To Write Love On Her Arms…

Jamie Tworkowski, the founder of “To Write Love On Her Arms,” (TWLOHA) is coming to UB on Wednesday night for a presentation and I am really excited.

Jamie, and his organization provided support for me when I thought I had no one else to turn to because I was too embarrassed to admit my problem to those who I was close to.

TWLOHA is a support system for people dealing with stress, anxiety and depression in not-so healthy ways such as suicidal thoughts, drug abuse and self-mutilation. They provide a network of support for those who are struggling and help them help themselves.

This is something that not many people know about me–I can count on half a hand how many people know this and my parents and my sister aren’t even one of the people who know.

When I was in high school I used to take an xacto knife and slice my wrists to pieces. This was before I knew how to deal with my stress, anxiety and self-doubt in healthy ways. I would do it alone in my room at night and I got really good at hiding it with sweaters and stacks of those hot pink jelly bracelets you could get at Hot Topic…no one knew until I finally told a friend of mine when I was a freshman in college. I only told her because she did the same thing.

Why cut? Because when it feels like the world is piling up on your shoulders and you start to hyperventilate and can’t breathe inflicting pain upon yourself takes your mind off of everything except that pain. While you’re cutting and bleeding all you can think about is the pain and while the pain is not pleasant it’s still nice to have a break from thinking about everything else. Plus, when you’re so anxious and stressed and you don’t think you’re as “cool” as your friends, it sometimes feels good to punish yourself for not being perfect by hacking your wrists to pieces.

Eventually I got addicted to the behavior. I would find ways to do it in public to stay “sane”–I would purposely create hang nails and pull the skin off in class for a momentary burst of pain to take my mind away from what I saw as my pointless, sucky life. I never wanted to die, I just wanted to find some way to help me escape.

The only way I can really explain what cutting was to me is to compare it to smoking. Cutting can kill you, so can smoking but you don’t do either with the intention to die…you do it because even if it’s relatively unpleasant it’s calming and relaxing and takes your mind off of all the shit that’s going on in your life and in your head.

Cutting helped calmed me down. I’m not condoning it as a behavior but I know why people do it and I can’t judge them. This is why I am really happy that Jamie is bringing his message to UB. Cutting is serious. It’s not just an “emo kid thing” it’s for real. It can affect anyone and everyone and people need to know how to deal with it and how to offer help to those who need it.

TWLOHA changed my life and I hope that by coming to campus TWLOHA helps others who are still struggling with the same things I did get help and change their lives. Quitting cutting, just like any other behavior or addiction takes support and love. It takes people to believe in you and people to tell you that you can overcome anything to be a stronger person and that’s exactly what TWLOHA provides.

I still fight the urge not to cut and I’m pretty sure there is no “cure” but it’s a lot easier to resist reaching for that sharp object when all I have to do is type “twloha.com” into my web browser and instantly be connected with the most amazing support system I ever could have asked for…and I hope now, that my secret’s out, others can come forward and spread awareness, help, and of course love, too.

It’s all about love. All you need is love.

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