Dear fellow Sacred Activists: I have a heavy heart and many tears I am shedding this morning. I am crying for my beloved country. My heart is aching for all those who sacrificed so much in service to a just and civil society, and continue to do so. I pray that those who are currently in power in South Africa will pause as they mourn our beloved Madiba, and remember that he transformed from freedom fighter and enemy to a revered leader who sought reconciliation. Mandela was arrested after being found by a CIA agent. My great-uncle (by marriage) Bram Fischer, was Mandela’s attorney during his trial. I remember as a child seeing Robben Island and learning of the prison that held many who are now famous and a number who have died. During my political activism I came to know people who had served at “the university” as it was called. Colleagues and friends would just disappear without explanation. When they ended up on Robben Island they would be part of conversations orchestrated by the leaders incarcerated there. And then, on being released, would teach those of us working in townships and squatter camps, trade unions and community organizations, giving us word of what the leadership’s plans were. Each and every one of their legacies lives on. In South Africa during that time we were not allowed to have images of Nelson Mandela. Possession of the Freedom Charter that became the most progressive constitution on the planet was grounds for being imprisoned without trial. We were all imprisoned by the draconian system, even the most privileged, even those who never saw the inside of a cell. When I left South Africa in 1986 during a State of Emergency, and into political exile, I never imagined that in my lifetime Mandela would be released. I never imagined I would ever be able to return to South Africa. I never imagined that my mixed race daughter would have children who could be friends with children of different colors and cultures. I never imagined that South Africa would ever be embraced by the rest of Africa because it had always been such a pariah in the eyes of the rest of the continent. I never imagined that the world would support the change we all fought for and made huge sacrifices for – my imagination was limited by the oppression I grew up in. One never knows how the tides of change will shift the sands. One never knows how orchestrated insignificant acts can create a crescendo of change such as was experienced in my homeland. There have been rare moments in my life, as a 5th generation white South African, that I have felt proud to have that legacy. Today, my pride is mixed with a depth of grief because I am not there on South African soil, to be caught up in the crowds of mourners honoring and remembering. As South Africa moves towards a presidential election, may we all pray that the current leaders remember that power is to be shared, not hoarded and used to corrupt. In solidarity with all around the globe who mourn with me. Lyndall Hare
When someone suffers from depression the effects ripple out to those they love.
I can still remember the moment. As I was getting ready for an upcoming weekend visit to see my dad, I called to see how he was doing. I knew something was terribly wrong when I heard a voice that wasn’t his. My mother took the receiver and told me the news that would forever change my life. My dad had taken his life.
My father was a successful businessman, but his pain was no mystery to me. He had resisted treatment because he did not want to admit to weakness in character. I cannot accurately describe in words the deep sense of abandonment, betrayal and total loss of self I felt when he died. I believe that, had he sought help earlier, he might well still be alive today.
Just weeks before he died he sent me a Valentine’s Day card telling me how much he loved me. How he hoped I would never have to deal with the pain, deep regret and unhappiness he felt all the time. I carry the card with me as a reminder of his pain. It serves as my fuel to change the world for the better as a way to honor his life.
Depression is treatable, yet less than 25% of those with depression are getting treatment in part because of the stigma associated with the disease. This misunderstanding about depression is what prevented my father from getting treatment. As a branding expert, I know that by doing the following we can and will end the stigma of depression.
1. Use a universal symbol, the sunflower, around the world showcasing just how many are working for positive progress.
2. Engage celebrities, politicians, business leaders and activists to talk about their own depression
3. Bring awareness of the biology of depression, and how our neurotransmitters, hormones, and brain chemistry are affected by everything we put in our body.
4. Focus on hope for those suffering from depression, instead of the negative depictions of depressed people that are often present in the media.
It is in this light I bring you Field for Hope. This global campaign asks people to come together and Pledge to Plant a sunflower to show honor and respect for the 350 million people around the world who live with depression. They need our help.
My dad had it all and did not deserve or need to die. Do not let one more life be wasted. Pledge to Plant. Join our movement today at Causes.com/FieldforHope or visit www.ifred.org to find out how you can get help for yourself or someone you love.
Suicide is such a mystery. Sometimes there are signs, other times there aren’t. No matter how hard we try, we can not save another person. The bottom line is they must want and know how to save themselves.
The unfortunate thing is that most people don’t know how to ask for that help – don’t feel comfortable asking for it. Instead they act out, running from the pain, in the end making it only worse because usually that acting out has negative consequences.