Black and White

By To Write Love on Her ArmsMay 1, 2018

Welcome to May. Today marks the start of Mental Health Month in the United States. To us, this month represents the progress we’ve made, the challenges we still face, and above all else, the people and the stories we are fighting for. This month exists because many people have yet to accept that mental health is worth our collective attention every month—because there’s a chance it might require yours every week, every hour, every breath.

The conversations that happen this month—or in any moment that we actively choose to challenge stigma—have the potential to get messy and minimized. There is no shortage of misunderstanding that threatens to steal the focus and dignity away from the conversation as we demand progress on behalf of those struggling. As it has been since the beginning, our mission is to encourage and inspire you to share your story with honesty and openness, to feel heard and supported.

In honor of Mental Health Month, we’re highlighting four statements we believe to be non-negotiable. These are words and ideas that have guided our mission since day one. To us, these statements are Black and White.

We Will Not Be Silent

Stigma exists when silence is the loudest voice in a conversation. It thrives when we are too frightened to speak up because remaining silent about our pain and our struggles has become the unspoken rule among our friends, families, and peers. And if we do go against the grain, we expect to be met with objection and ignorance. But when we let stigma win, we deny healing and the possibility for change, and the help people deserve. That you deserve.

In the face of damning and damaging narratives surrounding mental health, we will not be silent. We will use our voice as an invitation to see all the places our stories can collide, where we can work toward healing.

On behalf of your story and so many others’ lives and journeys, we will not be silent. We will continue to share stories and invite you to do the same. We will seek points of connection: to peers, to counselors, to coworkers, across borders and generation gaps. We will meet each other in all manner of ways, but never with silence.

People Need Other People

There is something beautiful at play as we grow and become our true selves. It’s a sacred dance of what makes us irreplaceably unique and what makes us uniquely dependent on others. People need compassion. We are the best version of ourselves in the presence of love. This is the place where healing can take place, whether it be in the presence of a friend, a counselor, or an entire community. Your journey deserves an audience that fills you with hope and encouragement. We believe that people need other people.

No matter if it is a moment of celebration and triumph or one of loss and defeat—a high, a low, or a quiet moment somewhere in between—you never need to be in it alone. You are deserving of other people’s time. You are deserving of other people’s respect. You are deserving of other people’s love. You will always need other people, and people will need you.

You Are Not Your Pain

You are so many things. A child. A creator. A dreamer. A better You than when you started this day. A story worth knowing, a voice worth hearing, a smile worth seeing, a reason this world—and the worlds of so many others—keeps spinning. You are so many things, but you are not your pain.

And while the hurdles along your path and the challenges you may face are pieces of the journey, they do not encompass all that you are. The pain you have felt did happen, it did exist—we are not trying to convince you otherwise—but that pain in no way defines what makes you essentially you. You are more than a collection of moments, good or bad, just as a story is more than just a collection of sentences. No one part can speak for a beautifully complex whole.

You are more than you could ever know, more than you could ever imagine, but you are not your pain.

Hope Is Defiant

As we challenge stigma and fight for those hurting, there is a good chance it will feel uncomfortable or even oppressive at times. But hope is defiant. Hope refuses to see growth denied, it refuses to be complacent with a sigh or shrug. Hope is confident that tomorrow does indeed exist. It is an evergreen reminder that things can get better if we try, if we fight, if we don’t give up.

You have embodied this hope already; just by waking up you have defied all the factors that have sought your story’s premature ending. There is a boldness in your breathing, a spark still within you that threatens the darkness you’ve known. And even on the days you don’t see it, know that we do. And know that we will always hold that hope for you.

You matter.
Your story is important.
You are not alone.

With Hope,

Shop our Black and White Collection here.

For local resources in your area, we invite you to visit our Find Help page here.

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Comments (11)

  1. Alexandra

    Hi, my name is Alexandra and ever since high school I have been familiar with TWLOHA. I am 28 years old now so you can do the math. Ever since I can remember, I have not known what it was is like to feel at ease or I guess what some people would call normal. I had a mentally rough childhood growing up as I was always around chaotic fights, and family issues with my parents. I guess that’s kind of why I rebelled once I got to eighth grade. Eighth grade was the first time I smoked weed and I felt kind of relieved i guess. Well I wasn’t really in any specific type of group so they would call them in high school, I just kind of talked to whoever would talk back. I tried to make my own person out of this sad dark little girl inside. When I was just in Middle School my mother had me in therapy to discuss with a therapist my emotional damage caused by the divorce of my parents, and what my father was going through for years of my childhood, drug addiction to crack cocaine. So after I graduated high school, I went to Beauty School. 3 months after I got kicked out because I was caught self-harming. So they hospitalized me in a nearby hospital for psychiatric reasons and said I was to not return to the school because it was unsafe for me. I don’t really know why I started harming myself except for the fact that it released a lot of built-up tension. A “normal” person would have no idea why I would ever do such a thing. There are a lot of things I’ve been through in life that “normal” people would look at me crazily. Anyway, getting kicked out of that beauty school I then went to a less Prestige Beauty School, at the local Vo-Tech..because my mom really wanted me to finish. Again I discovered what some new drugs. so the next day I went to school and wheeled my suitcase( which held all of our beauty school supplies) out the front door and never returned again. I really think that this was the main time frame when my drug addiction kicked off. (Comment removed due to triggering content.) I was arrested on many occasions for possession, spent a little bit of time in three of the county jails in New Jersey, went to about 15 different rehabs and detoxes, and when I was at my worst I weighed 104 lb. I’m normally at least at my skinniest 135 lb. Not to mention heroin robbed me of everything, it even almost cost me my life on two different occasions. By the grace of God and quick enough 911 responses I was revived the two times I was found blue and not breathing. In July of 2016, I was in rehab and I wanted to leave like I always did and my mother begged me please stay please stay you need to get this or you will die. Little did I know that would be the last time I ever spoke to her. I tried to call her for the next 4 days, from the psych ward in Florida because unlike she begged of me of course I did leave the rehab. Since I left against medical advice, they did not discharge me with any of my psychiatric medication. This threw me into a deep psychosis and I was hallucinating and ended up on a Baker Act in the psych ward for suicide attempt. When I woke up from the fog I tried to call my mother for the next 4 days and got no answer on the phone. I got this weird feeling in my stomach. She to had fought depression so she always told me don’t over exaggerate the situation and if I don’t answer my phone it’s probably just because it’s not charged. By the 4th day I knew something wasn’t right and I got this turning in my stomach. I called my father and told him and he sent the Town Police over to my house where they found my mother dead on the floor of her bedroom next to her bed and claim she had been laying there for about 5 days. I blamed myself for almost 2 years now for the reason my mother died. Maybe if I would have just stayed in that rehab and they didn’t call her and tell her I left would she still be alive? I don’t know. But not even my mother’s death made me stop using. I use it as an excuse to get high actually. Like feel bad for me I lost the the only mother I ever knew and my best friend in the entire world that type of thing. I wanted to die and be in heaven with my mom more than anything in this world. And then April of last year I found out I was pregnant. At first it was rough for me because I had a lot of stress and different views. Oh you should abort the baby you’re a drug addict, your child has no chance because you and the dad are both mental and drug addicts. Nobody had hope. I mean I shouldn’t say nobody but a lot of people didn’t have any hope I’ll say that much. On December 9th 2017, I gave birth to my baby girl. Her name is Malia Rose and she changed my life forever. Since I gave birth to her the thought of heroin hasn’t even crossed my mind, and the thought of wanting to die yeah right. This is so new to me because since I was little all I wanted to do was not be here anymore, and since i fell in love with heroin i was never able to leave its side for long. Now all I want to do is live up to be the best mother I possibly can be and live through my mother so that my daughter can be an empowering woman and see the strength through her mother, for being able to talk about my depression and not be ashamed any longer. Everyone has a story, a purpose there is no need to be silent. Powerful women Empower other women. And that is my strive in life now. Thank you for coming into my life as a teenager, I will always look back at to write love on her arms as an organization who helped me and many others in the time of need

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    1. TWLOHA


      Your journey has been long and hard. There is no doubting that. But we are so grateful to know that you have found a reason so wonderful to continue, to find sobriety, and work toward the recovery you deserve. We hope that you and your daughter are doing well.

      If the addiction ever becomes too much, or the grief of losing your mother, please know that you can reach out for help.

      We are rooting for you in so many ways.

      With Hope,

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  2. Chelsey

    I love this website it makes me so happy!!!

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  3. Kristen Granata

    As someone who has always struggled with depression, writing has been my outlet. I recently wrote a novel, and self-published it; the main character has been through tragedy, and is struggling with depression after her father died by suicide due to his own battle with depression. I would love for you to check it out. My hope is that it can help someone out there learn how to cope & deal with depression. It is called “Collision,” and it’s on Amazon: Collision

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  6. Lisanne

    I LOVE THIS!! Your “ Black & Whites” are TRUTHS that so many don’t believe it have never heard! As a mental health professional these were inspired. I found this blog off the Fun Therapy Podcast in IG. I will ask to be your IG friend as what Karrie revealed also resonated with me so seems like we have some common loves, healing, wholeness, and helping others, sounds like a match made in heaven to be arm and arm ya think? Blessings & ?

    Reply  |  
  7. DAVID H

    How can I help?I’ve got a POWERFUL STORY TO TELL

    Reply  |  
  8. Ladood Twitch

    Hey, I love what you guys are promoting and would like to partner with you to promote even more. I live stream fortnite and other games. we could dedicate a multiple streams to this charity and promote it for the better good. Contact me if you’re interested 🙂

    Reply  |  
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