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Jared Padalecki

Saturday, March 05, 2016

I'm about to sound like a 12 year old major fan-girl. It's really quite pathetic on the surface. But I promise, I will go into some details that might help shed some light on this lol

For those of you who do not know who Jared Padalecki is, he plays Sam Winchester on "Supernatural." He was previously Dean Forester on "Glimore Girls." It's ok. Roll your eyes. Just another teen crush. The sad part is, I am almost 38. What is sadder? I didn't start watching "Supernatural" until about 3 years ago, and "Gilmore Girls" until this past summer. My reasons for watching these were pretty much boredom, and my need to escape reality through netflix.

Through my time watching these shows, I entered obsession lvl - crush status with Jared. I mean, c'mon... he's really pretty.... and those arms! I obviously started following him on every possible social media outlet for which I had an account - which, to be fair, was only 2.

Shortly thereafter - and just barely over a year ago - he started a campaign. He made an announcement explaining how he had lost a close friend to depression. But more than that, he explained to all the social media universe that he also struggled with depression. This is something that most with a celebrity status hide. But he chose to not hide his struggles anymore. He choose to change the stigma associated with mental illnesses. It was a simple move. He made shirts. All proceeds from the shirts went to organizations such as To Write Love On Her Arms to help battle depression and mental illnesses. His message was simple. "Always Keep Fighting."

It may not seem like a lot, but those 3 words literally saved my life. Over the past year, I hit one of my lowest points ever. I could not grasp how anyone in my world would not be better off if I weren't here. Including my kids. People say suicide is a selfish act, but when you are in that place, you truly believe everyone is better off without you. You truly believe you are doing them a favor by leaving. I was at this point.

And then I remembered....1 man...3 words... Always Keep Fighting. I remembered the thousands of stories I had read in a matter of months, pouring their hearts out to strangers, and the support they received from other people who suffered daily. I realized at that moment that I was not alone. There was always someone out there who had it worse than I did who made it through the day.

Close to the one year anniversary of "Always Keep Fighting," Jared's coworkers (Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins) started their own campaign. This campaign also involved shirts, but these proceeds went to start up a hotline for mental illness. They aim to make this a 24 hour hotline run by volunteers who are not only part of the Supernatural family, but also understand first hand what depression can do to your soul. Their message is the one I realized on this journey over the past year. "You Are Not Alone."

Now, to celebrate the one year anniversary of "Always Keep Fighting" (now abbreviated to #AKF), Jared has put out another shirt with an even more important message. "Love Yourself First." This message is SO important for everyone. Even though I have heard this 1000 times over, and read it even more often on those annoying inspiration memes that roll through your Facebook feed, when it's combined with the concept to "Always Keep Fighting" because "You Are Not Alone," it seems to have more punch. Maybe it's the place in my head where I reside currently to make it possible to accept this message. I certainly would not have been able to accept it a year ago.

The fact remains that these messages have saved my life. These messages have made it possible for me to look inside myself and find the good. These people have shown me how to love myself, just by admitting they struggle and speaking 10 words.

So even though my inner fan-girl screams every time I see the pretty face of Jared Padalecki, my soul screams thank you. And in November, I get to meet this amazing man and thank him in person... I can finally tell him "Thank You for being the awesome you that you are."

If you have any interest in knowing more about these campaigns, please visit the following links www.randomacts.org/progr

And if you interested in buying a shirt to support these efforts, Jared's 5th shirt is available at represent.com/jared Unfortunately, Jensen's and Misha's shirt campaign has ended for now, but I bet there will be another round at some point emoticon

P.S. If you are interested in having those awesomely annoying inspirational quote stream by on your Facebook feed, follow me at www.facebook.com/Joanne-

And remember to #LoveYourselfFirst and #AlwaysKeepFighting because #YouAreNotAlone ... There is always the #SPNFamily
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