A while ago, I penned a fairly angry response to something circulating on the internet – the 21 Habits of Happy People. It pissed me off beyond belief, that there was an inference that if you weren’t Happy, you simply weren’t doing the right things.
TWLOHA exists to move people—to move people to believe that it’s OK to be honest, and to move people to believe that it’s OK to ask for help.
TWLOHA is an invitation to believe better things. You matter very much. Your life is priceless. Your story is important. No one else can play your part.
We have connected with so many amazing resources over the years, people and places in the business of helping folks become unstuck, become unhaunted. They do the patient work of recovery, based on years and years of wisdom and experience. They do this work with truth and with compassion.
We are in the unique position of encouraging people to get help, and we get to point them to places where that help can happen. We also love the fact that we’re able to invest in the important work of treatment and counseling.
At the heart of all of this lies a common thread, one that has become more and more apparent as the years go by, one that is part of the foundation of TWLOHA. These words sum up so much of what we’re trying to say. When it comes to depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide, we believe this message is the game-changer. It’s the first step. It’s the candle lit in the darkness.
The message is this: People need other people.
With this comes a second truth: You are not alone. You are not alone in your problems, not alone in your pain, not alone in your questions, in your heartache and heartbreak. You are not alone.
Other people feel how you feel. Other people are where you are and even more have been where you are. They have known the darkness, too. They have felt alone.
And it’s not enough to simply know you’re not alone. The journey forward will require other people. It will require friends and family. It may require professional help, and that’s entirely OK. If you broke your arm, you wouldn’t try to hide it or fake it. Getting help for depression or addiction should be no different. If you need help, it’s OK to ask for it.
The journey forward will also require conversations, the ones where honest questions are met with honest answers, and somehow understanding happens. Somehow healing happens.
The journey forward will be a mix of crying, laughing, quiet, hoping—and also dreaming. You will get to dream again.
You are not alone, and you will not have to go alone. You will go with others. They will carry you, and you will carry them, and that’s how this dance is done. That’s how’s this life is meant to be lived, leaning on that magic of love, and trust, and friendship.
You are a person in need, and so are all the ones around you. It’s OK to say it. It’s OK to ask. It’s OK to be honest about it. You are a person, which means you feel things, and you lose things, and it happens to all of us. You are not a robot, not a machine, not simply a student, or an employee, or an athlete, or a performer. You are not only what you’re good at, and you’re not only what you’re bad at. You are a person, and people need other people.
You are a person, and you deserve whatever help you need.
You are a person, and you deserve to be known and loved by others.
We encourage you all to open the discourse and to eliminate the stigma by talking about mental health. But sometimes, if you are not doing it right, telling people about your issues could do more harm than good.
Last summer my e-board members and I were at the TWLOHA UChapters Summer…
“1. If you like someone, wait.
2. Give lots of compliments, even if you’re shy. Everyone else is too.
3. Change. Get a haircut, try new perfume, get new sheets. Become better than you were before.
4. Eat healthier. Learn to cook something fancy.
5. Get up earlier and watch the sun come up.
6. Wear soft clothes, take a bath, drink something warm.
7. Meet someone new, even just a friend.
8. Become closer with your friends and your family. Call your mother. Cry with your best friend. Tell everyone how much you appreciate them.
9. Keep your room clean. Buy some candles. Let the natural light in.
10. Make a list of reasons why you’ll be better off without them. Believe they are true, because they are.
11. Listen to new music.
12. Write everything you’re thinking and feeling. Write letters. Write happy letters, sad letters, and angry letters, even if you’re never going to send them.
13. It’s okay to be sad, but not forever. Sadness is not as beautiful as music makes it seem. Lack of sleep makes your eyes droopy, not deep. Wake up every morning and tell yourself you’re going to have a good day.
14. Go to the library. Don’t forget to look in the music section.
15. Remove them from your life. Get rid of the things they gave you if they make you sad. They’re not worth it. You will never be happy if you continue to hold on to the things that make you sad.
16. Make new memories.
17. Try to find something to appreciate in everything you do or experience.
18. Being alone is okay, you don’t have to surround yourself with people.
19. Become your own best friend. Buy yourself coffee and drink it alone in a cafe. Take your time.
20. Learn to love every bit of yourself.”—How to feel better and become better by me (via buttondownsandbackpacks)