TO WRITE LOVE ON HER ARMS

September 11th, 2017

16

Although Electric Forest is one of my favorite festivals to perform at, I noticed something unexpected this year:

The highlight of my weekend was not being on stage, playing music, or even running around exploring: it was volunteering inside of this little treehouse in the middle of the woods…

In conjunction with an amazing non-profit called To Write Love On Her Arms (who serve to encourage mental health, from light-hearted art projects to pro-active suicide prevention – https://twloha.com), the festival and their partners from Grand Artique had set up little telephones, attached to trees in The Forest – like some kind of magical, mysterious phone booths. I sat inside a little treehouse with an old-timey switchboard and headset, playing Operator to the network of phones placed throughout the forest. I would see a button light up, which meant that there was someone at a phone, and I could ring a phone and see who answered. The idea was to engage people in a meaningful discussion, and I decided to interview people about friendship, philosophy, and the meaning of life.

Electric Forest made a video of our project, check it out:


 
After hours of deeply inspiring heart-to-heart conversations with perfect strangers, I remarked to my friend that the experience was so much more fun than playing a set. It was more fun than making music, hanging with friends, or partying at a festival. People were wearing their hearts on their sleeves, and they were crying, and talking about suicide and losing their friends, and getting deep into the principles of love and living. Ironically what stands out the most to me as the most memorable highlight of the music festival was the joy of getting to engage in deep talks about life and death with strangers.

I asked questions like “Who are your friends? Who are you close to? What are your friendships like? How is your communication with your friends and family members? Is there anything you wish you could say to someone, but haven’t? Is there any advice you wish you could give, if only someone would listen? Is there any advice you know you should follow, but have been avoiding” etc… Partly, I was genuinely curious about the answers. And partly, I wanted a fast-track to vulnerability and thoughtful discourse instead of mindless party talk or banter.

I think engaging in ‘deep talks’ can be incredibly healing… pondering life along with another human being can be fascinating, but also can lead to enhanced mental health. So often i hear people exasperated with anxiety, or gripped with depression, remarking desperately about how lost they feel. My first instinct is to recommend therapy, but the stigma around that can be problematic.

My earnest belief is that therapy can help heal and strengthen. And if it’s started early on, i believe people can avoid psychological trauma by engaging in preemptive mental health awareness and exercises. This can come in early childhood through nurturing parents, teachers, family members and friends – it can come from government services which enrich early childhood education with nurturing lessons and ideologies, it can come from nonprofits or any organization (even tax dollars) which affirm value in the hearts of people, which encourage confidence, self-esteem, and teach healthy ways of living and navigating the world.

This can continue on… perhaps through ‘normalized therapy’ which does not need to be a psychiatrist prescribing drugs and medication to treat depression or anxiety or ADHD, but rather through strong, positive role models, educational media and materials, and interactive discussions focused on positive life lessons.

By normalize, I mean: MAKE IT NORMAL. Make it natural, fun, interactive. Ideally, a therapist doesn’t need to be any more taboo than a gymnastics coach or a swim instructor, a yoga teacher, a personal trainer or a dentist. Make lifelong therapy as normal as playing sports, as normal as PE in schools, as normal as going to the gym, as normal as regular checkups at the dentist or the doctor.

When you stop and think about it… isn’t it literally insane that we don’t do this? We treat ‘mental health’ like an embarrassing, forbidden taboo, or we ignore it as a society, or we’re conditioned never to even conceive of it, many times until it’s too late.

How many people remember the emotional pain of getting teased or bullied when they were 7 years old? Or 9 years old, or 11, or 16?

How many people remember feeling emotional pain at the fear of being teased at school… maybe for having a big nose, or acne, or a silly voice, or those awkward braces, or because your hair didn’t look as good as the popular kid’s hair, or whatever…

How many people remember feeling emotional pain in junior high when they lost a friend, or went through a breakup, or maybe got in a fight?

What if they never even had a boyfriend or girlfriend, or what if you had trouble making or keeping friends at all?

How many people remember experiencing emotional pain as a child due to a clash with someone in their family?

Am I wrong for assuming that this is 90% of all of us? 99%? 100%??

(Secret: I think it’s 100%!!!!)

A vast majority have suffered this deep, overwhelming, confusing, mysterious pain for as long as we can remember, but how many people treated it carefully the same way they would treat a broken bone, or strep throat, or even ‘bad grades’? It’s normal to go to the gym to ‘exercise’ your physical body. But for some reason, it’s taboo to exercise your emotional being. It’s taboo for a kid in 6th grade to talk openly in class about feeling lonely and depressed. It’s taboo for a freshman in high school to admit they are going to talk to a therapist because they or afraid or anxious.

In my ideal world, everyone has a life coach, or a team of life coaches, who they meet with once a week, every week of their lives. This could offer preemptive guidance to avoid depression or anxiety; it could teach people empowering skills to navigate difficult emotional challenges… it could even catalyze self-reflective intelligent growth and provide tangible life advice for making decisions about future studies, jobs, relationships, and surviving times of crisis.

When I was 10 or 11 my parents and I met with a child counsellor to discuss “the challenges of adolescence and how to prepare for puberty”. They literally told me I was going to begin experiencing physical changes which would result in new emotions and feelings. They warned that many of these new feelings would be painful or hard, and that it was extremely normal to struggle with feelings of inferiority, self doubt, and sadness. They explained that as a child starts to become an adult our brains are flooded with chemicals which can both give us strength to grow but also which can confuse and overwhelm us. And they told me that no matter what: it is VERY normal to feel awkward, embarrassed, insecure and even inferior as you start to grow up. Just like it’s normal to fumble around at the roller-rink the first time you put on roller skates, or it’s normal to feel afraid of the water before you know how to swim: it’s normal to struggle through the emotional pain of life as you begin to transition from childhood to adulthood. Even though they were right, and I did struggle immensely (sometimes with fear, or depression, or stress, or anxiety, or sadness, or lack of confidence… and sometimes with failure and humiliation, or rejection, or whatever) I learned how to navigate these feelings, and have always wanted to help others learn to navigate in ways which work best for them.

I hope our society can gradually learn to embrace more interactive ways of helping children develop and sustain enhanced mental health. I hope we can encourage proactive methods of therapy and self-help to build healthy, strong, confident, excited, inspired, loving, open, friendly, powerful humans with healthy physical bodies, AND healthy emotional bodies.

I think TWLOHA is an awesome organization with an ethos similar to mine, and I was proud to get a chance to work with them.

If you need someone to talk to, TWLOHA can help you find local resources, or connect you with a 24-hour helpline. No matter what your problem, speaking to someone is a great place to start. https://twloha.com/find-help

If you just want to learn more about their organization or give your support, visit: https://twloha.com

With love,
L

TWLOHA

  • i dont do drugs

    We love you back, Lorin.

  • Meredith

    You’re very fortunate to have had loving, nurturing parents who preemptively gave you the tools to be able to cope with the onset of adolescence. So many children are not as fortunate, that’s why organizations such as TWLOHA are so important. I also encourage folks to look into programs such as Big Brothers Big Sisters (which I volunteer for) and other mentoring groups that help fill the void in so many of these kids’ lives. The power of a simple ear to lean on can be immeasurable and can be a catalyst to a positive outlook on mental health into adulthood; removing the stigma of seeking professional help.

  • Rose Gold Butterfly

    How wonderful it is to know what you are thinking and getting the chance to know how you feel about the world. Our world is so bittersweet. We have amazing people like you sharing love into the world yet we also have terrible people who has so much hatred. I feel like we are all aware of the negativity life can give us but it is up to us to choose to think which road we want to go. I guess what I’m saying is I believe everything you say 100%. The more we project positivity and self-awarness, the better the world will be. It starts with us as human beings(me/you/everyone) that have already found the way of life of love and share with those who are trapped in the dark of negativity. We are there light in this world. We are on this world to guide those who need help practice that mentality.
    Remember to smile to the world because its contagious!

    Thank you so much for this magnificent read my moon

    Love is Love

  • David “daXXog” Volm

    Back into time when I was in high school (also when I was introduced to your music), my cousin gave me a t-shirt from them that had a really touching story on the inside of it if you turned it inside out. Some of my close family members have dealt with this very problem. I personally have struggled with wanting a meaning to my life in the past and sometimes your music was the only thing keeping me going. As a Christian and long time fan of your music, I am for sure 100 with you on this one. Keep spreading LOVE in a hateful and divided world and I know we will bring it together 🙂

    “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also love one another.” – John 13:34

  • Taylor

    So what a shock it was to wake up this morning and see this video, see myself in it, and realize what had happened, and to whom I was speaking. What a wonderful experience, and it adds a greater significance to the memory knowing what the idea behind this was.

    It means so much more to me that this video came out now – it was something that I needed to see, and hear, as I’ve been dealing with my own struggles. over the last month I’ve been on a downward spiral of self harm and toying with the idea of suicide in my darkest times and this video gave me the glimmer of hope I needed. Maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Thank you for this, Lorin. You are truly a wonderful human.

    • Nick BassPapa Moore

      Keep your head up. Stay toward the light and know you have thousands of people that care about you weather you’ve met them yet or not. <3

  • Kristine Padgett

    I really needed to read this this morning. Thanks you for sharing!

  • Cory James

    Life coaches are very helpful! I had a very hard time I went through last year and everyone was sending me DMs saying they were there for me. Well I figured everyone was concerned that I’ll just share publicly with all of them instead of writing so many individual messages. It caused a huge concern for me by putting it all out there like that. I was past the point of caring though, I just had to get it out. Not saying everyone should do this but talk to somebody, anybody, or even everybody if you must. I remember my troubles were so heavy I just shut everyone out because I felt I couldn’t handle a single piece more of negativity, gossip, etc. It came to a point I began feeling judged by others for sharing my feelings and ended up just going into hiding. We can become so helpless, alone, and possibly suicidal in this state. The pain was so deep trying to share with others, then to be judged on top of that pushed me very close to the darkest edge I’ve ever been. I began talking to “death” itself, pleading that it come for me, that it was making mistakes in taking others besides me. Anytime I’d go out to escape my seclusion my emotional state would always seep through and tears fell pretty much everyday. One of my only friends began inviting me to charity events, and regular get togethers, and we began talking through text often. This began to pick my spirits up and helped me not to focus so much on myself and my pain and actually started feeling me with other feelings other than a laundry list of negative emotions I was currently drowning in. So please reach out to someone if you’re going through something and you feel hurt, sad, or hopeless. Reach out to someone if you know they’re going through something, you could save their lives. There’s so much love, we just have to learn how to give it. People shouldn’t have to go looking for it or just hope to find it before it’s to late. Thanks B for providing a platform for TWLOH for anyone going through such things. Much love to all ?

  • Kara

    I just wanted to say in this discussion that human interaction is the best thing for the soul. I suffer from PTSD, and was misdiagnosis for over 10 years. I may of never went to War over seas but I have fought many wars within myself and my life. Eventually it led me to think and even believe I was the reason for everyone around myself lives troubles. That led to trying to attempt suicide. Even though I have realized how beautiful life itself is, and how grateful I am to constantly keep being alive, I still suffer from bad thoughts but than I realize there’s always a reason to keep going, and that life will not hand you anything in life that you can’t take- if it’s the good or the bad. Just remember everyday that your existence is worth the wild of living, even when you feel empty.
    Thank you, Lorin

  • Gaham Holladay

    amazing lorin!! thank you so much for standing up for what is right! I stand by this!!!!

  • Miranda

    Brain inflammation is a major cause of most anxiety and depression & ADHD!! It took me experiencing the hardest year of my life to finally find out the real causes. After a lot of research, I can say I found the truth. The book that EVERYONE should read is: “A Mind of Your Own” by Kelly Brogan #lifechanging

  • rob djsyquest

    This is Awsum!!!! yes we all have a story to tell,,,

  • Jacob Thielman

    My purpose in life is to talk to people and do my best to understand how they feel and support their overall wellbeing. I know my purpose is to reach out to as many people as I can, with the intention to hear them out and help them in any way I can. Reading this post along with others I know that there is a reason I am still alive. I understand the stigma of mental illness, and I hope I can be a part of the solution to that problem. My first rave/edm/plur experience was bassnectar and since then I have had the symbol tattooed on me. This symbol is the expression of what I believe in, and it is part of the foundation of my purpose in life. We are all the same while being completely unique. Whatever problems we face, many others have and are facing them too. We can make a difference in the everyday lives of everyone by understanding and appreciating how they feel. We all need help, we all (deep down) want to be helped. It is time to feel pride instead of shame when we ask for help. I hope will all my heart that we will ask for help and rise to the occasion when others ask for help. Together we can make a difference in how we feel about ourselves and those we share this life with.

  • Nat Atat

    Yay, yes, yay, yes: this! Well said. Reaching out to someone is powerful. A single voice can be the catalyst for revolution. Every effort counts. ?

  • Joshuuuuuu

    We need help in CA bnf. We all are on fire out here. Your homestate and towns people need your support broooooooosif.
    We def got the black lung now.
    And the oldest trees in da world (which are supposed to be flame resistant) are suffering with little national coverage.
    All the ag land is being lost and everyone worldwide are going to have to pay through their teeth just to eat

  • AngieRedonk

    Ran into one of your dedicated followers, and she likes to cause trauma for others. Will you ban her from your shows?