Wednesday, May 4, 2016

We Need People

I recently finished reading a book called If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski, which my Uncle Johnny recommended. Tworkowski's stories and musings remind us that it's okay to not always feel okay, and it's okay to be human. It's okay to ask for help or to take a second to catch your breath. He speaks of pain but also of hope. His constant message is that "people need other people." What helps deliver his message is the fact that Tworkowski, 36, is candid about his own hurts, insecurities, and struggles with depression. He shares about his life, career changes, moving, friendships, and relationships. He writes about feeling down on holidays such as Easter and Thanksgiving. A Christian, he is anything but preachy. He is also the co-founder of To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), an American non-profit organization that is "dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people who struggle with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide." The 10-year-old movement "exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and invest directly in treatment and recovery" ( TWLOHA came about after Tworkowski wrote and published a story in 2006 entitled "To Write Love on Her Arms" about his friend Renee Yohe who was struggling with depression, self-harm, and drug addiction. She had also attempted suicide. She ended up staying with him and a friend for five days when she wasn't accepted into a treatment centre. An introvert, Tworkowski has been around the world speaking about hope and to not give up despite one's struggles with depression or addiction and that help is out there and that it okay to get help. He speaks about honesty, how we are loved, and community, i.e. how people need other people. Moreover, he said that we're all living stories and that our stories need more than one character. We're also part of other people's stories, and everyone's stories are important. In an entry in his book about Valentine's Day, he writes how we are all "living love stories." That really hit a chord with me. As a writer, I am very much drawn to stories and love people and their stories. I'm also an extrovert who needs people and have a great community of support as I've had my own struggle with depression. I'm currently dealing with much disappointment. Thank God for my friends and family. I had coffee with my pastor Paulo today who I've become friends with over the past nine months or so. He knows what it's like to have dreams and to know disappointment, pain, and depression. He encourages me to keep writing and to not sell myself short. He also told me: "You're amazing. You're an answer to prayer." That really touched me. I didn't expect to hear it. I also spoke with my best friend in Montreal tonight as well as had a lengthy conversation with another Montreal-based friend who usually makes me feel encouraged after we hang up. Thank God for amazing friends like Christina, Sigrid, (pastor) Paulo, and Heidi. Thank God for my loving boyfriend Paul. Thank God for Uncle Johnny who loves his "munchkin." Thank God for my Mom who may not always know the words to speak out loud, so she prays.