I was tasked with picking out all of the rocks from the soil in the backyard the first time I thought about killing myself. I was in 4th grade. Suicide seemed like the happiest option, especially when I believed it would make so many people’s lives easier if I merely did not exist.
At the age of 13, my internal agony had reached a new level. I remember journaling and being skeptical about whether or not I would even make it to the age of 14. Just after my 13th birthday I started what became a terrible addiction of self mutilation. Eventually, the counselor at the school I attended noticed my wrists and arms and gave me a choice: I could tell my father or he would. Knowing the better option, as I walked up the steps to the house I grew up in, my father was sitting on the porch swing. The dread of this conversation had made me sick all day. I was 14 when my father started the strip searches, making sure there were no new physical wounds.
In 2009, January 4th had been a frigid Saturday night. I had just finished babysitting and somewhere between their house and mine, I snapped, My emotional pain finally outweighed my coping resources. I was 20 when I woke up in the hospital with pints of cherry flavoured charcoal at the bedside and white gauze dressing my arms.
The events and details leading up to and following my attempt are somewhat trivial. There are reasons, causes, excuses, summaries, and different explanations. There are always more than two sides to every story. But none of that matters. It happened. It exists. My miniature death lives on as a part of my story; a story I am still here to end and create chapters in.
Depression. Most of the time it lives in winter. Sometimes it looks like staying in bed all day. Sometimes it looks like calling in sick to work because the weight of gravity is just too much to handle. Most of the time it looks like a decoration of laughs, great friendships, tiny happinesses, and adventures to the desert – a facade of band aids. And sometimes, it looks like standing naked under pouring water so I can try to hold myself even though I know these hands of mine cannot even hold air.
And then there are days that look like today – a facade of putting on smiles, cooking food, and interacting with people while my insides feel like a controlled burn area gone rogue.
2015 was a year of exploring patience, gentleness, slowing down, learning to feel emotion all over again; a complete dedication to healing. Healing. Fuck. That is one of the hardest journeys I have ever embarked upon. This whole feeling emotion deal is actually really difficult, especially when there has been so much ignored over the years. But, I’m still trying and part of that is recognizing what is happening on the inside. Right now, I know the 4th is two days away and I feel like I am walking a thin tight-rope with my emotions, teetering and swinging violently from side to side. I would be lying if I said that sometimes (especially around this time of year) having a “cease to exist” button would be convenient.
And sometimes, depression looks like a battlefield of giving in and giving up, allowing it to exist. No…maybe to coexist. To be recognized and written about in order to give it a life outside of this body so that it may heal. So that I can honour myself and all of my experiences. Alas, tomorrow will be a new day full of endless chances to do just one thing better. Yes. Tomorrow – a chance where I can learn to love myself just a tiny bit more.
© /skin/ /ˈpōətrē/