Friday, February 12, 2010

I Write Love On My Arms

I have struggled with depression since I was a teenager. I have learned coping skills since then and for the most part I am a positive and happy person. But when life gets stressful and the depression kicks in, it can be hard to practice what I preach. I told a friend last night, "I can't throw myself a life jacket." I was sitting here considering whether or not to call a depression crisis hotline, as I just felt that I needed someone to talk to. But I was scared, I've never called one of those hotlines before. And I kept giving myself excuses. I'm not suicidal, I'm not crying, I'm not cutting myself or self medicating with drugs. But other signs of depression have been here. I'm so tired, but I can't sleep at night. At night I lay awake in near panic-attack mode, my mind spinning with the worries and stresses o my life. In the daytime, I can function, but it's a struggle just to keep myself out of bed. On the days I do go back to bed, I sleep all day. On the days I manage to stay out of bed, I feel that it is all I can do to take care of the kids and the daily household chores. Taking a shower or bath? Too much work. Making important phone calls? Too hard. Eating? Too much effort.
So I was stting here looking online at a list of Depresson Hotlines, trying to decide whether or not to call someone. Which one? What would I say? Would they judge me? Would I be wasting my time calling a hotline that says "Suicide Hotline" - when I'm not suicidal? Excuses. I picked up my deck of cards (at the urging of an online friend) and drew a card. The 9 of Swords. (Above). Okay... obvious, right?
I called a local Crisis Hotline. It was the best thing I could have done. The person I talked to was so compassionate and understanding, and seemed to know exactly what to talk to me about. I talked for an hour to a stranger about my life and my feelings, and this phone call was probably the biggest act of self-love that I have taken in a long time. Aside from talking me through my feelings, she gave me some ideas and hope, along with some community refferal numbers to call for further assistance. I guess I'm writing this because I want others to hear first hand that these hotlines can help. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or depressed, call someone. It was the best thing I could have done.
Today is "To Write Love On Her Arms Day". TWLOHA is a Depression Awareness and support group. Each year they ask people to write love on their arms to spread awareness about Depression. As I wrote "Love" on my arm today, I realized how far I have come over the years. Last night I reached out and asked for help. In the past, I wouldn't have done that. I would have silently suffered until I reached my breaking point. Here on my arm where the words Love are written, there used to be scars. The scars have faded and over the years I have finally learned how to Love myself instead of hurt myself.


4 comments:

  1. Wendy, that's great that you reached out! That's about the bravest thing a person can do: admit that help is needed then go out and get it! I'm proud of you! Stacie

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awesome Wendy! Thank you so much for sharing such a deeply personal thing!

    ReplyDelete