The grand idea to combine a cause with a special wish is the perfect combo that is sure to get noticed. Just one year and Megan Jackson's cause EMS Charity Kiss is getting coverage through out the web and in magazines. EMS Charity Kiss was launched to shed more light to mental depression and help a 28 year old woman to experience her first kiss with the worlds most popular vampire, Twilight star Robert Pattinson. SayWhatNews had the pleasure in speaking with Megan about her cause, her own struggles with depression and her special request to have Robert Pattinson grant her, her first kiss:
SayWhatNews: Hello Megan. Thanks for speaking with SayWhatNews about your charity EMS Charity Kiss. Tell us what is EMS Charity Kiss?
Megan: EmsCharityKiss is my attempt to raise money for depression and mental illness, by opening up and sharing my own experiences with the disease for ten years.
To help garner attention for the cause, I am asking Robert Pattinson to grant me my first kiss - at age 28!
SayWhatNews: Megan, suffering from depression yourself; what gave you the inspiration not only to raise money/ awareness about depression, you also decided to share your own personal struggle and experience.
Megan: Depression is still such a mystery, and still has such a taboo and stigma attached to it. Although it’s starting to infiltrate the news now, people don’t really talk about it. It’s not a disease you can see, or conventionally treat. It’s not viewed in the same way as other diseases. And yet the incidences of it are growing rapidly. It’s such an isolating illness - a big part of it is an overwhelming feeling of guilt. Guilt that you are sick, that you are tired all the time, that you can’t ‘snap out of it and get happy’. I just starting writing the blog openly and honestly to show what it is like to have depression, what it’s like to feel negatively about yourself. The kinds of thought processes that go through a distorted mind.
SayWhatNews: When was EMS Charity Kiss founded?
Megan: I started EmsCharityKiss in May, 2009 so it’s almost been going for a year!
SayWhatNews: Some of your blog entries are very personal. How hard is it for you to open up completely and share what you are experiencing at that moment?
Megan: Sometimes it is very difficult. Before when I was really down I would always withdraw - I didn’t really share a lot of what I was going through. I always thought it would be a burden on people, or that they would get sick of hearing about my problems. It’s been good opening up and being honest. It’s part of saying that there is nothing wrong or shameful with having depression, it’s an illness like any other.
SayWhatNews: So Megan, where did the idea come from to request Twilight star Robert Pattinson to grant you your first kiss as part of this cause?
Megan: I was talking about it with a friend and it started off in a very lighthearted way. The whole idea wouldn’t leave me alone though - it’s like that saying that if you can’t stop thinking of an idea it obviously means you should do it? After a day or so, I made the first YouTube video and it went from there!
SayWhatNews: What do you think your chances are?
Megan: I don’t really know - he’s very, very popular right now. Like, Beatle-mania kind of popular! I would hope that if he were to hear about it (and I believe he will at least hear about it) he would be flattered and take it in the spirit it was intended. I’ve tried to remain respectful throughout the whole project - I would dearly love him to be involved, but if he couldn’t for whatever reason I would understand. I would just hope he knew it was for such a worthwhile cause.
SayWhatNews: When I learned of your charity I knew I had to contact you for an interview. So many people worldwide are suffering from depression silently. At what age were you diagnosed with suffering from depression and what were the signs?
Megan: I’ve had depression since I was 18, but it wasn’t medically diagnosed until I was 21, after something traumatic happened in the family. I just felt anxious all the time - I was (and still am) a worrier. I was very very withdrawn, and I felt constantly exhausted. I’d had very low self esteem for as long as I can remember, but it seemed to reach a highpoint at that age. I was very fortunate and had an amazing family and wonderful friends but Depression blinds you to a lot of what’s around you, or distorts it into a negative way.
SayWhatNews: Is it true that your sister also suffers from the disease?
Megan: Yes. I only briefly mention her on my blog though. Her battle is her own and it’s personal. She’s very inspirational to me though, she’s been through a lot.
SayWhatNews: Megan you have posted a message to Ellen DeGeneres on Youtube asking her to help your cause and to help you get that first kiss. Why did you choose to reach out to Ellen?
Megan: I thought Ellen would respond well to the idea! She’s such a warm, generous person and I know that she is always willing to reach out and help people. She’s had Robert Pattinson on her show a few times now, and she seems to really like him, too.
SayWhatNews: To help raise money, you are selling Sugar Cookie flavored lip balm for a $10.00 donation. Do you make and package the lip balm yourself?
Megan: The lip balms are actually made by Kate Aspen - they’re actually personalized wedding favors! (http://www.kateaspen.com)A good friend Gabe thought of the idea, I thought it was wonderful and it’s been really popular.
SayWhatNews: Megan so far you have raised $1,296.00. The proceeds are going to OneINFIVE via www.everydayhero.com.aupage. How did you get linked with this organization?
Megan: I was drawn to OneInFive because of the story behind their group. They were a group of family and friends who came together after the death of a loved one. They wanted more than anything to honor him by helping the wider community better understand mental illness. I felt really drawn to that.
SayWhatNews: Megan, you also blog about others who suffer from the disease and who have lost their life because of the disease. How hard is it for you to blog about someone who has taken their own life because of their depression?
Megan: It can be extremely difficult. Depression tortures people. When you are in the grip of the disease it’s very, very difficult to see your way clear. I think it’s important though, to make mental illness and depression understood by the wider community. That involves telling all of the stories - the bad and the good, the lost and the won.
SayWhatNews: What do you want to say to those out their who feel they can not go on because their depression and feel they are all alone.
Megan: It may seem like you are the only person on Earth that feels the way you do, but you’re definitely not. That’s not to say that what you’re feeling isn’t real, but you are not alone. Depression is a thief - of life and light and hope. But you can manage it, you can get through it. Talk to someone, anyone. Oftentimes we underestimate how much it can help to share what we are going through.
SayWhatNews: Where can someone suffering from depression go to get help?
Megan: If it is an emergency, there are telephone services that offer anonymous counselling 24 hours a day, like Lifeline.org.au in Australia or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the US.
I’ve found in doing EmsCharityKiss that there are a wealth of websites, blogs and even twitter resources for depression sufferers. If it is not an urgent response that you need, these are great ways of learning more about what you are dealing with. And of course, talking to a Doctor is an important step too.
SayWhatNews: Megan, what are the first steps of fighting depression?
Megan: Recognizing that if you feel there is a chance you may be depressed, not to dismiss it as being ‘weak’ or ‘silly’. Talk to someone. A close friend, family member, doctor, someone at school, work, church etc. Wherever you feel comfortable. Talking is the first step. Once you can get over the initial hurdle within yourself, you can start to take care of the rest. No one has the same journey, and what works for one person may not work for you. It’s very much a trial and error thing.
SayWhatNews: Have you received any emails from people thanking you for your blog because it has helped them? If so, how does it make you feel knowing that you are helping others?
Megan: I have actually, and that has been one of the most amazing parts about doing EmsCharityKiss. So many people have been willing to contact me and share their own stories. These people are all so brave and their stories are heartbreaking. It’s just such a shame that there is still a stigma about mental illness that people see it as something to hide, or be ashamed of.
SayWhatNews: If you get the chance to meet Robert Pattinson and get that first kiss:
What will you say to him?
Megan: “Thank you for not taking this in a bad way!”
SayWhatNews: Do you think you will be too nervous to even kiss him?
Megan: Actually no, the part with Robert Pattinson is probably the part I’m the least nervous about. It’s the rest of the project - opening up about my illness, sharing what I’ve been going through. Although, I talk a big game now but it may be different if it actually happens!
SayWhatNews: Will you have someone take pictures or videotape the kiss?
Megan: I actually want the kiss to happen on the Ellen show, so I guess heaps of people will see it!
SayWhatNews: What will you wear?
Megan: I have no idea! A bright red face probably!