To Write Love on Her Arms

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 18 million people suffer from depression in our nation. Two-thirds of them will never seek treatment. Untreated depression will often lead to addiction, eating disorders, self injury, or suicide. It is estimated that 4% of our population struggles with self-injury…

Today is To Write Love on Her Arms day. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of TWLOHA, but in a nutshell, they’re non-profit movement that brings encouragement, information, inspiration, healing and recovery to people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. And trust me, there are a lot of people out there who struggle with it. TWLOHA has helped so many people break free from the bonds of addiction and depression. They’re really doing awesome things.

The movement began as a story. Here’s a bit from the story that started it all:

Renee is 19. When I meet her, cocaine is fresh in her system. She hasn’t slept in 36 hours and she won’t for another 24. It is a familiar blur of coke, pot, pills and alcohol. She has agreed to meet us, to listen and to let us pray. We ask Renee to come with us, to leave this broken night. She says she’ll go to rehab tomorrow, but she isn’t ready now. It is too great a change. We pray and say goodbye and it is hard to leave without her.

She has known such great pain; haunted dreams as a child, the near-constant presence of evil ever since. She has felt the touch of awful naked men, battled depression and addiction, and attempted suicide. Her arms remember razor blades, fifty scars that speak of self-inflicted wounds. Six hours after I meet her, she is feeling trapped, two groups of “friends” offering opposite ideas. Everyone is asleep. The sun is rising. She drinks long from a bottle of liquor, takes a razor blade from the table and locks herself in the bathroom. She cuts herself, using the blade to write “FUCK UP” large across her left forearm.

TWLOHA seeks out people like Renee and tells them that there is hope and that they can break free.  They also work to make people aware of the issues. They encourage us to reach out to those struggling and to inform those who don’t even know. This spreading of the message is what today is about. I guess part of why this movement is so important to me is that I have a lot of people around me that have either been touched by it or who need to hear it’s message.

Today, I am joining thousands of people in writing the word “love” on our arms. We are doing this to call attention to the movement and to reach out to those who need to know what love is about. Many people struggle with the issues addressed by TWLOHA. Today, our message is “you are not alone, there is hope, and we care.”

Just one final note: The folks at TWLOHA had nothing to do with creating TWLOHA day, but they did write about it on their myspace – mostly to remind people of what this day is all about. Writing love on your arms isn’t a fashion statement, it’s a life statement.

To learn more about To Write Love on Her Arms and to become part of the movement, go to their website: www.twloha.com.

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