Not my arm
Not my arm

I’m looking at my right arm. It is so much prettier than my left, so much more damaged, more scarred. I cut it better than the left. My work was more precise, maybe accurate, certainly deeper, than the other. I am jealous of it on behalf of my left. It is a shame my left didn’t get as much pain, depth, scarring, beauty. This Mother’s Day I look on both arms, but mostly my right, and want to reminisce on how all those marks got there. On the cutting, the opening, the feeling, not so much the pain, but the sensation of blood pouring down my skin. The relaxation that it caused. Part relaxation, part elation. I miss it so much. Especially now. Now that things seem so difficult again. I would do anything to feel that again. At the same time I am fighting against all to make sure I do everything to ensure it doesn’t happen again. It is grueling to constantly be battling a paradox

It’s so much more exhausting being well enough to want to fight, but still in enough pain to hurt. So much. That awkward middle ground, where people think you’re better-ish, and are then surprised when things go to shit and you end back in hospital. Yes. I am way, way better than last year. Most days I can function normally-ish. Almost every day this week I have had lows, severe enough to contemplate a trip to the E.D. The fight seems like it may never be over. But I have been able to continue. I did send a message to my psych this afternoon. I know he generally only responds to messages on weekday evenings. If I want to contact him immediately he always responds within minutes 24\7 if I call. If I really felt it was an emergency I would have called. A few days ago he said I should have reached out more last week, so that is what I was doing today.

I hate this space. I don’t know what to do in this space. I mean I know not to cut. Well I never should cut, but at my worst it doesn’t seem like an option. The problem is, at my near-worst, if it goes on for days or weeks, the choice seems to fade. It becomes harder to resist. You become worn down. One starts talking in the second and then third person to distance oneself from the issue! And so I need to keep reminding myself that this is me, my life, my arms, my blood, my thin blood making me much more likely to exsanguinate. And is that what I really want? In that moment quite likely yes. In all the moments? No. Is it what my children want? No. Is it what my children need? No.

Sadly last week I realized something. Something I had not realized while I was at my worst. At my worst the pain felt so bad I wanted to die, and it felt I would never feel differently. Last week I realized that if I felt as bad as I did at that very moment, enough of the time (not all of the time), I would not want to stay alive, on an ongoing basis. The measurement had changed. As well as the pain being not as bad, the yard stick had become shorter. It hardly makes sense. Maybe it is because I am in a more logical frame of mind. I can see the pain for what it is, and realize that I cannot face what I cannot face. For an outsider that must sound ludicrous. That I am in fact completely illogical. Who in their right mind would think it logical to kill themselves. If someone lost their entire family we might understand them wanting to kill themselves. I am not saying my pain compares to that, but there are instances in which we can understand people’s desire to commit suicide. Who are we to judge other people’s pain? How do you know my logic is flawed? You think my life is not painful enough to warrant suicide? Maybe you’re right. Maybe you’re wrong. I argue that it’s an objective rationale. It is impossible to see anyone else’s position, no matter how well you think you know someone.

So all my drugs, all my therapy, has it helped? Well yes. Today I did not cut. Today at my worst, I did breathing exercises. I took a shower. I messaged my doctor. I talked to my husband. Last year I likely would have ended up in the hospital. I cannot ignore progress. Ignoring progress makes more progress less likely. Each time I have to fight, and at the moment that is daily, I need to remember that I fought yesterday, and somehow I got through it. If I don’t do that, I am likely to remember the times I didn’t get through it. The time I bought a knife. I went drinking. I went to the lake. I cut. I ended up in hospital. Needed a transfusion. I ended up on the psych ward. I don’t want that. No one wants that. I do think I want the blood, the feeling. No. I know I want that. I know that I don’t want the rest that comes with it even more. I also know that if I give into temptation, it will set me back, and I will be more likely to do it again, and again, and again, and again. One of these days will be my last. My luck will run out, or in, depending on how I look at it that particular day. Fights are easier if you keep fighting. They are harder, if you keep giving in. But oh… how I want to give in. It’s the same for cigarettes, alcohol, street drugs… pick your poison. Not all of these are vices of mine, but most people will relate to one or more of these. Well just add cutting to the list for me.

Peace out. I’m off to bed. One more day down without having cut. I’m going to bed still wanting to cut, but my arms are clean. I wish they weren’t, but they are. Baby steps people. Baby steps……..

3 thoughts on “Arms Glorious Arms

  1. I attempted suicide at 21. Drifting down a river but got hung up on a damned tree. A fallen tree out in the river. Maybe I should have scoped my surroundings before the attempt…It’s been a lot of years and a lot of hospitals and jail cells in the middle. It all taught me to be very mean, though, in order to not be convinced of lying lips.

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  2. Hey Daniel. I’ve done a bit of both. I started very late – 39, which is weird. I guess I’m weird. It is odd that we’re all so similar yet different. I felt I could relate to almost everyone else on the psych ward (well those who were high-functioning) more that best friends on the outside.

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  3. That is some mighty red blood. I had a roommate in the psych ward who cut. He was 18, still in high school at the time, in the adult unit. It was a little disturbing, his youth with the rest of us nuts. I’m 38. Anyway, my poison is always suicide. I tried drowning. I never go for cutting. I just want the whole monty. I guess.

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