TWLOHA = To Write Love On Her Arms. Check out TWLOHA if you want to find out what this is about.
Something many, many people have fought is depression, thoughts of suicide, and the overall feelings of complete hopelessness. There are several places a person can turn to for support. Places like churches, friends, doctors, and hotlines.
Sometimes, suicide and depression aren’t just about going through tough times, sometimes it’s a chemical imbalance. There are people who cannot shake off those thoughts and feelings by putting themselves in happy situations or just talking out their feelings. They need more.
One of the cool things with this organization is that they support all avenues of support that make sense, including professional help (doctors, therapists, etc.) to going to the church or close friends.
In my own experiences, I didn’t know about these support mechanisms when I was a teen. Rarely was suicide and depression talked about. It was taboo unless something became more real on the topic. So when I attempted suicide in my own way, I didn’t know that I could talk with my mom, and she’d understand, or that there was help out there with teachers, counselors, or friends. Many friends felt the same way, we just didn’t talk about it. And when we did, it was a huge shock. I remember reading one of my poems about suicide in front of my class, months after I started recovering. It was a profound thing for my classmates. One friend even turned a copy of this poem over to the school counselor, and before I knew what was happening, I was in the counselor’s office. We talked and I informed her that my mom knew and we were working on it. My closest friends knew and they helped in their own way.
Since then, my wife, Cyndi, and I have counseled several teenagers over the years through the churches we’ve attended, and through online communities. It’s not pretty and it’s challenging to help someone who cannot switch off the “Life frickin’ sucks” button.
And even now, I understand this a little more being an adoptive father. My children are from the foster care system. Where every time my kids attempted to trust, to love, to grow, they were shot down. They endured abuse from other kids in foster care and from adults they were supposed to trust. With 78% of kids in foster care ending up dead, in jail, or with children of their own in the foster care system, there is a need for support here. Cyndi and I struggle with self-harming behavior with our kids and they don’t even fully understand why they do it. All they know is that they’re scared. Scared of the things that has happened to them and how we, as their parents, might react if we found out the ugly truth. They’re scared that if we did find out, we’d ship them off for another family. They’re scared that if we found out, we’d think it was their fault and we’d stop loving them.
So, I’m grateful for an organization like TWLOHA, who understands and wants to help any way they can. To spread the knowledge, support, and love.