Untitled … like me!

I don’t write here very often anymore. I used to write on here a lot. Sometimes it was daily, sometimes weekly. Now I don’t even think it is monthly. It isn’t that I have got bored of here, or found something better to do. It is that I get sick of the sound of my own voice. I get sick of saying my things … not because I don’t want to, but I imagine you … whoever you are reading this, looking at me and shaking your head. Looking at me and thinking, here he goes again.

I get like that when my head is a mess. When I am standing in my house and everyone around me is living and all I want to do is find a corner and cry until whatever is inside is gone. It’s like I can hide myself. I can hide from everyone and they don’t really notice me.

Someone says to me, how are you … I say I’m fine. I say I’m okay … I type it to them, as I wipe away the blood from the last meeting I had with my secret blade. I’m fine … Fine! Don’t you hear me?

What’s the point of saying I’m not? You can’t fix me. You can’t make everything in my head go away.

I can make you go away. I can. You won’t believe me, but see … I just have to be me and then it gets to a point where every second you’re around me, it’s hard. It’s difficult. Ultimately, it’s me who leaves, but that is because you’re at the point of falling apart. I do that.

I know writing here, I’m not really speaking, but you know … this is the place I come and I take my skin off and underneath all of that I am just bones and muscle and broken cogs all loosely held together. I am open, afraid, mad, angry … I am a bunch of many things rolled into one.

My flashbacks have come back. I don’t know why. Just the other night. They started up.

When I was a child, there was a man. I don’t know who he was. I don’t even know what he looks like. I can’t remember. In my head, he is just a dark figure … a monster … someone.

He used to keep score on the wall above my bed. He’d scratch each conquest against me into the wall. I was four. He won many times. I couldn’t sleep the other night. It was like he was there … he was waiting, ready … just needing that moment for me to drop off, then he’d strike. That was always his favourite time.

I lay in bed anticipating the feel of his hands on my arms, on my legs, his breath in my face, his teeth against my skin. He used to bite till I screamed. He used to scratch down my back till I bled. He liked to make me jump. The more terrified I was, the more he liked it. I remember that.

I remember him waiting for me at the side of my bed while I slept. I remember opening my eyes and he was there and I was trapt, and that was it.

He was in my room with me the other night. Every time I tried to close my eyes, he was there … he was there and he was waiting and watching and no one would come. No one ever came.

This is my head …

I did the only thing I could think to do. My other half was asleep. I cut. I cut into my skin, into my leg, into a part of me that needed to feel it … needed to bleed. I curled up with my shame then. The shame that I had given in. The shame that I was having a flashback.

The shame that I was me.

I clutched that blade, stared at it, tempted by it. I could make it all over. I realised that, but then there is that usual thing … that part of me that gets upset because I can’t. I mourn the chance to make it all stop because if I were gone, who could care for my children? Who would they go to?

I feel like I’m mad inside my head. I feel like I could cut more. Maybe I could stop being me. Maybe I could stop being so crazy. I can’t find the switch to turn it all off. I feel like ten people inside one and we’re all falling apart.

Some days, I hate myself.

 

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I can’t Stop

Self harm. It’s like this beast that I can’t shake off. It lives with me always. Sometimes, we just exist side by side and other times, we cling to each other like it’s all I have.

I have been a self-harmer since I was four years old. A long time for it. It’s part of me now and part of who I am and an addiction I can’t seem to kick. Like my old friend I have to keep going back to.

This last week there are more days I have harmed than I haven’t. I keep trying to not do it, but it’s like when you’re on a diet and that bar of chocolate says one piece won’t hurt, or when you quit smoking and your brain says, just one cigarette, its ok. If you’ve ever tried to quit anything, then you know what I mean.

My other half despairs so I hide it. 36 years of self-harm has taught me how to do it so that no one sees it. I haven’t self-harmed yet today, but it is early and its there. That feeling in my skin calling for me to cut … just to feel that. It’s like taking a breath, holding it until your head pounds and letting it out real slow. Or that sigh you get when you finally sit after a long day … that’s what I need. I can see it in my head. Grabbing my blade, putting it into my skin and sliding it down slowly so that I can make the pain last just a little bit longer.

I can feel my chest wound up so tight as I try not to give in and my brain asking, why am I abstaining? What does it matter if I cut? I’m not hurting anyone.

My other half, my friends, they just don’t understand it. They say it hurts them, but why? I’m not cutting them. I’m cutting me. They eat chocolate and junk food. They drink coffee, watch tv shows. They do stuff that makes them feel better, why can’t I?

I’m not killing myself. I can’t say I’m even scarring myself. It’s just old wounds. The more I sit here and try to analyse why there is a reason to stop … the more I know I am likely to publish this blog post and head straight to my bathroom.

What kicked this off? Someone asked me. I don’t know. My dad died a few months back, but it is so big for me now. Bigger than it was when it happened. I don’t think I paused when he died, and then something happened a month or so ago and it seemed to kick of my grief. It was the strangest thing perhaps. My grief coming months later and now it’s so much inside that it hurts to breathe because he is gone.

He’s gone …

Some people have said, when he died, they were glad he was gone. I think those people forget me, the adult, the son … still the child. They see the man in my books and see him as a monster, but they don’t see the connection that was there. It’s hard to explain to people who see it black and white. We had secrets together, a thing … it made me who I am and made him who he was and now it’s like half of something is missing.

I keep looking at my phone and expecting him to ring.

There’s no one that can make it better. No one who can fix it. I have messages that say he isn’t suffering any more, and I know. I don’t miss that dad. I don’t miss the dad in a bed who needed feeding and cleaning and dressing. I don’t miss the man who suffered.

I just miss my dad.

I can’t …

Silence 

One of the skills I mastered as a child was silence. It’s a great skill sometimes. I can sit in a room feeling completely shattered inside and no one would have a clue.

I can act normal. 

When I was a child, I used to think that if I told anyone, my parents would go to jail and I would end up lost. That’s what my parents said anyway. They’d tell me that if I ever went to care, that my brother and I would be split up, and maybe he’d be sent to somewhere not very nice and I couldn’t help him because we’d not be together. They also told me that once you go to care, you never see your family again. 

My parents never actually told me not to tell. They never threatened me. They never told me I’d go to care if I told. But making me aware of what happened to others who spoke out kept me silent. 

I kept silent for 33 years.

Do you know that a child who is abused from the age of five to the age of 15 … that’s 11 years. Everyday for 11 years is 4015 days. A child who is abused (I originally put the word rape here, but deleted it. It’s seems wrong.)  every day between 5 and 16 will be ‘abused’  over 4000 times. 
Do you know how hard that is to hold in?

Although, technicallly, I didn’t hold it in. I spent more nights than I can count crying myself to sleep. Asking why didn’t my dad love me? Talking to my bear. Asking God if he would please just not let me wake up tomorrow. I poured my words out to an empty room because I had no one to tell. 

At 33 I told someone. I sat one night and told someone. I was shaking and crying and falling apart and thinking, God, what did I just do? I’d said it. I’d said that bad thing. I’d let the shadow out to show someone else. 

I sometime get mad with myself. Mad because all of that … those years of stuff stick in my head. Like on repeat. 

Maybe my body was taken 4000 times, but in my head it’s more than that. The worst thing about abuse isn’t the abuse. You only get that rape once, physically, but in your head you relive it hundreds of times. Suddenly 4000 incidents because an unimaginable number and then someone says 

… stop thinking about it. Move on. Grow up. 

It’s like a punch to my gut and the hand across my mouth again trying to silence my screams. I can’t breathe. Is that it? Just stop thinking about it? Stop talking about it?

I guess if someone stepped on our foot on purpose in school and the hurt our feelings, we’d have forgotten about it, right? 

Suddenly I feel crazy. Like I don’t know who I meant to be or how I am meant to ask. I didn’t ask for that life. For this life. For these memories. 

Two nights ago, I was asleep. I was dreaming. I dreamt of that man. Not my dad. The other man. He had hold of my legs. I couldn’t see him, but I could feel him. I could hear him. My body reacted before I woke up and I leapt from my bed, fighting, screaming for him to stop. I was by my window ready to jump out because falling to the gravel below is less painful than what he could do to me. Then I’m down on my knees, shaking, I can’t breathe and my other half is there. Asking what’s wrong, but suddenly I am five again. And, I’m so afraid. 

Telling me to shut up makes me feel crazy. It makes me feel that when I have moments like that night that I am wrong. I makes me hate he face in he mirror. 

You want me to battle my brain with my brain. 

I’m so tired inside. 

Sometimes I cut my skin like aversion therapy. If you could just be normal, I say. If you could just act like everyone else …

I stare in the mirror and I hate the face that stares back. I hate the man there. The one with the memories. The one with the mental health issues. If I could punch the glass and hit his face, I would. 

Shut up. 

Move on

Try to get better 

These aren’t lessons  you’re teaching me. They’re just another blade to cut myself because you make me feel like my dad did.

That me, who I am, is not good enough. 

I wish I could blink and wake up. 

I’m Fine

I don’t write here a lot anymore, I know. Mostly because I’m fine … I’m fine. Yes. Like a mantra. A little bit of that is because I feel like I’m whining all the time. Like who wants to hear about it?

So the man is crazy? So what?

Who cares?

I’m fine.

That’s what I have to keep saying.

Look out the window and think about jumping … No, I’m fine.

My dad died. I miss him and I hate him all at the same time, but … I’m fine.

I came off my medication. I couldn’t write while I was on it and even after my dad’s passing, everything was numb. Not in the grief kind of numb. This was different. Just numb that my emotions had flat-lined. Christmas came and I tried to enjoy it. I tried to feel it inside like I had for years, but it was gone. Maybe losing Christmas was more heart-breaking that losing my dad … maybe. But I’m still fine.

I couldn’t sleep on the medication. I developed something called restless leg syndrome and my doctor told me that I had to choose, my mental health or my legs. I know people will say change medication, but see, I can’t take tablets, and so what I can take has to be a liquid and so my choices were limited, but my medication was to target my OCD and my depression, so what I was taking was the leading medicine for that.

It did work on my depression. I don’t feel depressed. I can get up in the morning now and not feel like I want to just roll over and die.

I found a lump in my body and I must go to the doctors to get it checked out, but I can’t. Not because I am afraid of what they might say. This lump lingers in my thoughts so often, knowing it needs to be looked at … knowing I need to ask, but I can’t. And it’s like a war inside my head, one that says what if it is something serious and you leave it too long. Then what?

Tell my kids something bad, because I couldn’t go to the doctor?

But then if I call the doctor, he has to touch me. He has to see me and look and examine me. Just the thought of it now has me wanting to bolt for the bathroom and pull my friendly blade from the soap dish and cut away every little millimetre of dirt buried under my skin. I can’t stand it. I can’t stand the thought of it … hands on me. Even the doctor.

I could tell him, right? I could say being here triggers me so bad that I am ready to hurt myself for it, but what do I say?

I was a victim of sexual abuse?

I wasn’t. It’s a lie. It feels like a lie.

I was a participant. Its different.

I can’t say to the doctor, don’t touch me. Touching me reminds me what a disgusting person I am. It reminds me to hate myself and hate the child I was.

I just sit in the corner

Over here.

Out of the way.

I’m fine.

 

The Masks We Wear.

So many masks, which one to wear today.

I wear masks. Not the real kind. Not the ones that make our faces into monsters, but the other kind. They suit I wear when I go out, depending who I will be. Maybe it’s one of the many legacies my parents left me, or maybe we all have them.

I’ve been working a lot on myself, the face behind the masks, because I know that the masks I wear feel more fake with each passing day. They get so hard to hold into place and maybe one day, they’ll disintegrate until I am left with one. Maybe that one is a mask I don’t like.

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I have the parental mask, maybe that one will never leave. There is the student mask, the one with me all the time at university. I have the lover mask, the one when I am with my other half, but the one I hold the most, is the happy mask. The happy face.

I realise the more things happen, like my dad for example, him being unwell, I hide. I hide my upset. I hide my pain. It’s like my parents made me ashamed to feel anything, so to the outside world, I don’t.

It makes my life hard, this mask, because as well as not showing the sad emotions, I can’t show the really happy ones either. Someone gives me a gift, I hate it, not because I hate the gift, but because I hate the fact I know the giver is waiting for a smile from me, or a thank you and any words I utter feel forced and fake. But inside, in there, my real mask, I am beaming. So damn happy that someone did something for me.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to wear masks, and other days, I know I’ll never part with them.

So Far …

I thought I would do a check in. Before I started to take my medication, I did a lot of looking online for reviews. I wanted to see if it actually worked. I think I am maybe 2 months in now and I have to say it is going pretty good. I am glad I gave in and got this help. Although I don’t like to say I am on medication, but it is a lot easier than feeling like I just need to die every day.

antiDep

I have also read the book called a Miracle Morning and have been working on that for about two weeks. I am sure that it is helping my healing, although I have my moments. I haven’t been totally self-harm free, but it has only been once or twice, which 2 months ago, it was every damn day. So I would say that is a bonus.

It hasn’t touched the OCD part of me yet. Maybe it has made that a little worse, but then it is end of my final year at University and I am about to hand in my dissertation, so my increase in symptoms could well be my anxiety at getting that right. It does mean my hands are very sore and they bleed like I have been punching a cheese grater. I think maybe my doctor will increase my dose when I go back. That’s a little bit scary for me, but we’ll see.

The Plunge and Life

happy-pills-istock_000001056304mediumSo I did it. I took the plunge and tried medication … I never thought I’d say that. If you know me and have read my books, then you know that taking any form of medication was off my list. I refused Decided that I could deal with my mind and I’d get through it.

I’ve been on a downward spiral for a while now. A good few years I just couldn’t get off the damn slide and I was slipping farther and farther down it. It’s been really coming to a head these last few months. Over Christmas time I struggled so hard just to get myself out of bed and I’d have these arguments with myself almost. Like why was I feeling this way? But no matter what I did I couldn’t shake it. My self-harm has been so bad. I’ve had so many stitches. I’ve landed myself at the hospital. It’s just been a total nightmare with this monster in my head.

I’ve been on my medication for four weeks now. I started at a lower dose and then my doctor doubled it, mostly because I was afraid of taking this leap, but my god. I know these meds take 2-3 months to work, but I already see the benefit from it. I’ve not self-harmed in four weeks. Four Weeks!!! That deserves those exclamation marks, because before I started, I would be lucky to say four hours.

I’m not saying the medication has fixed me, or cured me, but it’s certainly had a great effect on me and my mood. I’m still struggling with my anxiety. That’s increased a little bit. It’s such a strange thing. My anxiety has increased, but I can cope with it better. Rather than having a full blown out episode, I can stop and say to myself, okay. This is my anxiety. Let’s deal with it.

I have some side effects too, but nothing I would say are overly adverse. I’m grinding my teeth to the point that my jaw aches and I have to stop it. Sometimes I feel a little spaced out, so I take my medication before bed and seem to sleep that off. I can’t multitask like I used to. My mind seems to want to focus on one thing and if I try to add more, then it has a freeze up. Not really a bad thing I guess. Multitasking is bad for you anyway. I have to most weird vivid dreams. They feel so real. Sometimes they’re horrible, actually more often than not they’re horrible, but I am sleeping. I sleep all night I also find that I need to get the full eight hours now. If I don’t I get sluggish the next day. Also not really a bad thing. But so far so good. I can’t really say they’re major bad things really. Just things that I notice.

I feel a lot of anger recently, though. I’m not actually sure if that is my medication, or that is stuff that I’ve held inside for so long coming out.

My father has had a do not resuscitate order placed upon him. He wanted me to take it off. He was quite upset about it. But he isn’t of sound mind. He was upset because he believes himself to be going to work every day, and he isn’t. he can’t even get to the bathroom now. It was very hard for me to fight this because I felt like I was holding his life in my hands. And ironic all at the same time, that I am the one with these choices. I am the one who suddenly has come control on my father’s life and he has to trust that I will do what’s best for him and that I’ll care for him.

It creates a lot of anger for me I’m losing my dad and I’m fighting with my emotions inside. The part of me that is his child wants to grieve at the coming loss and the part of me that is so angry at the things he has done, doesn’t understand why I am upset. It’s almost like I can’t comprehend that I am upset about him. And all these years, all the family has ever seen is that we’ve been at war with each other He’s seemed to hate me all my life and I’ve done so well to wear a mask that shows it doesn’t hurt me, that I don’t know how to take that mask off now in front of my family and show that I am upset. Somehow even the right to be upset has been taken from me and if I try to take it back, I feel like a fraud.