Archive for self harm

novocaine for the soul…

Posted in chronic illness, mental illness, self harm with tags , , , , , , , , on 12/08/2014 by doyourememberthattime

I’ve been really ill. I have a virus that my compromised immune system cannot fight off. This virus is kicking my arse. I am constantly exhausted, everything aches, dizzy, cold, nauseous, the works. This has been going on for weeks & I’m at the end of my tether.
Enter, self-harm.
I think perhaps feeling so helpless played a part, but mostly I don’t know what happened.
One cut turned into two turned into me practically dissecting my entire left arm.
I don’t feel anything.
There is no relief
It doesn’t feel right
Or wrong.
Yet, I feel compelled to continue.

The voice in my head that pushes me hurt myself has taken over
It’s not the same voice.
There is no emotional involvement
It is simply an obligation I must meet
I am measuring blood loss
When I reach my target, I may stop.
I don’t know what is happening.
But
I am not afraid.
I feel still.

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i’ve tried everything….

Posted in depression, mental health, mental illness, self harm with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 04/07/2014 by doyourememberthattime

i have fallen into another slump.
i rarely know why this happens.
occasionally there are clear reasons for my depression worsening.
but, not this time.

life is struggle at moment
the urge to harm myself is overpowering
i am told the desire will leave me
i continue to wait for that peace.

in the mean time I try to live
i feel as though there is something inside me trying to break out
i can’t relax
it is impossible to just be.

i have resorted to doing, doing, doing
i do housework every morning.
i’ve cleaned out drawers & cupboards
organised my wardrobe
i’ve scrubbed every surface in the house
everything I eat is cooked from scratch
i bake
the next three months have been budgeted
i am keeping a detailed food diary
my life has never been so regimented.

i force myself to socialise
close friends are invited for dinner
i see films with my sister
plans are made with friends in other cities
i volunteer
i’m reading voraciously
my writing output has gathered pace
self-manicures have become works of art
my hair is styled, my legs are smooth.

from the outside i seem to be doing great.
my productivity has soared.
i appear to be creating order.

the truth is my drive is desperation.
a constant need to escape an unbearable internal chasm
if I don’t keep moving
i will butcher myself.
my increasingly despairing attempts to grasp control are failing.
i am left sore
&
sad
&
exhausted.

i long to curl up in my bed and hide
but
my spiteful inner voice will not allow it
there is a constant coaxing to shed my blood,
a continuous stream of gory images.
all accompanied by heavy hopelessness
&
the suffocating knowledge that it will return.
no matter how much progress I make
or
what heights of contentment I reach
i will feel this way again.

I’ve looked at life from both sides now….

Posted in chronic illness, depression, mental health, mental illness, self harm with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/06/2014 by doyourememberthattime

I haven’t written in a while. I’m not entirely sure why that is. I seem able to write other more frivolous things, but any deep introspection eludes me.
I am volunteering again. A project I really believe in. it gives me a sense of purpose. I know I shouldn’t need to find worth outside of myself, but I do. I suspect if they were honest, most folk have a similar struggle for validity.

My body continues to malfunction in a variety of ways. Planning is redundant. Where I can go & what I do is ruled by my ability to manage symptoms. I am the queen of cancelling. I am so tired of disappointing others & myself.

My head is a mystery to me. There are days when I feel I am making huge leaps. Future aspirations bloom, hope is palpable. And then for no concrete reason I plummet. Days seeped in grey merge into one another. Life becomes a featureless landscape of withdrawal or a frenzy of anxiety.

Self-harm is never far from my thoughts. I am not actively hurting myself, but I still believe that is the true me. I am forever searching for a way to hurt enough & still function. I can’t begin to find the words to describe how it feels to daily fight your most ingrained instincts. In so many ways I am broken, I honestly don’t know if the damage is irrevocable.

all you need is me…

Posted in self harm with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 06/04/2014 by doyourememberthattime

i have been cutting sporadically over the last few weeks.
it hasn’t felt like a complete return to self-harm as it’s been contained.
i had expected to feel guilt
perhaps a sense of failing
but
it has been gentler than that
it feels like returning from an arduous journey & climbing into my own bed.

this past weekend has been different.
my cutting has become more insistent
i’ve begun to make demands of myself
at some point in the early hours,
the notion of being in control again took hold.

as I marvelled in the restorative wonder of hot blood
i realised i could seize back power
i could watch my haemoglobin levels plummet
all the heavy, guilt ridden blood could be let
opening garnet stripes
as I reclaim my body

these thoughts were exhilarating
and
with them came plans
schedules of pain
strict timetables to be adhered to
rules that if obeyed would bring comfort.
finally, I can breathe

i want to feel every slice of my flesh
and
monitor every drop of spilt blood
i need the hurt
my body must be a battle ground
if my mind is to stand any chance of a lasting peace.

i’m in charge again.
i can’t tell you how much I have longed to sink into this well-worn mattress.

this is me.
this works.

How to lose support & alienate mentals.

Posted in mental illness with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 06/04/2014 by doyourememberthattime

I would very much like to write a cohesive & comprehensive review of the seeme Scotland conference. I want to be articulate, persuasive & insightful. I find myself completely unable to collate more than a couple of sentences without deleting them in disgust.
The problem is my rage just keeps spilling out. I feel angrier today than I have in a very long time. The doubts I have had about the current state of mental health activism have been confirmed. I am unable to hide from the fact that I am not only fighting the world outside, I am staging a battle against the very people who are supposed to be working for me. In short, I attended a conference aimed at dispelling stigma & felt stigmatised.
I apologise if this is disjointed. I feel more unwell today than I have done in quite some time. I have attempted to create a little clarity with my scalpel. I’m taking a deep breath & diving in.
The conference was billed as a re founding of the organisation. I was invited precisely because I had spoken about the status quo of the big mental health organisations. I did try to be open minded, but correctly thought I was in for disappointment.
I couldn’t even get past the ‘housekeeping’ portion of the event without being insulted. It was repeatedly announced that support lines & trained staff were available should anyone require them. The underlying assumption being that a person with a mental health problem would be unable to make it through the day’s events without hand holding. Oh the irony of being stigmatised at an anti-stigma conference by the very people supposedly fighting for your right not to be discriminated against.
This sort of patronising behaviour continued throughout the event. Whether it was speakers explaining ‘big words’ or delegates being shocked to discover I was university educated. A belief that being diagnosed with a mental illness is somehow incompatible with being a capable adult seemed alive and well.
The organisers of see me put a huge emphasis on the input of those with lived experience. Our opinions, we were told, were paramount. The caveat of course being that we accepted the established recovery bias. Our ‘lived experience ‘speaker was of course recovered. She was careful to explain how different she was now that she was better. She had overcome her brush with mental illness, she now worked, and she now had value.
I kept hoping the next speaker would say something, but was met with more buzz words and self-congratulation. I tired of hearing the same thing over and over. I eventually realised that the much feted ground-breaking new approach was the same tired ideas I had been hearing for years.
I have to confess to ducking out of some of the ketso sessions, used for the participation sections of the day. I found the format, which involved writing on leaves & sticking them to felt, incredibly patronising. It was cringe inducing & very much the sort of thing I would expect to be used to facilitate discussion amongst children. In fact if I was to identify a theme of the conference it would be condescension.
On the second day of the conference I attended the only valuable session of the event. A workshop on ‘the damage caused by the recovery movement’ led by metalpoliticalparent. The discussion was frank and I think for some attendees, surprising. It was only here that I felt I was listened to & only at that workshop did I hear anything that sounded remotely like change.
The recovery model reigned supreme. It is clear that seeme intend to continue with the sanitation of mental illness. They do not & will not hear the voices of those who want to discuss the dirty reality.
I’m aware that this post is weak. I can only attribute that to frustration & the after effects of being made to feel entirely other. I hope at some point to improve on my contribution to the discussion of the seeme event, but did want to offer something whilst the conference was fresh in people’s minds.

the blood jet is poetry and there is no stopping it…..

Posted in depression, insomnia, mental health, mental illness, self destruction, self harm, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 22/03/2014 by doyourememberthattime

i’ve been up all night
thinking
listening to sad songs
reading brutal tales
i suppose it was only a matter of the time
in the end, all it took was
two words

a couplet that lit up the relevant part of my brain
one evocative phrase that kicked started this whole sordid ritual
words that gave me license to bleed

i needed to bleed
i had to feel the very pulse of life
the pure, vibrant strength
of my will.

if only for right now,
i have reclaimed the power that resides at my core
i am once again the most authentic version of myself.

as my blood washes over me
i turn up the volume so the melancholy music can fill my head
and
my tears finally flow.

listen…

Posted in mental health, self harm, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 01/03/2014 by doyourememberthattime

Today is Self-Injury Awareness Day (SIAD). As expected most of the mainstream mental health organisations have been out in force on social media. This should be a good a thing, but as usual the almost entirely miss the mark. All of the major charities trotted out the same tired recovery narrative with a sprinkling of inspirational bullshit. Did anyone ever manage to quit self-harm by drawing fucking butterflies? I doubt it.
If I sound frustrated, it’s because I am. These organisations are supposed to be for people like me. They are meant to advocate for me, but they are not remotely interested in what I have to say. When I tell them what I need and want, I am ignored. I have approached numerous organisations both directly & through social media to explain that they do not represent me (or the many people I know who struggle with mental illness). I am always met with silence or a patronising we know best attitude.
I don’t want to hear exclusively about teenage girls when discussing self-harm. It’s a stereotype & it makes it perpetuates a stigma that makes my life harder.
I don’t want to constantly hear tales of people who have recovered. I’m happy they are no longer suffering, but their story is not my story. Some people do not get better. Mental illness is a life long struggle for many people. Where are those voices? This representation of mental health difficulties is not accurate or helpful. It creates a misleading picture for people with no experience in the field. Even more problematic is the message it sends to those of who are still ill. It says our lives have no merit; that we will only be worth talking about when we recover.
I’m sick of the success stories. All those wonderful people who fought & won. The ones achieving amazing things. It just makes me feel a greater failure. I want the truth. Publicise blogs like this one. Tell the world the blood and guts reality of this disease. Let me speak. Give me (& others like me) the opportunity to show people they’re not alone. That the daily (hourly) fight to keep breathing is not that uncommon. Our lives are still have meaning & value even if we never get back to work or publish a book or raise a million pounds for charity.
Stop giving me stupid advice. Writing on my arms cannot replace cutting. Ice and rubber bands are just telling its ok to hurt myself as long as it doesn’t get messy. Having a bath will not stop a war raging in head. Ditto a cup of bloody tea. Lavender doesn’t cure insomnia. Painting my nails will not make me love myself.

Most of all, listen to us. We know best. We wake up to every morning. Our knowledge is hard won. Please use it to help others who are suffering.