P.S. I Love You Day: Bringing Togetherness Against Tragedy

P.S. I Love You Day: Bringing Togetherness Against Tragedy

Marist Sophomore, Brooke DiPalma, combats suicide and depression with her powerful organization
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Depression. A solitary illness that infiltrates without warning and tantalizes without mercy. It isolates its victims into an enclave of inferiority, coercing them to live in a distorted rock bottom. Depression doesn't show signs of physical manifestation, yet the pain travels through veins and crevices of the body. Depression makes itself right at home. It constructs an exterior facade, fooling everyone into perceiving that its victims are fine. It is sleepless nights and days spent wondering, what's the point? What's the point of lying wide awake smothered in blankets of despair at 3 a.m.? What's the point of going to work? Talking to friends and family? Being productive? Or simply being?

What's the point? More often than not, victims of depression simply do not know. Despite their SOS signals, calling for help to the outside from within, we've failed to find those answers to help.

For Marist College sophomore, Brooke DiPalma, depression affected the man she loved most: her father, Joseph DiPalma Jr. On April 23, 2010, a beautiful Friday morning, she saw her father one last time on her way to school. His last words to her were, "I love you," before he committed suicide.

He was a hero, an honorable member of the West Islip community, someone who laughed often and smiled proudly. He was a devoted family man and friend, always looking out for those dear to him. Soon after, she felt lost. She just began high school, and felt unsure of where to turn, what to do. Days once spent with creating special memories with her best friend, vanished without warning. She had to adjust to a new routine, a new way of life without her number one, go-to guy by her side.

And then, in the midst of it all, she remembered those last three words her father said to her, those three words that so often, people do not feel worthy of receiving: "I love you." From that moment on, she made it her mission to combat depression and suicide, and spread positivity, love, and tolerance. It is now her mission to create lightness and unity against darkness and tragedy.

Seven months later, Brooke used those three words, along with the stigma surrounding depression, to build P.S. I Love You Day. It aims to create kindness withstanding depression, and promote togetherness as a force ending tragedy. P.S. I Love You Day is held every second Friday of February and on this day, everyone wears purple to represent the fight against bullying, depression, and suicide. What began as a West Islip High School Class of 2014 event grew into an international movement, with help from her high school peers and her determination. From there, it began to spread into other schools as a club and a program run by student governments, and other clubs with similar missions.

In 2012, Brooke created a YouTube video that has inspired over 70,000 viewers. From there, she spread her message, idea, and vision at leadership conferences, and continued to bridge communities together. Now, P.S. I Love You Day is a non-profit organization, and her passion continues to grow each day.

This year, P.S. I Love You Day falls on Feb. 12. She hopes that 60,000 people across the globe will wear and create a sea of purple, to show that no one is truly ever alone. On Feb. 12, P.S. I Love You Day will continue to bridge communities together, and inspire the masses to be kind.

To help her reach this goal, it starts with us. We have the opportunity to ignite positivity, come together as one, and set a nationwide precedent. On Feb. 12, wear and bleed purple, and show your support.

Depression may be a powerful villain, but its more powerful enemy is love. With one day, we can create an inspiring message lasting a lifetime. We can bring light into the darkness.

Make sure to check out: https://psiloveyouday.wordpress.com/the-story/ and follow: https://twitter.com/psiloveyouday.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.facebook.com/139724036127382/photos/a.139724499460669.21489.139724036127382/139724502794002/?type=3&theater

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Working On My Emotional Health Is At The Top Of My To-Do List

I'm finally realizing the importance of my mental and emotional health.

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The month of April has been so eye-opening for me. For the first bit of the year, I felt like I was in a slump; like I was just going through the motions and not fully living my life.

I was letting boy drama, school stress, and my poor actions to deal with those issues take over my life. I was allowing the anger and shame from those mistakes bubble up inside me until I was just about ready to explode.

I was allowing myself to go back to old ways of coping with problems that I knew weren't healthy, but I knew would be a short-term fix.

I simply wasn't living.

Then, one day I woke up and told myself I needed to change, and that if I didn't, I'd be on this same path ten years from now... or worse. I told myself I needed to get my life back on track with the Lord and with who I want to be as a rising senior in college.

After meeting with one of the leaders at my church (btw, everyone needs a Mrs. Jenny in their life!) and with my therapist, I'm starting to realize how important my emotional health is. My way of dealing with problems hasn't been working all that well, so I know it's time to try something else.

It's all going to be a huge learning process (and at times, an uphill battle), but I know working on my emotional health now will build me to be the best I can in the future.

By learning to become more open to healthier ways of dealing with issues as they come up (like not avoiding problems and actually facing them head-on), I know I can become my best self, and that is something I'm willing to work on with my whole heart.

So, I'm learning to let go of needing to control everything in my life because honestly, wanting to control everything puts me more out of control than when I first started.

And, I encourage you to do the same.

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