Monday, November 23, 2009

Distress, Depress, Blight, Bruise, and End.

So this month (November), the 13th was National TWLOHA day. TWLOHA stands for “To Write Love On Her Arms”—if you don’t know the organization you should definitely check it out. It’s an organization that I support wholly. This got me thinking: what do people know about this topic? What don’t people know? Does anyone else think about it? Hence came my blog topic for this month.

TWLOHA is an organization that’s taking a stand against something that’s a lot closer to home than a lot of people think- self-harm and suicide. I know a lot of people think that only “emo” kids cut; this is not true. Self-harm, suicide, and suicidal thoughts come about because of depression, loneliness, and other negative thoughts like that. Everyone has those feelings, it’s just that the degree of the emotions vary from person to person (duh).

Self-harm is the first stage. When a person feels severely depressed, lonely, secluded, or even stressed they feel they need a way out. Unfortunately this “way” is often through cutting, burning, bruising… none of it good. Temporary fixes, they divert the emotional pain into physical pain. It’s like drugs, in a way, and no less harmful.

If these feelings and emotions aren’t resolved, eventually the person will want to quit. Quit their activities, quit school, quit life. Suicidal thoughts- these, as you may have guessed, usually lead to suicide attempts, and sometimes success. It’s a path, and one that’s hard to get out of once you’re in it.

What I think a lot of people don’t realize is that there are people right next to them having these feelings, they’re just good at hiding it. Your sibling, your classmate, coworker, best friend- they might feel like the world could end tomorrow and you might not even know. A lot of people are better actors than they get credit for.

My point here is that there’s probably a lot of stuff around you that you just don’t know about. It happened to me- between my freshman and sophomore year I experienced things that most people don’t have to deal with in their entire lives, much less when they’re 14 and 15. I’m not going to give you the details since it involves other people whose personal lives I don’t want to disclose, but I can tell you it was bad. I couldn’t figure out why the entire world was crashing down, seemingly all at once. People I had thought were perfect, who I’d held in the highest regard turned out to have committed the most atrocious acts; others who I thought were the happiest, most carefree people in the world were actually depressed, cutting themselves every night to get away from it all.

I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed it. I was disgusted with myself. Honestly, it almost sent me over the edge. I had always prided myself in my ability to discern and analyze others’ emotions; here, however, I had failed miserably.

Looking back now, I can’t believe I didn’t figure it out earlier. I just wasn’t looking. If I had just taken the time to sit down with these people and sincerely ASK them what was going on, they might have opened up and the whole fiasco could have been avoided.

Really thinking about it, if I couldn’t figure out that my friends were having that much trouble, it doesn’t really surprise me that no one notices the other people around them. It’s not always the kid that sits alone at lunch who’s depressed; sometimes, but not always. Sometimes it’s the kid who looks happy until everyone looks away. The girl that covers the bags under her eyes with makeup so that no one will know she cries all night instead of sleeping.

It’s a terrible thing, this subject, but it shouldn’t be ignored. It scares people, and rightly so. It’s not something that should be taken lightly. So next time you go out, look around. Believe it or not, smiling at someone could make all the difference in the world; it could save someone’s life. Check out TWLOHA, see what you can do in your own community or around the world. However, be sure to support the cause, not just the organization. Don’t just wear the t-shirt, really believe in what you’re saying. If it truly means something to you, you’ll want to make a difference. You can, too, no matter who you are or where you live.

Please don’t ignore it.

Don’t ignore the people around you.