“He’d started out with a girlfriend who, when he’d met her in Haiti, had seemed a capable professional and party gal, and now he had a mess who couldn’t even pick herself up off his bathroom floor.” (McClelland, pg. 179)
Nobody ever sees the mental and emotional scars an illness can give people. Nobody ever sees the trauma a person endures inside their mind and body. Nobody ever believes that a single moment can change a life forever.
If I was to say I self-harm, would you believe me? Would you save me if I lost control? Would you stay with me? Would you help me? Who is this monster that I am becoming?
My scars are invisible to the untrained eye, non-existent at first glance. To others, they are merely a puddle to step over on the sidewalk; to me, they are an ocean I am trying to swim through, drowning helplessly as the water fills my lungs and makes it impossible to survive.
On the outside, it seems as if nothing is wrong, that life is a breeze and that no matter what happens everything will be alright. For me, this is quite the opposite. I am at war inside my own mind, my own body. Nothing is ever going to be fully “alright.” I can’t seem to pinpoint why exactly, but I know that even attempting to take a closer look inside myself is torture.
I don’t like who I am. I don’t like what I look like. I don’t like what has happened to me. I don’t care if I live or die. I am beyond the point of giving any second thought to ending my suffering. To me it makes no difference what happens to me. My frequent thoughts of self-harm and suicide cloud my every waking breath; every movement I make careless and uncontrolled.
I don’t know how to control this building up of anger and sadness and hate against everyone and everything and myself. I feel as though no matter what I do or say, my life just keeps undoing itself like a knot that can’t hold rope together. I cringe at the fact that I can barely hold myself together some days, and then other days I am emotionless, stone cold and unreachable. The rush of adrenaline coursing through my veins makes me want to scream. This is so unfair.
I often wonder what it is that sets me apart from the rest of society. Is it the constant worry about every single little thing that will ever happen, could happen, would happen, should happen, did happen and is happening right now? Is it the continuous fidgeting, picking, scratching, digging and gouging into my skin with sharp fingernails until I bleed? Is it the rare eye contact, the shaky voice, the shattered breathing, the awkwardness of my entire being? WHAT IS IT THAT MAKES ME THIS WAY?
Why does it have to be me, the only one to seem to be suffering? They say I’m not alone, but it sure as hell feels like it. I can barely trust myself so how the hell can I trust anyone else? What did I do to deserve this? NOTHING. I did nothing. I breathed. The chemicals in my brain decided to not function properly and made me this way. It’s the chemicals that created this mess.
I don’t feel safe in my own body. It feels as though I have stepped into someone else’s body and become accustomed to this horror of a life that’s not worth living this way. I don’t know who I am anymore, I barely recognize my reflection in the mirror. That’s not me. I am not this monster with no self control. I don’t like the person I see staring back at me in the reflection of the glass. I don’t like what she is doing and I don’t like the way she is helpless and so far away.
This girl you see, walking around as if her world is fine, is not at all the girl I want to be. Scarred and broken, barely able to get out of bed and go to the store, or go to school without having some major issue with the simple things. Unable to reach out to others and connect.
The scars you see on my body, my face, my heart, are battle scars. They are not victorious or heroic scars. They are scars of self-harm, self-hatred, self-destruction, self-loathing, anger, sadness, irritability, hurt and insecurity. This girl with the scars you see, is a girl I wish I could get rid of. A girl I wish never existed. A girl I wish would disappear.
People ask me what I want to do or what I need to help myself. The honest to god truth is that I have no clue. I take things hour by hour and hope to God I get through the day. Continuously being asked what I want or what I need is stressful and makes me want to crawl into a cave and never leave.
These scars our bodies and minds carry, they make us human. They show who we really are. They are the epitome of being naked to the world, for it to see all that you are and all that you are made of. To be this naked in front of others scares the hell out of me. I do not want the world to see who I am becoming. It is ugly and unpleasant.
My scars are my story. My insecurities are what envelop me in the cloak I wear for you to see. My fears and sorrows are what bring me to the ground in crippling angst. My mental illness is who I am becoming and who I am becoming is a girl who is incapable of living.
The quote at the beginning of this post is from this novel. Irritable Hearts: A PTSD Love Story by Mac McClelland, (2015). It’s a great read, I highly recommend it.