Real Life

For Andrew, on Mental Health Awareness Month

When my brother Andrew was born, my great grandmother famously proclaimed “he is energy from his head to his toes.” Nothing else has come close to encapsulating what my brother was like since then. For his entirely life, he made it his mission to share that energy with everyone he met. He was everyone’s best friend and their favorite person. Andrew was generous to a fault with his time, energy, knowledge, and every bit of himself. There was everything to admire about how he interacted with the world. I was lucky to have him as my brother.

the McCarry brothers, Matt and Andrew are in the middle

And I miss him every single day that passes.

You see, Andrew had a dark side as well. He battled depression and we are certain, bipolar. We lived through those wonderful times where he profoundly knew he could accomplish anything. But we also lived through the darker times as well. Sometimes he would call me sobbing, telling me about all of his insecurities and all the things he thought he had failed. For every extremely fantastic moment, an incredible low with negative emotions so deep it whispered lies at the worst times followed.

And it eventually took his life. Took him from us. Robbed us all of the light that shone so brightly when he felt his best.

This month is Mental Health Awareness month.

While we want to always honor and respect Andrew’s memory, it would be a disservice to not be open about his struggles in the hopes that honesty could help another.

While it’s been a year and a half since he passed, his memory is still just as energetically vivid as the last time his big smile lit up our family living room. His community of friends was broader than any I’ve seen, and this past weekend, they succeeded in reviving the concert he founded years ago, AvantFairfax. He initiated this event himself in 2009, securing himself a grant through the city. It was one of his proudest accomplishments. To bring this back as an “Andrew Fest Revival,” it was part memorial service, part celebration of everything he loved and an opportunity for the people who loved him to get together again.

In celebration of this event and in recognition of Mental Health Month, we’d like to put together our own memorial for him. Which is why this month we’re donating half our proceeds from Beautycounter sales to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. All you need to do is shop with me in the month of May and we will donate to NAMI directly. We have also set-up a memorial page for him here, if you’d like to donate to NAMI directly.

Did you know…

1 in 5 people experience a mental health condition each year, yet fewer than one third receive treatment or services? We have both have suffered from multiple mental illnesses in our lives – and without the support of loved ones and medical attention our lives would not be what they are today. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of all those affected by mental illness. They provide education, support, advocacy and awareness.

As you all have heard us say before, this loss is one that has affected our lives greatly. From general stress and depression, to disordered (emotional) eating and weight gain, lack of patience, increased frustration, and the toll all of that has taken on our marriage. We are fortunate to be able to have resources and each other in order to seek therapy and medical intervention. But not all people are comfortable admitting they need help or aren’t aware of what is offered or needed.

We are so grateful for your support and hope our ongoing dialog about our brother’s mental health contributing to our losing him and how that loss of a loved one can impact your life.

you can check out Andrew’s NAMI Memorial page here

 

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