I was 12 years old the first time I self harmed. It stung when the hot water from the shower touched it for the first time. But from that point on, I couldn’t stop. With every cut my admiration grew fonder and the razor became my best friend, but I needed more. So I began burning myself with lighters, erasers, anything that I could get my hands on that would leave a burning sensation on my skin. After a while, just the thought of not self harming left a bitter taste in my mouth. So I continued catering to my need of burning and tearing open my skin for 3 miserable years, and that was just the beginning of my fight to stay alive.
The best time for me to self harm was in the shower. So I made sure to shower every night and sometimes in the mornings before I started my day. I wouldn’t be 5 minutes into the shower before I grabbed the razor, bared down, and began making dozens of deep lines across my hip. After I was done, I would look at my artwork and begin to smile. I felt invincible , like no one and nothing could hurt me, nothing could take away my shine. But the feeling of being indestructible was soon overwhelmed by the distinct feeling of being numb. Numbed to the stinging sensation when the water hit my hip that I once loved, numbed to the fact that I was tearing open my once perfect skin and enjoying it, numbed to the fact that I was slowly killing myself, and I didn’t mind.
Soon after I discovered the feeling of being numb, it was like a black cloud hovered over me and sucked the love out of my heart. I was bitter, angry, mean, all of the things I swore to myself that I would never become. I began hating myself. I would look in the mirror and pull at my skin so hard it would leave bruises. I felt hideous, in fact, I felt as if I resembled a man. My facial features, at least to my eyes, were masculine. It got to the point to where I couldn’t leave the house, I couldn’t take pictures, I couldn’t go get the mail, without having make up on. Without my makeup, I felt like when people saw me, they thought, wow, she would be cute if her eyes weren’t so small, if her nose wasn’t so big, if her cheek bones were more defined. Along with this overwhelming feeling of self hate, came my best friend, depression.
Depression is an old friend. I met my dear friend, depression, in 4th grade, the first year I was bullied. I would cry in the mornings and beg my mom to let me stay home. I would tell her I was sick, that I threw up, or my throat was hurting. She, being the loving and caring mom she is, of course let me stay home. She had no idea how bad it was at school. I didn’t want her to know, just because I was terrified of it getting worse. Soon after I began crying and faking illnesses, I got to the point where I worried myself sick, literally. I got mono, also known as the “kissing disease”, in February of my 4th grade year. I honestly don’t know where I picked up the bug because I had never kissed anyone, so I assumed I caught it from the water fountain. I was out of school for over 40 days after I was diagnosed. I missed so much school, I had to go on home bound, which is when a teacher comes to your house once or twice a week, and gives you your work that you have missed. I didn’t get on home bound until around the last three weeks before I returned to finish my 4th grade year.
Ever since I met depression in 4th grade, she has stuck around. She left my life my 5th grade year, only to return 10 times as strong when I began my first year in middle school. My 6th grade year was hell, to be honest. The self harming was still very much an issue and my “friends” had left me behind for new people. My heart was broken, and so was my spirit. Girls at school began calling me a whore, a slut, ugly, fat, you name it. I was called it all. Girls tried to fight me, they tried to trip me in the halls, they turned people against me, and they made my only friend choose between me and somebody else. I had a lot to deal with. I don’t believe anyone, no matter if you’re 12, 13, 17, 30, or even 80 years old, should be put through so much. No one deserves that.
My crippling battle with suicidal thoughts, severe depression, self harm, anxiety, and BDD (Body Dismorphic Disorder), lead to my final breakdown and landed me a 6 day stay in a mental health facility. My family, friends, church family, and best friend, were shocked. They had no idea that I fantasized about dying, they had no idea that I imagined my mom walking in my room to find my lifeless body hanging there. These thoughts, feelings, cravings for death to be the answer drove me to insanity. But it also taught me a lesson about loving, fighting, breathing, and existing. It taught me that it’s okay to take medicine for you mental illnesses. It taught me that there is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking help. It taught me that I am strong, I can not be broken. I stared at suicide as it held it’s pretty hand out for me, but I resisted. I won.
Society now a days, throws a rock at you and yells catch, but before you can gather your thoughts, they throw 2 more rocks and expect you to be able to keep your head up, when the weight of all of those rocks is bearing down on your chest. This comparison to my experience with depression relates perfectly. I couldn’t keep my head up. I cracked under the pressure and thought that suicide was the only way out. But I’m not mad at myself for it. I grew as a person during this experience, and sure, recovering from wanting to die isn’t easy. There are days where I want nothing more than to pick up the razor and make art. But I can’t. I can’t do that to my family again. I can’t do that to myself again. I’m a fighter, and in the end, I will defeat depression. I will win.