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Updated: Dec 28, 2021

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Members of Still I Run Suicide Survivors share how running helped them overcome depression and anxiety.

It’s just one of the reasons Still I Run member Shawntell Rosado, a suicide survivor, decided to share her story of how running helped her overcome depression. She wants people to know they are not alone.

Overcoming depression and suicidal thoughts

“…I hope it might help those struggling with depression or suicidal idealization,” she said. “When I was 18 years old, I was in a bad relationship; it felt like everything just imploded on me.”

Rosado recalled taking a bunch of pills and thankfully ending up at the hospital where the doctors pumped her stomach. After spending the night in the hospital, she sought counseling.

“At 43, I can finally talk about it,” she said.

“My parents didn’t know,” she said. “I don’t think anybody even realized I was depressed. I didn’t drop any hints.

Everything just caved in on me.

“At the time, I thought I would be labeled crazy if I talked about committing suicide,” she said.

Unfortunately, she said the stigma associated with mental illness and suicide idealization prevents people from seeking help. Resulting in people feeling isolated and alone.

That’s one of the reasons I love Still I Run Facebook group. It helps me to see other people’s journeys and allows me to support them through their struggles.

Rosado said she believes many people are alive today because of increased awareness about suicide prevention and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-88255.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Terrified of being judged, Rosado buried her emotions and “hid behind her smile.”

Breaking the silence of suicide

Still I Run and their mission to defeat the stigma around mental illness has helped me realize that I should share my story with others because you never know who needs to hear it,” she said.

Rosado, now an ISSA [International Sports Sciences Association] certified Sports Nutritionist, started running in 2003 after her mother passed away suddenly from a brain aneurysm at 49 years old.

“Sometimes, I think some people can let it consume them,” she said. “However, I decided to start taking better care of myself, and I started going to the gym regularly.”

In 2004, She completed her first 5k.

Before then, Rosado, who moved from Sterling Heights, Michigan, to Las Vegas, Nevada, two years ago, thought only elite athletes participated in races.

“I never considered myself a runner in the past, but I discovered I love it,” she said.

In August, Rosado and her husband completed the 51k in the E.T. Full Moon Midnight Marathon, which begins at midnight and runs along the Extraterrestrial Highway (Nevada State Highway 375) not far from the famous “Area 51” military base. The race offers several distances: 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon, and 51K.

Suicide Survivor: Running taught me I can choose who I want to be

“I used to think of myself as someone who was depressed; now I know that depression does not define me. If I could go back and speak to my 18-year-old self, I tell her that life is ever-evolving.

“There is this ebb and flow to life,” she said. “Yes, there are struggles, but there are also amazing moments if we just keep going.

“My younger self couldn’t always see the next day, but I would tell her just how much she would grow.

“For me, depression felt like having blinders on my eyes.”

“I didn’t see how much I meant to others,” she said. “I feel so lucky that my suicide attempt failed.”

In the end, she said it turned out to be her greatest success because she learned to not give up.

If you or someone you know needs support, call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

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