- I spend a lot of time looking back. Especially recently.
Aged 9. Started self harming.
Aged 10. Tried to throw myself out of the window (several times).
Aged 11. Couldn’t understand why I was the way I was. What was wrong with me.
Aged 12. Distractions. Life. I wasn’t any better, but things kept moving.
Aged 13. Minor improvements. Self acceptance.
Aged 14. Good. Not great, but good. Acceptance. Progress. Self medicating through reading.
and life continued much the same until last year. Not good. Not bad. Clear head at least.
I met someone. We’ll call him Oscar. Or O.
He was amazing. A recovering alcoholic, who’d been driven to drink by the desire to die. But who’d recovered through strength and perseverance and a willingness to admit his faults. 7 years sober this year. But that’s not who he is. He’s a musician, a teacher, a reader, a cook… multitalented, and oh so fascinating. Would it be too old fashioned, to cliche and corny, to say he wooed me with tales of travels to israel, of finding peace in an old turkish man trying to sell him baklava… or of rock climbing and parkour, of multilingualism and multi instrumentalism? O was my tender man, my open arms and my shoulder to lean on, my wild recklessness and my midnight musings. I was, and am still, completely enamoured.
I’d rather not tell the story of exactly why it is that I can’t see or talk to him, but know that I can’t, and there is no way around that.
I was not destroyed by his absence, but my guilt over his absence. It ate away at me. Whispers crept in, filling my void, filling me with nervousness. Useless, disgusting, shameful, unwanted, hated, ignored… etc etc. I knew these feelings like old friends. And the trouble is, it’s easy to give into your demons when they’ve always got your back. My demons always held me when life seemed dark, and their familiar touch seemed almost comforting.
Then descended the not-feeling. The horrible horrible numbness. The Bell Jar. A pane of glass between myself and the outer world, the colour, the light, the vibrance and emotion. I lived in the shadows. I hid myself away, sometimes barely made it out of bed. All day crying, or feeling nothing, or crying because I felt nothing. All night sitting in the dark, trying to find some comfort in the silence, wishing I’d recieve a message saying he cared. Stupid woman, you might think, falling apart over a man’s words. But it wasn’t just that. I wanted to feel validated. I wanted to know that if I did walk dangerously close to a high ledge, someone would want to stop me.
And boy did I loiter in some high places. It’s partly a claustrophobia thing. Sometimes I’m panicking, and the walls seem to close in, and the air feels like concrete, and i have to sit on my open window frame, up in the roof, breathing and enjoying the height. It’s also partly a possibility thing. Top level of a car park, roof of a high building.. being inches away from a long drop made me feel alive, comforted me in the knowledge that ending it all was always a very real possibility, that I could control that.
I wouldn’t call my fascination with heights healthy at all, but it’s not killed me yet. And though I strayed close, though I felt dead inside, there was never any true intent this time round.
Alongside this, is my self harm. I’m not proud of it. Nobody knows about it except my closet friend, Oscar, and now anyone who reads it here. I pick. Attack areas of my skin, ripping it to shreds until it’s a bleeding mess. Then I focus on somewhere else. When the original area is half healed, I go back to that. My face, back, arms, chest, thighs…
and of course this too is a cycle. The jumping thoughts calm moments of panic, and this does too. It generally goes like this: I feel like shit; walking past a mirror, or rolling my sleeves up, whatever, I notice a patch; mentally, I say ‘just one’ and my fingers totally ruin that one pore. The problem is, after one, there’s no stopping. Next thing you know, 3 hours have passed and your hands are stained with your own blood. Then there’s clean up. Disinfecting, cleaning, and hating self even more for the destruction caused. And the hate causes you to seek the temporary relief, the mindlessness and total absorption in picking. It fills the void and yet quiets the brain.
That doesn’t last.
I am not here because I want to die. I am here because I used to want to, and the thought comforts me still. I can plan my hanging, but that doesn’t mean I want to go through with it right now.
Right now, I am thankful for life. I am thankful for my Oscar, who exists, though he cannot talk right now. I am hopeful for the future, and the changes it may bring. I am relieved that i can feel.
My skin is bleeding, my hands hurt, my shoulders are cramped from staying in awkard positions too long. I’m filled with regret for destroying myself, I’m filled with longing to fall out of the window next to me, just to see what it feels like, what death is, maybe to see if it is better than my now, but I’m also filled with gratefulness that I can think these things. That I can contemplate suicide freely, without true intention.
I’m terrified for tomorrow. I’ll be a total mess. I don’t want life to keep moving. I want to fall into O’s arms and stay there for half an hour, feeling safe. I want to feel safe.
I feel monumentally fucked up inside. I’m happy but sad, energetic but listless, peaceful yet frantic… and I don’t know anything anymore. I know who I am. I know tomorrow will make me want to vomit and do something rash. I know I have to overcome that. And I know each small painful step leads me closer to reunion. I’m terrified of the future, yet I long for it.