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.
the skin is so tender there,
so soft, so smooth.
i’m surprised at how easily it
opens for me.
like grating cheese
or cutting off a pat of butter.
it just opens up ~
and offers my inner secrets to
the bathroom tile.
and out seep my skeletons,
and cascade to my feet
like a little gothic convention
gathering in the night.
drip. drip. drip.
down to the ground
as though they have jumped from the
into the sea of grief
which is myself
and my skin.
and my bathroom floor.
which is now collecting these
secretive, skeletal remains
and is busy hiding the secrets
in cracks and
a splash here, a splash there,
a little sticky clump on the
it clumps up so fast, into
stringy little ropes, which makes
me wonder ~
are the skeletons trying to
form a rope on purpose?
are they trying to climb back
into my head to keep
hiding from the world?
or are they just trying to kill me?
‘cuz i can do that myself.
here i am in the cafe.
mondays i tend to come to the cafe after my appointments with my therapist. because, if you haven’t forgotten, i’m crazy.
right now i’m a mix of crazy, detached and hurt.
i guess my therapist has dumped me. i don’t think i’ve ever had this happen, so i’m not sure how to process it just yet. plus i’m in one of my personalities that is sort of distant anyway, a girl who prefers to be sailing and traveling across the world to discussing the finer details of emotions and day to day bothersome tasks. this girl would rather be walking through a cathedral in Rome, admiring its architecture, instead of talking to a therapist who doesn’t seem particularly interested in whether or not the client gets better or perhaps gets hit by a car on the way home.
oh, heck, maybe i’m being unfair. the truth is, i don’t have insurance. and i’m flat broke. my therapist USED to get paid by me, but for a long time now she’s been seeing me on an exchange system, where we swap goods. she therapizes me and i bring goodies to her that she passes on to the kids she therapizes. this has worked ok, and she has told me a number of times how this really helps her clients. but perhaps she can’t afford to see me anymore, because times are rough all over.
and if that were the case, the only issue, then i would understand. if she had said to me, “hey crazy lady. i can’t afford to see you like this anymore, you have to at least pay this much money”, well then at least i would have known that i had to find the money or go without the help. but this was kind of sudden. this was kind of like, “well what do you want to talk about today?”
but really, i’m the other part of the equation here. i can understand that she may not have been able to handle me anymore. for the first seven months of our therapeutic relationship, i struggled with my diagnosis, although i’m the one that brought it to the table in the first place, suspecting it to be true. maybe it was easy to see me in the beginning, and now as i’m trying to work through this situation more extensively, maybe it is just beyond her ability. she isn’t trained in dealing with Multiples. MPD isn’t her speciality. maybe it’s more challenging for her than i had realized.
but from my perspective, it feels a lot like being thrown out. it feels like she’s doing spring cleaning, and just doesn’t want to look at this ratty old sweater anymore, so out it goes. because she didn’t even really seem interested in helping me try to find another therapist. not that i can’t find one myself, but really, how many therapists out there specialize in this field, or at least know how to treat me, and would do it for little money, or some sort of barter system? i guess not many.
so here i am, alone again.
i’ve never really had much luck with therapists, because i’ve always been able to convince them i’m fine when i’m really not, and that i’m somewhat normal, when i think that is probably not the case either. and this one seemed to see through that, and i trusted her, and care about her. so to have her “set me free” so easily, with hardly a discussion about it, well i guess it makes me feel emotional.
well ok, it doesn’t make ME feel emotional. i’m the one that would rather be traveling through Basil right now, remember? i’m too delighted by the weather and the parks and the freedom that comes with summer to bother to get emotional about my therapist jilting me.
but someone will be upset eventually. someone will go home and cry, and feel as though she is unloved, and think that she is too difficult for anyone in the world to care for, except her long-suffering sister. and then that person will go on a freak-out-bender, and think of suicide, and pills, and being a dramatic poet who tries to bake her brains like they are blueberry muffins, or maybe follow something shiny into the pool of life, never to return. and others in there will feel bad, and naughty, or abandoned, or maybe even pissed off.
but in the meantime, i guess i should enjoy the weather while i’m sane enough – and calm enough – to appreciate it.
Her job started up a project that she knew would be tedious, horrible, infuriating, stressful and time consuming. Not to mention mentally taxing and exhausting. So we popped some beers, and have been doing so since.
But Mercury went retrograde recently too. And although it just aligned itself (yesterday), for the last several weeks life has been a challenge. People arguing at work, miscommunication among the people who work and the people they are working for (or against). Unhappy, confused patrons who would rather yell than understand policy. It’s been a tense month.
Add to all of that the recent suicide threat that I went through last weekend, and am still going through now. Because what might have been a flippant comment from someone who needed a shoulder to cry on has now blown up into discussions with supervisors, heads of departments, and my own friends who I have to lean on when these kinds of things stress me out.
Because I don’t mean to get stressed out about things. God I’m creating my own little mantra and catch phrase just so I can remind myself NOT to worry so much. But I’m tender, you see. And despite my tough cookie outer shell, that is crunchy sweet with no calories, I’m really a big moosh pot inside. And I get all worked up when other people are involved in drama, trauma and despair and try to bring me in to the mess.
So today’s little surprise was truly welcome. Into my cubicle comes a young lady carrying a sort of suitcase and she says, “Would you like a sample from Jimmy John’s?” She’s offering me a teeny free sandwich. Surely she is unaware of the lousy week and month I’ve been having. Surely she is unaware of my tense frame of mind and my wishy washy mental state lately. Certainly she is unaware that food makes everything more fun for me, and here she is offering me a sandwich for no damn reason.
“Awesome!” I say, and eagerly consume the little buddy.
And while a teeny tiny sandwich may not right the downward spinning world, and won’t save the life of the person who might go ahead and kill herself, and won’t keep me from truly becoming an alcoholic by next month…it did brighten my day significantly. So thanks Jimmy John’s (I’ll be by soon!) for making a gloomy day brighter. You were definitely my Accidental Happiness of the week!
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.
how do i talk about all the fear i had growing up in my family?
how do i express or explain the tension and haunting that was my every day?
i just read in louise hay’s book that asthma in children is a sign of not wanting to be here, fear of living really. and that gastritis is prolonged uncertainty and a feeling of doom.
i had a feeling of doom at age ten. (note to readers; I developed asthma in the third grade, along with chronic headaches, nose bleeds, allergies, and I had an ulcer in the fourth grade).
i was uncertain about whether i would live or die. would my father kill me in my sleep? or just come in to my room at night and destroy me as a human?
would my mother decide to feed me? or would she send me to school with another punishment sandwich, for being someone she didn’t like, instead of the daughter she preferred?
i am astounded at my will to live through all of this. smartly, i tried to kill myself a couple of times, but luckily i didn’t take that too far. still, how did i manage to live with a mother who was emotionally cold and removed, and so consumed with her self that she chose to ignore my cries for help?
*she hid my medicine, from the world because she didn’t want anyone to realize i was “sick” (does this go deeper than the ulcer? is she really hiding my state from the world? does she see what i’m doing and try to tuck it away in a drawer or cabinet, fearful that she might have to acknowledge that i have fractured myself in front of her, broken myself like a little hand mirror that she is afraid to look into?)
*she wouldn’t feed me. i can’t remember this but one of my alters said she had to be the right daughter. she wasn’t the daughter that the mommy wanted, so she had to try to be perfect or the mommy wouldn’t feed her. and she was scared. because she wasn’t the one that was wanted. she was UNwanted, and she was afraid she wouldn’t be fed. maybe it’s not that my mother actually refused to feed me, but this alter is convinced that eating is a result of right action, and reserved for the favorite children.
*she sent me away to Mexico, and this alone killed someone in me.
*she sent me away to live with my godparents.
*she ignored my cries in the night and refused to say goodnight to me.
*she sent me to my father when he was in fits of rage, knowing that he had beat men up at the drop of a pin when he was in this state. he was a violent, angry man who was arrested more than once for being belligerent. he’d blown up buildings and threatened to kill grown men. and knowing that he could harm, hurt and kill, she sent me to him to calm him down. a child, sent in to calm a criminal.
*she sent me off to my uncle’s, knowing he might be harming me, because she didn’t want him to be mad at her.
i hate her.
(though this is actually mixed with love, regret, guilt, loyalty, and disdain, among other feelings and issues)
i can’t believe she did all of this to me, and more, because there is so much i haven’t even discovered about myself and my life.
my life has been a mystery. a secret that i tucked away into a little tiny drawer in a little tiny piece of furniture, way over in the corner of my mind. and now that the map of me unfolds, i am shocked at the twists and turns, the people and personalities. but more shocked at the horrible mother, like a character from a Disney movie, who willingly walks her child to the forest and leaves her there for the beasts to consume. she may even leave the beasts some handiwipes, so they can clean themselves after they’ve finished up with the dead carcass. then mother goes back to her little house and bemoans the fact that now she must find a new dish washer.