Lynne Robinson SpeaksUp

My name is Lynne Robinson. I am a member of the SpeakUp race team, and I am a dedicated supporter of the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation. I also serve as the Chief Business Development Officer of PartnerMD. PartnerMD is a prevention-focused concierge medical practice and an executive health provider.  We proudly support Cameron's dream of being a positive force that works to cultivate awareness and understanding of teenage depression and anxiety. Mental illness does not discriminate.  There is no vaccination to protect loved ones from the pain and distress of depression and/or anxiety.  Cameron challenged us all to SpeakUp and remove the stigma of this illness.  Today, I accept Cameron’s challenge, so I am speaking up. 

Like most people, my family has been impacted by the challenges presented by mental illness.  Our challenges started showing up when my son entered high school.  My once funny, confident son seemed to change overnight.  It was as if someone turned off a light that once shined brightly inside him.  He struggled to find the words to describe what he was experiencing. My son worked hard to find strategies and techniques to manage the symptoms we could label, such as stress and anxiety.  He became a warrior who rose up every day and fought to slay the darkness that would creep inside of him and cause him to withdraw and feel blue. As a mom, it is hard for me to think back to those days.  Our entire family was impacted by his war.  Looking back, I can see that we were lucky. Lucky, because he was brave enough to speak up, and share with us what he was experiencing.  It was hard, but I learned that I could not fix this for him.  This fight was something he was determined to face and overcome.  We stood together as a family and offered our love support. Sometimes support was just holding his hand and listening.  Sometimes support was just holding his hand. He became an explorer of techniques to manage his emotions. His were meditation, yoga, playing music, and spending time with his friends.   I am happy to share that he found his balance by owning what was happening to him.  As a family, we feel no shame.  To us, his depression was no different from any other illness.  I am so proud of how he carried himself, and how hard he worked to find a way to rekindle his internal light.   My family was lucky.  We were transparent about the challenges that we barely understood.  Today my son is a happy smart man who is chasing his dreams and making our world a better place by letting his light shine. 

Cameron¹s dream inspires my family and PartnerMD to do our part to raise awareness and to be a positive force in this fight.  Recently my colleagues at PartnerMD helped to organize an interactive workshop at two local YMCAs where Grace Gallagher shared Cameron's story, and doctors from PartnerMD shared their medical expertise and perspectives with local students, parents, and many concerned community members.  The stories shared that night were brave, raw, and true. The room was filled with love and support.  You could feel the positive energy in the room grow as brave fighters, sufferers, friends and families shared their stories.  We all left that event knowing that Cameron's dream is coming true.  Those that suffer left knowing that they are not alone and that they are worth it all.

Today I proudly share our family story in an effort to continue Cameron¹s dream of encouraging other¹s to SpeakUp. Together as we all share our stories, we can and will make a difference in removing the stigma of this illness.

Katherine Cook