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Hi, my name is Caelie and I struggle with self harm, suicide, anorexia, and depression. I know this has nothing to do with myself, but this is the only place I’ve found that will help me.
Throughout the years, I have helped myself to not be as bad as I used to be. It was so so hard to quit causing harm to myself, and having constant battles in my brain about whether or not I should end my life. My struggles weren’t even that big, and it was freaking hard to find the light. I couldn’t imagine what it’s like for people with triple, even double the depression I had.
During the course of this year, I have found out that I love helping people. I love stopping what I’m doing for a person in need. I love making people’s days better. I love finding people who hate themselves and constantly are wanting to die and helping them look forward to each and every day. I love finding someone who cuts, and helping them not want to cut again.
I’ve been ignored and pushed down every since I can remember. I learned a lot about taking time, talking, and helping people by being pushed around and not being allowed to talk. Yes so maybe I haven’t completely come out of being depressed. But I’m alright with that. I know and understand my limits, and what it takes to stop. I’ve found that not that many people can do that. I want to help them learn how. within this year so far, I’ve talked to/helped 10 people total. 3 LGBT kids, and helped them either come out, or be comfortable with who they are. 5 people who self harm, and have either helped them minimize it, or help them stop completely and flush their blades, 4 suicidal people who I caught just as they were getting ready to end their lives, and now they want to have a family, live a happy life, make a living, etc. 3 people either wanting to become anorexic, or are beginning to become anorexic, and have helped them either get to a healthy weight, or they’re now eating 3 meals a day every day.
I will literally stay up until 4 am helping someone. I hate saying, “Oh I’m too tired to help you. Check back in the morning.” No one is turned away, and I will only help them if they let me. If they don’t, I check in on them occasionally and see how’re they’re doing. I know I can’t physically force people to stop, so I do it with reasoning, listening, and patience. If it takes a week, I will keep talking to that person. As long as they want me to, I will listen and help. Not one of the people I’ve talked to has committed suicide, and most have flushed their blades.
In those 10 people, I have found 3 amazing best friends. All who I can’t imagine myself living without.
So, my question is, how do I do this for an organization? All I want to do is just call, text or email. It’s hard finding people who want me to help them. Since I’m only 13, I can’t get a job for an organization, and if I want to volunteer, my mom has to sign or give her consent. If I were to tell her I’m doing this, I wouldn’t be allowed to anymore. This is what I love doing.
Letter submitted by:
First and foremost, many thanks to you, on behalf of the entire world, for helping make it a better place in such an important way. Here at the Trevor Project, we know firsthand exactly how difficult these issues can be. We understand how big of an emotional commitment it can take to help other people going through these tough issues. You’re doing something quite special out there in Texas, all on your own and in your own way, and you’re really doing more than your part to help improve all of our lives. So thanks. You deserve a big pat on the back.
On to your question: how can you keep doing what you’re doing, but for an organization?
The best way we have for you to continue helping people in your shoes is to join TrevorSpace. Have you heard of it? Every day, we meet more and more people like you, including people who haven’t yet found ways to cope with things as well as you have. So, a few years ago, we decided to create this safe, online social networking site for young people aged 13 to 24 so you can all connect with one another. It’s helpful to connect with someone your age who feels just like you do (or used to) so you can all compare notes. Check it out: http://www.trevorspace.org.
You’ll find that TrevorSpace offers more than just a way for you to connect with other people dealing with things you’ve been coping with. It also offers the possibility that you could get some good tips from others, too. Perhaps you’ll get even better at dealing with some of the difficult things you’ve been dealing with, while also getting better at giving advice about it, all at the same time. A win-win. So go join it.
That said, you’re quite right that organizations, including the Trevor Project, generally require official advice-givers to be over the age of 18, and that volunteer opportunities for youth such as yourself will usually require mom’s permission. It’s a shame that you’ve come across such opportunities and you’re convinced mom would say no. You completely sure about that, by the way? What if there’s a chance of her allowing it, perhaps after you explain things? You might even consider showing her the letter you wrote us above (and this response). You write well, you’re giving good advice, and it sure sounds overall like your heart’s in the right place. Is there really anything to lose in merely asking mom for permission, just to be completely sure about whether she’d let you do what you do best — helping other people like yourself? Maybe she’ll surprise you.
Another idea is that you could make yourself known to your school’s guidance counselors. It’s pretty easy to set up an appointment with them: you just go up to their offices and ask if you can come talk to them after school or during lunch sometime. You might tell them a lot of the things you’ve written to us above, all so they have a complete understanding of where you’re coming from, what you’ve dealt with, and how you think you can help other kids at your school. The next step would be that the guidance counselor could suggest your name (with your permission) to some of the kids that come in and talk to them about issues they’re dealing with themselves. You’d be surprised to learn how many other kids deal with suicide-related thoughts and self-harm tendencies, including kids that might otherwise give people the impression that they don’t have any of those thoughts or tendencies at all. Those kids might well be interested in talking with you about how you’ve dealt with some of these things, just they never thought to go talk to you about it.
Of course, it is possible that your school’s guidance counselor determines that it’s not the best idea to suggest your name to other students, or it could be that some of the other students decide not to take up the offer to get advice from someone who isn’t an adult or a professional trained guidance counselor. You know yourself how hard it can be for some people to take that first step of talking through these things with someone else. But you never know. So this one’s worth a shot.
One last thought to leave you with: although it may be quite frustrating for you when you think about all the great advice you have to give and yet no organizational way to connect with people who want to hear it, please don’t let that frustration stop you from keeping up all your great effort, and your great work. Don’t lose sight of the very good things you’re already doing all on your own. You’re doing important stuff here – you’re saving lives!! – and it sure sounds like you’ve helped a whole bunch of people even without having an organization through which to give your advice.
So, whatever you do next, please don’t doubt for a second that your hard work will continue to pay off tremendously. Even if you have to work a little harder, at the moment, to get your advice out there.
You keep it up.