“We live in a difficult world, a broken world. We believe everyone can relate to pain, all of us live with questions, and all of us get stuck in moments. You need to know you’re not alone in the places you feel stuck.”
Behind the smiles and laughter lies a broken heart; a saddened soul. Millions of bodies exist in this mad world, but how many actually feel alive?
We wonder how our peers find themselves crouching in a hollow hole, watching their darkened world crumble around them. How can we allow people to feel so alone? How can we help them escape their solemn state?
Depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide exists. We all know someone or hear of individuals who are in conflict with themselves, and often resort to harmful substances. Although we are educated, do we truly understand the importance of preventing these actions from taking place?
One non-profit organization has taken the step to make these situations aware by traveling around the country and world spreading their story, and letting students and individuals know that they are never alone.
To Write Love On Her Arms, created by Jamie Tworkowski, aims to present hope for people struggling with addiction, depression, self injury and thoughts of suicce. It also invests directly into suicide and recovery.
The University of Scranton, which focuses on suicide prevention throughout the year, organized for this wide-known organization to visit campus this evening. May I also point out that there was a full house?! (a phenomenal turn out)!
The night opened up with musician, Noah Gunderson from Seattle. His voice is rich, and his music told the stories of addiction, feeling unwanted and having Faith. Founder, Jamie Tworkowski, followed and spoke for the rest of the night.
If I were to write all that Jamie touched on, you would be reading my blog for a very long time. I will say this: his story of how he came to find this organization, the reason why he left his high paying job, and why he is dedicated to reading and responding to the (on average) 200,000 messages he/his office receives, is remarkable.
The name itself, To Write Love On Her Arms, was inspired by Jamie’s interaction with a girl, Renee. Jamie’s friend David was trying to help her become sober- Jamie was one of four who joined in and listened to her tell her story, to get to know her and to help her.
Renee battled with addiction, and the night before she decided to commit herself to a rehab program she had used a blade to form two, distasteful, harsh words on her forearm. These words, as Jamie described them, were her identity.
She came to live by these two words, and to believe she was a “mess up.” Captured by her story, Jamie asked her if she would want to share her story, and she responded immediately with a “yes.”
Renee’s honesty and step toward sobriety made her believe that there was a “purpose for her pain.” And as it turns out, there was because her story, along with thousands of others, has spread throughout the country, England, Australia and other parts of the world.
It takes one story. It takes one person to listen and share that story. It takes a community of people to raise a hand asking for helping, and another community of people reaching out.
We cannot forget that 2 out of 3 people with depression will commit suicide. A scary thought, but one we must remember.
As Jamie mentioned multiple times, every story matters. We are all living a story-our story- and sometimes we need to remind others that their story does matter.