My dad was the best at nicknames; everyone in our family had one. Mik and I are Boo Boo and The Mikker. He had quite a few himself throughout his life, too. He was known as Scotty, Scamp, and Stallion (to name a few!), but the one that really stuck was Scooter.
He wouldn’t let Mik call him “Mr. Scampini” when they met, and once his first grandson was born, “Grandpa” didn’t really suit him, so Scooter it was. His affinity for nicknames was just one of the MANY things that made my dad the wonderful, unique guy he was. He was handsome, charming, smart, goofy, loving, business-savvy, and quite the golfer.
He also lived most of his life with depression and bipolar disorder, but I didn’t really know about it until I was in my late twenties. He didn’t let it define him. Unfortunately, though, like many individuals with mental illness, he was also ashamed to discuss it with his parents, closest friends, and even with us, his own family.
He lost his battle with depression and mental illness in October 2013, and I still can’t believe he’s gone. I also can’t imagine the isolation he felt hiding this massive struggle for his entire life.
Mental illness is just that – an illness. It’s no different than heart disease or cancer; people are fighting every day, and these diseases do not discriminate. If you had met my dad, you would never have guessed he was sick. That’s one of the scariest and saddest parts of mental illness – so many people struggle silently.
So, we’re going to take some time and money out of our trip to dedicate our #Scooting4Scooter. Every dollar we spend on scooting (which we hope to do in every country!), we’ll match and donate to BringChange2Mind. It might not be much, but it’s something. And more importantly, we hope to shed some light and chip away at the wall of stigma surrounding mental illness.
We invite you to join us on each scooter ride through our photographs and videos, with a soundtrack provided by Scooter’s favorite tunes. Perhaps you’ll feel inclined to match our donations. (*If you do decide to match us, mention #Scooting4Scooter in your comments, please.)
Or, better yet, help break down the wall and foster a community of support: Share your story with BringChange2Mind.
Originally published on Becca and Mik’s Blog, Major Departure.