It’s My Life, I Want It Back
I’m not sure what will come of writing this or what you will do with it, but it’s something I feel would do me some good. My heart is pounding as I type. I think being honest about it is what I need and maybe my story will help other people, to let them know it’s not all bad.
I was a bright child. Aced school straight into college. I was 16 years old on an advanced course full of students aged 20+. I thought I could do it, how wrong was I. It started well then two years down the line I think I burnt myself out. I had met a guy who was a lot older than me and it was my first experience of love. It was a shame he didn’t feel the same way about me. I’m ashamed to say at 18 I was still so naive. I got pregnant and my world had come to an end. My boyfriend made it clear he didn’t love me but really wanted a baby. He would take care of me as I was the mother of his child, but it was the baby he wanted, not me. I decided to terminate the pregnancy and get rid of my boyfriend. It was a tough decision to make but what life could I give this baby. My sister was pregnant at the time and due very soon. My mum came with me to the hospital. It was awful. I was on a ward full of women who had just had miscarriages and there I was getting ready to dispose of mine.
Nine days after the termination my sister gave birth to the most beautiful baby I have ever seen. I was overwhelmed with emotions of guilt, regret and a feeling of emptiness. I had just made the biggest mistake of my life.
I started getting a bit low, but at the time I didn’t know what was happening. I failed my exams and began giving up on everything including my life. I wanted the pain to go away, I would pretend my niece was my baby and loved her as though she was mine. I couldn’t take the pain anymore and swallowed a load of tablets. I remembered I had to say goodbye to my neice, so I struggled to my sisters flat. The tablets were working, but the pain was unbearable. I wanted to die there and then so I took a knife from my sisters kitchen, went to the bathroom, locked the door and did the deed. I could hear my sister crying and screaming, the blood was running under the bathroom door. I had slit my wrists. I woke up in hospital.
That was just the beginning. The guilt of that moment has never left me and probably never will.
I ended up in psychiatric hospital, which was where my real problems started. I learnt very quickly what to say to the doctors to be released. I would leave and crash into another bout of depression. Finally they sectioned me and I couldn’t get out of that one! I couldn’t describle the pain inside me. The anxiety would eat me up and my heart felt as though it would explode. Then I met this girl in the hospital. She was a self-harmer. At first I though how could she do that to herself? Then I was released and went to live in a pokey flat with no money, still battling with depression with no prospects of any future with happiness in it. One night a panic attack was brewing and asking for help was out of the question (I didn’t know how to do that). I had smashed all the crockery in the flat, thrown things around, screamed my heart out, but the pain wasn’t going away. That’s when I did it, the point of no return, did it feel as good as she said it did. The razor blade in my hand, I made the first cut. She was right, it made me feel good. It was as though seeing the blood running from my arm was the pain inside me being released. I couldn’t die, I’d tried that and it didn’t work, so this was the next best thing.
For 2 years I cut my arms as a release and a visual sign that told me I looked as ugly as I felt. I also felt I was a horrible person and that I deserved what I did to myself. It was my punishment for being alive. I also went through periods of further stays at the hospital and serious depression. My friends and family had no idea. I couldn’t tell them about the harming, I was too ashamed. I had put them through so much. How could they love me, I didn’t, I hated me. I couldn’t look at myself in a mirror. If I came across one I would turn it round or put a blanket over it. I thought people could see me through them and they were laughing at me like an animal in a freak show.
My final breakdown came when I was living in a 6th floor flat at the tender age of 20. The depression was never going to go. I was alone and couldn’t see a future. I wanted to be dead, I wanted the pain to go away permanently, cutting wasn’t enough anymore. I sat on the edge of living room window and just let myself go. 90 feet drop to the ground, it had to work, but someone up there was trying to tell me something as I woke up in intensive care. The despair I felt as I realised I was still alive. To this day no one knows how I could have lived through that, no one can explain. People have died of less serious injuries.
That was the hardest time of my entire life. I was seriously injured and didn’t know what was going to happen to me. I was transfered to a specialist hospital. I had the most amazing surgeon who worked miracles and put me back together as best he could with fantastic results. However, I am now permanently disabled, but at least not in a wheel chair. I was in hospital for a very long time, but it’s there that I decided I wanted to live not die. One night after surgery my body decided it had had enough. My organs started to give up. It was a manic night with all these doctors and nurses trying to keep me alive. I was holding a nurses hand crying “please don’t let me die”. I needed to make that decision for myself before I began the battle to get my life back. I knew when I came out that my life would never be the same again and I knew I couldn’t carry on living with this self-destruct button inside me.
I got home and accepted all the help I could get. Physiotherapy was tough and so was the psycotherapy. He broke me down to build me back up again.
Over the next two years I stayed in therapy, continued rehab and went back for further surgery. I stopped the self harming and even started some voluntary work. It was so hard but I did it. I still hated my body, especially now. The scars were horrendous but a reminder of what I had been through.
I still went through bouts of depression, but they seemed more manageable. I recognised the signs and went for help as soon as it started. The thoughts of self harm never went away, but I learnt how to control them, to work through them. I had learnt some good coping strategies for times like that.
I stayed well for five years and battled through everything life threw at me. I had my family and friends to thank for that. They were brilliant. It was hard for them, but I realised how much they loved me. I even got a job and that had to be one of the proudest moments of my life. I felt like a real person and not a freak. I was worth something and earned my own money. I had a good few years there and even managed to look at myself in mirrors and not want to vomit at what I saw.
Then last year I hit a particularly bad bout of depression. I live with chronic pain and take a lot of medication to try and give me some quality of life. I was tired and worn out. Fighting day after day after day. I couldn’t do it anymore. That’s when I gave in and took the blade to my tummy. I couldn’t use my arms because people would notice. All my old scars had faded a lot and I’d come to terms with them and I didn’t hide them anymore. Everyone would be so dissapointed if they knew, they all thought I was better now.
God, it felt so good, but it was different this time, for a different reason. I wanted the visual cut, for it to hurt, to remind me, what of I don’t know. This doesn’t make sense, I know, but it’s a hard thing to explain. All I knew was that it was still a release. It was an addiction. This went on for some time until my flat mate found the bloody towels in the wash basket. He hit the roof. He told my mum which I still havn’t forgiven him for and I don’t think I ever will. All that trust had gone, I was a silly child who needed discipline or he just didn’t want to deal with it.
My mum was great, it was a set back she said, but we’ll get through it, we always do. She was right (mums usually are!) I was sad because I hadn’t harmed myself for five years, but if I beat myself up about it too much I wouldn’t get control of it again.
I knew I was a lot better because it only lasted for about six months before I took control again and it was easier to do this time. I think about it every day, I want to do it every day, but I don’t. I’ve accepted it’s a problem I will always have, but also a problem I will always fight to control.
I can’t say it will never happen again, I just have to hope and deal with it if and when. My life is pretty good now. I’m going back to college, I have wonderful friends and family, a lovely home and most importantly I’m happy. I even met someone who I was able to be honest with, who is not repulsed by my scars, who can deal with my disability and we just take each day as it comes. I have to lie to people when they ask why I’m disabled. I say I had a car crash, people accept that and don’t tend to ask anything more. I’m not ready to be that honest. There is still a lot of stigma attached to attempted suicide and self harming. People notice the state of my arms but at least they are polite enough not to ask. I have learnt that there opinion doesn’t matter
I will never have children and that will always affect me, I will always see that as the ultimate punishment for getting rid of my baby, but I’m alive and I’ve come to realise that’s more important than anything. I am a strong believer in fate and I know after everything I’ve been through that I’m meant to be here and I’m meant to have a good life because I deserve it, I’m a good person. I’m strong now and embrace life whenever I can no matter how tough it gets. I have a good feeling about my future.
I’m not sure if this story will depress people or help. It’s just been good to tell my story, one of my last demons that I’m letting go of. I can talk openly to my friends and family about it now and even actually have a laugh about it which is so much healthier and down to earth. It was a bad time in my life, but it wasn’t my whole life, I’ve got a lot of it left.