As some of you might now I am embarking on a new journey, developing a startup to create a mobile app for suicide prevention.
This story is three years in the making, after the biggest battle for my life and subsequent hospitalization. I lived in the hospital for a month and a half and when I came out, I was so afraid. I needed a change and so I began seeing a new therapist. Months we would talk. We’d take a few steps forward and a step back every now and then, mostly because it was more than I ever thought I could be challenged by.
During one of our talks she said, “Amanda, I believe you have great desire inside of you that you haven’t given yourself permission to accept. If you just listened to them, imagine what you can do.” I had no idea what she was talking about, but the more I revealed to her, the more I began to understand I was living a life in fear of my own voice. I was scared to accept who I was and what I wanted to do with my life. As soon as I began to listen to that voice, however, as Paulo Coehlo puts it, “all the universe conspired in helping me achieve it.”
A desire for a new career led to a volunteer position which soon became a new job, all because I listened. Sure, I was excited to work in this environment and yet, a voice still stirred inside of me. I was scared to vocalize it this time because I knew that doing so would require big change. Could I make it happen? Could I put all that I had learned, all my suffering and pain, all my growth and understanding, all my new skills and insight — could I put it all into something that others can benefit from? And so, I posed this question to my supervisor:
“What if we digitized the treatment I’ve been a part of? If we combined my particular skillset with your expertise, what would happen?”
Here I am, giving voice to my own journey by creating something worthy of all the pain and suffering that was so difficult to comprehend and justify. Here I am, using all that I am, all my experience to create this thing, this movement. And with those simple words that I was so afraid of bringing life to and that I couldn’t take back no matter how hard I denied it — with that simple question I embarked on a new journey.
Although nothing concrete has come from this pivotal moment in my life, I’m here to tell you that everything’s changed. I can no longer hide from the desire I so desperately want to realize. I can no longer say that I don’t have the capacity or the know-how to get this done.
Suicide has been a big issue in my life and I’ve wondered for far too long, how I am able to survive this debilitating disorder while others do not. The problem is that there are more people needing help than there are people who can help. What we need to do is scale the best parts of treatment in order to reach those we cannot by traditional means alone.
As we enter this new chapter in technology, so too, do I. No matter how ill-prepared I feel, I’ve been waiting my whole life for this opportunity. And I’m not one to back down from it now. I’ve come too far.