This is going to be the hardest to read to many, most grotesque to most, and probably most upsetting to all, post I’ve written so far.
For real, though.
Disclaimer: if you are depressed, or think about self-harm, please consult a trusted adult, doctor (preferably a psychiatrist), a therapist, or anyone who can, and/or will, keep you from doing what I am about to disclose to you that I do, with great trepidation on my part, below. Get help if you at all can. Life is amazing. I’ve lived it with my diseases for over 15 years, and I still see the beauty in everything. I also, regularly, consult everyone above, who I have suggested you seek, should you have feelings to self-harm. So I’m not a poser. Fucking get help if you need help. You can do it. Against all odds, I did.
So here we go.
I have engaged in several types of self-harm. The two types I am willing to admit to at this point in my online presence are cutting, and drinking alcohol.
Everything in my very being believes that alcohol is a form of self-harm.
Cutting, not so much.
I bet you think you read that backwards. You didn’t.
Cutting is a form of self-harm because people say it is. AGAIN, I am not encouraging it. Don’t experiment with it for fun or try it out for whatever reason because you read this, please.
I’m NOT glorifying it.
It’s not pretty.
Not to anyone.
In my mind, sometimes, I think it’s beautiful, but it is in fact quite ugly to everyone I know.
I do it because I have to. Plain. And. Simple.
I, have to cut, to be me. Not all the time. Not every month. Not even every year. I cannot tell you what makes it surface, so to speak, within me. I believe it is my depression — not being treated in a way that helps correctly. Or maybe I just don’t think there’s anything bad about it. I don’t fucking know. There is no blame to be given to anyone for this act. I choose it. I hide it as best I can. But I also need it, I guess. And I embrace it without hesitation when it comes up.
I’ve been cutting since I was seventeen years old. I’m thirty-three now, so you do the math.
The reason I’m writing about it now, is because I just did it. Not even 20 minutes ago. And I guarantee I will be doing it again as soon as I’m done writing this post. I want to. I do not believe it is a form of self punishment. Sometimes I’m not sure I know why I believe I do it; I do know that it sometimes brings me great comfort in the face of extreme sadness.
I don’t feel it is responsible to post an “honest” image of the cuts currently on my body for fear that it will encourage people with the intention to commit suicide, or contemplating cutting, to decide what anything “cutting related” should “look like.” Be that as it may, I’m only as ashamed of it in as much as society has made me feel ashamed. But for me, again, self-harm in the form of cutting, can be a great comfort. So I am willing to share a very distorted image. I’m warning you, again, that I am in NO WAY encouraging anyone to do ANYTHING like this with regards to self-harm or otherwise, ESPECIALLY cutting. That being said, you’ve been warned sufficiently:
I have, obviously, greatly distorted this image so people don’t see it as it truly is, out of some, perhaps misplaced fear, or, I don’t know, moral obligation not to encourage anything like cutting.
Like, for real, I’m not a role model. Do NOT do what I do as described in this post. PLEASE. I am literally begging you. (Side note: even though I cannot explain why, I feel the need to point out to those of you who do know me that you can recognize the blurred semi-colon tattoo at the top of the image to “prove,” yes, that’s me.) This image isn’t posted for shock value: that’s obvious. Anyone can Google images of “self-harm cutting” and see far worse. If that’s what you’re looking for, I don’t know what to tell you.
I also want to show you the below image of me crying in my bathroom, taken fifteen minutes ago. I’m wearing the same sweatshirt I wore in a post I wrote several days ago. You may note a lot of differences, in my appearance, however. I won’t apologize for wearing something many days in a row. It’s not dirty. I have showered since I last wore it. I don’t smell. It brings me comfort. And people who are depressed seek comfort where they can. I like this sweatshirt. But I’m a mess. This is 100% for real ugly crying. Obviously, despite my “edits” to my face, those who know my will recognize me (sorry not sorry?). So without further ado, here’s me, ugly crying:
You might be judging me right now. That’s fucking on you. You might say any number of things. When the thought came to me to take a “self portrait” of me ugly crying in my bathroom, I feared those of you reading might think I am faking that face, or maybe you’d question why I decided to (or was even able to) take a picture of myself like this (or eight of them, actually, without aiming, for anything in particular), that you’d think it was weird or stupid. A lot of these thoughts come along with the kinds of depression I have. I’m insecure through and through, even though I simultaneously feel like I am an amazingly solid human being. I could say more about that, but that’s not meant to be what this post is about. Besides, I go to therapy for exactly that shit.
In the spirit of full disclosure, the sticker on the back of my phone reads in totality, “YOU ARE LOVED ALWAYS.” I need to be reminded — that I am loved always. I know I am. Love comes in a lot of forms. Hey, I engage in as much self-love as I do self-harm.
Actually that’s not true.
I engage in MUCH more self-love than I do self-harm. But that’s also not what this post is about.
I want to tell you what just happened to me that caused me to do what I did: cut, many times, on my forearm. Not deep. But bloody. There will be scars to cover up for a few months. It’s winter here. So I guess good timing (<–I laughed at that just so you know).
After hosting a very successful Thanksgiving yesterday, with the help of my Mom, my chronic pain was immeasurable today. So I stayed in bed as long as possible, and once the pain became just bearable enough, got up for Gatorade, to bring in my neighbor’s packages and mail, and to go to the bathroom. I texted my best friend to confirm plans for tomorrow.
But before all that, to quiet the noise that’s always in my head (I know my fellow writers feel me on this one), I needed a distraction. I couldn’t lift a book, honestly. My hands and fingers didn’t work. (To be able to write this, I had to take a stupid amount of over-the-counter pain medication.) So I turned on the TV. Two buttons. And DC’s “Civil War” was on. I’m into the superhero stuff. It helps me escape. I love that. But sometimes it’s too much.
Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the movie: Superman comes back to life. He reunites with Lois Lane. Like four sappy lines in, I felt my eyes water, and then came the embarrassingly audible desperate sobs. Watching that scene caused three kinds of crazy, TOTALLY UNRELATED, thoughts. One is understandable considering the content of the film, but still, a surprisingly weird thing to conjure, even for me.
First, I thought, “Oh my God, I am older than at least one of those actors, and I am so unsuccessful it is pathetic.” (I’m not actually unsuccessful by definition: I passed Bar Exams in two states, one of which is cited as the second most difficult exam in the country, on my first try. I practiced law for about six years until I got ill last year, and finally, within the past couple of months said “fuck it,” and decided to chase my dreams, not my initial life goals.) This first thought pops up quite often in my head. I’m working really fucking hard on getting past the fallacy.
Second, uncomfortable for me to write about, although I don’t know why — it’s human nature to have crushes and remember them — I thought about this guy I grew up with. His Mom even babysat for me for awhile. I had a crush on him from elementary school through high school. I can’t imagine he knows I exist anymore. But, I remembered what I believe to be in second or third fucking grade (I had the same teacher both years, so I’m hedging, but if I had to bet, I’d say it was second grade), him bringing into school, the comic in which Superman died. It was a really big fucking deal, and not just to him. I was sad, and I didn’t even read comics. I barely knew Superman’s story, but I knew who he was. But he was really animated, and upset about it, and I remember our teacher telling him to put the comic book away. Why the FUCK did I remember THAT?! Jesus, I’m so weird. Who STILL CARES about something like that?! There’s no way that’s normal! Right?!
Third, shortly after that memory, I thought, “I have to come to terms with the fact that I may be single and alone for the rest of my life, because I’m a freak.” Then I had to get the fuck away from that black hole because I literally cannot even with that real shit right now.
Anyway, I loved the movie. I love a lot of movies for a variety of fucking weird reasons so don’t watch movies based on my saying one’s good. It ended.
My chronic pain subsided enough for me to use my hands freely, so I called my Mom. We had a mostly good conversation, but a couple of things came up that made me cry, again. I guess I’m “weepy” today. I’m allowed to be. And so are you, any day you want to be, so don’t let anyone tell you differently.
After that conversation, I began watching the documentary, “Paradise Lost 3 Purgatory,” on HBO. I’ve watched this documentary about seven times now. For some reason I cannot stay away from it. In many ways it reminds me of the reasons I wanted to go to law school. I wanted to free people like the West Memphis (Arkansas) Three. It never fails to hurt me what happened to all six boys in that case. Maybe I’m heartless, but the dead boys are dead. Nothing can be done about them.
But the boys who went to prison for decades? They’re alive, and lost their freedom to a very fucking broken system.
I had already intended on cutting tonight. This documentary was really ancillary. Basically, an extra excuse to express pain for ALL the people I cannot help, and how much that hurts me inside. It hurts me so much inside that it has to come out. And thus the cutting.
Maybe you’ve heard the above things before. “I need to see physical pain because I cannot show my mental anguish in any discernible way.” That’s fucking true for a lot of people. That’s probably been true for me at some point, but it’s not, now.
At this point in my life, I see very few people. My Mom, my doctors, my friends when they’re in town. Most of my best friends don’t see me because they don’t live near me. I used to go to church almost every Sunday, but I actually hate the current priest in charge in my parish. I hate him. I cannot bear to look at him. In my opinion, if someone in a church was doing Satan’s work, it’s him. He has no fucking idea what he’s talking about. And he’s turned all of these people who I used to think of as family into a kind of cult. I also see my Brother. Now, in counseling, I see my Sister who DEFINITELY doesn’t observe any kind of shit like this and I know she cannot possibly be reading this blog. I see the people in my Creative Writing Class, and the two remaining people in my Mandarin Class (one being my teacher); they’ll never have a reason to look, let alone, see, what’s there. Oh, and my upstairs neighbor. She might notice. I’ll have to be careful with her, just like with my Mom. I don’t want to hurt my Mom.
Jesus Christ I’m long-winded. Sorry.
My point is: I’m basically not going to bother anyone who doesn’t already know and understand that I do this. And, you should know that I’m okay.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. My Dad died about five years ago. I’m not over it.
I was in the bathroom, looking at my unfinished cuts, and suddenly feeling shame, I began, once again, to sob. I said, out loud, to no-one, something to the effect of, “I’m sorry, Daddy. I didn’t do this to hurt you. I know you wouldn’t want me to do this. I know this is bad. I’m so sorry you have to see this. I’m sorry I’m disappointing you. I’m sorry I’m disappointing Mom. It’s not because of either of you. You were always good to me. But I have to do it right now. I’m so sorry.“
I apologized, sort of like a prayer, as I sobbed, to my dead Father, who may be watching me (I believe he does watch over me, although maybe that’s just my hope), or he may just be ashes in the Columbarium behind the alter in the Church, and, in the Urns, I, along with the rest of my family members, keep in a safe place.
I DON’T FUCKING KNOW! Who could?! (<– another laugh.)
I stood up, looked at myself, and thought, “this is the fucking time to fucking write about self-harm. So woman-the-fuck-up, and take the fucking pictures. And there you have it, folks.
I know some of you who read this blog know me personally. Thank you, so much, for reading this. Maybe it will concern you, but I hope it doesn’t. Maybe it will change your mind about me, but I hope it doesn’t. Maybe you will worry about me, I’m okay with that one. I think this world would probably be a better place if we all worried about each other’s well being a little bit more.
To those that do not know me personally and read this blog, I hope this helps you to get to know me more personally, and that you’ll come back. I think this type of honesty makes writing more honest. I won’t apologize for that, or for myself.
I’ve already written before that I recently got out of an abusive relationship — one of several, actually. Even though the most recent left ME, I’m still “out.”
I’m done with that shit. If anyone is going to abuse me, it’s going to be me, on my terms, for my reasons (<– another laugh). And I won’t fucking apologize for that either.
This post in and of itself is kind of twisted. Because I obviously feel guilty for cutting even though I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with my doing it to myself.
But here’s what you need to know.
I promise on my life, I do not want to die.
This post is NOT A CRY OUT FOR HELP. I get help every week. My doctors know what’s going on. My therapist knows what’s going on. My Mom, (to my extreme shame for not using enough makeup, and taking my sweater off in her presence) unfortunately knows what’s going on, certainly not for the first time, (I’m so sorry, Mom. I have asked her not to read my blog for reasons like this: grotesque honesty). And, as I’m about to see my best friend tomorrow, I can’t imagine she also won’t see, and not nearly for the first time, what’s going on. I don’t need more help.
I do not want to die. That’s NEVER been my intention. I am not suicidal. I have NO suicidal ideation.
This next statement WILL sound insane/crazy/however the fuck judgmentally you want it to: I am an EXTREMELY HAPPY PERSON, ALMOST ALL OF THE TIME. I fucking LOVE my life. I cannot wait to see what’s next. And there’s nothing fucking wrong with me. (So if YOU, reader, think there is, THIS BLOG IS NOT FOR YOU!) This is my reality. And fortunately, I’m allowed to do what I want, as long as I am not a danger to myself or others. And I’m not. And maybe that’s my point.
Self-harm, doesn’t mean danger to oneself.
In fact, according to Mental Health America (http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/self-injury), Self-Harm is defined as thus (emphasis added): “Self-injury, also known as self-harm, self-mutilation, or self-abuse occurs when someone intentionally and repeatedly harms herself/himself in a way that is impulsive and not intended to be lethal.” SO GET OVER IT, NOW.
Because I’m okay.