Find your WHY - Max Skinner

Find your WHY - Max Skinner

About four years ago, I went over to my mom’s house to pick up some clothes one hot summer day in central Virginia.
When I got to my mom's house that afternoon, I noticed that all of the blinds were closed and our family dachshund, Stella, was whimpering at the back door. As if some sort of force pulled me through the house, I went directly upstairs to my mom’s bedroom to find that she had sadly taken her own life.
In that shocking moment of pure numbness, I really only had two options: I could either let that moment affect me negatively for the rest of my life or I could channel that negative experience into something positive. I refused to let that moment define me…so I chose the latter.
That first year after my mom’s suicide was brutal. I had panic attacks, depressive episodes, severe anxiety, and I abused drugs.
After a lot of therapy, self-meditation, and the continuous support from friends and family…I found my peace with it.
There was still something missing though; I always felt like I was lacking some sort of connection to other people who had been through what I had just experienced. I wanted to share my experience and help others get through suicide, but I didn’t know where to look.
Then I found an organization in Boston called Samaritans that raises money for suicide prevention and awareness. I participated in the annual Samaritans 5K the last two years, and I've attended a few suicide safe space meetings recently. These events have truly been some of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of my life.
Samaritans has taught me that you CAN survive after a traumatizing event. You CAN channel your agony into something positive. You CAN make a difference!
The experience with my mom’s suicide made me realize my WHY in life:
"I want to inspire people to maximize their own impact."
This event inspired me to create an organization that would help people find their WHY through social good.

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