New article was published on The Mighty today! My second with them. 😀
New article was published on The Mighty today! My second with them. 😀
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. The slogan To Write Love On Her Arms is going with this year is I Kept Living. So I thought I’d share my story about someone who called me in the hospital after my suicide attempt.
I’m not entirely sure what to call this relationship. I don’t know what she classifies it as. Friendship? Acquaintances? We’ve never met in person. She’s someone I sort of know, I guess. I was blown away by how gracious and appreciative she was, that she wanted to get to know me. Each little interaction with her brought a smile to my face and it meant more than I’ll ever really be able to say that she cared to take that time.
I initially started writing this last week because I was feeling awful about the last time we talked. Of course my BPD jumps straight to, “She hates me”, etc. Yes, I have abandonment issues after everyone I thought was my friend just stopped talking to me. I am afraid of losing who’s left. So I couldn’t stop thinking about it and the stupid thing is is it wasn’t even a fight. It wasn’t an argument. We weren’t angry. It was frustration and misunderstandings. It bothered me because I got the impression that she thought I was ungrateful. She mentioned expectations which has never been the case. I was frustrated about something, which I expressed in not the best way, admittedly. I can’t stand the thought of her thinking I’m ungrateful or something because it couldn’t be further from the truth. What she’s done for me…it’s meant the fucking world. The most invaluable being the night she called me in the hospital.
Skyping with her lastnight for a bit was a relief, and very needed. Kind of perfect timing with this post and WSPD.
Before this, I’d overdosed twice just a week apart in January. Accidental. I think.
Accidental or not – it was nothing compared to April.
Back in April I attempted suicide and was put under a 72 hour suicide watch.The nurses working the night shift let me keep my phone for a bit and I just decided to text her what was going on, and almost immediately a bunch of messages came in.
“You deserve to live”, “I can call you”, “You are loved.” and more.
A new round of tears, and for some reason the, “I can call you,” text made me cry even harder. We’re in different provinces, I have no idea what she was doing, if I interrupted something, and yet she was ready to call me right then.
10pm my time. Alberta to Ontario. Her voice, sweet as can be, instantly relaxed me. After the day I’d had, being scared and alone – she’s something safe, familiar. And she just has a way about her – her gentle voice held all of the concern in the world. I told her what happened and I just wished so badly that I could actually have someone like her as my friend. She related in her own ways when she could but also made a point to tell me I was important, I was loved and capable and, “Do not give up.” Hearing those words from her meant more than I can say; always will. She let me cry it out, listened to what I was thinking – bad or not – and she always had words of love and wisdom to say back to me. She didn’t have to call but I think that’s just a part of who she is – kind and selfless. She said I have to get better for me.
There are certain things we have in common but faith is not one of them, and we know this about eachother. She spoke so honestly about herself, how her belief in god was the biggest thing that helps her. And even though I don’t believe in any god, I can genuinely say I’m glad she has that comfort to turn to – because I don’t. And I told her that.
For almost an hour we talked and we laughed and we (I) cried and we planned…plans I know, realistically, will never happen. But she honestly got me through that first night. I don’t know what I would’ve done without that distraction, that connection, even for just a little while. During our call, I realized I do still have some hope in getting better, that maybe I could have a future and life worth living. I can’t imagine what that would be – even now, 5 months later – but the thought is still there, and that’s what matters.
Darling, if you ever read this; thank you. I’ve said it before and I will keep saying it.
I am someone who has let their failures and mental illnesses define them. So when I go on and on at 4am, thanks to sleeping meds fucking me up, insinuating that you don’t care, I’m sorry. Learning how to cope and live with BPD and everything I have is no walk in the park. Learning how to deal with someone with BPD is just as hard. Please know in those moments that I don’t mean it. In fact the next day, because of the meds, I barely remember it. You have added hope and positivity to my life, not harm. I promise you that. Thank you for every little message that put a smile on my face when I could barely stand being alive. Thank you for the big things; the kindness, exchanging cell numbers and texts, the skype dates and most of all – the phone call that saved me during the worst day of my life. Thank you for caring.
Someone I know called me in the hospital after I attempted suicide. A beautiful person both inside and out was there for me in the best (and only) way possible. I will never forget it. I know for a fact I only found that little bit of hope left in me because of her that night. And I will always be grateful and thankful for her.
I kept living because of that hope she helped me see. A hope that it won’t always be this way, that I’m stronger than I think. That I have something important and valuable to share with the world. I am loved. I am capable.
I kept living because I know from that hope that I’m better than that hospital gown and the charcoal they made me swallow and the IV in my bandaged, bruised wrists. I’m better than that. I know it now. But I need to be reminded more often than I’d like to admit.
I kept living because though I’ve once again been in a low place lately, I know it’ll pass at some point. It has to. Recovery will always have ups and downs. It won’t always be like this.
I kept living because there are still so many things I want to do; I want to meet the girl that called me in the hospital when I was at my very lowest and helped me find that hope.
I kept living because despite those who have left, I found a few that either understand what I’m going through or try their very best to. They want to see me thrive and get better.
I kept living because everyone’s story is important, including mine.
I kept living to make sure others keep living, too.
Thanks to psychcentral for publishing my piece on self-harm!
‘Always recovering, never recovered.’ A simple sentence that can be a harsh reminder. And that’s not to say your efforts or how far you’ve gotten were for naught, but to keep getting back up when you do fall. I’ve learned over the years, of course, that it’s extremely important to know you are not alone. Others are struggling and surviving alongside with you and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I’ve always had a difficult time accepting the shame part. I’m very back-and-forth on my scars. On one hand, they’re a reminder of what not to do, proof I’ve held on this long. But on the other hand, I hate them. They’re a reminder that I was ever so weak to do such a stupid thing, and now I have to live with the physical proof. The amount of shame and guilt I’ve dealt with not only from myself, but a few loved ones as well, breaks my heart. I can’t help but feel they’re ashamed of me; of knowing me, being who they are to me, as they tell me to cover them up like a dirty secret. Maybe they don’t
“And to all the self-destructive people who feel they’ll never be themselves again,
just know I understand that self-inflicted pain is self-defense.
So don’t sell yourself short or label yourself as stupid,
because when you’ve hit rock bottom
every movement is a self-improvement.”
I have been a fan of Mitch Welling, aka flatsound, for a few years now. The guy just has a way with words that is so unique and often hits you like a ton of bricks. He gets into your mind and heart and his words have been an incredible help and comfort to me over the years.
This particular spoken word poem of his, “be yourself” is really special. I usually end up listening to his words and songs every day, but this one in particular is very important to me. I wish I had even half of his talent.
“Scars are souvenirs you never lose; the past is never far.”
From my art journal – “Name” by the Goo Goo Dolls.
I grew up listening to this band. Name had always been one of my favourite songs, but it wasn’t until I started self-harming that it took on a whole new meaning for me, became one of the most special songs in my heart to this day.
I’m very back-and-forth on my scars. On one hand, they’re a reminder of what not to do again, proof I’ve held on this long. But on the other hand, I fucking hate them – they’re a reminder that I was ever so weak to do such a stupid thing, and now I have to live with the physical proof.
“Cut” by Plumb.
“I’m not a stranger – no, I am yours. With crippled anger and tears that still drip sore. I may seem crazy or painfully shy. And these scars wouldn’t be so hidden if you would just look me in the eye. […] but the only anesthetic that makes me feel anything kills inside.”
Another song that’s in that special, tragic place in my heart. I remember so vividly the first time I ever heard it. It was just a few months after my parents found out about my self-harming, in 2006, 12 years old. The way they reacted and dealt with it was totally wrong. And hearing this song for that first time just broke me, saying what I couldn’t.
And of course, this quote from The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides.
“What are you doing here, honey? You’re not even old enough to know how bad life gets.”
“Obviously, doctor, you’ve never been a thirteen year old girl.”
And over the last decade I’ve relapsed and just keep adding to them. Like I said – always recovering, never recovered.
I’m never not aware of them. I never forget. Some days are easier to deal with – like, this is me, this is my body and my scars and it’s okay because I’m still here. Some days, I just want to hide, they’re ugly and forever a part of me and I hate them.
I don’t want to be ashamed of myself; my mental illness, my body. Every day is a fight to do the right thing.
I am in recovery. I am a work in progress. And I’m still working on being okay with that.
I don’t remember the exact moment, but I know it changed me irrevocably. Obviously.
I was 12 the first time I cut myself. And I’ve been in this war of relapse and recovery ever since.
It wasn’t until last year that I realized that it’s an addiction. 10 years of this unhealthy relationship and I was only now seeing it for what it was. I even asked my family doctor about it, and she shared the same sentiments.
And it may sound so obvious but think about it – is it ever referred to as an addiction?
We turn to it in the most desperate moments because it offers a relief, if only for a moment. A relief that’s always temporary. And then you always crave it. Even years later into recovery, it’s there in the back of your mind. Every day is a fight to do the right thing and stay clean or sober.
If we talked about self-harm as an addiction, maybe it would help people understand it better, understand those who struggle with it better.
“We couldn’t imagine the emptiness of a creature who put a razor to her wrists and opened her veins; the emptiness and the calm.”
This quote, in one of my art journals, is from one of my favourite books – The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. It’s a beautifully tragic story and the words have resonated with me in a way not many things have.
Self-harm is a part of who I am, whether I like it or not. I will always be in recovery. I have to make peace with that.