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.

Justice Seeking

Does it ever achieve anything, really?

Will filing a complaint, spending so much time regurgitating the last few months that I rely on my journal to remember, since I dissociate so much, actually change anything for anyone?

It certainly won’t change what’s happened to me. It certainly won’t change the string of emergency department presentations and immediate discharge that have occurred over the past two months. People say that when you feel suicidal, you go to the hospital.

They never told me the hospital wouldn’t help.

In the past two weeks, I have attempted suicide three times, presented to hospital five times, and been admitted only once. Even after absconding from police schedule, I was discharged a few hours later. Even after being stitched up, and confessing I probably would do it again, and I probably wasn’t safe by myself, I was discharged again. Again and again and again I am seeking help, the most proactive and the most compliant I have ever been, and still that help is denied to me?

Does that shock you? It shocks me, as the person saying they were unsafe. It shocks my friends, as the people who take me to hospital, and as the people concerned when I am discharged repeatedly, and proceed to hurt myself some more, repeatedly.

Something is failing here.

It could be the three letters that emblazon my file, those three unfortunately stigmatised letters: bee pee dee. I wonder, without that diagnosis, would the same thing have occurred. If it was depression, and only depression, driving my suicidal acts, would that change things? Are clinicians really so misunderstanding of Borderlines? Still?

I am not seeking attention. I am seeking help. I am asking for a safe space, when I can’t find one anywhere else. I am asking for a safe place because I make every other place dangerous. Because my head is trying to kill me.

I’m seeking justice not for me, but for the people like me: the person who is discharged proceeds to kill themselves successfully, because they’ve been given another opportunity. There is the very, very real possibility that I could have been that person. Somehow, that just doesn’t seem to stick with those charged with keeping me safe.