Jul 252009

Every time I do Blogathon, I try to pick a small charity that might get overlooked and overshadowed by the bigger ones. But never has one been so close to my heart as To Write Love On Her Arms.

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 it. And 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. It was something I couldn’t control and it was my own way of running from it. And my family still laughs at me when I try to talk about how I feel. Still.

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 TWLOHA is very tightly affiliated with music and Warped Tour and you see bands wearing the shirts and I think that makes it even better 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.


  10 Responses to “#3 TWLOHA”

  1. I can relate. I was one of those girls, too. But I never even tried to talk to my family about it. I didn’t even learn there was a name for cutting yourself, or that anyone else did it, until I had already pretty much stopped. I’m glad you chose this charity.

  2. A very worthy cause. I am proud of your progress and advocacy.

  3. I wish that I had known about them in high school too. Nobody in my suburban jungle of a high school understood how a girl who seemingly had a good life was so sad all the time. It was really difficult to try to explain it, so I just pasted a big smile on my face, played soccer, did the whole class vice president thing, and silently hid the scars on my arms and legs, blaming them on a disagreement with my cat if anyone ever saw or questioned. Thanks for supporting this charity and sharing your story. :o)

    • “Nobody in my suburban jungle of a high school understood how a girl who seemingly had a good life was so sad all the time.”

      THANK YOU. I was the girl who got everything she wanted because her grandparents were well off. So of course I was expected to be perfect and happy all the time. I remember one time in a writing class, my lone cry for help was drawing a big clown face and writing a poem on the protruding tongue about how everyone always expected me to be the class clown, the wacky weird funny girl, but every day I’d go home, shut my door and cry.

      Pasting a big fake smile was pretty much all people like us knew how to do back then.

      Thank you again for helping me with this!

  4. I lived with this for almost four years because the Asshole KNEW something was wrong with him and waited until it was too late to find out what was wrong, and then chose not to be on meds that might have saved things.

    Thanks for being honest, and for helping the message get out there, so, like you said, kids will know there’s help, and they’ll be OK.

    I donated because of all the wacky wild entries, but mostly because of this one.

    • I won’t lie – it was tough to write this and I cried a little. It just never really goes away. I will admit to not always being medicated but I never keep my feelings to myself anymore. The older I got, the more people I met who had the same experiences/problems as me, and that was when I really began to realize that it was OK to talk about it. Having a support system is just as crucial to seeking professional help, I think.

      I’m sorry you had to be on the other side of it. I know that Henry can relate to that.

      Thank you for your support!

  5. What a great cause. I know how hard it had to be to share so openly about your own experience, but you have come a long fucking way. And with very little help.

    You never popped pills- you popped in mix cds…
    and to me, you shared your healing with others that way.

    ENUF cheeze (though true!) I love you.

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