Monday, September 10, 2018

Stay Here

It's World Suicide Prevention Day.

I care a lot about this topic. Although I've been fortunate enough to never be suicidal myself, my anxiety has led me to think about and treat myself in very negative ways. I've dealt with disordered eating, self-sabotage, and several forms of self-harm while I've struggled to live with anxiety, so I understand at least the perspective of feeling like giving up is the only option.

I wasn't sure what to say today. How do you talk about something so delicate and important? So this post might be a little weird, but I decided to post excerpts from two things: One that explains a tiny glimpse of how some people feel when the pain inside them becomes to great to bear, and one that have helped me through my darkest times.

The first is an excerpt from a novel I wrote. I finished it about a year ago and I've been going through a long process of editing and re-editing since then so I can hopefully get it published. The main character, Eve, is recovering from an eating disorder and has a cruel and vicious friend named Ana who taunts Eve into sabotaging herself. In this part of the novel Eve is at one of her lowest points and it's the first time she starts to self-harm.

I wrote this part of the novel when I was struggling with self-harm. I never actually cut myself (although I cam very close), and Eve's thoughts here are based strongly on what I was thinking at the time.

I step on my scale and my heart drops when I see I’m a pound heavier than I was last night.
            “No, no, no,” I whisper frantically. I grab my hair and pull at it.
            “Nooooo,” I moan.
            “You need to punish yourself,” Ana says. “Then this won’t happen again.”
            She’s right.
            I grab an unopened razor from my closet and remove the blade from it. I hold it carefully in my hand as I sneak into the bathroom and lock the door behind me.
            I press the blade gently against my arm, then decide to switch to my stomach where my parents would be less likely to notice anything. I pause for a second as my determination fades and fear begins to enter.
            “Do it,” Ana says. “As a reminder of how worthless you are.”
            I press the blade harder against my skin and feel a sharp burst of pain as it breaks. Bright red blood immediately draws a line on my skin and forms a tiny pool that soon breaks itself. I watch a drop of blood trickle down onto my thigh.
            I immediately hate myself for doing it. But something about it feels justified. I know that I deserve it. That thought terrifies me because what rational thoughts I have left are telling me that I won’t be able to stop if I think like that, but Ana interrupts them and won’t let them speak long enough to get anything coherent across to me.
            “That wasn’t too hard, was it?” She asks, stroking my arm.
            I am breathing heavily. It wasn’t. And I hate the fact that it wasn’t.
            Before the cut has fully healed I am told to do it again. This time Ana just gives me a look and I know. So many emotions and feelings are building up inside of me that I feel like I am physically going to burst. I cry myself to sleep and scream into my pillow until my throat is raw but the voices in my head don’t stop and I can feel myself going crazy. I feel like I am drowning from the inside out.
            I lock myself in the bathroom again and press the razor blade to my stomach just below the last cut. This time as blood leaves my body I can feel other things leaving too. It is like letting the air out of a balloon. The pain from the cut seems to release the pain inside of my mind and for a few minutes I am in a strange state of stinging bliss. The voices come back but not as strong and I am scared how that worked but I can’t argue because it is the only relief I’ve felt from Ana in weeks.

The second thing I want to post is the thing that kept me from cutting myself one night when I felt like it was the only way to stop the pain I was feeling inside. Here is the twenty one pilots' song "Holding on to You."

Stay alive, guys. It's worth it.

And if you're doing well, keep an eye out on those you love. We all know signs get ignored too much and when life is over, it's over.

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