2015 marks the 10th anniversary of the Rebecca Lynn Cutler Legacy of Life Foundation. Ten years of dedication to the people we care most about . . . you and your loved ones. RD’s mission and vision—to “promote awareness and compassionate understanding of depression and bipolar disorder as real diseases”—remains as critical today as it was a decade ago.
During these past 10 years, we have learned hard lessons about what it means to run a successful mental health nonprofit foundation. We have learned that talking about our point of view is rarely as effective as living it.
On occasion, when cruel language and ignorant or purposeful misrepresentation of mental illness gets my dander way up, I have scolded, cajoled, and attempted persuasive rhetoric to try to change the public psyche. Sometimes, those methods are effective. Sometimes, not so much.
I’ve learned that, if I find it challenging to persuade people to take RD’s message seriously, it’s probably because my actions don’t completely agree with my words. Doing what I say—consistently, without fail—adds credibility to RD’s mission.
Instead of explaining how much I care, I must continue to show how much I care. In 2015, I pledge to connect more with others on a personal level, and be of more genuine service for the good of all, especially within the mental health community.
I pledge to continue to walk my talk. And Rebecca’s Dream pledges to continue to walk its talk. What I do, and what RD does, will demonstrate who we are. What we SAY can make a big difference . . . but only if it’s fully backed by what we DO. Our walking and talking will continue to accomplish great things for those who live with depression and bipolar disorder and for those who love them.
During RD’s 9th Annual Benefit this past November (2014), I shared my dream that, during my grandchildren’s lifetime, Rebecca’s Dream will no longer be necessary . . . that our elegant Phoenix will fold its wings and sleep the good sleep . . . that the world will understand—completely and fully—that mental illness is a REAL DISEASE . . . that our language will be gentle, compassionate . . . that the media will be understanding . . . and that everyone will be acutely aware of the impact their behavior has on those in need of help, hope, and encouragement. In other words, the world will be walking the talk, and talking the walk, with love for the mentally ill and their families.
In 2012, after being vilified by certain individuals for “promoting homosexuality,” Ellen DeGeneres had this to say: “Here are the values I stand for: I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating others the way you’d want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values. That’s what I stand for.”*
RD agrees with Ellen. We, too, stand for these same values, and we’re putting our words into actions—walking that talk—for those with mental illness.
Thank you for all of your support and compassionate understanding. Our 10th anniversary is a reality only because YOU have walked with us.