A Surge of Urges

The urges rattle my bones as if there were an earthquake beneath my skin. Clenched fists hang at my sides as if the harder I press my fingernails into my palms, the easier it will be to win this fight. The thought consumes me: to cut or not to cut?

That is the only question. There is no alternative that rises in my mind despite the DBT skills that I’m supposed to apply at times like these. What’s the point? What’s one more scar? Or two? Or a smattering?

As usual, the trigger is food. Not the good food that I’m supposed to nourish my body with, my temple of a body, but the naughty, banned, bad foods that Ana forbids me to eat. Sugar coats my lips and fat sings as it touches my tastebuds.

I’m binging. I’ve binged.

I dissociate, and it’s over.

I sit on the floor, slumped, surrounded by crumbs and packaging. I don’t remember buying the bad foods, I avoid doing so for this exact reason, yet here we are anyway. I have failed.

And failure requires punishment.

I can hear the sharps vibrating nearby; they call to me. The stainless steel sings. I try not to listen, but these tools are like sirens and it is inevitable that I give in.

I do.

Red scatters across my skin, warm, but painless. I see beyond the first layer – that pesky epidermis – and I go further. I see the fat below the skin, and my hand lingers. My weapon lingers. Do I dare go a little deeper? It’s not good enough, she whispers. It’s not deep enough. You haven’t done it properly, you’ve just failed at something else. Do it again. 

I try not to listen but before I know it red has been flicked across the carpet and my sheets, and trickles down my thighs and my fingertips. I groan, and rest my head in my hands.

These pesky urges.

They just won’t leave me alone.

Returning from the irreversible

There were many things I have told myself I would never do. I never thought I would let myself gain weight, but I have been physically recovered from anorexia for two years now. I never thought I would self harm, but now I have a body covered in the scars of my self-destruction. I never thought I would call myself a suicide attempt survivor, but now that is part of my story too.

I can’t bear to write this elegantly, but eloquence is in my nature. I never thought it would be an unfortunate trait for a writer, until it comes to a topic like this.

It was both eerily calm and satisfying, but horrific and terrifying. There was numbness. There was defeat, as I stared at the stars and listened to the waves; I always said if I was to die, it would be at the beach. Then there were sirens. And a frantic friend. Rough hands, broad shoulders, deep voices and a gurney. 

White walls, unbearably white walls, and a hard chair to sit in, and wait as the overdose kicked in. I began smashing my head against the wall as if that could smash the thoughts from my brain – unsurprisingly this achieved very little. I shouted and screamed and pushed my friend away – all this earned me was heavy sedation. 

The aftermath though. The relentless questions. As if there was a deeper reason behind my suicide attempt. I told them over and over and over, but still they questioned. They didn’t believe. It’s just like always. People don’t ever believe how much power she holds over my still. 

I told them the truth. I told them that I can’t bear to live in this body anymore, that it disgusts me, and there were too many memories in my head from before, and I wanted all of the bullshit to disappear.

Apparently, that answer isn’t good enough.

She’s creeping in

There.

Just there.

A little more to the left. Shift slightly upwards.

There.

Did you see that?

I can count every rib.

Wait. No, there’s some missing. There’s too many missing.

There. Just. there. A little to the right, a little to the left. The light is in the wrong place now, and I’ve lost them. They no longer exist. If I can’t find them, even if it’s because the light is wrong, then it’s because they don’t exist.

Lately, my ribs have reappeared. I’m surprised, and relieved, and also excited. It fills me with warmth to see some bones again. Looking down at my wrists, I can see that they’re approaching thinness again, but then I look upwards at my arms and they don’t have quite the concave shape I’m after, and neither does my stomach. There’s no space between my thighs, but at least we’ve dropped a size. Step onto the scales, and then off again – because they’re lying – and then back on and back off before I realise it’s not me that’s broken, it’s the scales, so it’s off to buy a better set, a more advanced set, the kind that determines your fat percentage for you. That obsessive tic has returned, the sideways glance in every reflective surface (I’ve gained weight today), the wrap around the wrist to double check it’s the same width, and if not, then that’s the kind of motivation I need to do better. I take out the clothes I’ve kept specifically for this purpose, to measure my progress back towards my goal, and they still don’t fit the way I like. Deep breath, it’s okay, that just means only coffee today. I slump to the floor in a sudden spell of dizziness and glance at the dark circles in the mirror. I shake when I sleep because my body wants me to eat.

I ignore it.

I only indulge in food twice a day if I can resist the temptation, and if it comes to a third, then it will be once the following day. Nothing processed here, only wholefoods, and if it comes from a packet, then only ingredients I know and can pronounce.

And slowly, she gets louder. Good. Look at us go! Look at our progress! You’re doing so well!

And lately, when I make an inevitable mistake – too much cheese, too much yoghurt, one too many bites, there she is again. Stupid fat fucking bitch worthless useless bitch just go kill yourself you deserve it you don’t deserve life you deserve to be punished fat stupid worthless bitch do it just do it just do it useless ugly disgusting piece of shit. 

And I listen. Because I’m a good girl, and I listen to authority, and in these moments, Ana is my authority.

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These are not my only needs

I need to draw to calm my anxiety, but I’m shaking so badly I can’t hold a pencil steady.

I need to stop shaking because it’s freaking people out, but I’m so agitated I can’t stop.

I need to look after myself, but a worthless person places all others’ needs above their own.

I need to stop avoiding sleep, but I don’t want to sleep when sleep just means a brief and peaceful interlude after which I will wake up and have to do this all over again.

I need to starve myself in order to be perfect, but I keep failing because of this thing called “being a human who needs energy to survive”.

I need to exercise more to lose weight, but the weight of existence is exhausting me.

I need to relieve some tension by taking it out on my body, but I’m trying to self harm less.

I need to get out of bed in order to face the day, but I just can’t bring myself to.

I need to focus on the present, but I’m struggling to let go of the past.

Need and can’t and won’t and shouldn’t and couldn’t and would and could and should and wish and want don’t get me anywhere. Those words are a path paved with shallow possibility, that leaves me in a darker place than before I left the dusky shore. Each time I cross from the darkness to a brighter horizon, my standards are reset, until I find myself in the blackest place yet. Why must it come down to self harm, and suicidal gestures, and the extremes of my mental illnesses before I am noticed, before I am heard. Why must there be such a divide between the existence I live, and the one that you see. You think I’m better – I hear you whisper it to the person next to you – and you even congratulate me face to face, but you don’t see the tears soaking into my carpet, as I clench a knife in my fist, desperately trying to resist the overwhelming urge to punish myself, the pain I so desperately deserve, and the release I so desperately desire. You ignore the clenched fists and tense shoulders as if they are normal, and for me, they have become normal. But they are not. Normality is based on a timed spectrum, but a decade of suffering doesn’t make mental illness less real.

I need to get better, but I also need to cling to this pain and anguish and despair, because it’s the only part of me that’s left intact. It’s the only part of me that I know anymore. When I fail to meet all my other needs, there’s no point giving myself a chance if it means being let down again. So here I rest, clinging to the past, worried over a future I may not ever reach, yet trapped in the present thoughts and dark demons patrolling my mind. It doesn’t matter what I need. It doesn’t matter what you think I need. 

It just. doesn’t. matter.

I don’t want things to be different, just worse

I’m struggling at the moment, lately, still, always, of course I am, because what else would I be doing if I wasn’t struggling? The depression is back with a vengeance, anxiety tells me I’m going to die every time I catch public transport, suicidal ideation has been bad, self harm urges have been bad, the binge-restrict-exercise cycle that characterises my bulimia has been very, very bad. I’ve tried to scrape the word FAT into my body on three separate occasions this week, and none have been particularly successful. Of course, this only makes me feel even worse. Of course, this just emphasises that I am a failure. It emphasises that if I was just thinner I might be successful at something, even if that something is self mutilation. What makes it hardest for me is that the body dysmorphia was most intense while I was anorexic and attempting weight restoration, and now it’s not as bad. I was recently struck by the realisation that I don’t know what my body should look like. Anorexia disrupted puberty, it disrupted normal growth patterns, and it probably affected my set weight too. I have no idea what a normal weight is for me, because I went from underweight (six years or so) directly to overweight (when I moved to Sydney in 2017 and bulimia began). So now, when I am really, for the first time, actually, sincerely, fat, I’m really struggling.

(Wow, my syntax is not at all on point this post)

I wish things weren’t this way. I wish I wasn’t so consumed by anhedonia that even studying can no longer bring me joy. I wish I didn’t consider calories in and out every waking moment of every day. I wish I didn’t destroy my progress every night by binging. I wish I wasn’t so overcome by shame and guilt and self-hatred that I had enough energy to stop this awful bulimic cycle from repeating itself. Yet, I still wish things were worse.

I wish I needed stitches. I wish I had the courage to go deeper. I wish I could find something sharper. I wish, for fucks sake, that I could throw up. I wish purging with laxatives and exercise actually caused weight loss. I wish I could scrape memories out of my brain. I wish I could muster the energy to swallow the pills, step onto the road, jump from the building. I wish I could realise in reality all the twisted options that my mind offers in alarming detail. I wish things were worse. Because being depressed but not dead, bulimic but not medically unstable, bipolar but not psychotic, anxious but not obsessive-compulsive makes this harder. In every way.

No amount of wishes will make me feel better. And no amount of hoping is going to cause change. Maybe if I was dead, my wishes would come true. Maybe I’ll light myself some candles and blow them out before I slash my wrists, and maybe that will give me the courage. I keep being told that I’m brave to be going through this. I shouldn’t need to be brave. Bravery is not the job of lost souls. Bravery would be saving me. Bravery would be speaking out against my fresh scars, my comments about death, my shallow breathing and bitterly low mood. Bravery would be holding me as I cry, taking away the sharp things, calling an ambulance and explaining the situation. Bravery would be realising, that the very idea that I want things to be worse, is a sign I am desperately reaching out for you. Whoever you happen to be.

In summary: I don’t want things to be different – because the entire idea of chronic mental illness is that it doesn’t go away. The entire point of my super sad melodramatic story is that mental illness is part of me and my life, past and present and, undeniably, future too. I want things to be bad enough that reaching out is finally easier.

Step Into The Waves, Not To Come Back Out

I say that things are rough a lot, but things are rough at the moment. Not in the usual way either. Things are rough in a new way and I don’t like it. The urge to self-harm has become a desire to hurt myself, driven by a sense of failure and need for punishment. The suicidal thoughts have gone from passive to active and the recklessness is building; I walk as near to the road as possible, I cycle and run at night, I cut deeper and in new and different places to see where it’s easiest to cause the most damage. I think about taking a handful of pills. A bottle of alcohol. A jump into the ocean. I would love to die in the ocean. I grew up beside the beach, and the ocean is my true home. If I were to commit suicide, I would do it there.

I want sand between my toes, or maybe I’ll press my naked body into the damp instead. I’ll lay in the darkness under the stars, the beach will be deserted and I will consider all the reasons to go. All the mistakes. The burden. The despair and pain and memories. The pain that is yet to come. The pain it would take to heal if I were to get past this. I want waves to tickle my fingertips and caress my hair, I want the sea breeze to stroke my neck. I’ll take a sip of something toxic, something tasteful, because if I’m going to drink, I better make it worth it, and I’ll get drunk. I’ll slip beneath the waves. I’ll dive down deep, and I’ll stay there.

I won’t come back out.

I’ve come so close this past week. More than once.

I keep telling the people who ask that I don’t have a plan, but reading over that, it seems like maybe I do. I do have a plan. I do want to die. If I was offered an out, then I would take it. And if God doesn’t forgive me for that, and suicide is the sin that exempts me from Heaven, despite sending his Son and our salvation, then that’s okay. Maybe Sheol is where I belong. I always thought it was a strange word anyway – it reminded me of the beach. Sheol. Shoal. Shell. Sea.

I belong in the sea. What would be better I wonder, to OD on the sand, or drunk-dive into the depths? Which would be fatal?

Fuck. When I swear, it’s a sign that I am unable to express my true feelings. Swearing is just another coping mechanism, designed more to hurt those around me than myself. To keep people at a distance. I’m fucked, I say, utterly fucked.

Things are not going well. I wish I still lived close enough to the beach that I could jump out my window or the back door and run barefoot along the bitumen to the sand dunes, and slide down to the tide-line. It would make this so much easier. I wish I didn’t waste the opportunity of living so close to nature and not seizing it more, because I spent a lot of my childhood anorexic, and the ocean made me hypothermic.

I wish I were dead. I wish I was strong enough to die. I wish for so many things. I wish anorexia had killed me. I wish I could throw up, because even I know that laxatives and exercise aren’t ‘real’ forms of purging. I wish I had the courage to drink and get drunk. The courage to swallow. To OD. To step into the waves, and to not come back out.

Waves

Think of what it feel like to drown: the water covering your head, entering your throat and nose, trickling into every possible entrance, smothering, choking, burning. Imagine the panic that bubbles beneath the surface, the terror that streams from your stomach to your chest and up out of your soul through tensed shoulders and a gasp. Imagine the sensation.

Now imagine drowning in thoughts and distress.

Imagine that every torrent of thoughts is a wave that threatens to drown you. That your mind whispers to you over and over and over to just do it, just do it, just do it you useless bitch. As if it wasn’t enough that you were drowning already, your body – which is desperately refusing to sink – now has to fight against your mind – which is desperate to do the opposite.

Just do it. Just swallow a handful. Just get a knife. Just close your eyes. Just walk into the ocean, never to walk back out.

Imagine that this is something you fight daily. Every moment is part of the flood. Every second, you are torn between drowning and death and life, stuck in a limbo where there’s only faltering hope and misguided dreams and darkness to light the path. You’re reminded of every failure, every mistake, every anxiety that has ever concerned you comes streaming back into your mind, to match the tears streaming down your face. These memories pummel you. Over and over and over. See, they scream, see why you deserve this. Just do it.

But still, instead of listening, instead of drowning, you let yourself hang. Struggle. Thrash between the current. There’s light at the surface, and there’s darkness down below you, but here you drown in between. There’s an escape, and it would be so easy, it’s so close, it’s within reach, just a swallow, just a slash, just a step away. But still you struggle. You let yourself drown, without dying, without returning to the surface. Perpetually drowning.

This is what it’s like to be suicidal.

This is what it’s like in my mind tonight.

My Depression Has No Metaphor

I was trying to think of a metaphor I could use to describe depression. There’s an obvious problem, with it being utterly indescribable. All this bullshit about clouds that rain only over you, and darkness that doesn’t recede, isn’t really wrong, but it doesn’t fully capture the essence of depression. Which, just to eliminate the impression that I am some uptight teenager writing about her angst and disguising it as a mental illness because it is the current “trend” (which is fucked, in my professional opinion) is an illness I have lived with for a long time.

Depression is not just sadness. And if you still think that then you need to return to the 18th century and tell that to some psychopathic psychiatrist who will proceed to admit you to a shitty asylum where you can rot away so I never have to hear your opinion again. Institutions aren’t fun, but they’ve certainly improved since then, so all the best with that.

My depression is chronic. It has been that way since I was twelve. This means I can never truly escape it, even if it lifts momentarily and I can think again, and maybe get some high distinctions at uni, maybe even start to draw again. These are signs my depression has lifted, but not that it has dissipated. Because in my experience of depression, once you feel it so deeply and strongly, it never really leaves.

Depression is not sadness. It’s emptiness. It’s self-hatred and loathing and deprecation. It’s a physical heaviness that consumes every limb. It’s constant exhaustion and fog and an inability to think. It’s constantly wanting to hide, run, die, and sleep. It’s avoiding conversation and social events because of the lies and possibilities your mind constructs. It’s trying to do things that would ordinarily make you feel better but you’re so overcome by anhedonia that nothing works. It’s an inability to laugh at jokes, and smile at strangers. Or being so unbearably exhausted and unmotivated that you simply don’t have the energy to try anything that you just know would help. It’s sleeping into the late morning, or all day, to relieve some pain, but staying up late because the thoughts are so, so loud. It’s glancing at pills beside your bed, pills that are supposed to help you, but you wish would lead to your demise. It’s questioning every moment you have where you could have made things better – the shoulds, coulds, and woulds. Worse, the should nots, did nots and have nots. It’s endless lists which are perpetually added to but nothing is ever crossed off of because there is simply no energy to assign to menial tasks like cleaning a fucking toilet. It’s hurting yourself, over and over and over, to relieve some mental and emotional pain or to feel something beyond undeniable numbness – and yes, that is a contradiction. Yes, self-harm has multiple functions. Surprise! Depression also kicks my sarcasm up a few notches when real conversation is out of reach, but I actually kind of like that. And if you can’t hurt yourself, it’s hurting everybody around you instead. Let them feel your pain. Feel it, see it, deal with it. Depression makes you careless and hopeless and worthless; just less than everyone else.

It’s feeling like you constantly need punished, and despite telling yourself over and over and over that you deserve nice things, and peace, and love, and to participate in the bullshit upper-class propagandist version of self care that is too out of reach for you at the present. Self-care for me is normally brushing my teeth twice in one day. Eating real food and not just coffee. A two minute meditation. My depression is real, and no, I do not have enough energy or mental strength to get a massage. It takes all my energy to drag myself to university, and as a high achiever, my grades have never really suffered from mental health but I constantly think about how much better I could be doing, if I just did better. 

It’s taken things from me – opportunities to build on my intelligence when it feels my intelligence is hijacked, and also socialising, repairing relationships, doing things for enjoyment. Finding a purpose. I am lost, and I am empty, but I am not sad. I am chronically depressed, and it has not gotten any easier. I still want to die, I still hurt myself, I still struggle to lift myself out of an unknown darkness that hits at any time, even when I’m at my happiest. I regret every single thing I have and haven’t done because of the lies and traps and beliefs constructed by my mind. I regret every moment with friends I missed, because I was so sullen nobody wanted to spend time with me. I regret every relationship I shattered with bitter words, and how I refused to repair them because I thought I was better off alone. Because nobody will ever love me, or trust me, and I will never be able to love or trust in return.

That’s a true picture of depression. It’s not about sadness. It’s deeper than that. It’s not even an emotion – it’s a sensation, mental and physical and heartbreaking.

Suicide Doesn’t Seem Selfish To Me

People say that suicide is selfish. And sure, they’re right – it is selfish to leave behind bereft family and friends who you cannot support, who will never know your last words and last thoughts, and constantly question if they could have helped, if they could have done more.

Keeping me alive is also selfish. It’s selfish that people expect me to stay here, in my pain and darkness, when there’s a way out, if only I had enough strength to take it. I know that’s my depression talking, that that thought is disordered, and that it requires far more strength and courage to struggle through the pain, to wake up everyday and pretend that my mind isn’t an ocean of turmoil, to go to work and uni and to study and to prep lessons for my students, and then going to sleep when all sleep means to me is waking up and doing it all again tomorrow. Waking up to darkness, even when sun streams through my open windows, waking up to blackness in my soul, no matter how many compliments I receive.

Is it selfish to relieve people of the burden I am in their lives? To stop their worries and concerns, so that they can carry on with their lives without me, a dark leper, clinging to their support and validation?

Depression is waking up to darkness, even when sun streams through my open windows, waking up to blackness in my soul.

I don’t know if you know this, but it takes so much mental energy to resist compulsions to hurt myself, or to go one step further and end my life. These thoughts are intrusive, unwelcome, and constant. It’s mentally exhausting. I’m broken. Unworthy. I deserve to be punished. I can’t be fixed.

The worst part about staying alive is the memories. Yes, I have good memories. In fact, I’ve seen and done some incredible things. Supervised trainee crew members on a sailing ship I volunteer for, as the only Cook’s Mate also known to love climbing; conquered mountains in Nepal, Borneo, and across Western Australia; acted in a youth theatre for twelve years; been on hiking and camping adventures all over Australia, slipped while scaling rock faces and fallen into secluded waterfalls, fed wild kangaroos and watched sunsets in incredible and unknown corners of my home state; own a brain that allows me to see incredible patterns and perform incredible calculations, when it’s not being hijacked by mental illness. And I am fortunate enough to have parents and friends that love me despite the darkness, and do their best to support me.

These are just a few of the things that keep me alive. I know all these things.

But I also know anorexia. Bulimia. Trauma. Self harm. Emotional abuse. Hostile environments. Invalidation. Exclusion. Hospitalisation. Isolation. These memories are harder to accept, and despite my best efforts, difficult to suppress. They come up when I least expect it, they cause me to question situations even when I’m feeling fine. Firstly they will trigger anxiety, and the tapping, then resentment, depression, hostility and bitterness. Finally, the suicidal thoughts intrude. All in the space of an hour, even if I’m surrounded by friends.

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I’m fully aware that suicide is an act which seems selfish to those who have never experienced the turmoil that chronic depression generates, or enticed by the escape death would provide. To me though, I’d be committing a selfless act, releasing everybody of the burden that is my existence, and doing people and the world a favour.

There’s light somewhere. And it will chase away the darkness. I just haven’t found it yet.

STILL not sick enough

been in and out of hospital more in the past month than i have in the rest of my life. my doctor and psych decided together that an extended admission was inappropriate for me at this time. when will it be appropriate? when i’m dead? the borderline rage is building and its going to bubble over soon and then i will start hurting myself out of spite to make them see, to force them to see, that i am not okay.

my anatomy exam is tomorrow. i care about that, so i’m going to sit that, and then i’m going to kms.

i have 24 hours to come up with a plan. but it has to be something that will work. stab stab stab, fall fall fall? but i can’t do it at home, because then my housemate will find me. so back to the beach? i dont know. i dont know what to do anymore.

i hate being alive. i hate existing in this space. i take up so much space, too much space.

i can’t do this anymore.

Three Storeys

This is going to be a messy post. I’m struggling tonight. So I’m trying to cope with words. Trying to vent out the pain.

i’m giving up on capitals, and most of the required punctuation too – who needs capital letters anyway? not me.

i have been in and out of hospital more in the past three weeks than i have in the other twenty years of my life. in and out of the ambulance. in and out of the arms of paramedics. in and out of restraints and the comatose state of sedation that i find myself in, as i crawl across the floor searching for knives and bang my body into the ground repeatedly, as if that will stop them grabbing me.

why does it always end up like this. why am i always seeking death when i should be celebrating my twenties, celebrating life, enjoying my studies and my friendships and all the dumb shit that twenty year olds do, like party and drink and act recklessly.

all i want to do is jump off my balcony. but i dont think it’s high enough to cause serious damage. it would probably just hurt. three floors to fall doesn’t seem like enough.

fuck. i am one useless, worthless, hopeless piece of shit. i’m pathetic. i can’t even kill myself properly. not with codeine, not with alcohol – not with the poisons that are supposed to do the job. and why do people keep insisting on saving me. I DONT WANT TO BE SAVED/

I NEED A PERMANENT SOLUTION.

if i had a gun, i would have been dead years ago. what can i use that will be more permanent? swing off my ceiling fan? stab myself repeatedly? slice an artery? drink ethanol? or turps? or methylated spirits? or down a bottle of bleach? i have the sickest fantasies – of being so non-compliant that i find myself restrained face down for just a little too long, just long enough for my body to stop working. or of walking into the traffic of the busy highway in the dark, and being crushed beneath the wheels. or maybe i need to jump from the top of the wall at the rock climbing centre, head first so i compress my spine, except the mats might save me, and we wouldn’t want that (i don’t deserve saving)

what. will. work.

you expected something pleasant and hopeful didn’t you? you came to this blog expecting my usual eloquence, the normal banter. well no. fuck that rosie. tonight’s rosie wants to die. tonight’s rosie sees death as her only option and she is so ready to be dragged away in a body bag.

poison, knife, balcony. the trifecta. drink drink drink. stab stab stab. and then fall, down down down all three storeys. cross my fingers and hope for the best.

but i’m a useless piece of shit, so all i’ll be left with is a dissociative mess to clean up. i’m all words, no action, so no wonder nobody ever takes me seriously. just kill me. ffs, just fucking kill me.

suicide glow up

Turns out I look my most radiant after two suicide attempts in two weeks.

Whoops.

My existential crises continue to pile on top of one another and still, still, my eating disorder is somehow not a valid thing to kill myself over?

What about when I sob into the carpet over the calories in the two carrots I ate today? What about when I force the hunger out of my body with more and more exercise, until I am beyond empty, and so tired that I stop feeling it? What about the low blood pressure that gets ruled off as inconsequential, and the sudden arrhythmias that strike at my most stressed, but don’t dissipate for days? What about the scars on my body, traversing my forearms and thighs and calves, scars that say I deserve to be punished. I must do better? What about when I would literally rather die than exist?

I can’t exist in this body. I can’t exist in this fleshy form that takes up too much space. I can’t exist alongside Ana anymore – I’ve given up fighting. I tried drowning her out with cough syrup (much, much more cough syrup) and a shit ton of alcohol and the best thing to come out of it is that it made me throw up a lot. Which is nice as a bulimic with an intolerable gag reflex ordinarily unable to purge.

(Yes, I’m still bulimic. No, I do not vomit. Yes, there is more than one way to have an eating disorder. No, I will not be taking questions… but, yes, I have written about that elsewhere on the blog.)

I’m so done with this. I don’t want to be here anymore. My exams in anatomy and neurophysiology (two subjects I adore) are next week and I feel about as prepared as a teabag thrown in cold water still expected to brew a strong cuppa. Not much, in other words.

I’m so done with being eloquent. I’m saving it for my book. Which, UPDATE, I have completed the first draft of and sent off to a bunch of niche Australian publishers in the hope someone picks it up. Would anyone appreciate a sneak peek?

Whatever, I’m out of words. Seeya never.

Detained.

I don’t recommend drinking cough syrup with suicidal intent. Not because it tastes bad, but because respiratory depression is a rarer side effect than they make out.

Things have been hard again lately. For the first time maybe ever, I thought I might actually been happy – that’s why the blog posts dropped off for a bit there: things were going quite well for me.

But then Ana got loud again. So loud in fact, that I was coerced into suicide attempt number three, which I (obviously) survived. The trigger? I ate some chips, and I’m not allowed to do that, so I had to be punished for breaking the rules, and Ana decided that enough is enough, fat stupid bitch, time to be punished for good. So off we went to the pharmacy, a lie slipping slyly from my lips that my housemate had requested I buy her cough syrup containing a codeine-derivative for her persistent dry cough which she has had for many weeks. Lol, no. I downed it all along with a few beers.

I found myself in the emergency department once again. This time, my therapist had called, and sensing something was off, told me I could either walk the short distance from my university campus to the local hospital, or the police could find me and drag me there. I choose the former: I will never forget the utter violation of being restrained. The chorus I repeated over and over fell on ears that refused to listen: I’d like to leave please. (While Ana whispers, yes, so we can try again, and better. Let’s go home to do it again, and better, because you deserve to be dead). Suffice to say, they were practically the only five words I uttered to the emergency psychiatric team who first interviewed me. Apparently, that was enough for me to be scheduled for admission, and detained involuntarily.

What a fucking mess I’ve made.

Considering my determination to self-harm in this small emergency psychiatric unit, I’m surprised I wasn’t sent somewhere worse, or at the very least subject to seclusion briefly. Three times I reopened recently sutured self-harm wounds with a plastic knife. Countless times I threw my body against the wall, in an attempt to relieve some of the pain generated by the thoughts in my head. I wanted to turn my head into a watermelon – the smashed kind, where grey and white matter dribbled down the sterile walls like the fruit dropped on the floor.

I’ve been released now – not discharged, released. I don’t know what I’m supposed to think or feel or do. Am I supposed to be sad? Or is it the opposite – am I meant to be glad that I woke to face another day?

This admission, I learned that when involuntarily detained, the doctor still retains the right to speak to my parents, even though I always always specifically nominate they be excluded from my care. After all, they do live on the opposite side of the country. And, after all, BPD doesn’t exist to them. I guess them finding out I still struggle is a good enough reason to stay out of hospital from now on – or at least, if there is a next time, which there no doubt will be, I need to lie my way to a voluntary admission.

I’m clutching on tight to my laptop, a good book, and two journals as I attempt to return to my mockery of a life. Three weeks until exams. Three weeks until I can try again.

Yer a poet, Rosie!

I’m a what?

Rosie, you are a poet.

I’m a what!?

A poet, Rosie.

I’m a poet!

Yes, Rosie, you are a poet.

Me, a poet? But I’m just Rosie!

Well, “just Rosie”, you, are a poet.

No, I’m just Rosie!

Listen here Rosie, yer gonna get yerself a fountain pen, yer gonna go in a magazine, and yer gonna write poems and shit!

BuT i’M jUsT rOsIe

Hopefully, you too have been blessed with this wonderful video and understand my cute little parody of it. But, even better than being cute and hilarious – it’s my dream come true.

I have had some poems accepted by a literary magazine, to be published in September!

On top of that, I also scored the job I have wanted for a very long time as a science entertainer.

AND ALSO I have found a home amongst some spoken word poets who made once a month to share what they’re currently working on.

So apparently good things can happen to me?

There’s that little voice in my head that’s waiting for the slump, because after the rise, I always seem to crash harder than before. For now, I’m lapping it up. And hopefully this happiness will hang around. Until the next suspicious look someone casts me, or the tone of voice I misunderstand, and I fall into the abyss sideways of the emotional rollercoaster.

Declined

M, yeah, not much I can do with this, sorry.

Aren’t discriminatory doctors the absolute worst?

They see me as three letters, as my abbreviation; they see me as the negative adjectives in my notes, in the words “aggressive” and “sedated” and “self-inflicted”.

They don’t see me for what I am: hurting, and in need of help.

This is not true of all doctors, but sadly, it is very true to some. I had a rough night yesterday (Thursday). I contemplated whether or not I needed to go to hospital for my cuts, because I didn’t want to wait and wait and wait only to be turned away and told there was nothing the doctor could do about them. I spoke to a friend who is studying medicine. I spoke to a friend’s mum who is a doctor. I used my own very limited knowledge of wound care and The Internet to figure out that yeah, it was pretty deep, and yeah, it probably wouldn’t heal nicely without stitches.

That’ll heal on it’s own.

Look, I get that I put these wounds on my body, I get that I did this to myself, but do you think I like the scars? Do you honestly believe that in one, two, five or ten years, that ragged wound that you left hanging open will have healed nicely?

I don’t think so.

I think that you’ve been caught in stigma without even realising. I think I’ve been unlucky this night. I think you, the doctor delegated to me, doesn’t understand my condition very well – if at all – and I think your punishing me for punishing myself. You just poked and prodded me, turned my wrist over, checked both arms just in case, then dropped it back at my side. You didn’t even clean it. You didn’t even dress it. You just sent me away again.

This is one of the reasons, the strongest reason, why I wanted to study medicine. Because what happened to me in the emergency department is not okay. It is not okay to treat me as a diagnosis, and not as a patient. It is not okay to fail to offer me adequate care just because my wounds are self-inflicted.

I don’t care what you say; what you did was not okay.

And every time a doctor like you succumbs to the stigma, it makes going to the hospital that much harder. It makes seeking help that much harder. It makes the lives of people like me, of us borderlines, but also of everybody else suffering from a mental illness who needs medical attention, that much harder.

We don’t need that. We don’t need to be rejected more than we have been by our friends, family and colleagues. We don’t need our traumas regurgitated by your invalidation and stigmatisation. We don’t need to be afraid of going to hospital, when the hospital is supposed to be there to care for us, no matter what condition has brought us there. We don’t need any more difficulties piled on top of all the other ones we face, every single fucking day. We don’t need you.

We need your compassion. Your care. Your empathy.

We need to be treated like people, not like letters. We need to be treated like any other patient. And maybe if you got talking to me, like other doctors and nurses sometimes have, then maybe, just maybe, you’ll see we aren’t the Big Bad Borderlines you’ve let yourself believe we are.

She’s a deep one

In one of the many stories I have written, I describe how a character stitches her own foot close, and the black thread that wobbles across her heel like a tree branch, because she couldn’t stop her hands from shaking as she sewed herself back together again. It’s a chilling detail, but recently I imagined myself doing this. Would it hurt? Would alcohol help? Would it be like in a movie, where the person who stitches themselves back together again are hardcore and had a lot of practice at such a task?

It’s Thursday night as I write, but forty-eight hours ago, I cut. And badly. I went all out. Fat bubbled up from under the skin immediately, and I knew, I just knew, that I’d gone too deep. I poked at it a bit, tried to squish it together with some steri-strips and tape and it popped right back open, more globules of yellow gelatinous tissue spilling from the edges of the wounds. The bleeding was slowing, but nowhere near stopped.

Bugger.

I considered stitching it closed myself, with a needle and thread and no anaesthetic and some vodka to control the shaking.

I was seriously considering it. I don’t do well in emergency departments. The noise – sirens, shouts, moans, alarms – is too much for my hypersensitive soul, and time always dissolves away into a vacuum of dissociation as dark thoughts are compounded by a long wait. I looked at my sewing kit. I looked in the pantry, top shelf, for alcohol – nothing. I looked at the sewing kit again, sighed, and didn’t do it. I exhausted my list of friends to call who could drive me. Eventually one answered. [I probably could have driven myself, but that would have been dangerous, considering I drive manual (aka stick shift) and need both hands.]

It always rains when I go to the emergency department.

Breaths bubbled in my chest, caught between my ribs, as doctors and nurses pass who’ve previously had their hands on me. And then it is my time, and apart from my anaesthetised arm, the rest of my body trembles with anxiety, as the doctor speaks in soothing tones to keep me calm. As always with stitches and blood tests and the like, I watch. I see that crooked branch of black thread form, fascinated by the process. It twists and turns but I’m grateful for their neatness and their smallness. Finally, she pauses between sutures, and asks,

do you want to talk about it?

I say no, but I mean yes, and then the words are bubbling out and she listens intently even as she continues to wipe blood away and jabs more anaesthetic in me (ouch) and then more adrenaline to stop the bleeding and then pulls and pokes and prods with more stitches. I can’t help it. I’m so emotionally exhausted that I lose all control over my feelings. I’m at peak anxiety levels, but this doctor still tries to soothe me. I’m a helpless mess, but this doctor is helping me. I’m a waste of time here, but this doctor took the time to fix me.

She pauses again, and inspects her work,

that shouldn’t scar too badly.

I smile, and weakly remind her of the other scars that traverse the rest of my body, the ones that were never stitched, the ugly, jagged, raised scars – some pink, some white, some grey. A compulsive burst of laughter bubbles out of me, and then tears fall. One after the other. Drops collect on the white sheets beneath me as I fall silent. Not all doctors have treated me with such kindness, not with a notes list full of scary terms like “BPD” and “verbally aggressive” and “sedated” and “self harm”.

Are you certain? she asks. I’m happy to listen.

My heart blooms but my head shakes despite her generosity, and off I go, all stitched up, into the cold, wet night.