I did the 22 Kill Challenge for a year and this is what happened…

Trends come and go but for some we are greatly impacted by them. There have been trends like the ice bucket challenge for ALS and the 22 kill push up challenge for Veteran Suicide are to bring about awareness for important causes. This awareness gets people involved, makes people curious about the cause – so they may look it up, donate, or share for someone else. These challenges do not directly help the issue but they give hope and inspiration to others.  Some people can relate to these causes because they are facing challenges head on or know someone who is. You do not know me but I participated in both challenges, donated to each cause and then volunteered my time. We all find causes that impact us more than others and will try to help however we can. For me, I could relate to both causes but the 22 kill was the one that hit home for me. The 22 Kill Challenge dares individuals to commit to 22 push-ups for 22 days to spread Veteran Suicide Awareness, but I choose to further that challenge and do 22 push-ups for a year!

My reasoning, Suicide is a worldwide issue that people contemplate and try often because well life is hard.  In a world so big you can feel so small. My main goal was to share a smile and let people know I support them and would be someone who could listen. When I originally started, I didn’t plan on doing the pushups for a year but when people reached out and the amount of support I received from others, it kept me going.

“I have successfully completed my goal of 365 days (1 year) of 22 pushups for Veteran Suicide Awareness. Now I want people to hear my story and understand why this cause has meant so much to me.”

Life is difficult for everyone and some people are better at handling situations than others but we need to remember that we are all different and we cannot judge someone or their situation.

Not many people know this about me… but I struggled a great deal with some issues and was not in a good place for a long time. I shut down, lost people and pushed other people away. Everyday got harder and harder to see any light and there was a point when all I saw was darkness. It was a scary and lonely place to be. I self-harmed, self-sabotaged and at one point attempted suicide myself. I still have struggles every now and then but I try to smile and think about all the good things and people in my life. Of course I still have bad days but there is always something good in every day so I try to focus on that which is not always easy but it helps to have a good support system and believing in yourself.

So when this cause came to my attention, I knew I needed to be part of it and not just for myself but for others too.

Though it may not seem like much, I wanted Veterans to know that I support and appreciate what they have done for this country and for me. I was hoping that these videos may reach someone who may be having a hard day and know that I am there. Know that I was open to talking to them or anyone for that matter who needed someone to listen.

It wasn’t always easy and every time I didn’t want to do the pushups, didn’t feel well or was hurting… I thought about how Veterans who are contemplating suicide deal with these emotions every day. They don’t just go away and it’s a constant internal battle. They sacrifice their lives and independence for this country; for our opportunities, our families, our friends and for our freedom! Then they come back and have their own fight within themselves- a fight that not many can understand.

 

I believe it’s difficult, scary and even traumatic for people to share their experiences. We are all so fearful and build ourselves up to think people won’t understand, will reject us, look at us or treat us differently. We let fear drown us and we lose ourselves. We talk ourselves out of saying or doing things.

 

I have learned that we have the power and control to choose how we react, how we feel, our thoughts and our attitudes towards people and situations. Yes words are easy to say and doing can be difficult but I think as long as we try and always continue to improve ourselves everyday by working on ourselves and own issues then we are successful. Take one day at a time and things will be ok.”

 

I cannot believe it’s been a full year since I completed the 22 push up challenge for 365 days. That was my favorite challenge because not only could I spread awareness but I was pushing myself and I got to share the experience with other people. I want to follow up with my story.

 

I used to be the type of person who always felt like I needed to please other people, the type who put so much pressure on herself, and the type who stressed, worried and would overthink everything. I focused my energy on everything that was going wrong, didn’t always take responsibility for my actions and would make excuses. I was afraid to be whom I wanted; I limited myself and constantly put myself down. I was stuck and lost in my own mind.

 

Within the last few years I have taken the time to focus and work on myself; to grow, to learn and to be better. It has been amazing and I am proud of my progress. Then something wonderful happened this year. Something inside me clicked and it clicked in a way that made me understand and realize that I deserve more and I can be more. This happened through a series of 4 events.

 

This first has been the books I have been reading that have helped empower me and realize that I can speak up for myself; that I have a voice. The books have allowed me to focus on me and know now that it’s ok to do that. The books taught me that I was allowing negativity in my life and that I had to change that. I had to let go of people or not attend certain situations to help benefit myself. Yes this is very difficult and may seem selfish to some but you have to think of the pros and cons. Is this person or event worth you feeling insecure or upset. I have been in some bad situations and I have been abused in many different ways. One was a relationship in which the guy was extremely verbally abusive and tore me down. It was partly my fault for not choosing to leave and take myself out of that situation… I have accepted my part in that situation and that I can’t blame someone else. Situations can be difficult and not everyone will understand or know where you are coming from or why you choose to do the things you do and honestly it’s not their business unless you want it to be. But we also need to understand that if we ask others for their input or advice you are opening yourself up for something you may not want to hear. Life is about choices and it’s the choices you make.

 

The second event was a conference I attended. This conference increased my confidence in the workplace by reassuring my knowledge and abilities. The sessions reminded me why I started working in this field (therapeutic Recreation) and that I have a lot to offer. It also made me feel like my opinions do matter. I realized how valuable and important the work I do is for others and that I could positively or negatively impact someone’s life. I felt inspired after this conference.

 

The third was a guy I was seeing. Things were going well but once I asked if we were going in the same direction he decided he didn’t know what he wanted. He decided that I wasn’t going to be able to handle his flaws. He decided that it wasn’t going to work. And when he was telling me how I was going to feel, how I was going to act and what I was going to say, well I had had enough. Relationships are difficult and take time and effort. But they are also a choice. You choose to put your time and energy into someone because you want too. You want to share experiences with that person. In that moment I realized that I was happy and content doing things on my own. I didn’t need him, I wanted him but I deserved more and I that I could get more.

 

Lastly was by changing, focusing and turning my attention, energy and thoughts towards the positive. Bad things are always going to happen but you don’t have control over situations that arise or other people. BUT you do have control over yourself and how you will react and respond. You have the power to choose to take what you want from a situation. Once I realized that, things became a lot easier for me. For example, someone snaps at you for something as simple as not replacing that paper in the copy machine. Are you going to let that person ruin your day? Its definitely normal to get upset or feel annoyed for a minute but then learn to let it go because in the scheme of it all, it’s not that big of a deal and it’s not your issue. We all dwell on things that we have no control over and let other people affect us. Try to realize that everyone is trying and doing the best they can. Learn to have patience and understanding towards others. You may be in a rush at the grocery store and then someone in line is taking a bit longer than you would like. Well maybe you should have left earlier or maybe that person has a learning disability and is trying to count money. Take responsibility for your actions. We all get the same 24 hours in a day and it’s up to you on how you use that time.

krista-stott-attending-rugged-maniac
Krista Stott pushing through the rugged maniac

I want people to know and understand that we all have struggles and obstacles we need to overcome. Things may seem to all come down at once but the way you respond changes it all. Let’s try to be more accepting of others. Someone may be struggling with an issue that may not seem like a big deal to you but it is to them. We are all entitled to our feelings and emotions and they will be different for everyone. Even people who are going through similar situations, it will never be the same because the way people internalize things or respond to situations will always be different. Let’s try being supportive and uplifting.

Now let me remind you that nothing is easy but it’s about how much time and energy you decide to put into yourself and others.”

To anyone reading, I want to reiterate that life is difficult and there are so many ifs, buts ands, that we all questions and wonder about. My recommendation is to try. Simply try to be more patient, understanding and supportive. Try to focus on the positive and be the positive. Smile at people and say hello. Be someone that brightens someone’s day in a world and society that is filled with rude, negative and obnoxious people.  In the words of Charles R. Swindoll, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” Think about these words and learn to apply them to your life.

So when this cause came to my attention, I knew I needed to be part of it and not for myself but for others.

Though it may not seem like much, I wanted Veterans to know that I support and appreciate what they have done for this country and for me. I was hoping that these videos may reach someone who may be having a hard day and know that I am there. Know that I was open to talking to them or anyone for that mater who needed someone to listen.

It wasn’t always easy and every time I didn’t want to, didn’t feel well or was hurting.. I thought about how Veterans who are contemplating suicide deal with these emotions everyday. They don’t just go away and it’s a battle. They sacrificed their lives for this country, for our opportunities, our families, friends and for our freedom! Then they come back and have their own fight within themselves. A fight that not many can understand.

I believe it’s difficult, scary and even traumatic for people to share their experiences. We are all so fearful and build ourselves up to think people won’t understand, will reject us, look at us or treat us differently. We let fear drown us and we lose ourselves. We talk ourselves out of saying or doing things.

I have learned that we have the power and control to choose how we react, how we feel, our thoughts and our attitudes towards people and situations. Yes words are easy to say and doing can be difficult but I think as long as we try and always continue to improve ourselves everyday by working on ourselves and own issues then we are successful. Take one day at a time and things will be ok

 

  • Yours Truly KAMS