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.

bright girl, dull future

i used to be the girl who everybody talked about owning the world. the one who would be the boss of all her bullies one day. the girl who could be anything she wanted, with all the opportunities life could afford her. she could be a doctor, a vet, a physiotherapist, a surgeon, an astrophysicist, a chemist, a writer, an actress, a make-up artist, a painter… anything.

the world was my oyster, but the pearl never formed.

i think maybe, that the constant, relentless weight of expectation contributes more to my mental health than people may perhaps realise. it’s the sense of relief from receiving a high distinction, before realising that people will only ever focus on the 3% of mistakes, not the 97% of knowledge. i love learning. i love studying. i kinda even love exams, in a very nerdy way. but i despise the comparative competition.

it hurts.

for the 97% of my life to be ignored, and the 3% ostracised over and over again.

lately, i’ve given up on things. i still study, because who would i be if i wasn’t studying, but i no longer give a fuck about that 3%. it could be 50% for all i care. because i can be fucking anything. the world is my oyster and if it hasn’t formed yet then i will damn well force it to solidify.

i can sense the disappointment in the air. as if the bright girl has discarded her future for writing poetry, and body art, and self harm.

they think my future is dull but i don’t care. i have seen and done things in my short twenty years that most people will never experience in a lifetime (thankfully). i have been ridiculed, i have been restrained, and hospitalised against my will, and attempted suicide ten times, and am having a relapse with my casual love of self harm. and i’m trying to convince everyone that i’m struggling.

but all they see is the dull future. they refuse to see the bright girl down there. they would rather be disappointed than intervene. i have survived, and i am surviving, and i am slowly learning how to live and if that doesn’t make my future seem fucking bright then i don’t know if anything will.


This was supposed to be a city

synonymous with starting over.

Somewhere to reinvent myself

with ink and piercings and an undercut,

with the kinds of things a bright girl

would use to dull her future.

Not only did I remake myself,

I redesigned my body,

ploughing furrows over

the fertile flesh of thighs,

burning crop circles

into flammable forearms

and transforming wrists

into rivers and rivulets

running scarlet.

This was supposed to be a city

of embrace, of exploring

the beautiful brutality of being.

Somewhere to learn

that worth is not earned

with grades and blades

and perfection hunting,

with the kinds of things a bright girl

like me relies on to build her future.

Cuffed, battered, and bruised.

As with the other times I have been forcibly restrained, being handcuffed and held down by four (five? six?) police officers against my will was not a pleasant experience.

My hair is (still) full of leaves. My mind is full of trauma. Not only is my body a patchwork of pink and silver scars, but now purple and green and brown patches mar its surface too. There are rings on my wrists from fighting against handcuffs, before they were replaced with softer restraints in the ambulance. My eye is black from punching myself repeatedly in the face before the police held my arms by my sides. My elbows, sides and thighs all ache from attempts to wriggle free. My throat is hoarse from screaming at them to stop, to let go, to just let me die.

They didn’t let up, not until I was “more compliant” after being sedated.

On a somewhat lighter note, the police thought I was very strong, which apparently I was supposed to take as a compliment even while their palms pushed at my body and hands held down my head. I could hear them joking about it. It didn’t feel good to be laughed at, laughed about, while my rights were violated at the same time.

The next thing I remember is waking up on Monday morning, hungover, and drowsy from the remnants of sedative coursing through my circulation. I remember ambulance officers, but I don’t remember getting in the ambulance. I remember being restrained, but I don’t remember those restraints being taken off. I remember talking to the mental health team, but not what I said.

What I do remember, very clearly, is the anguish of being restrained once again.

Just another traumatic chapter added to my life story.

Scars, sisters, and scarred sisterhood

I have a sister. Although I don’t mind revealing my identity, I want to keep hers private, so let’s call her K.

K and I were never close. K and I never talked. But recently, K got engaged, and then her fiance’s dad passed away.

And, suddenly, I was receiving middle of the night texts when she couldn’t sleep, asking if I was up and wanted to talk.

For the first time ever.

Since she was having a tough time, I welcomed her into my life for a day. We hung out. It was nice. She has never been to Sydney, so in typical tourist fashion, I took her to The City, for some classic selfies with the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. I think she enjoyed it, but honestly it’s hard to tell. I always thought I was the closed off one, but maybe I retreated so far within myself I never noticed the similarities between K and I.

I haven’t seen her for nearly two years. And in that time, as regular readers will know, my mental health hasn’t exactly been great. I have been self-harming since I was fifteen or sixteen, but until this year, I never self-harmed on my wrists. So K was pretty confronted today, when she saw my scars.

Some of what she said upset me, and I could tell she was upset, as she asked me why with tears in her eyes. So I told her: I hate myself, and I hate being alive a lot of the time, and I deserve to be punished for making mistakes and taking up too much space.

Those aren’t real reasons, she said.

That hurt. (It also made me want to cut… which I know is the opposite of what K would have wanted, but it just hurt so much, and I needed to make that pain apparent. I didn’t though. I binged instead. Which will probably lead into some self harm later anyway, but then at least K isn’t directly responsible.)

But I suppose, seeing your younger sister for the first time in a long time, with her mental health finally visible for all too see, would have hurt too.

Like my flesh, I suppose our sisterhood is scarred in some ways. I know we didn’t get along well when we both lived at home, and I know I was often provocative. But I also know that I felt entirely inadequate next to her. I also know that sometimes, the things she said made it seem as though she knew my struggles and was just another person bullying me about it.

A sister, scarred, and a scarred sisterhood. Hand in hand, I hope we can heal each other.

Pulsating

Like the rest of the hospital, it’s unlikely that you, dear reader of this especially cherished corner of the blogosphere, will believe that I cut an artery accidentally. But it truly was an accident.

I bought better blades. Sharper blades. The best blades I have ever had – much better than the scissors I was unnecessarily attached to (probably destroyed by the police anyway after they confiscated them from me on a midnight manic suicidal run through a random suburb). These blades are sharp. They are so sharp they glisten in the light. When I drag them across my flesh, it’s so easy to draw hurt. It’s so easy to make a mess of my Frankenstein flesh. The beads of blood burst readily from beneath my skin.

Which makes these blades especially dangerous when I am particularly angry.

Dragging a sharply honed blade across your flesh with the same amount of force you once applied to do damage with blunted scissors will lead only to disaster.

To another night in the emergency department.

To another night questioned ceaselessly by the mental health team (who know me a little too well at this point).

And, to another night of self-harming, but this one with a terrible difference: there was so. much. blood. It poured from my arm. It made a mess of my carpet. It drowned the bathroom tiles with scarlet sludge.

It was scary, to have such a bad consequence to my self harm when (for once) I wasn’t intent on having consequences. I wasn’t wanting to go deep like at other times where I have need stitched up. I hadn’t decided, when I touched the blade to my skin, that I would slice an artery. But I did it. And, honestly, it was scary and exhilarating.

Self harm and I are having a moment; a relapse, if you will. It calls to me like a long-lost friend. I forgotten how much I loved it, and the emotional care it offered me in return.

But it’s okay. I have the best blades to keep me company, and a wealth of anatomy knowledge at my disposal with which to successfully avoid cutting anything crucial.

High Lethality

I think I was a cat in a past life. As of Monday, I survived my eighth suicide attempt. I only have one life left then, I suppose.

One of my obsessive anxious behaviours is that I cannot stand people knowing things about me that I don’t know myself, so I always, always, read my discharge summaries, referrals, notes… you get the idea. Which is how I found out that my liver is on the verge of death, after taking a high lethality overdose.

Still wasn’t lethal though, was it?

Still useless at killing myself, aren’t I?

Still worthless, failing at even the simplest tasks – like killing myself.

Things aren’t even bad right now. Mood is okay. Life is stable. Uni is great.

Thoughts are loud.

I’ve been working a lot on my poetry lately, and my book, so I haven’t really been writing much here. I’m still chugging along, desperately clinging to the bits of life I actually enjoy and self-destructively destroying everything else that doesn’t serve me well.

That’s the best I can do right now.

Me, Myself, and Ana – A Poem

Terrified of breathing, in case of collapse.

Terrified of existing, in case of relapse.

Fearing the voice clawing this brain,

but craving hunger to flood these veins.

Desperate for relief, for a bite or two,

all this hard work I’ll eventually rue.

Still she screams, oh, how she screams,

this parasitic illness destroying my dreams.

Seeking a way out of one’s own mind,

is successful, sure, but leaves memories behind.

A black pit of time marks the sickest years,

leaving a dissociative gap from a time full of fear.

How impossible it is to escape oneself,

envious of the lives mine might have paralleled.

Instead I exist in an ocean of darkness,

a voice for company tainted by harshness.

There’s no light for me here:

just myself,

and Ana,

and the bones we hold dear.