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November 14th, 2004

Dark, Dirty Secrets

I've been a naughty girl.

Reading Dooce's memories of suffering through anorexia & how she's doing now with it gave me an urge to get some thoughts out about my cutting - and my almost-slip-up.

The other day I almost cut myself. I came so very close that at the end of the evening I shamefully handed The Worm my almost-instrument-of-destruction.

"Here," I told him. "I've had this hidden for some time now. I never planned to use it. It just makes me feel good to have them hidden around the house, but I'm giving it to you now to punish myself for coming so close to screwing up and slipping back."

He didn't understand, but he took it and gave me a hug. He tries.

Yes, I have blades hidden around my house. Like an old boozer who has liquor bottles stashed away "just in case" the urge should ever overcome him - just so he can sneak off and have "just one sip" if life becomes too much. They are usually plastic pink disposable razors that I have painstakingly altered - the front pieces of plastic are ripped to expose the blade, the blade is usually darkened from my "cleansing" it with a flame. It's something I used to do countless times to ensure I had an ever-ready blade, or in the moments just before I cut when I had nothing else to use. That may sound bad, but it was better than when I had none and got desperate and switched to the serrated knives in the kitchen.

That sounds terrible - seeing it on the page like that I'm thinking, "I cannot fucking POST that on the Internet. What will they think about me?" But it's a part of me - it's something I did and it's something I will struggle with for the rest of my life. I can't run from it. People that know me in person actually see my handiwork (my scars) and that's much worse than reading about it. I know what they think - I know no one can imagine purposefully hurting themselves; especially so viciously. But I try to remind myself that people also can't understand drinking one's self into an early grave, being unable to stop taking copious amounts of harmful drugs, or even making themselves throw up every time they eat. I don't need them to understand it - I just need them to know I'm not that different than them; I just have a more fucked-up way of coping with my problems.

So why did I almost cut? What was so devastating that I almost slipped back into the "dark side"? You're going to laugh. There was a kitten I'd met and bonded with at a friend's house a few weeks ago. I got a phone call wherein I was told said kitten had been hit by a car and was paralyzed from the waist down; otherwise it was fine. Would I take it? Otherwise it was going to be put to sleep. Can you imagine how that made me feel? Crippled-ass me who has been on crutches for two years, a cane for almost 6 mos now and who will NEVER walk right again???? They were going to kill her because she couldn't walk. I was overwhelmed with hurt and sadness and the weighty decision over whether I could take on such a responsibility. I wanted to, with all my heart, but could I? Baret was against it and since we do share a home and my current disability puts much more burden on him to get household chores done, his say was a huge one. I was so extremely torn. I have the largest soft spot for animals. My fellow man can be damned - I'd just as soon off one for driving stupidly - but I tear up at even the sight of a kitten. My mind was literally in a state of turmoil and chaos and I couldn't handle it. I knew that cutting would calm me - it would still me enough that I could make sense of everything and make the correct decision. I also knew that wasn't the answer, but it was such a tempting one! I went into the bathroom under the premise of getting ready for work, but Baret tried to follow me in there. He knew. I quickly got my pink plastic encrusted blade out from its hiding place and stuffed it in my robe pocket. I left the bathroom and told him I was okay. I was going to wait until he went to take a shower. Part of me was hurt he'd even leave me alone in such a state - didn't he know what I was capable of?

But in the end I didn't do it. Reason somehow won out - perhaps its just years of self-therapy, and real therapy and medication and learning how to deal with my "manic-depressive" self - but I didn't do it. That evening I handed the blade to Baret. Letting go of my "security blanket" was hard, but I wanted to punish myself. I'll likely make another and hide it away anyway, if I know me. But for the moment it was shameful to confess that I'd had it and that I'd almost done it - so that was what I did.

This is a battle I fight every day - even if some days I never get the urge to cut, the thought and the desire is always in the back of my head. I've gotten better - I can now safely collect daggers (something I've always wanted to do) without fear of using them on myself (I would *never* use my two beautiful daggers to cause myself harm - I made a very serious pact with myself and have found no problems upholding it). My first instinct when I get upset is not to cut (unless I'm *very* upset and then it still is, but it's all work-in-progress). I know you can't understand it - I know you think I'm crazy - I know my scars scare you. But just remember that under these battle scars is another human being who isn't that different from yourself.

It wasn't easy to write all of this down for people to read - especially people whose opinions and thoughts I respect & value as I do each & every one of you who comes here faithfully to read my babble. Thank you for your time - for listening - and for at least trying to understand. I've only ever blogged for me, but you guys make the experience all the more rewarding.

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