also the last day to sign up for the Stomp Out Suicide 5K (on 8/20/16) and be guaranteed a t-shirt. It’s a meaningful event filled with celebrating life. Sign up today to help make a difference and save lives!

Day 8 video. From the Veterans Health Administration, explaining PTSD. If you like this style of video, there are several more in this series from the VHA. Several of them focus on next steps and treatment. Let someone know if you’re struggling. Watch out for those you love. We’re all in this together.

Day 9 video. From the Directing Change contest associated with Each Mind Matters: California’s Mental Health Movement.
There are a ton of great videos in this contest – amazing what these students have created to raise awareness and fight the stigma of mental health issues!

Day 10 video. A short but powerful video about the toughest battle the military is currently facing. Help our troops get the support they need as we raise awareness, save lives, and fight the stigma of PTSD and suicide.

Day 11 video. Interview from this morning of Sean and Katie Haines by BOB Country FM, ahead of the Stomp Out Suicide 5k. I hope to see you there!

Day 12 video. Short video from Major General David Blackledge. I struggled with finding messages from military leaders that seemed heartfelt and didn’t feel forced. It was refreshing to hear his message, “Hey, I’ve been through this. I’m not just telling you something that I’ve read off slides or a pamphlet. This is something I’ve experienced. It’s important to come forward if you’ve got these issues. No one should have to deal with this on their own. The help is there. This is no longer a mystery. The medical and psychological practitioners know how to get you through this and help you out.”

Day 13 video. So this happened at work today – eight of us did somewhere around 186 total push-ups. I’m blessed to work with so many amazing people that will jump right into almost any activity as we raise awareness and support each other.

Day 14 video. (actually came from Day 21 but I had extra videos that day). A SoulPancake video (if you’re not familiar with their work, you should check them out – they create many meaningful, uplifting videos that are good for your soul). This video is about anxiety and panic attacks. And about fighting stigma. And about steps that might work for some people..

Day 15 video. A short but very impactful video from the This Able Veteran organization. In addition to my pushups, I shoveled crushed granite all weekend and completely built the two paths behind me – glad I still had some arm strength left 🙂 Only a week left of my pushup challenge – hope I make it 😉

Day 16 video. An entry in the 3MT (3-Minute Thesis) competition on the topic of how personalities may impact PTSD. The extra cool part is that I was thrilled to have Beth join me in push-ups tonight, and that just this year she also put in tons of hard work and preparation to compete in a 3-Minute Thesis competition at the University of Minnesota!

Day 17 video. Video I created. Yep, me. My voice, my content. Maybe not my hand doing the drawing. I created this to wrap up my St. Thomas coaching certificate program earlier this year. I fully believe that taking steps every day to chase your dreams creates positive reinforcements and upward spirals that strengthen and build resilience in your mind, heart and body. “You matter. Today matters. Your dreams matter.” Believe it!

Day 18 link. Local group in Minnesota that raises awareness to suicide prevention while fighting the stigma of mental health issues. The Steuernagel’s lost their son, Jake, just three years ago, and since then they have been very active raising money and awareness on Facebook and at events such as their 4th annual ice fishing event (Feb 4th, 2017).

Day 19 article. Minnesota State Fair edition. I only saw one other person at the fair wearing their Stomp Out Suicide t-shirt from last week. A few years ago I met Bill Goldberg at the state fair (you know, WWE…always spearing people…ok, nevermind). So what celebrities have done the push-up challenge? Here are a few (and I love that Ludacris did this at his concert – so cool to raise awareness with a big crowd!).

Day 20 video. Another video that got my heart beating faster up front but then ended in a much better spot. These videos can be tough to watch but just think of all the people out there suffering from PTSD, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues that can relate to all these voices going on in their heads. As the video says, you got this, you will get through today, you are enough.

Day 21 videos – video 1, video 2, and video 3. Hopefully anyone with PTSD can relate to some of the messages I’ve posted, even though they may seem to be created for different audiences. I’ve tried to find videos on PTSD in the military that are short, informative, impactful, authentic, etc. It’s tough. Many of the military-focused videos are longer and are much more intense. Here are three longer military-focused videos I’ve found that may work for some people.

Day 22 video. My final video is a simple and heartfelt “thank you” to all those that have served our country in the military. To any of my Facebook friends who have served – thank you for your service!

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