This movement is for...
Those who find themselves struggling with mental illness, addiction, self harm and suicidal thoughts.
Let's first talk about Eating Disorders - In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men have suffered from it at some time in their life. With Anorexia having the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
Next is Suicide - It's the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and 3rd when it comes to people between 15-24 years old. And what breaks our hearts in our home state of Georgia, is that suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death between ages 10-14
42,773. That's the number of people who have died by suicide in this country. (An average of 117 a day) In our home state of Georgia it's 1 every 7 hours. And for every suicide, 25 people attempted and failed. The way these numbers are - sadly, thousands of people will have been affected in some way or find themselves trying to not be a statistic. It's come to the point where we have either known someone who died, known someone who knew someone or someone in our town had done it and the word got out. Depression is real. It's a big factor of why many people result to suicide. But, you know what's also very real? Recovery, so is hope. So is getting help and being treated.
Lots of people who die by suicide end up suffering from Depression - Millions suffer from it and many suffer in silence. Depression can sometimes be an everyday battle of wanting to live, yet wanting to die. It can feel like drowning even though you're above water and on land but still you find yourself not being able to breathe or see. It's feeling alone even if you do have plenty of friends and people to surround yourself with. Depression is a thief, a liar and it'll tell you that you'll never be whole and happy again BUT that's a lie. Depression is highly treatable. This movement recognizes the severity of mental illness, sees the stigma attached to it and sees the pain of many who are fighting silently.
We see you. We love you.
Not only do we see those battling with mental illness, we see those who have voiced their pain about being raped or sexually assaulted. Your voice matters.
And your pain? It matters. It is valid.
Don't allow the rapist, the abuser, the media, society tell you it was your fault.
It was NOT what you deserved. You did NOT have it coming. Your dress was NOT an invitation.
Don't be the victim, be the victor.
We know it's not easy and it will take some time, but gather every bit of strength left inside of you when you are ready to fight back.
Report what happened. Share your story, help people who have been raped or sexually assaulted know they aren't alone in this and you are there with them fighting that same battle. Build a community of survivors who can find healing and hope together.
Remember this. Your life is yours - not the person’s who stole your innocence or tried to take away your self worth. Live the life God has intended for you. Know how wonderfully you are made. Know how purposeful your life is.
Free And Above is a movement of survivors, victims (we like to call victors) + people who can't fully understand what it's like to struggle with mental illness or sexual assault/rape - coming together. Coming together to share their voice, their hearts, their pain as one.
We will fight this rape culture that we live in as one.
We will help end stigma as one.
We will be the bridge so others can get help.
We will let others know that even if we can't fully understand or know what it's like to struggle or suffer - they won't have to suffer alone, there's people who will share in their pain and comfort them. Let us be those people.
And If we're the strugglers and the suffering - We're going to be honest, open and vulnerable and say, “Yeah... This is what I struggle with, this is what I have been through, these are the demons I struggle with but I am much more than what my struggles show and what my diagnosis says. I am somebody who will become what they deserve”.
Together we can chase for freedom, get it back and unshackle ourselves from mental illness or what someone has done to us.
We will no longer be shaken.
We will no longer be held back.
- Founder, Tony Cox Jr