A suicide attempt story by a woman who is grateful to be alive

Opening Note

May is Mental Health Month, and this article is in honor of this month, plus it’s my birthday month, and I’m glad to still celebrate birthdays!

This is an extra-long post. As a warning, I tell you the story of my suicide attempt. This is 100% from my point of view. It has taken courage to reveal this story to the public. It is my truth as I know it. If you are so moved to make a comment about my story, I request that you be kind. To kick this article off, I have a reassuring video reminding you that I am okay these days.

It starts in 2011

In 2011, I started having big trouble managing my financial life. I was struggling to pay the people who were helping me to build my business, TeamWILD Athletics LLC. I didn’t know how to get help to sort out the financial aspects of running my own business. I was two years behind in paying my taxes in full. I had filed on time, and I was on a payment plan with the IRS, but I didn’t know how I would ever pay them back. I felt very alone and very overwhelmed. I didn’t tell anyone, as I felt like I should somehow already know how to fix things.

The oldest child

I’m the oldest child in my family, and I had already survived two rounds of breast cancer and at this point I had been successfully living with type 1 diabetes for 30 years. I felt responsible for everyone and everything around me. This made asking for help with my business extremely difficult. I don’t think I even told my therapist about my struggles. It was a deeply held belief that I was supposed to figure it out by reading books and being smart. Riding my bike and going for runs were the two things that kept me from completely giving up. 

The tension got worse as 2012 started. I took out money from one of my retirement accounts to pay a few of the people who continued to create programs with me for TeamWILD. The sense of isolation increased. I had ended my relationship with my then boyfriend, and that created an even greater sense of aloneness.

The taxes debt situation didn’t improve and in fact it got worse. TeamWILD wasn’t making money, despite being popular with everyone we told about it. I kept giving away programs, hoping that if enough people understood what an online training program was, it would catch on. We were a bit ahead of the online training boom. In early June, it reached a head. I was completely desperate feeling. I felt like a total business failure. I felt utterly alone. The business financial failure piece overshadowed any sense of success I may have felt.

One day it got so bad, I decided the best way to handle it would be to leave. Meaning leave this life. I didn’t think that anyone really noticed me.

Not being noticed, not mattering

I know now that very old, from my childhood, belief of thinking that no one noticed me is not accurate, but at that point in my life, I did not understand that. I was still caught in the sense that I didn’t make a difference, and that I wasn’t noticed. I was profoundly ashamed of my financial failure. I was ashamed of my inability to figure out how to make enough money to support the business I had created and that I was very passionate about.

I felt so incapable and so alone, I figured that it would be better to simply leave. My leaving would take me out of the equation, and I figured the IRS had no one else to come after other than me for my back taxes, and if I was gone, then that debt would be gone. Plus, if I was dead, then I wouldn’t need any retirement money.

Additionally, I so profoundly believed that people didn’t really notice or care about me, I figured since our TeamWILD programs were barely selling, what I had to contribute to the world wasn’t worth continuing to live for.

Attempt 1

On June 11, 2012, I took a number of sleeping pills and I took an excess of insulin. I went out to my backyard and I fell asleep on the lawn. I am not sure how long I slept. Somewhat miraculously I did wake up. When I woke up I was crying and I realized I wasn’t quite ready to go. I made a vow that later, if I couldn’t figure out my situation, I would try again. I remember, very dimly, deciding to give myself one year to see if I could sort out my situation. If I couldn’t, then I would leave in one year.

On that day in 2012, I’m not sure how I got help. I do know that I did get some help. I reached out. My old boyfriend came and stayed with me for almost a month. We hosted Camp WILD, and I attended and led. I went back to therapy. The irony is that I still never told anyone just how financially overwhelmed I still was, how lost I felt about how to figure out managing the business I was in charge of. I continued to keep that desperation close in, not honestly baring my truth to anyone. I was dancing around the truth. I still hoped that I would and thought that I should somehow figure it out, by myself.

I decided to leave Colorado. I thought being closer to my mother and brother and his family would be a helpful thing. I hoped that would help with the alone-ness I felt and the isolation I felt. In August, my mother and her husband came out to Colorado and they helped me pack up all my things and we loaded up a U-Haul truck and my brother’s truck and my car with my dog at the time Riley, and we drove from Denver to Saint Paul, MN.

The idea was that for a few months, while my house was on the market, I would live with my mom. Turns out that was not a good decision. My mom hated living with a dog, too much shedding. I found myself attempting to vacuum every other day and sweep the floors every day.

Plus I noticed that I couldn’t read my mother. I couldn’t figure out if she was open to talking, if she wanted to eat together, or what. I generally felt like I was massively in her way. I’ve lived with lots of housemates over the years, and often I’m the one who convenes house meetings. I couldn’t figure out how to have a purposeful conversation about living together. After about one month, I found a little unit a few miles away, in a hip Minneapolis neighborhood.

During this time, I still was attempting to make a living with TeamWILD. Additionally, I was doing some speaking and coaching engagements with the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure bicycle rides. They paid me a bit for those engagements. I was eking out a little bit of income, just enough to pay rent, buy food and gas for my car. It was a month to month challenge, and the financial desperation grew.

Continued financial isolation

I remember that I revealed some of my challenge with the IRS to my mother. She did offer to help me sort some of it out. I remember we went to a tax lawyer. The meeting was completely overwhelming and not helpful. Both of us were disappointed. I realized my mother didn’t really understand the mess I was in and she’s never been a business owner. I then moved away from talking with her about the challenges I was feeling in regards to my financial difficulty. My isolation with my financial problem started to escalate.

In early 2013, the IRS started coming after me with intensity. At first I ignored them, hoping they would go away. Needless to say, they didn’t. Finally, after yet another IRS letter in late April, I tried calling the agent who had sent the letter. That particular agent was not in the day I called. The person I talked to didn’t understand my case, except to tell me I owed a lot of money and I had better pay as much as I could as quickly as I could. I got off the phone completely destitute feeling.

That spring, the TeamWILD team was working really hard to recruit people to CampWILD, a training camp for adults with diabetes to work on their athletic knowledge and skills. I felt the need to remain optimistic and upbeat. Again, I did not tell any of the team just how overwhelmed and desperate I was feeling. I kept my pain and confusion to myself. I believed I was supposed to be the strong one. In essence, I didn’t trust anyone.

In early June 2013, I went to Chicago for their Tour de Cure bike ride. It was a wonderful ride and their organizing volunteers were very welcoming and friendly. I was starting to feel more and more distant from everyone and everything. Some part of me knew that I was nearing my one year deadline for figuring things out. Essentially, I had NOT figured anything out.

I did not feel more connected to people. I actually felt more distant, more isolated. Despite having found a Minnesota therapist, I had not revealed my desperate financial situation or my intense isolation to this person. I had perfected the ability to project a put together life. I don’t suffer from depression, and I was still doing social things with people, and I still hoped that miraculously I would somehow, without getting any actual help, figure out my dire financial situation with the IRS.

Protect others, don’t trust or reveal

I had started to dissociate pretty profoundly. I had entered a phase of some part of me wanting to somehow protect my family from my deep financial failure. I thought they would be better able to deal with my death by suicide than to deal with my complete financial failure with the IRS. I still was under the belief that I didn’t really matter to anyone. I still believed that no one would really notice that I was gone.

Attempt 2

I don’t remember writing a suicide note, but I did write one. I left it on my desk in my apartment. I made arrangements with my landlord to take care of my dog. I don’t know what I told them. I left my phone in my apartment. I was very serious about following through with my decision to leave, to die. I couldn’t find a solution to my crisis. I wasn’t smart enough. I wasn’t connected enough. Essentially, I believed no one would notice I was gone. I actually believed that people would simply carry on, most likely better without me in the picture.

Not belonging, not connected, don’t trust

I realize now that belonging and being connected were not things I felt as a child. Given the trauma I grew up with, I was sexually abused by my father, by my maternal grandfather and by a babysitter, I very early figured out that love was very conditional and that it was my job to tune into what would cause danger and hurt to happen.

I learned through experience not to trust anyone.

I learned that I had to be completely self-reliant. I did not learn or experience how to feel connected to a community. I had not ever revealed my complete isolation.

Like I mentioned earlier, I am the oldest, and as the oldest, I felt responsible. In this instance, I felt protective of my family. I wanted to preserve the myth that my family was practically perfect.

I figured, since I was clearly NOT perfect, especially in regards to my financial failure, I should exit the scene. I believed that it would be better for me to die by suicide than to cause public embarrassment for my financial failure. I was convinced that would be a better option.

I took matters into my hands on June 11, 2013. I left my phone in my apartment. I made sure there was a plan for my dog to be cared for, at least for the immediate moment. That’s about all I clearly remember. Essentially, I shifted into a dissociated place. I don’t remember giving myself a massive overdose of insulin and I don’t remember taking over half a bottle of sleeping pills, but I did do both. Somehow I managed to drive myself away from where I lived to a random, rarely used road in Edina, Minnesota.

Missing

I went missing for over three days. During that time, a number of things happened that I don’t fully understand to this day. My family figured out that I was missing first. My sister-in-law posted something to my Facebook page, asking if anyone had seen me. That resulted in a small group of people I knew from the Tour de Cure Twin Cities to create an extensive search for me.

Their search for me extended to Denver, Colorado and to Santa Cruz, California, both cities where I had lived for more than nine years each. In addition, in the months before I went missing, several women had been randomly raped, so my being missing caught the attention of the Twin Cities local media. As a result, for the days I was missing, people searched methodically for me all over the Minneapolis – Saint Paul, Minnesota area.

Found

I was found by a random man who lived near where my car was parked. He had seen my car in the morning when he was out for a walk. Then when he got home from work he took another walk and he again saw my car. He thought it was unusual that the same car would be in the same place both in the morning and the early evening. He approached my car to see if he could see anything inside the car. Apparently, he saw me in a reclining position in the driver’s seat. He had not heard about me being missing, but he knew he should call for help, so he called the police.

When the police got there, they broke open the car. Apparently the inside of the car was over 112 degrees, yes, it was HOT. They got me in an ambulance and they took me to the hospital. I remained in a coma for two more days, during which time they tested me for all the possible drugs I could have taken.

Psychiatric ward

After a few days, I started to come out of the coma. I don’t remember waking up, but slowly I did. The hospital then moved me to the psychiatric ward, where I stayed for another 32 days or so. It was unclear how extensive the damage was to my brain or my well-being. I couldn’t speak clearly and I couldn’t function normally.

What I do remember was that I knew I was okay being alive. In fact, I remember that one of my first thoughts was that I had more that I needed to do with this life. I hadn’t yet remembered my near death experience, I just knew I wasn’t dead for a reason.

At first, in the psychiatric ward, they didn’t have anyone else with a similar situation and as a result, they didn’t really know how to deal with me. I had forgotten how to do things like fetch my food from the trays they brought to feed us. I didn’t know how to take a shower. I was pretty lost. I was very quiet, as I couldn’t remember how to form words.

I had been a long time meditator, and I remembered how to sit in meditation. Very quickly, I realized that meditating every day was a good way to spend time. I also found myself in the various art therapy groups they hosted. I made bracelets, barrettes and painted wood stencils of things. Nothing particularly fabulous, just something to pass time.

Still alone

No one came to visit me. I never really caught on to why no one came to see me. I just noticed that literally every single other person who was on the ward had regular visitors. It fed my belief that no one noticed me or cared if I was alive or dead. What I didn’t understand until much later was that my family told the wide community of more than 800 people who had created a special Facebook group about me was directed to “leave me and my family alone.”

I am thankful that after more than three weeks at the hospital, my longtime triathlon friend Delinda from Colorado decided to come visit me. It was wonderful to begin to again connect with the circle of friends who cared about my well-being.

Me and Delinda after 15 miles of biking in Denver!

An irony is that my mother didn’t come very often to see me. My sister had come to Minnesota to help at the time I was first missing and she was there at the very start of me being in the coma in the hospital. My brother and his family didn’t come to see me that I can remember, except once.

My first very clear memory happened one day that my mother came to see me. She had brought with her a folder. In the folder were various expenses I had, such as car insurance and other bills. What I vividly recall is that as she sat in a chair in the locked facility where my bed was, and I sat on my bed, she told me that she thought my life was a complete mess. She told me that she had no idea how I would ever get my life in financial order again. She then proceeded to tell me that she thought I was a total failure, and that she didn’t know how I would ever sort things out.

Her words registered.

In response, I felt a part of my brain come alive again. Something shook inside of me. I remember taking a deep breath and looking at her and asking her, “Do you know what you are saying to me?” She replied that yes, she knew what she was saying.

Grateful to be alive + sort things out

I then told her that I wasn’t dead and that I had decided I wanted to live, that I had more I was to do this life, and that to do those things, I needed to ONLY have people around me who believed in me and my ability to survive and sort things out. I said it sounded like she did not believe in me. What I remember is that she agreed, she did not believe in me. I said to her that if she wasn’t going to be on my team, she needed to leave immediately.

She got up and left.

That was the last time I have had a meaningful conversation with my mother. That was in early July 2013.

Regaining brain function

Slowly and surely I regained brain function. I believe the four to six hours of meditation I did every day helped. Slowly I figured out how to use the one computer available to all of us on the ward. I remember the first time I went on Facebook while in the hospital. I was completely overwhelmed with the clear amount of support that was out there for me. We only got access to the computer for 15 minutes at a time.

Meeting my endocrinologist

The one saving grace that happened while I was in that psychiatric ward was meeting the endocrinologist they assigned to help me with my diabetes. Her name is Rebecca Mattison. She was the one healthy, real person I met while in the hospital for more than a month. She figured out quickly that I wasn’t massively depressed like the hospital psychiatrist insisted. She knew there was more to my story than met the eye. She expressed interest in who I was. She recognized that I was grateful to still be alive, and that I wasn’t suicidal any longer. Dr. Mattison continues to be the endocrinologist I see to help me navigate my diabetes care.

Eventually they let me out of the hospital. I went back to my apartment. I was forced to find a new place to live, which thanks to a connection I had made at the meditation center I attended, I found a new place to live at the end of August 2013. My friend and diabetes superstar Scott Johnson helped me make the move.

The universe supported me

I got help from a Minneapolis social worker, who got me on food stamps and she helped me apply for and receive monthly emergency funding, which I received for more than two years as I regained my brain function and my financial footing. Additionally, those 800 Facebook friends had raised over $5000 that I proceeded to live on for the next year.

Not massively depressed. PTSD it is.

I also attended an outpatient mental health clinic every day for eight weeks. At this clinic, I met a psychiatrist who said that it did not seem like I was depressed. Her diagnosis was post-traumatic stress disorder, given all that I had endured from childhood on. The moment she told me that, I burst into tears. For the first time, a diagnosis made sense to me. I wasn’t depressed, instead I suffered from PTSD.

Rebuilding my life and telling my truth

Slowly, step by step, I rebuilt my life. In the six years since this happened, I have gotten amazing support and help. I decided to finally tell my truth to the therapists I was seeing. In being vulnerable with telling my truth, I got the help I had longed for my whole life.

I got financial help. I filed bankruptcy. I got financial coaching which led to becoming a financial coach. I found a job that I love. I learned how to live within my means. I continue to meditate every day. I forgive myself every day for not being perfect. I have almost no contact with most of my biological family. A few of them dislike me quite a bit.

Learning to be close to people, for the first time

Very slowly, I am learning to be close to people. I have a circle of beloved friends and colleagues. I realized I do matter. I do belong. This insight was hard won. It’s taken much deep introspection to learn how to mother and father myself, and to see that I do have an impact. That my being dead by my own hand wasn’t and isn’t the better option. I have survived the shame of financial failure. I still belong. There is support and help in the world for even me.

Thank you for reading this. My hope is that my courage to tell my suicide attempt story will help others who feel alone, who feel that they don’t matter.

With much gratitude and love.

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72 thoughts on “A suicide attempt story by a woman who is grateful to be alive”

  1. Mari, I decided to wait to read your story not knowing what my emotional response would be, a little bit scared I guess. Now that I’ve read it I feel honored to know these things about you. We never really get the full details of life after a suicide attempt which you provided. I was chilled which attests to the quality of writing. I then felt hope rising. Thank you for sharing this. I am proud to know. Much love

    • Manisha,
      Thank you so much for your kind words. Knowing that you’re a reader and a writer and to have your testimony means the world. I worked long and hard on creating this piece of writing, to have it be honest and tell a complete story as I experienced it. I appreciate that you got the detail I wove into this piece.
      I am so glad that I know you!

  2. I applaud your courage Mari. Yes, you do have more to do with your life! Your honesty will help so many. Thank God you are here to share your story. Our son took his life in January of 2018. He was Bi-Polar 1 with other complicated diagnosis included. We witnessed his struggle for years and the stigma that he fought against. The funeral home that provided services for us was wonderful. One of their long time employees took his life in August of 2018. The director (a friend) wrote an article about the employee who died and suicide. The article was positive in most ways, but included this statement, “Suicide is a long term solution to a temporary problem”. I was appalled! Just as you planned and thought about ending your life for so long I know that our son did. And clues would tell us that most everyone does. I admire you for sharing your pain. I am thankful that you shared your story of success over the PTSD that was causing you so much pain and irrational thoughts. Stay strong! You matter more than you can ever know. And kudos to you for even starting your own business. You rock!

    • Pamela,
      Thank you for sharing some of your story and experience with suicide. I’m sorry that your son died. And thank you for your deep understanding.

  3. Frequently, suicide attempts are seen as giving up. You, Mari, never gave up and you continue to live each moment to the fullest. I’m proud of you in sharing your story. As Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story.” You’re telling your story with courage and humility. Keep going and as I’ve said to you for years, “NEVER GIVE UP!”

    • Thank you Alex. Not everyone gets the undercurrents of my story, any you do. I am very grateful for that. I appreciate your inspirational words. I will stay in the game until my body is done!!

  4. Mari,

    I connected with you years ago with Tour De Cure, Lakewood Ranch (Sarasota, FL) and we spoke on the phone many times. You were and continue to be an inspiration to me.

    To this day, I clearly remember the day you went missing and how my heart sank…the loss I felt…I had just found you…even if we were just tow fellow type 1 diabetics who spoke occasionally for a great cause “Go Red Rider”!..I was sad, I was scared, I was afraid…but then you survived! You are a fighter and a SURVIVOR!!! A beautiful woman inside and out, a woman who speaks from the heart and encourages just by being you!

    Thank you for sharing your story and more importantly for realizing you are loved, you are needed, you are a child of God who’s work is NOT yet done!

    Go get em’!

    Love and blessings,
    Darlene 🙂

    PS…My door is always open to you for a quick getaway whenever you need it…Orlando, FL 🙂

    • Thank you Darlene for your very kind words. And you just never know when I will come visit you in Florida!!

  5. Mari-You are so loved in the diabetes community and a superstar in my book.

    I think you’ll appreciate this story that is only slightly related to your post. I have an email D-friend who is like a modern penpal. She struggles with medical professionals who belittle and criticize her. I always tell her how wonderful my endocrinologist is. I shared the link to your blogpost today to prove the point that I truly have a wonderful doctor. Dr. Mattison has truly eased my way through diabetes for over 15 years and she may have saved your life. I guess we’re “Endo Buddies.” And we are blessed to have Dr. Mattison in our lives.

    • Laddie,
      Thank you. I don’t feel like a superstar, but hey, I’m learning that’s okay! I do love, love, love it that we have the most wonderful endocrinologist!!!
      Mari

  6. Mari, I am so happy to still have you on this earth. I was a TeamWild online participant, and your coaching was the reason I can get up a hill, clip out on a hill, have confidence that my diabetes won’t stop me, and overall continue to love biking today. I was so distraught when I saw that you were missing–I couldn’t believe that you might be gone. We’ve never met in person, but you have had a huge influence on me. Your positivity, encouragement, and truth-telling is an inspiration to everyone who is lucky enough to read or hear your words. I am so glad that you have found some peace with your past, and that you can continue to rally people with diabetes to live a full life. Virtual hugs to you.

    • Thank you Leah! I’m glad the program you got from TeamWILD was helpful!!!! That is excellent news!!!

  7. Mari,
    Back in your TeamWild days I began to follow you… I was inspired by you then. Then through the ADA, I watched your journey unfold and continued to be amazed by your courage and bravery. I never knew the details of your situation but always thought you had that “something special”. Today, after reading your story, I am convinced of that. We all have things going on in the background that shape our path and yours has had many twists and turns that will ultimately help you help others. Robin Roberts always says “make your mess, your message”. All these traumatic situations have prepared you for doing even greater things. The world needs you. God bless you Mari. If I can ever help you in one of your projects, please don’t hesitate to call upon me. You are brave, courageous and a person of great value to this world… so happy that you’re still here. You are an overcomer! With love and admiration, Marianne Grady

  8. My dear friend Mari! You are SO brave and strong and special. Thank you for sharing your story with the world, and thank you for letting me share delightful moments with you. You have helped me more than you can know, and your help continues to build positive momentum in my life and many around me. Sending you a big giant Scott Johnson hug, lots of love, and even more gratitude. Thank you!

    • Scott Johnson!!!! I’m hugging you right back!! We have a mutual fan club!!! I feel so lucky to have you in my world,even if that world now includes San Diego!!

  9. So many hugs to you, Mari! Thank you for sharing this. I am so thankful you are here. I in no way want to take away from your story, so I hope my sharing this does not.
    I very clearly remember the day I got a txt about you missing…I remember exactly where I was sitting. Minneapolis Tour de Cure came together in a way that was inspiring and a testament to how many people you have touched. And, as hard as it can be to take in, you mattered (and still do) so much that parks were walked, biked, and searched by several people from Tour. No one gave up…and I don’t think anyone ever thought about stopping…at least not the people I know…you were/are too special.
    You are important. You matter. You inspire, give hope and you are loved.
    I am forever thankful to the man that found you.

    • Janae,
      Thank you for being one of the ones who helped search for me. I am beginning to understand and feel the connection I do have to people. Thank you for being part of that world!!!

  10. Mari,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I knew some of your background but not all, and knowing how your family is makes you even stronger in my book! I have always believed that strength and vulnerability go hand in hand, and I think sharing this is going to make you even stronger than you already are!

    You matter to me and constantly inspire me!
    Much love,
    Sarah

    • Sarah,
      Thank you! I’m glad you got to learn more about the back story. It is a layered and complex story. Slowly I am learning to feel and trust and believe.
      Much love to you too.
      Mari

  11. Mari,
    You are extraordinary. I am so grateful to know you, and work with you sometimes. Thank you for offering up your compelling and brave story. Let’s hang out!

  12. Mari,
    I remember that I connected with you on FB shortly before you disappeared. I remember the worry and fear that we all shared that someone so important to our fight was alone and scared. Like so many others, I’m so grateful that you were found and have received the support you need to fight the good fight. You are a treasure!
    Love & Light,
    Adrienne

  13. I remember that Facebook page too. I prayed so hard that you would be found safe. I also remember the post from your family. I am so sorry about that. There were many nearby who would have been there for you. I am just so glad that you got the right diagnosis and help. My dad tried to commit suicide more than once. It took so long for him to be diagnosed with PSTD from the Korean war. But it was life changing for him too.

    Loving you from Ontario my sweet sisterchick. Someday when we get to meet in person, I have the biggest hug for you

    • Cathy,
      Yes, the right diagnosis makes a big difference!!! One day I am confident we will meet in person! Thank you for letting me know more about you and your life! You too are an inspiration.

  14. Mari, I remember this time very well. We were all so concerned in Denver, with little we could do to help

    YOU have personally made an impact in my life….we met randomly at a hotel breakfast the morning of Tour de Cure Colorado 2010. We at breakfast together and talked about carbs and cycling. At that moment, I did not realize who you were….not until you addressed the start line of the Century Ride, did I realize I was speaking to a legend!

    I have spoken many times of our meeting, and the effect our conversation had on my life.

    Thank you for having the courage to share your story.

    Please know you were NEVER alone…

    Deana

  15. Wow, Mari. What an inspiring story. I too have PTSD that has pretended to be depression and I too have and do struggle with business, finances, and the IRS and spent most of 2011and 2012 struggling with suicidal thoughts. We both know we were part of some of the same craziness that led up to that time and set us out into different lives. This post helps me to understand why you pushed me away back then and it helps me see I was not alone either. I am not the extrovert you are so I could not follow the same path. It seemed very foreign to me how you could be so massively involved with so many people, so focused on leadership and yet feel so raw. Now I see there is much more. You are very very brave. Not just to write this but to survive and to pull away from your family and make your life what you need it to be. Thank you for this story.

  16. Thank you for sharing! We met years ago with Team CWW. Though we didn’t know each other well, I followed you on FB and always admired you. I remember when you were missing and prayed for you. I remember when you were found and your family saying you needed privacy. I’m sorry for all the pain you’ve endured but I do love reading your story because I see the words of a powerful woman who is a resilient survivor!

  17. Thanks Mari for your bravery to tell us your truth. I had the pleasure of meeting you at a Tour de Cure event years ago in California. You are inspirational. It’s so important to know that everyone is going through something and to never assume that just because someone looks fine from the outside that everything is actually fine. A smile, a friendly word can mean so much.
    I’m glad you are doing better now. I hope you know that you are noticed and you would be deeply missed if you weren’t here. Please contact me for any reason at all; I am your friend even if we never meet again. Love, Addie

  18. Wow, Mari. I am so impressed with your sharing this part of your life. You have always been one of the strongest people I have ever known. And your sharing this just confirms to me how amazing and beautiful you really are. I am so sad that you struggled so deeply with these issues, but I also believe it is entirely understandable given all you have been through. Please know that I do care, I would have a black hole in my life without you, and no matter what happens you are a success to me. Love you tons.

    • Oh Jeanine, I feel so blessed to count you as a beloved friend and sister. We were there for each other through lots. I am so grateful I did all that breathwork and meditation and knew to call on those experiences many many times. I am also finally starting to feel my connection to people. It is hard won. And due to so much introspection. I am so glad you are in my life, even from afar! I love you!

  19. Thank you for this, Mari. And thank you for inspiring and supporting me during my Big Picture days. I’m so blessed to have you in my life.

    • Tom, it was a good few years supporting you and the others at UPrep! I love you all!!! And I’m grateful for our continued Facebook connection. Thank you for your very kind words. I feel you with me.

  20. Very powerful story Mari! I think a lot of us can relate to your story in someway or another. The only difference is that many of us live in quite solitude not willing to tell our own nightmare.

    • Larry,
      I agree. In part that is why I felt called to speak my truth. Maybe it will help someone. I know for sure that it’s helped me to put it out into the world.
      Thank you.
      Mari

    • Wow. Thank you. You have no idea how your light shines on all of us. Thank you for sharing this. We ALL can relate to some part of this story, so it is immensely powerful. Thank you.
      I loved the quote, “. I have almost no contact with most of my biological family. A few of them dislike me quite a bit.” Not because I do not value a biological family, but because I know you have a NON-biological family that love you quite a bit, and that is even better.

      • Molly,
        Having you as a friend is a gift. Thank you for your very kind words. I am very grateful for my extended non-biological family! Of which you are a part. Big hug!

  21. Well done Mari! Quite a tale. Glad you’re still with us to tell your story. Keep on being well and positive, nothing else to do! This story will help a lot of people. Keep on keeping on!
    Joe Mara

  22. Mari
    I remembered the june 2013 face book alert!!!! I immediately said a pray for you every day you were missing. We met at a ride rider dinner when you were a speaker at the dinner in NY. My son Brendan just got diagnosed and we were lost. We join the red rider team and hear you speak and I was so motivated by you. Thank you. We all matter I choose to live each day. No plans for the future, just to try each day to be my best self. Hard many days!!!

      • Mari how could you have thought that you didn’t matter? You have been and are such an inspiration to so many people with and without diabetes. My Team Wild days taught me that things that triathlons and cycling were not just for “other people” but could be for me too and I i’m an active cyclist to this day – with a lot of gratitude to your vision and personality that convinced us that we could. So glad that you have been able to move past so many terrible things in your life and that the world didn’t lose you.

        • Kristina,
          Turns out that PTSD can do some powerful things to the mind. That’s how I really did not believe or feel in my body that I mattered. Complex and confusing, I know. I am grateful that I found help and allowed help to sort it out and deeply begin to heal. Your words, this time, I am letting them in. I feel what you are saying. In fact, as I type this, tears come to my eyes. Thank you.

      • Dear Mari,

        You are going to get a LOT more messages like this:

        • You are LOVED and needed.
        • You are NOTICED and unforgettable.
        • You are a RED RIDIN’ ROCKSTAR.

        You will never know how many of us at Tour de Cure Chicago still trade “Mari stories” from our encounters with you that year. The news of your disappearance went through the community like wildfire, and then the Facebook page and Team Red Chicago lit up with joy that you had been found alive.

        We honored the request for privacy that was posted then, and I am sad to learn of the pain that it inflicted. But now, I believe that the truth you reveal here will help others who struggle with that “long-term solution.”

        Arms wide open,
        Ginny
        Team Red Chicago
        Red Rider

        • Wow Ginny!!!! Thank you. I felt the love and appreciation. As I mentioned,actually feeling love and appreciation is new for me. I’m pretty sure the not feeling love and appreciation is a big reason I have made such a big effort in my life to create BIG things!!! Blessings and love back to you and all the Red Riders and Tour de Cure organizing people in Chicago!
          With love,
          Mari

  23. Thank you for telling your story. It helped me in many untold ways. I admire your courage and resolve.

  24. Mari, thank you for sharing your story. It has been a long time since we have seen each other but you always mattered to me!

    • Kelly,
      I love seeing you and your dear children and all your fun adventures on Facebook! You are an amazing human!!! Thank you for your kind words!
      To fitness!
      Mari

  25. Thank you for sharing this, Mari, in a courageous and authentic way. You matter to so many people and are an profound inspiration.

  26. Thank you Mari. Thank you for telling your story! That takes a lot of courage! I am so glad that you made it and met the people who could help you!
    I can relate to some of your story, including the bankruptcy.
    Sending my love!
    Cindy

    • Cindy,
      Thank you for your deep kindness. It did take some serious courage. I feel very very very fortunate to find many good people to help me. With much survivor warrior love!
      Mari

  27. Thank you for telling your story. I remember reading about your disappearance throughout the entire Diabetes Online Community. Almost everyone with a blog blogged about it, Tweeted about it, posted about it…

    FWIW, I understand the whole financial thing: there were times growing up where I felt I was nothing more than a financial drain on the family. And there are times now that I question the value of my being here, because I have never been able to support myself independently of others (and the older I get, the worse it gets). It doesn’t help that in most of the US, it’s more important to have a driver’s license and a car than a college degree (at least if you have a car, you can get to and from a job)…

    • Many blessings and lots of love as you continue to navigate. Thanks for your many kind words and for telling me some of your story!

  28. Your powerful story sets a path for others to tell their own hard stories. Thank you. As long as I’ve known you, you’ve modeled a strong desire to heal and to help others do the same. Thanks for being so darn open-hearted despite all of these hard things that have come your way. Hand on heart, Linda

    • My hand is on my heart as I bow to you dear Linda. I feel like becoming friends with you, getting to learn from your wisdom, self-reflection and joyful way to live has been a gift from the Universe! Thank you!

  29. Thank you for sharing. You are awesome! I remember learning about your program while you were still here in Boulder. I thought you might have some valuable things to teach me about managing diabetes and being physically active. But I was laid off from work at the beginning of the recession in 2008. I now had the time but not the money. I am still not employed but I am physically active and self educated on managing my diabetes…several years of remission, hooray! I was one of those people worried about you from afar. I am so glad you made it through all this.

    I hope sharing your story helps someone else figure out their way through their own difficulties.

    • Donna,
      I’m so glad you are still active and still learning good methods to manage your health!!! Thank you for your kind words! Way to go!

  30. Really very happy for you.
    With all you have been through, you grew to inspire people including myself!
    Depression is so misunderstood and it has not visual signs like a cast on a broken leg or arm.
    I have read some place that they are not sure what comes first, Diabetes or depression. Have all the things that could go wrong in our lives, I am sure Diabetes can make any situation worse.
    Thank goodness for you and sharing your struggle with all the facets that you faced and over came!

    • Dan,
      Thank you for your kind words. Of note, I do not and have not ever suffered from depression. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones on that front!

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