I’m cheating and posting what I wrote for Blogathon, because it concisely sums up how I feel about TWLOHA.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had bouts of depression, mania, suicide dreams, the urge to hurt myself or break things. It got really bad when I was in high school and I knew something wasn’t right, that living like that couldn’t have been normal; and the school’s social worker knew that something wasn’t right, but it was something that my family just didn’t want to hear. Still, my mom abided by the school’s wishes and got me into therapy, though she held true to her theory that this was all “because of a boy.”
But it wasn’t because of a boy and it was the first time things started making sense to me. Depression, bi-polar, any mental illness, wasn’t something that was being talked about that much and it wasn’t like I could call up a friend and be like, “Hay girlfriend, how ’bout that chemical imbalance, oh hahaha.” I did a lot of suffering in silence pre-therapy. If I tried to talk to my family about it, I was laughed at. Accused of trying to get attention. Well, um, yeah. I kind of was. Attention to the fact that I needed help.
But then my mom pulled me from therapy. I went back to being unmedicated and it didn’t take long at all for the heaviness to come back over my heart and the noise to refill my head. For years and years and years, when people would ask me, “Why did you drop out of school?” I would say I didn’t know. But I do know. It was that. Depression was making going to school into a horror show for me. And my family still laughs at me when I try to talk about how I feel. Still. Because they don’t know how to handle taking it seriously.
These days, kids talk about it. And if their family is as close-minded as mine, they have other people to go to. It’s not taboo anymore. And with organizations like To Write Love on Her Arms, kids are starting to realize that there is help, and hope, available to them. And becauseTWLOHA is very tightly affiliated with music and Warped Tour and you see bands wearing the shirts, I think that makes it even better for the kids because it gives it less of a clinical help-line feel and more of a haven for kids to know that it’s OK, that they WILL BE OK.
I wish To Write Love on Her Arms was around when I was in high school.
Yeah, this picture wasn’t hard to accomplish AT ALL. No, I just had to bribe my son with a shitload of chocolate, threaten to get Santa’s fat ass on the phone, and promise a lifetime of wedgies until he finally conceded. I dont know WHERE he gets his bull-headedness. And the unfortunate inability to stand tall under bribery’s iron fist.