As some of you may know, this week is National Suicide Prevention Week in the U.S., and tomorrow (10 September) is World Suicide Prevention Day. One of my favorite programs is aimed at helping people with addiction, depression, and self-harm issues, as well as those with thoughts of suicide. To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) is a wonderful non-profit organization trying to encourage conversation about these things because you are not alone.
As a teenager I was very depressed and angry, and thoughts of self-harm and suicide entered my head on many occasions, so this is a particularly important topic for me. You should never feel ashamed about the dark thoughts in your head, as I’ve seen countless friends dramatically improve their quality of life just by speaking up. Many people fear that if they share their thoughts, if they tell a friend or family member how they feel or if they seek help, that medication is the only option. This is not true! Yes, depression is a real, horrible thing, but more pills are not the only path to happiness. Talk to someone, anyone, there is no reason to suffer in silence.
It may sound a little crazy, but many of these feelings can be exacerbated by poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle. The same way certain food additives have been shown to possibly increase the likelihood of issues such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), certain foods have been linked to contributing to or even helping relieve some symptoms of depression. I can honestly say that cutting out gluten (and nicotine), and exercising more regularly have so drastically improved my quality of life and I really have never been happier. It DOES get better.
Get help, help others, be informed. You cannot be replaced.
From the TWLOHA website:
National Hopeline Network :: 1.800.SUICIDE (784-2433)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline :: 1.800.273.TALK (273-8255)
For hearing and speech impaired with TTY equipment :: 1.800.799.4TTY (779-4889)
Español :: 1.888.628.9454
National Child Abuse Hotline :: 1.800.4.A.CHILD (422-4453)
National Domestic Violence Hotline :: 1.800.799.SAFE (799-7233)
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) :: 1.800.656.HOPE (656-4673)