Help, I have done it again
I have been here many times before
Hurt myself again today
And the worst part is there’s no-one else to blame
Sia, Breathe Me
I gave in. After trying to distract myself, I was weak and I gave in and I cut myself. My mind feels as raw as the wounds on my legs.
I got to that place where I don’t want any help; I want to hurt myself, I want to feel pain. The rational part says ‘take a breather, speak to someone, let it out, calm down’; the louder part says ‘nah, get the scissors, go for your legs, it’s what you want’.
My heart hurts and there is only pain. I cannot feel anything else. I wish I could numb myself, anaesthetise the anxiety away. No one can see the depression, not even me, no one can see the pain, so I tear through my skin with scissors. If it were a true representation of my mind, my whole body would be bleeding and weeping, all flesh hacked away, bones and nerves exposed.
The anxiety that swells in my stomach makes me feel sick. It swoops up and down, swirling through my insides. It can make me light-headed and dizzy, parched and hot. My hands shake, my face burns and my stomach churns, an imaginary rollercoaster existing only within me. I want to cut that feeling out. If I could slice at my own stomach and scoop out the dread, I would.
Depression is clever – it makes me think that I’m ok, maybe the dark points aren’t that bad, I just have down days like everyone else, it’s not really depression. It tricks my mind; it makes me lose sense of what is real and what is not. And then it hits me and the whole world crumbles and caves in. It doesn’t just make me sad; it gets its claws in me, tearing at me, chewing me up and spitting me out before caressing me, whispering that it’ll all be ok then beating and trampling on me.
I can feel the darkness coming, And I’m afraid of myself
Matt Haig describes it in his brilliant book, Reasons To Stay Alive, as like Jenga; stable but slowly being chipped away and then one false move and it all comes crashing down. It’s also like a vessel being slowly filled with water and you don’t know how full it is becoming before it’s too late and the whole thing overflows.
My depression scares me. I don’t know who I am anymore. I don’t know if I ever really have. And if I don’t know the answer to that, how will anyone else? I worry that I won’t make it through. What if the suicidal urges become so potent I act on them? What if the depression warps and twists my mind so much I lose sight of what is real?
I hate it. It hates me. It feels like an unwanted visitor has taken up residence in my body but it won’t see itself out; this is its home now. It’s like it’s been absorbed into every muscle, every vein, every cell. It really needs to un-absorb itself and fuck off.
I’ve given myself a few days distance. The first day I was shameful, raw and apologetic. I realised how unwell I am, tearful and scared. I need help. The second day, I was stronger, speaking more openly without emotions taking over. I could get through the day. But late at night, the sadness infected me. I was crying again, alone in my darkened bedroom. I was curled up and holding myself, almost as if I held on tight enough, the broken pieces of me would mould themselves back together.
Most of the time, I feel numb, neither happy nor sad, joyous nor particularly depressed. I will myself to feel something, anything, to remind me that I’m alive.
And when it kicks me over the edge, knocking the wind out of me, I wish to get back to the neutral ground of numbness. I’d forgotten what this feels like, only remembering fragments of a dream, the outline, not the illustrated, fleshed-out reality. This is real; it’s not imaginary, not a dream, not exaggerated, not falsely thought, not a nightmare. The pain is real and so is my depression.
I cannot forget that, even in the lighter moments. I have depression. I must remember that. I have depression and it terrifies me. I have depression and it is black. I have depression and I am exhausted. I have depression and I want to die. I have depression and I want to live. I have depression and it is not stronger than me. I have depression and it will torment me, torture me, chip away at me, slice at me and poison me. I have depression but it will not destroy me.