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I write love on my arm because...Posted Wednesday, September 12, 2012, at 4:00 PM
I write love on my arm because there are people who love me unconditionally, and would be lost without me. I write love on my arm because even on my worst days I still have a roof over my head and love in my heart.
Love is permanently written on my right arm in purple ink, tipped with a small heart to remind me how much I love the people around me.
This second week of September is National Suicide Prevention Week. A time when we can educate ourselves on the horror of depression and the tragedy of suicide.
This week gives us the excuse to walk up to the ones we love and just ask, "Are you OK?"
This simple question could turn into the hardest conversation of your life, but it's important we reach out to our loved ones in their time of need -- no matter how hard they try to hide or deny it. If you don't do it, who else will?
Denial and wearing a facade is a daily occurrence for those suffering from depression, which has become a social stigma.
It has become more and more difficult to come out and say, "I'm suffering from depression" because that word is tossed around daily. It's almost as if the severity of this actual mental illness has been trivialized.
If someone gets a bad grade, has a rough day or is cranky, you'll often hear, "I'm so depressed."
Those who suffer from the illness often don't want to come forth declaring their symptoms for fear of just seeming overly dramatic.
The good news is there is hope, and more importantly, there is help.
I came across the organization "To Write Love On Her Arms" (TWLOHA) in a difficult time in my life. It was hard for me to describe the thoughts going through my head and that terrified me.
I was frustrated because I had no legitimate reason to feel hopeless. I was surround by loving people, yet felt unlovable. It was terrifying for a teenage girl living in a prison inside her head.
I read the story of a 19-year-old woman suffering from addiction, hopelessness and fear. One night as her friends tried to help her come down from her last high she lost all self-control.
As her friends slept, she and a razor blade were locked in the bathroom where she carved a derogatory statement into her flesh.
It was at this point she hit rock bottom, but the good news is once you hit the lowest point in your life there is nowhere to go but up.
Through the help of a group of friends she was able to get clean, and stay clean to this day.
From her story, TWLOHA was born. The group travels all over the country, works with famous musicians and spreads the word that no matter what, you will be OK. You are loved.
Through the darkest days it takes the light of love to remind you why you are alive. Let your friends and family know just how important they are to you.
Even the tiniest gesture can reassure someone nearing the end of their rope that the world may just be an OK place to stay in.
In the words of TWLOHA, "Please stay alive."
Today, I proudly display my TWLOHA gear because it is the only way I know how to support the group that supported me without even knowing.
"You need to know that rescue is possible, that freedom is possible, that God is still in the business of redemption." -- TWLOHA Vision
Sabrina is a staff writer for the Greene County Daily World. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 847-4487.
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