So, just as the dust is barely settling around my almost desk, since I’ve JUST moved into a new area of the department, lo and behold, the powers that be might just move me completely out of the department all together. Now, it could be someone else. Not exactly cut-backs…several people in the division I work in will be “relocating” to other areas of the system. At least one – if not two – from my section. Because I am low man on the totem pole, I assume this will be me. And, while I am duly frustrated at the idea of moving yet again, for what might be fifth time in about a year and ½, I am hopeful that if I do move I will go to an area where I already have friends, and I have already worked there before.
But seriously, give a girl a rest! It feels like every day I come to work I have to check to make sure I still have a mailbox and can still get into the building! Oy! Keep me or Can me already!
When I was thirteen I tried to kill myself. I was in seventh grade the first time I tried, and just continued dabbling with the idea off and on for a year or so. I’d probably been suicidal for a while; and at the very least depressed for a good many years. The first time I actually remember trying to cut myself I was around five, and stood in the kitchen by myself with a butter knife, ready to do some serious arterial damage. Of course, it would have taken me an awfully long time to draw blood with a butter knife, but look, I was only five, I wasn’t schooled in the proper techniques of murder and suicide. By the time I was in seventh grade I’d at least figured out that I should use some type of sharp instrument. Had my family made more money, I might have had a nice little razor blade to injure myself with. As it was, my family was on the poor side, so we had nothing but disposable razors in the house.
There I was, with my little pink Daisy razor with the flowers all over it, slicing away at my wrists, getting the feel of suicide in my bones. The skin cut easier than I thought, and hurt less than I expected. The slight sting was more tantalizing than scary, and the blood oozing out was rather intoxicating. These first few times I cut were more flirtations with danger than real attempts at death, but they got me hooked fast. The adrenaline in my body, the tension in my muscles, the power I felt over SOMETHING in my life was a sort of intense little window of possibility, where the world lay open for me, and it was MY choice to live or expire. In my world, having a choice was not common. Tempting myself with death became a particularly seductive past time. It meant freedom.
I began cutting my ankles along with my wrists. The veins on my ankles were puffy and prominent, and I began to imagine that if I managed to kill myself this way, perhaps I would end up in the local news as some sort of two minute celebrity for a bizarre and tragic departure. Girl dies at age 13, wrists and ankles bloody pulps. I also took pills, though, because I wasn’t just into cutting. I actually did want to get out of my life situation, and if that meant getting out of life, I was amenable to that.
If I had known back then how bizarre and interesting my life would be, I can’t say for sure that I would have made the same decisions. Today it is raining heavily, the cloud cover so dark it feels like it is nine o’clock at night, when it is only lunch time for me. There is a dark, moody feel about the day; somber, pensive, romantically deep. My life is full of these moments – full of intensely beautiful days where the sky is so blue it hurts my mind, and the contentment in my heart seems unique to humanity. There are days where I feel desolate, empty, unloved and barren. Days that I wonder how anyone can choose to love me because I am such a challenge and an emotional roller coaster.
But this is life. Up, down, inside, outside, colorful, dark, dramatic, silly, intense, monotonous, and spectacular. Every year the trees change colors before my eyes in a wonderful parade of life and death. Every year the sun comes back in the spring, coaxing hiding animals and tiny buds on trees to burst open with hope and life, and continue the cycle that has been going forever.
Had I known about these wonders when I was thirteen – about broken hearts and dreams dashed to pieces; about disappointments and sorrows, love lost and love expiring; about passion and desire and intimacy; about laughter and acceptance and people that love you enough to talk to you in the morning when you have Christopher Walken hair – I would have laid my Daisy razor down in the shower, and kept it for shaving. I would have spared my skin the worry and nervousness. I think. Because life is hard, and wicked, difficult and damaging. But the beauty in life – and the POTENTIAL beauty – is worth the risk.
Life is an accidental and beautiful happiness.
I’ve been involved in a number of dangerous and life threatening situations. I’ve had someone choke me. I’ve had someone threaten to slit my throat open with a knife. I’ve been pinned to the wall. I’ve been hit in the face. I’ve had the aforementioned axe incident, where I was attacked by a man swinging an axe at me. I’ve been accosted in a public place, and THEN pinned to a wall. I’ve been pinned to the ground and assaulted. And all of this by different people, so it’s not like I got a handle on who was the consistent, reliable perpetrator. Soon, EVERYONE was a possible perpetrator. And eventually I learned not to allow my back to people. Because now my fear is that I will be attacked. It’s not like a conscious fear I’ve been aware of. All of these situations happened before my adult life, so I developed an undercurrent of thinking that involved people wanting to kill me. Because it seemed like that was the big thrill everyone wanted to get in on. So I became afraid of sitting with my back to people in a restaurant. I became nervous riding full busses. I heightened my awareness and threw up a bunch of walls, and tried to be sure I could see everything around me when at all possible. At least this way if some giant of a man comes at me wielding a sharp instrument I will be ready. This time I will be prepared to die.
Even with all of this vigilance, I haven’t been able to necessarily fend off the death threats. I’ve had two people talk about killing me while I was at my workplace. And several stalkers in my time. And now I’m being asked to sit at my obviously inferior workspace and allow the world to come and slit my throat from behind.
So I’ve been having numerous meltdowns. I cry all the time. I almost fainted at work when I showed my sister my horrid little hovel. My heart rate has been incredibly off the charts for days now. I’m twitchy and nervous and fearful. I hyperventilate when I’m brushing my teeth in the bathroom. And lying on the couch. And making a sandwich. I’m soft and sullen and wounded. I have a perpetual woeful look on my face. Or I think I do…I haven’t been looking in the mirror a lot, but the facial muscles I’m using FEEL woeful. Yes I know, they’ve told me they will work on it. It is hopeful that I will be able to turn my desk a different direction, even though I was told this was NOT possible the day they told me about this whole situation. So maybe it won’t be as bad as it was presented to me. Maybe after a while I will realize that the situation isn’t horrible at all, and I just worked myself up into a lather over the idea of imminent death, when the Death wasn’t really knocking at my door at all. It was just the Avon lady, maybe, with my order of frizzy hair control product.
Still, for the past five days I have been a bundle of nerves. Which just makes me have to run to the bathroom to get sick. Oh yeah! This might be one of my alters, and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned her or not yet. Nervous Nellie. Hi, glad to meet you. If you couldn’t tell, Nervous Nellie has had plenty of things to be nervous about, and now she gets to go to work in this state of anxiety and tension, and try to perform menial tasks and duties, like walking and getting a drink of water.
On the positive side, I have been wanting to learn to let people in to my life, my world, and my heart. I wasn’t planning on doing that by becoming a vulnerable, messy, wreck of a human right in front of everyone I work with, but there you go. Now the poison’s out of the bottle, it’s not like I can shove it back in.
If you are a reader of this blog, you probably already know about my “condition”, which – officially – is called crazy. The less flavorful and more restrictive term is MPD or DID, which means, crazy. Multiple Personality Disorder, i/e “Lots Of Crazy”. Actually it’s been rather fun lately, but that is a recent development. Here’s a little back information:
In February of this year, being the year of our Lord 2010, I was pleasantly surprised to find an invitation on my favorite time consumer, Facebook. I’m addicted to Facebook for a good many reasons, including but not limited to Super Poke Pets, Bejeweled Blitz, Trip Advisor, and Pieces of Flair. Oh yeah, and things like friends and family. One day, while I am tickling my pet monkey – and I know how horrible that sounds, because my dear friend raises his eyebrow at me whenever I mention to him I’m doing this, but I really AM tickling my pet monkey…anyway – I get a message from an old friend of mine. I mean, she is only forty, like me, so not TOO old, but she was my partner in crime in high school, which was a good million years ago. So old enough. Back then, when we were young, and supple, and perky, we used to hang out and go skinny dipping in her pool. We’d tromp outside in our bikinis and quickly lose half or more of our outfit and splash around in the pool. Interestingly enough, her next door neighbor always had a sudden urge to clean his rain gutters on the roof whenever he heard us splashing in the pool, or had a pressing need to adjust his wind vane. Funny that. This is also the friend that somehow managed to get her hands on the skin of a cat from a biology experiment or lab castoff, and proceeded to hook her fingers in the nose of the cat and fly him out the car window making noises from the movie “Monty Python’s Search For The Holy Grail”. If you’re a fan of the movie, you probably know what I’m talking about…and if not, it’s rather hard to explain it on paper. Suffice it to say, we had loads of fun together.
Receiving a message from her on Facebook was unexpected, however. We stayed in touch after high school, even until I was about twenty five or so, and as I recalled it, we had something of a falling out, which ended our friendship. I remember thinking our blowout was permanent and final. And here she was, friending me!
And on top of that, she was very excited to get in touch with me. “I’ve been looking for you for years!”, she tells me, “I’m so glad to have found you!” What? I thought our divorce was quite ugly. So of course, my response back was thus. “I thought our divorce was quite ugly! I didn’t think you’d ever want to talk to me again, or hated me or something”. I also mentioned to her that I was crazier than she would believe. That’s all I said, because I thought it bad form to throw in on her my recent diagnosis of MPD. Well, not so recent, I’d been diagnosed in the summer of 2008, and it took me a good six or seven months of therapy to admit to the diagnosis. I still found myself grappling with the reality of the situation in February, a year and a half later. So no, I didn’t want to open up that can of worms just yet. But she did already know what a weirdo I was, which is probably why she unfriended me in the first place, right? Just thinking about tenth grade French class makes me shudder. And giggle. So I wanted to warn her of my increasing craziness…or, deteriorating sanity.
In her reply, she reminds me that the last time we spoke was in 1996 – almost fifteen years ago! At that time she had a lot of difficulty, because her father was ill, and the whole situation was stressing her out. And, she reminds me that I was seeing a therapist at that time, and had just been diagnosed with MPD, so she understood when I didn’t recognize her when I saw her around town, sometimes.
Wait a minute. What now? I’ve only JUST BEEN diagnosed. WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT???
But no, apparently I was diagnosed with Multiple Personalities back in 1996, and whoever heard this – whichever personality of mine received this diagnosis – proceeded to tell my dear and close high school friend, and NO ONE ELSE about this condition. Then, I guess, went into hiding. And for the next fifteen years of my life, I went about my business, I guess utilizing other personalities from time to time to deal with my life. But never coming back to this information about the MPD.
At least, not fully. Oh sure, I’ve always WONDERED about my sanity.
That’s a topic for another blog…or maybe seven. But the night I read her email, I had a fit. A tantrum. A sort of nervous break down. I was off work, getting ready to go home, when I got the email. Luckily, my sister was around, so I grabbed her out of where she was and forced her to come with me outside to the parking lot, where I fell to my knees and started screaming and crying. A man close by came to check and see if I were being mauled by an escaped lion. Or perhaps I was having my eyelids removed with a pair of fingernail clippers by a madman aimlessly roaming the streets, who happened upon me and thought my eyelids particularly fetching, and ferreted out his nail clippers to keep them as a souvenir of this otherwise dull Tuesday or Wednesday evening. But no, the howling was really just caused from my own insanity, and I tried to tell him, “I’m just crazy”, but I’m not sure if he really understood.
Because, at that point, when I heard this startling news, I thought I knew myself.
I’d gone through a number of self transformations, which are also topics for other blogs.
I’d seen inside myself, and didn’t always like what I saw. I’d made moves and efforts to change my person, and I had worked through a good many things. I had old desires and dreams I’d laid aside, and hopes and aspirations I was still trying to make good on. I’d learned and grown and bettered myself. At this point, I’d even faced the fact that I’d spent my entire lifetime hiding myself from other people; hiding what I thought was a horrible evil which made me unlovable and frightening – this collection of people I had inside myself. This football team of personalities. Or maybe rugby team, rugby is so sexy. Anyway, to find that I had actually been diagnosed FIFTEEN years ago was earth shatteringly bizarre, and made me question everything I knew about myself.
I’d always thought I’d been very spiritual and religious all my life, since I was three or four. Was that the case? Or was that the perspective, and perhaps ILLUSION of one of my personalities. This called into question other things, like the status of my virginity. I’d always been something of a ‘good girl’. I was a Christian for umpteen years, and tried desperately to stay a virgin until I got married. Which I never did, so you can imagine how impossible that was for someone as continually horny as I am. I thought I was a virgin until I was twenty seven! (shut up. i know that is waaaay old, but i’m telling you, i was a serious christian. it took a LOT of determination to stay chaste that long) But was I really a virgin for all those years? Now I didn’t know. There were indicators and questions I’d had before, that maybe I had lost my virginity earlier, in junior high…but I had no memory of that time, so who knew?
Suddenly, in one evening, everything I knew about myself felt a lie, and nothing that I thought I knew for sure was really stable. Had I ever murdered anyone? Did I do illicit drugs? What about jail time? When you can hide away information from yourself for fifteen years, information like this, that includes a lifetime and a personality and a friendship that spanned decades – what else might I be hiding from myself?
And I don’t know.
I don’t know the answers.
I’m only in the beginning stages of this investigation.
I’m only just coming out of my own closet, and finally starting to look at myself in the light of day. I’ve finally told two family members of this situation, and several dear and trusted friends, many of whom I work with. I’ve only just started to peel back the folds of my mind, and begun the task of sifting through old stashes of memories and mental images. I’ve no idea what I’ll find in this mystery of a person that is me.
But it’s getting interesting…
This weekend started off in a pretty interesting manner. I was at work minding my own business when someone I know (but just barely) asked me if I could tell when people were going to die. This may SOUND like a bizarre question, but it isn’t really, when factoring me into the conversation. I am a bit of a psychic. I don’t know if I should say that, because it’s not like I’ve been tested and approved, like some of those new commercials or adds brag about. Still, I’ve been known to acquire information accidentally. Like which player on the team is going to get the winning touchdown, or what your favorite sexual position is, or who has a problem staying away from the “ladies”. So the question didn’t surprise me, and I told her that even if I DID know when someone was going to die, I wouldn’t tell them. I mean, come on. “By the way, you have a week to live. Hope you have something planned”.
Her response was curious. “Oh, well I’ve been thinking about killing myself, and I just wondered if that showed up”.
Well obviously, this freaked me right out. She wasn’t telling me she was headed off to Rite Aid to get a fresh razor blade, or off to KMART for a load of ammunition, but it was unsettling nonetheless. And it’s not like I don’t understand these issues; depression, insanity, the call of a nice shiny pointed object. I get it. But this sounded to me like a call for help.
I was rattled by this open bald-faced admission, and went to another friend for a word of advice. Do I give this person my home phone number, so they can talk to me about this issue? Do I call the police? Do I alert her immediate supervisor? We settled on me giving her a hotline number, urging her to email me RIGHT NOW, and setting up a date for coffee NEXT WEEK, emphasizing that she WILL be around still next week. I was encouraged not to try to handle this situation myself, but to try to redirect her to a professional.
Still, that night I cried for quite some time. I was worried. I felt responsible. I thought that if she DID kill herself, and I was the only one that knew about it, I was totally culpable. What should I have done differently? I ended up calling her on her cell phone, and she was very flippant and nonchalant about the whole situation. “Oh, this is something I’ve been dealing with since I was fifteen. I think about it all the time”.
She wasn’t REALLY going to kill herself. She got depressed. She thought about her mortality. She cuts herself and takes pills sometimes, but not deeply enough to sever anything of importance (relatively) and not so many pills that she whacks herself off. So what, is this all just about the drama? Are you bored? Do you just want to give people around you nervous breakdowns?
No really, I very much understand this whole situation and way of life. But I just seriously think you need to get some help. Life can be better than this. You CAN be happy, if you want. Eventually. With pills. Or booze. Or a credit card that allows you to do a lot of shopping.
So I’m worried about this girl, and the next day am still bothered about the situation, and then yesterday talked to my therapist about this, and even today had to discuss the issue with several other people. Because this is serious. This isn’t like suddenly changing your hair color, or radically altering your physical appearance with tattoo sleeves or facial modification. This is the end of your life. This is you laying this death on someone else’s shoulders … potentially.
Sometimes people kill themselves, I understand that. I get that some people find this a viable option and a necessary evil, and I’m not advocating it nor am I denouncing it. It is, and has been, a part of life. But seriously, you need to think about WORDING people. If you talk casually about suicide on a regular basis, in front of people you barely know, you will likely get a reaction. If it isn’t really something that is a “big deal”, maybe you should consider just saying you’re depressed. Or angry. Or that you hate life. Actually going so far as to say you are thinking about killing yourself is a bold statement that will likely be met with some sort of response involving your immediate supervisor, the police, or a mental health professional. People DO care; but please, if you are just bored with your life, or looking for a way to pass the time, or just don’t have anything interesting to say, then you need to think up some new lines. It just isn’t good suicide etiquette to fake people out about your mental desperation. Next time, I might just hand you the extra gun I have in my glove compartment.
the back of my head
but i don’t know who they belong to.
and scold me all day
reminding me that i’m doing
something wrong again.
they tell me
in subtle scowling tales
that i am not the true owner
of this body.
somehow i managed to get this
while the real owner wasn’t
i tricked life into letting me
borrow this vehicle
and run it around town
with the rightful owner
locked in the back trunk.
the eyes look quizzically
at everything i do
wondering what i am
and why i keep getting
away with it.
but since i have
so much hair
no one else
notices a thing
and i spend another day
in my stolen
(unremembered date, 2009)