Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide, and suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers. (NIMH)
Several years ago when I was going through a rough point in my life, I asked out for help. I reached. What greeted the end of my hands?
Disdain. Ridicule. Hate.
How dare I ask for help? I thought their response to my need for help, my desire to heal, and my will to ask for guidance was about me. I thought it was an inherent flaw in myself.
I am a caretaker, myself, no? I should be able to stand on my own two feet and be sufficient. I should not fall to mental illness.
I fell to the stigma.
The reactions I got were not about me, even though I certainly personalized it at the time. It was about those I went to. They were uneducated. They were inexperienced. And above all else, they were scared.
There is an organization called To Write Love on Her Arms that seeks to support, guide, and educate the population about mental illness and help uplift those who suffer in its midst.
TWLOHA sends a message of love. It sends a message of support and unconditional positive regard. Support it in any way you can. They do good work. They are beautiful and inspiring. Their love. Their message. Their hope. TWLOHA: http://www.twloha.com/vision/
From their website:
To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.
The vision is that we actually believe these things…
You were created to love and be loved. You were meant to live life in relationship with other people, to know and be known. You need to know that your story is important and that you’re part of a bigger story. You need to know that your life matters.
We live in a difficult world, a broken world. My friend Byron is very smart – he says that life is hard for most people most of the time. We believe that everyone can relate to pain, that all of us live with questions, and all of us get stuck in moments. You need to know that you’re not alone in the places you feel stuck.
We all wake to the human condition. We wake to mystery and beauty but also to tragedy and loss. Millions of people live with problems of pain. Millions of homes are filled with questions – moments and seasons and cycles that come as thieves and aim to stay. We know that pain is very real. It is our privilege to suggest that hope is real, and that help is real.
You need to know that rescue is possible, that freedom is possible, that God is still in the business of redemption. We’re seeing it happen. We’re seeing lives change as people get the help they need. People sitting across from a counselor for the first time. People stepping into treatment. In desperate moments, people calling a suicide hotline. We know that the first step to recovery is the hardest to take. We want to say here that it’s worth it, that your life is worth fighting for, that it’s possible to change.
Beyond treatment, we believe that community is essential, that people need other people, that we were never meant to do life alone.
The vision is that community and hope and help would replace secrets and silence.
The vision is people putting down guns and blades and bottles.
The vision is that we can reduce the suicide rate in America and around the world.
The vision is that we would learn what it means to love our friends, and that we would love ourselves enough to get the help we need.
The vision is better endings. The vision is the restoration of broken families and broken relationships. The vision is people finding life, finding freedom, finding love. The vision is graduation, a Super Bowl, a wedding, a child, a sunrise. The vision is people becoming incredible parents, people breaking cycles, making change.
The vision is the possibility that your best days are ahead.
The vision is the possibility that we’re more loved than we’ll ever know.
The vision is hope, and hope is real.
You are not alone, and this is not the end of your story.