There’s this thing about being me. It’s that I live on an emotional rollercoaster. I don’t know if a particular mental illness is at fault (BPD, I’m looking at you) or a combination of the whole fun package. I can feel fine. I can feel more than fine, in fact. I can be smiling, smirking, laughing, making witty jokes instead of simple sarcastic jabs. I can be engaged with conversation, excited, energetic.
And then, I am not.
I am suddenly not fine. I’m depressed, numb, anxious, can’t breathe, can’t think, can’t talk. I’m dissociating, withdrawing, isolating, urge surfing. I want to binge, I want to restrict, I want to cut, I want to run, I want to hide, I want to disappear, I want to die. I’m planning my death all over again. Who will find me, where will it be, how will I do it, on what day, what with, will I call someone first, who will I leave letters for, who will I ignore until I’m gone. Will I be punishing them, or myself? Am I relieving them of a burden or creating more trouble for them to tackle? This occurs in the space of a few hours, but its effects last so much longer.
The thoughts are hard to shift. They appear for no reason. Entirely out of the blue. Like I said, smiling, smirking… suicidal. With such a rapid intrusion, you would expect them to be fleeting, but instead they linger.
It’s a constant undercurrent to every conversation, the low, growling tone of voice I use when I’m avoiding things, and people, and memories, and emotions. The sarcasm that belies my true feelings, a mask I wear to hide my pain. It’s visible in my scars, the physical pain I cause myself when I’m not strong enough to just do it. Visible in my appearance, when I hide behind my clothes. In my eyes, which remain unfocused while I’m in a constant dissociative state. I have given up on trying to hide my pain, my desire to die. It’s visible all over my body, from the loud scars to the silent internal wounds I nurture deep down, wounds that are wrenched open by the smallest of ‘triggers’ – a raised voice, an offhand comment that I need to smile more, or that I look slimmer or bigger or neither. I am used to being the bitter friend, because I feel undeserving of other’s care and compassion, and turn the hatred I am meant to express towards friends who have ‘betrayed’ me inwards to myself, because I’m the one who deserves to hurt, not them.
Most recently, suicidal thoughts appeared because I lost two tutoring students, and another fell sick, and I blamed myself. Something went wrong, so it was my fault. Something bad happened, so I’m a failure. Something fell outside of my control, so I deserve to be punished. What a petty thing to hurt myself over. And once I hurt myself, then I will realise what a burden I am to everyone who knows me, especially those close to me, especially those trying to treat me, or who are recovering alongside me, and that’s when everything gets worse. That’s when I grow suicidal.
This is an endless rollercoaster; just as I think I’m coming to a stop, I realise it’s just the peak of another hill. Just as life begins to glide slowly upwards, it halts, and plummets yet again. Shifting between living and planning to die, binging and starvation, busyness and isolation. I’m a chameleon of more than emotions, a chameleon of behaviours, of illnesses. My past intertwines at pit stops of failure, relapse and trauma. These are momentary breaks that I incorrectly perceive as blessings, before my world crumbles yet again.
This rollercoaster has no breaks. It has no brakes. No relief. It has no tickets for others to get on board to hold my hand and struggle together, it has no stops where I can step off to breathe. I am screaming, I am struggling, I want out.