By Ali Mariani
Happy New Year!
Thursday, January 1st , 2015.
The start of a new calendar year.
The opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start fresh.
A new chance to live your life without fear or shame.
And the official launch of The (I’m)Possible Project.
No pressure for the first blog post. No big deal Ali, just say something so inspirational that it will convince people that anything is possible.
I considered talking about our Hope for the Holidays drive and the surprise on the faces of the women at Crossroads when we dropped off 70-odd care packages two days before Christmas. About how we thought that giving them some hopeful messages, toiletries, holiday cards, and fuzzy neon socks might lighten their load.
I thought about how this might have immense emotional appeal and give you that warm fuzzy feeling that the holidays are all about…. but I also thought about how this wouldn’t be entirely honest.
And not because it didn’t happen, but because The (I’m)Possible Project isn’t about giving you a warm fuzzy feeling. Don’t get me wrong— I love things that give you a warm fuzzy feeling—kittens, puppies, babies, inspirational quotes with sunsets in the background— they all have their place in our virtual world, and I am a multiple-time offender (just ask anyone who follows me on Facebook or Instagram).
The thing is—that frothy emotional appeal doesn’t create lasting change—and, that lasting change is what we need. Take a look around you and I have no doubt that these things will hold true:
You or someone you know has experienced anxiety.
You or someone you know has struggled with substance abuse.
You or someone you know has experienced depression.
You or people you know have judged someone based on their history of mental health.
You or people you know have either used or heard the terms “Crazy,” “Bipolar,” and “Schizo,” to describe someone or something negative.
The thing of it is— alcoholism, addiction, and mental illness are as alive and well as they have ever been. These things don’t rest or go away when our country focuses on other things. If your eyes are open, you see it everywhere.
I’m not here to argue policy or debate that the infrastructure of the mental health industry is flawed—although those things may or may not be true— I am here to tell you that our culture and attitude towards mental health can change the very face of treatment, and can save lives.
The (I’m)Possible Project is about giving a forum for you (meaning youth) to talk openly and honestly. The (I’m)Possible Project is about starting real discussions about mental health and substance abuse. The (I’m)Possible Project is about sparking conversations, engaging youth, and opening up the doors of possibility. The (I’m)Possible Project is about letting you know that your life is possible with mental health and substance abuse challenges.
The (I’m)Possible Project is about asserting yourself, proclaiming yourself present and here in 2015. Go ahead- raise your hand! The (I’m)Possible Project is about challenging impossibility, acknowledging that nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible.”
Let’s say it again, and again, and again.