Posts Tagged ‘ Let’s get serious ’

In Retrospect

A few days ago, I wrote a post for Band Back Together about my struggle with self-injury. It was hard to write, more difficult than I’d expected it to be and for several reasons at that. One of the reasons: Remembering the beginning. Remembering the reasons, remembering how confused and scared I was. Most of all, remembering my mother’s role in it all.

I started hurting myself when I was 10 years old. My injuring increased in severity and frequency over the years and at 13 I threw in an eating disorder for good measure. When I was 16, I put myself into therapy and at the first appointment we were going over my history and when I mentioned the age I started cutting, my mother turned to the therapist and said “Yeah, I knew she was doing that.”

She knew.

She knew that her 5th grader was cutting herself with x-acto knives and she didn’t. say. a. word. Not one word. Not to me, not to a doctor, not even to my dad. She washed the blood stains out of my clothes and silently watch me kill myself. Years later when I finally attempted suicide, putting myself into a coma, Mom didn’t visit. Not one time in the weeks I was in intensive care. Not so much as a phone call or a card sent with my father. No word for a month.

My mother let me stick with my self-destructive mission and didn’t bat an eye when it nearly killed me. My mother belittled me and insulted me for everything from my grades to my weight. My mother told me one day while driving me to a doctor’s appointment, “Sometimes I just want to drive this car off the road and kill both of us…put us both out of our misery.” She threatened to commit me to a state mental health institution. She forced medications on me and played the victim in therapy sessions. My mother was too self-centered to put on her big girl panties and deal with the problem in front of her. Her 10 year old child was screaming out for help and she ignored her.

She ignored me and I can never forgive her.

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1096 days.

For nine years, cutting was the only way I had to ease the pain. Every stress, every feeling was etched into my forearm. A jagged, visceral reminder of the devastation in my heart. It was an elaborate metaphor. The injury was like a vent, the blood, my feelings, spilling out from it. I had no real way to express myself without injuring, as emotions were somewhat scorned in my family. I was expected to be happy and a high-achiever and anything else was a failure, so I was forced to cry in secret and bleed my tears. For nine years, this was my method. Everyday, for every reason, I spilled my blood in desperation. For nine years I could not stop. It was as ingrained in my heart as breathing, but at 19 I knew I couldn’t continue. I had more damaged skin than intact, and had been on several treks to the emergency room. I knew my life was in danger, that one slip and I’d bleed to death on my bathroom floor. On September 9, 2007, I resolved to stop once and for all. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to give up. How many nights I spent crying, my nails bitten to the nubs, my heart screaming out, but I didn’t give up. I fought on and those fretful nights clicked on and on, adding up to weeks, months. Now, three years later, I’m still going strong. I’ve learned REAL coping skills and no longer need to hurt myself. I’ve learned that it’s okay to be sad or angry, that having a negative emotion is not a failure. I’ve got an amazing support system, a literal bag of tricks, and everyday is a little easier.

Self-injury is extremely difficult to overcome, but it CAN be done! No one deserves the pain of self-injury, and there are places and people who can help any of you who may be suffering. I’m passionate about self-injury awareness, and am always available to talk to anyone who needs it. Tweet @ me, I’ll reply. Another amazing resource, one that helped me so much is S.A.F.E. Alternatives.

Nobody should ever suffer in silence. Everyday I beat self-injury.

So can you.

Does Spring Cleaning Have an Autumn Equivalent?

I admit it — I struggle with clutter. Highly organized clutter, but still clutter. Over my 22 years, I’ve adopted many strategies to deal with my anxiety, ranging from severely self-destructive (self-injury) to potentially severely self-destructive (hoarding tendency). To combat my tendency to hoard things, every 3 months I “Deep Clean”. Every room, every drawer, every closet is sorted and unneeded things discarded.
Today’s the day.
Wish me luck as I attempt to avoid being on A&E.

Of a Life Lost

2006 wasn’t good to me.
I turned 18 that year and I graduated from high school, but after that it was pretty downhill. I struggled through my senior year, having been diagnosed as bipolar the year before, being subsequently overloaded on meds and frequently hospitalized. The trend continued after graduation and I went away to college. I was only there a week, when the campus psychiatrist said I had to take leave and enter an eating disorder treatment facility. I convinced my parents to keep me out of treatment, but in return I had to leave their house. I was on my own.

Very on my own.

More hospitalizations, more and more meds. Then the headaches started. In january of 2007, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Not cancer, but still horrifying. Two weeks later, I was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

My world had ended.
I was an 18 year old unemployed college dropout, living on disability, and very sick. I had no family, mine having long abandoned me. I had no friends, having alienated everyone around me. I spent all of february psychotically depressed. Perpetual panic attacks and mocking voices punctuated the time, eventually culminating in my february 27th suicide attempt. Everything I had was lost, including my future.

That night, I turned off my phone and swallowed over 200 pills. Thousands and thousands of milligrams of psychotropics and narcotics. I took handfuls of pills, puked, passed out, repeated. I cut my arms, took more pills. I kept going and going until I couldn’t bring my hand to my mouth any longer, and then I laid down.

Hours passed.

On february 28th, I was found. I was taken to the emergency room, then transported to a larger one. I spent the next few days floating in and out of consciousness, some section of myself continuously pulling me out of the coma.

Something in me wanted to live. Something in me begged my heart to beat, my eyes to open. On march 2nd I woke up. I saw my arm, the cuts held tight with steri strips, bruises from multiple needle pokes, and an IV site, I followed the line up, then noticed an EKG lead, followed it up to the monitor. To the right of the monitor – my father. He sat there and he smiled through tear-soaked eyes.

I knew then that I was loved.

After recovering in the hospital, I returned home and started again. My suicide had been successful, that girl died that night. Three years later, I’m a new person. No meds, in school, a new mother. I don’t regret my actions. Death gave me life, new perspective. Everyday I’m grateful for being given a second chance, and I make the most of every minute. I’m actively involved in my medical care – now knowing I’m neither schizophrenic nor bipolar. My future was not taken away from me – It was given back.

New life, Indeed.

Someone Stop The Madness!

Seriously, what are we doing?
The First Lady’s new mission is to obliterate childhood obesity, the government wants to limit our sodium intake, they want to take the toys out of Happy Meals! Our country is getting fat and by god, the Federal Government is going to fix it!

Yes, childhood obesity IS a problem. This is the first generation of children to have a lower life expectancy than their parents. But is government intervention really the answer? Everyday, kids in america are being made aware that they are fat! And that the most important thing is to be thin! Younger and younger children are entering treatment for eating disorders, and every day kids are being constantly bombarded by negative body image messages. Children don’t understand that french fries are unhealthy because they’re high in saturated fat and too much saturated fat causes our arteries to become blocked and that causes heart attacks and strokes when we’re older. Kids don’t think about health, they think about size. French fries don’t clog our arteries — They make us Fat.

The government shouldn’t be taking the toys out of Happy Meals; the parents should stop buying them every day. McDonald’s isn’t the problem. A kid can eat a Happy Meal every now and again, and if a kid wants more than that, it’s up to the parents to set limits and say “no”. We need to be good role models. If we want our kids to be healthy and active, then WE need to be be healthy and active. “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t cut it. I’m extremely aware of my attitudes about food and exercise and the way that influences my daughter. She notices EVERYTHING, so I am very conscious of the messages I send to her.

It’s not up to th e government to keep our kids healthy. As parents, that’s our job. We need to own it.