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Jim Shoopack

“Overcame suicidal thoughts through debilitating depression; now completed 21 marathons for mental health awareness and earned my doctorate.”


About Me

For approximately 100 days between February - May of 2001 (20 years ago), I suffered all of the symptoms of depression. It is miraculous that I didn't take my own life. I prayed and prayed and prayed, and even had what would be considered an out-of-body experience that gave me hope for the future. Once I had that experience, things started to improve. A friend of mine told me that I had demonstrated the symptoms of depression (I didn't know that how I felt at the time had a name). Once I saw my PCP, progress was made through talk therapy, medication, and then exercise. I started to walk one mile with my dog (it was really more him walking me than the other way around), until finally, I started to jog a mile. This slowly became 3-5 miles, which became training for a marathon. I want to be the "voice for the voiceless" as since approximately 1 in 4 will suffer in silence with a mental health challenge, I want to do my part to give back. I've even seen that 26.2% of the population have suffered from mental health challenges, which is symbolic of the mileage of a marathon. I have completed (slowly) 21 marathons, and in 2016 completed four marathons in four months. Prior to that, I had completed three marathons in three months. My final goal is to complete 100 marathons, to essentially get back each day that I lost when I didn't know that how I felt (clinically depressed), had a name. I still suffer from anxiety. In doing so, I have been interviewed by local TV and newspapers to talk about my organization "RunOverDepression." The website, "RunOverDepression.Com needs a lot of work, as it fell dormant when I was applying for my doctorate as well as studying for it.

I dedicate my marathons to promote mental health awareness and had also run them to promote helping a local pet rescue where my wife and I got two of our dogs. Furthermore, I've run to support sponsorship through Unbound, which is an organization in Kansas City that helps the impoverished throughout the world. I have traveled to El Salvador five times with the organization and sponsor a young lady in that country. I have also traveled to Honduras, Nicaragua, and Mexico on separate service trips. My fluency in Spanish has been beneficial in helping to serve as a translator for the church groups with whom I traveled.

In September of 2016, I began my journey toward earning my Doctorate in Education. I am happy to say that in September of 2020, I completed my journey and am now an EdD. I also dedicated my dissertation to many that I met on my service trips who never had a chance to go to school, as well as those who struggle with mental health challenges.

As part of my journey, my wife, our three pups and I love to travel. We have stayed at approximately 40 AirBnB's (all with the dogs). We have traveled East of the Mississippi River all over - Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina; and also into Ontario and Quebec. Travel is part of my self-care journey.

I am happy and honored to speak about my bout with depression. It is my goal to save as many lives as I can while I'm still here and to eradicate the stigma of mental illness.

My e-mail is [email protected]

Thank you and have a blessed and great day!


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