Broken streaks and bloodied sheets

I was able to go five weeks without self harming. It would have been 35 days tonight.

35 days of urges. 35 days of urge surfing. 35 days of ignoring the buzz of sharps calling me from afar, from the kitchen, from my desk, from the toolbox.

It would have been 35 days if it weren’t for tonight.

I am still addicted to self harm. I still hurt myself badly – deeply, the kind of deep that goes beyond the first few layers of skin and exposes that white bubbly fatty flesh beneath – and think this isn’t good enough. I hurt myself and the voice in my head, the Ana in my head, she cries you deserve to hurt worse than this. It would have been 35 days tonight, except now my thigh is bleeding through layers of bandage because that voice, that pesky little voice, she said this isn’t enough.

Because no matter how hard I try, I will never be good enough for Ana.

I don’t know what triggered me to break my streak. Once I got to 20 days clean it was easy motivation to stay clean. I reached a month, and was hopeful I had proven to myself I could reach three months clean, which was my next goal. Until today, when a few triggering conversations at work – I’m a pharmacy assistant – sent things crashing down around me:

The pharmacist mentions things as we work. Things I don’t want to know about our customers, even though they’re regulars, even though it’s important I understand their conditions and circumstances. He says, this girl, she stays stick thin despite all that seroquel, and all that lithium. He says, she used to have anorexia, poor darl.

And I want to scream. I want to scream SO DID I. I want to shout it from the rooftops until people start to listen. I want to bear my scars and my soul and these freshly puckered wounds I’ve carved into my flesh and I want to scream look at how I struggle. There is no ‘used to’ about this.

I used to be underweight. I used to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. I used to be bullied. I used to live in a devastatingly invalidating environment.

But there is nothing used to about my eating disorder, about the classic binge purge type of anorexia that enveloped my childhood. There is no ‘used to’, not for me.

Starving myself is a steady state, an algorithm that I cannot perfect the way I used to, but a formula none the less. In must equal out. Hunger is good, fullness is bad. In must equal out. Hunger is good. Hunger is good. Hunger is good.

There’s no train to my thoughts here, only the roaring train I want to leap in front of because I’ve failed. Once again, I’ve failed. And here we are again, nestled beneath blood-stained sheets that seep through to my mattress, with open flesh ready to add to the mess. There is nothing ‘used to’ about my journey.

I used to struggle. And I do struggle. I used to suffer from anorexia, and I still starve myself.

I used to listen to the voice in my head, and I still do. I still listen. Because trying to fight her, trying to win that losing battle, will only cause me more pain than the knives I take to my flesh in desperation. It’s a blood sacrifice; only blood will suffice. Only blood will subdue her. Only the punishment I deserve, the relief to the urges; that’s the only way I can quieten her.

The only thing louder than Ana is the grumble of my empty stomach.

hi! hello! yes, i’m still here!

I’ve just been busily working away at another project, another outlet to channel the relentless onslaught of emotions through. This project is…

A book!

It’s not the first time I’ve attempted to write something of a decent length with the hope of having it published. Oh no, my hard drive is full of unfinished manuscripts, and some finished ones that remain unpublished. They date back to when I was thirteen and desperately seeking an escape from my everyday. This book however, focuses on my everyday; it’s a tale of my mental illness(es).

This book is the reason why I’ve been rather quiet lately, but there’s a more wonderful reason as well: I’ve been feeling okay. I always hesitate to use a positive adjective lest I jinx myself, so I’ll stick to the more neutral ‘okay’. Things haven’t been a wonderful stream of bliss, but they haven’t been the downright awful I’m used to. It’s been almost four weeks since I last self-harmed, which is the longest I’ve gone without cutting since I began doing so three years ago. I’m almost at the end of my one-year stint in DBT, and I’m finally, finally, seeing the lift that people always told me I could expect. The lift to the heaviness that has plagued me so, the lift to the dark thoughts and actions, the lift that has led me to a happier, healthier life.

I’m used to surviving. But I think I’m beginning to approach the more elusive state of living. It comes in fits in starts, in climbing mountains and doing craft. It’s in the brighter art I create, and the fewer swear words I speak. It’s in my rekindled faith, and love for those around me. It’s in forgiveness. It’s in the apologies I finally share with those I’ve hurt, with my mum and dad.

Maybe I’ve also finally reconciled something within myself. Maybe I’ve finally seen what life could be like for me, a life that I lead not despite my mental illnesses, but in conjunction with them. The harmonious union of good and bad stretches before me – and for once, I look forward to it. I look forward to becoming someone who lives, really, truly lives, instead of someone who survives hour by hour, biding their time until they can attempt to take their own life once again. It’s nice. It’s better.

Oh, and that little project of mine? Stay tuned for some sneak peeks, and of course I’ll keep my humble corner of the blogosphere updated on what happens.

Much love my internet friends,

Your VIP of the super sad melodramatic club, and blogger in chief,

rosie bogs.