24 hours ago I published the hardest post I ever had to write. I’m pretty open about my struggles with depression and anxiety disorder, but yesterday I finally decided I was ready to write about my issues with self-harm. I can’t go into details because that’s a trigger for me (and for most people who self-injure) but I’m not sure what I expected. I think I expected my hard-core friends and readers to say something supportive and then sort of back away slowly out of not knowing how to respond. Instead, thousands of comments poured in. All of them supportive, understanding, and so many relieved and hopeful that one day they could come out of the closet about their darkest secrets. I was flooded with DM’s and emails from people who weren’t ready to come out but suffered from things I never would have imagined. Many were from friends I’ve known for years, and I found myself wanting to say the very thing that I dreaded hearing myself. “But you seem so normal.” And the truth is that they are. I once sarcastically said that “crazy is the new normal” but it’s not sarcasm anymore. We’re all different. Each unique. But that uniqueness that sets us apart is also what brings us together. Some people call it “the human condition.” I call it “amazing.”
I can’t respond to all of the comments and emails and DM’s but I am reading them and I can’t tell you how completely unburdened I feel. More importantly though, I want you to know what you’ve done for others. I had a lot of emails telling me how much my post helped them. I had many, many more telling me how the response to my post helped them. So many people listened, frightened, in silence to see how the world would respond to something that so many think of as shameful or an aberration. They waited for the condemnation or the silence but it never came. Those comments you left changed lives.
Last night an email came in from a woman whose twin daughters had both committed suicide because of depression. One had died only a few weeks ago and her mother made sure her obituary explained that depression had taken her child’s life, because she wanted people to know that it was okay to talk about it…because the more we admit these things the less we hide them away from the help we need. Then I got an email from a girl who was contemplating suicide. She said that after she saw the response to my post she decided that she wasn’t as alone or unfixable after all and she started the process of getting help. You did that. You saved someone with nothing more than the power of words.
During the night twitter exploded with #silverribbons tweets and I loved how many people made their own, or painted them on their own bodies to show support. A lot of people asked me to offer them in my shop, but honestly you can make them for free if you have a nickel’s worth of silver ribbon and a safety pin. If you do want to buy one though you can buy them here and here. Any profits will go to donating new red dresses for The Traveling Red Dress Project (A project designed to celebrate women in their strongest and weakest moments).
Tomorrow I’m off to New York to do something that terrifies me, but I somehow feel more confident now, and it’s so amazing that that could come out of such vulnerability. Thank you. Thank you for not crushing me when you could. Thank you for making me stronger so that no one else can. Thank you for saving me and for saving each other.
PS. This post wants a picture so I’m borrowing one from the fantastic Brooke Shaden. I don’t know what she meant it to symbolize but it’s how I feel right now. Still broken. Still stuck. Still fighting. But feeling almost weightless from having this secret lifted off my chest. Thank you for helping me carry this.
PPS. I promise my next post will be back to sweetly-raunchy and unhinged, irreverent glory.