Light Up the Night for Mental Health Awareness: Break the Stigma

Do you know where you will be one month from today? We do! And we are thrilled to ask you to join us!

We will be lighting up the night for the mental health awareness 5K walk/run on Friday, September 11th at Yanney Park in Kearney, Nebraska with registration beginning at 7:00 and the race beginning at 8:00.

The walk is put on by Richard Young Behavioral Health (CHI Health). Proceeds will go to the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) and Richard Young Fund at CHI Health Good Samaritan Foundation.

Feel free to save this image and send in for your registration!

Feel free to save this image and send in for your registration!

This race comes six years to the day from the terrifying moment I first walked into Richard Young Hospital with my husband who had nearly attempted suicide earlier that day. September 11, 2009 was the first day of our journey toward hope, healing, and acceptance of our reality. Jeremy has survived because of God and the good that He placed in our lives. Richard Young Hospital is part of that good.

So here is a little background information regarding why this event is so important to us…

We have talked about it before in great detail and we will continue to work hard to help anyone suffering from an unseen illness or supporting someone suffering to get to our book. “Never Alone: A Husband and Wife’s Journey with Depression and Faith” is our life, and there is no sugar coating our reality. The book is now available in both eBook and paperback format. You can purchase either here on our website using the “Purchase” tab.

We wrote our true life story detailing Jeremy’s struggles with a severe depression diagnosis, five suicide attempts, and a near-death accident likely caused by a medication failure in order to help society understand the reality of depression. We wrote it to help those suffering from suicidal thoughts or other forms of depression understand that it is okay to ask for help; in fact, it only makes you stronger. We wrote it to help you understand that mental illness is real and those suffering should never be made to feel ashamed. We wrote it to help those supporting someone suffering understand that mental illness affects many, not just the person with the diagnosis. We wrote it especially to help everyone find the hope we found in Christ. Healing can happen with the acceptance of the reality that is mental illness, with the acceptance of help from the good God has placed in all of our lives (like mental health professionals, friends, and family), and with the belief that healing can come when we put our faith in God.

We choose every day to fight mental illness. Jeremy takes his medications faithfully, visits his mental health doctors and therapists regularly, and openly expresses his reality to me, his primary support person. It is a conscious decision to live. It is a desire to provide hope to those who may be suffering like we did or attempting to support a loved one struggling. There is hope, but you have to choose to fight the illness. In order to fight, we must break the stigma attached to mental illness. Awareness is key because those suffering deserve good care, support, and the hope of healing.

The following is a post detailing our emotions the day that our book was published in March of 2015…

From Nightmare to Dream Come True

Five times…and he described every single suicide attempt in detail to me that night in late 2012. My entire body shook and I said nothing; it was obvious Jeremy needed to say everything out loud. I took it all in and tried hard not to blame myself for not knowing. But something else was happening that had nothing to do with my shock and fear; Jeremy was healing.

In 2012, months after his near-death car accident, Jeremy wrote me a suicide note on my computer and left it open on our kitchen counter. He typed out all of his thoughts and attempts, everything he had been keeping inside and fighting alone for years. It wasn’t fair to anyone. My nightmare of losing my husband was very possible, but my nightmare of losing him was nothing compared to his nightmare of losing himself. I read the note and believed he was gone. I screamed in my head and ran in every direction at 3:00 in the morning to find him, thinking I would only find his lifeless body. But instead, I found him very much alive and asleep on our couch in the living room. Our lives changed.

Jeremy and I began sharing with each other first. We began writing our nightmares…our reality. We opened up to each other about our fears and truly learned to communicate. We learned to fight this demon together. We learned to accept that there is a lot of healing that comes with being open and accepting the reality of a mental illness, of accepting help, and most importantly of accepting God. We wrote our story.

It took us a long time to see how God would take something so terrible and change it for His good. But He did. He took two bruised and beat down Christians who were undeniably angry at Him and opened our eyes to the possibility that we could do more. We could pick ourselves up off the floor and choose to see His good in every situation. We could begin to share with others and inspire hope in those who may be now where we were then. We could help society understand that mental illnesses are real and that those suffering should never be made to feel ashamed or weak. We could help those suffering understand God is always with them and there are many others who understand the struggle. We could be open. We could learn to live for God and for others all while healing ourselves too. We could find God’s good even in something so terrible.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Genesis 50:20

We began writing to heal ourselves; it was therapy for us. But God revealed our purpose as we wrote. We learned He wanted us to share, to help others come to Him and see His good. So we kept writing. And today, our nightmare became a dream come true.

The tears won’t stop; they are as abundant as before, only very different. These are happy tears…tears of healing, peace, and strength. They are no longer tears of terror. We have been working on this book for over three years. We are finally published authors and our book is ready for the world. We want everyone to know and we won’t hold back. The lives of those suffering are worth us sharing our reality. God is good, and Jeremy is still here for a reason. Maybe you are that reason. You are never alone.

“Never Alone: A Husband and Wife’s Journey with Depression and Faith” is now available in both eBook and paperback format. You can purchase either here on our website using the “Purchase” tab. Thank you for supporting us as we share and helping us help others. God bless you all.

~ Jeremy and Bailey Koch

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.  Genesis 50:20

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