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Copyright, Anonymous

The depression had set in and I was letting it take charge of my life. I was 22 years old and I felt as if no one understood what I felt. Like no one really cared how I felt. I had a new boyfriend that didn’t seem to mind that I cut myself compulsively. I lied about the scars and cuts that were visible. I would sink into my own world. Writing suicide notes just to see how it sounded.

My depression slowly started to creep in at around 14 years old. I withdrew into myself. I shut everyone out of my life. And now at 22 I had succesfully banned everyone from my life. I only talked and associated with people when I had to.

Finally one day I had had enough. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I went into my bathroom, closed and locked the door, ran a bathtub full of water, got in and started to cry. I must have held that razor blade for an hour. Just looking at it. Knowing that familiar sting that it causes. I closed me eyes and put the blade to my wrist. I never even felt it. With my eyes still closed I cut the other one. I couldn’t see the blood but I knew the water was turning red. I sat for a few minutes with my eyes closed. Hoping I had done the right thing. When I opened my eyes there was blood everywhere. Much more than I expected. My arm was hanging over the side of the tub. I heard my boyfriend in the other room. There was 2 doors to the bathroom and I guess I had forgotten to lock one of them because he barged in. He stood and looked at me in shock. I couldn’t speak. I was getting light headed and things seemed to be getting dim.

I woke up the next day in the hospital. I couldn’t even open my hands. I felt more pain in my wrists than I had ever felt by cutting myself.

Today I am 28, and after 3 years of intense therapy I am very happily married. I have 2 kids. And I have to look at my scars every single day. My husband sees them and questions why I would ever do something like that. All I can tell him is he wouldn’t understand what I was going through. Even though 6 years has gone by I still struggle with depression. Some people take medication or go see therapists. All I do is look at my kids, my husband and be thankful that I am still here to enjoy them. My kids wouldn’t exist without me. Things get tough for me sometimes. I get a little over-stressed and panic. Worried that I won’t be able to deal with it much longer. But I know that I’m stronger than that. And no matter how bad things seem, you can overcome. I did.


Copyright, Anonymous

Blood, blood, blood. Spatter. Constellations of blood all over the floor, the wall, the bedsheets; blood-trails down the hallway and through the family room and the kitchen as I corpse-walked, already past the event, the bolt of will, to call 911. And still I half-considered going all the way with it, enacting the fantasy, or plan, that had been visiting my thoughts like an evil spirit for months now, which was to slit both wrists, run some lukewarm water in the bathtub, pour in a little salt to reduce the chances of blood clotting, to step in and lie down and let the light-headedness and then the blackness fill the mirror I lived in from which I saw myself, where my mirror-fingers probed the real like the soft feelers of some underwater creature to find ash and flames creeping back from the future.

The first layer of skin is called the epidermis. The paper towels I wrapped around my wrist were almost instantly soaked through, like great clumps of scar tissue that’d fallen away from my body, and I thought, good, this means I’m going to die after all, and I thought, what if the paramedics can’t find my house? And I went to the front door while my mother got out a mop and started cleaning and cleaning and I thought, so this is where I inherited my insanity. And instead of an ambulance there was a police car and then another police car: It’s against the law to try to kill yourself, one of the nurses in the emergency room later told me. Sorry about that, I said, and smiled at her.

After the epidermis comes the dermis proper, layered into the papillary and reticular dermii. An attempted suicide at 5:00 in the morning does not bring out the friendliest in a group of already overworked medical personnel. Hurts like hell, doesn’t it? A nurse said to me. I don’t really have a point of comparison just yet, I said to her, but I’ll try and get back to you if I can. He thinks he’s smart, one nurse said to another. They’re going to use an anesthetic before they put the stitches in, aren’t they? I asked. Of course, of course, the nurse explained, we’re not that mean, and smiled at me. Now Jackie’s face passed though my mind like a short eclipse. I said, listen, it wasn’t really a suicide attempt. A cut that deep? Yes but you can’t just determine suicidal intent based on the depth of a cut. I’d just come home from a one-night-only assignment with this temp agency, I’d just gotten out of the shower; I’d thought, one little cut and maybe I’ll feel better: The frustration, the sadness, will’ve gone someplace, then I’ll sleep.

Why don’t you want some help? the social worker asked. I do, I mean I do need help, but, and I don’t think you’ll quite get this, but it has to do with freedom, right? The reason I’m here now is cause I’m so isolated; I’m financially trapped in this place with no friends and some days not enough money to put gas in the car to see if any of my friends 20 miles away, in whose lives my appearance is invariably a comedy of human insignificance, such that desperation is probably the correct word to describe it, if not pathos, such that this very probably isn’t friendship at all, but long suffering on their part, are even home, and then the rest of my time’s spent to and from job interviews where they give me a data entry test and a typing test and a business math test and a microsoft word test and a microsoft excel test and a microsoft access test and a microsoft powerpoint test and then go wow, you got 95% on this and 93% on this; you should see how most of our applicants score, and they say well, there’s no work available today but we’ve got a few contracts coming and of course we have to operate on a first-come, first-served basis (next is the hypodermis or subcutaneous connective tissue) so try calling us later on next week, and I call later on next week and I call later on the week after that and they say well, we have a three-day assignment on an assembly line at a meat packing plant, and they say well, we’ve got a temporary part-time assignment at UPS, and they say no, nothing’s available yet try calling again next thursday or friday; my b.a. in english is next to useless and I have to get out of this place somehow, so how is isolating me more going to help anything?

I’ve heard of people going from upset over something to playing with their own feces locked up like that. And the social worker says, so you’re saying you don’t want to be admitted voluntarily? And I say, what do you mean by that? And the social worker says, well, you can be admitted voluntarily or we can D-19 you. You have to laugh at them, the codes, the neologisms: They’re there in any institution. Is there a way I can not be put in a psych ward? I ask. With a cut like that, you’re getting sectioned, she says. Thank you for your honesty, I tell her.

My mother is almost 70 and she spends more time asleep than she does awake. The only girl I’ve ever been in love with, and who loves me, is in england and now I’m not even sure if by getting married to her I’ll be able to work there and we can live together. There’s no one around to talk to. I can’t find a decent job even though I’ve got an interview tuesday and unistaff promised to call me back as soon as they’ve found something, just like half the other agencies in the phone book. These are real problems, I’m not just some kid whose cat died, any one of these’d be enough to fuck with anybody’s head, can’t you see?

Oh, you did a great job, said the doctor who looked inside my cut: You’ve severed your radialus longus, your abductor digitus minimi, and hey, there goes the anterior interosseous nerve. Stitches? We’re gonna have to put your tendons back together (that would explain why I could only feel two fingers on my hand). Jackie, you’ll wonder why I haven’t emailed you in so long. You’ll think maybe I’ve “gone off” you, as you put it in your delightful London street slang. I can only hope there aren’t any surprises waiting for me at Steven and I, Rachael and I, please just say you’re having a good hair week and you’ve just finished cleaning your flat and the honduran embassy rang and said you can start work tomorrow.

Mom, I said, why wasn’t I slicing up my wrists when I was making these desperate (or, I wondered, is the word pathos?) jets to London? Why wasn’t I cutting myself in San Francisco? And at last my sister, the physicist, admitted, look, you don’t need to be here; this is an economically depressed area and there aren’t that many job opportunities. Maybe you could find a job in D.C.

The doctor who first looked at my cut said, you do not want to piss me off, when I instinctively touched his hand because the antiseptic he was applying stung. I was terrified, I really was, when I first saw the cut I’d made, I saw white strips hanging from my arm, I saw blood-soaked meat actually moving inside me when I bent my fingers. In the operating room the surgeon said I can give you general anesthesia or I can just sort of push all the blood from your arm and replace it with an anesthetic, and I said why don’t you just inject a local anesthetic, then push all the blood from my arm and replace it? One moment I was lying on a bed in a white room with doctors and nurses all dressed in white and surrounded by white machines, and a nurse was injecting something into my i.v., the next moment I was waking up in that same room. I asked: Can you send me back to sleep? And a nurse said, we’re almost finished. And then I woke up in a hospital room. What day was it? And someone came in and asked, do you feel like hurting yourself again? Yes. No, I said. Do you feel like hurting anyone else? No. can you feel this? (I could feel my fingers again!), and I started crying and went back to sleep, then woke up later and started crying then went back to sleep. Do you hear voices? A psychiatrist asked. Do you feel sometimes very depressed, and sometimes very ecstatic? Are you heterosexual? Do you have health insurance?

Down the hall a woman would periodically begin screaming; she sounded much like a cat a friend and I found once alongside the road. It had been run over by a car; we took it to a vet and he put it to sleep (as they say). Everything on television was either boring, stupid, or both, so I switched it off. On the second day they brought in another patient, an old man who’d apparently swallowed a bunch of very not-meant-to-be-swallowed shit because he couldn’t stop belching. Ever. And when he went to the bathroom, well, indescribable is perhaps the appropriate word.

So you promise not to make yourself sick like this again? A nurse asked him. And you live all by yourself? See, in the eyes of the State, a likelihood of doing yourself harm is the same as a likelihood of doing someone else harm. On the phone to 911, at least, I’d told them I’d had an accident. You should be able to get a bus ticket in no time, my sister said. What a loser, my sister’s husband said at one point. An auditory hallucination? Or had he been unable to help taking advantage of a break in the conversation to throw in a kind of open signifier: If I’d said fuck you I heard that would he have said oh no, no I didn’t mean you I meant… Stating the obvious anyway isn’t it? Opening quote from the book I started reading because everything on television was still boring, or stupid, or both: “Every man who has reached even his intellectual teens begins to suspect that life is no farce; that it is not genteel comedy even; that it flowers and fructifies on the contrary out of the profoundest tragic depths of the essential dearth in which its subject’s roots are plunged. the natural inheritance of everyone who is capable of spiritual life is an unsubdued forest where the wolf howls and the obscene bird of night chatters.”

I’m typing this with one hand, the other’s in a big white cast. Where do you see yourself a year from now, the psychiatrist asked me. Not here, I said. listen, the counselor I called told me he can’t see anyone who doesn’t have health insurance. But I have arranged to get you a prescription for anti-depressants. Just don’t give up, ok? Ma vie en rose and eyes wide shut were due back at the video store the day after I was hospitalized; if they ask what happened maybe I’ll tell them, just for laughs.


Copyright, Anonymous

My story begins when I am 12 years old. I’m sitting in my bedroom with a bottle of Tylenol in my hands and a glass of water on my desk. No one was home, not even me. It was like I was unconscious. Like I was floating outside of my own body, I knew I shouldn’t take all those pills but something was telling me I wanted to, there was a huge battle inside my head I got so dizzy I didn’t even know what I was doing. I popped in three pills gulped them down with water, I was crying so hard I didn’t know whether I would even be able to keep them down. I did, and eventually the bottle became empty, it was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. Eventually I woke up and was just very disoriented, I wasn’t sure where I was, I didn’t know what exactly happened, and I didn’t know whether my parents had seen me in such a wreck.

After that day, I felt like all my pain had been taken away, I seriously could not remember being sad, ever.

Though I didn’t know all those same feelings would come rushing back to me a few years later.

Grade 9, age 15, yet again lying in my bedroom, sobbing so hard, so loud I wondered if anyone could hear me downstairs.

I felt nothing but an overwhelming fear and sadness inside of me. All I could think of was getting it to go away. I thought about pills, but no my mother would be in the kitchen, I couldn’t think of anything else but a razor. I wiped my tears away quickly, put a little cover up under my eyes and went downstairs to the bathroom. I grabbed the first razor I saw, put it in my pocket and went back to my room. I held it to my wrist but couldn’t do it I was crying so hard, I could hardly keep still. I eventually cried myself to sleep and woke up at about 2 a.m. I thought ‘this is my chance, everyone else is asleep’ I had never cut myself with a razor before, well deliberately anyways. I pushed as hard as I could down on it and pushed it sort of towards me, and just slid it across, I was amazed that it wasn’t painful at all. I did that about 3 more times before it started to hurt. I fell asleep hoping, praying that god would be kind enough to me to let me not wake up.

The morning after, I woke up, my eyes had bags under them and they were slightly dark.

I didn’t feel better I felt worse. I was pissed. I hated god, I hated myself, I hated my friends, my family, everything.

This though was not the last time. There are two more times this year, grade 11 age 16 and 17. At the begining of this year my best friend I found out had attempted suicide, and though I was shocked and I wondered why she didn’t tell me before then, I understood. I told her my stories and hers were basically the same. She attempted at an early age (earlier than me), attempted a couple years after, then a couple years after that, and also just recently. Well not recently anymore, about February 2001.

After she told me that, what could I do? I went home cried, did the same as her, I felt so bad for her, and for me, I just wanted her to feel like she wasn’t alone. I didn’t show her what I had done. But told her much later.

My mom got worried about me because I said I didn’t believe in god. The fact was I hated him. It’s not like I worshipped satan I just didn’t think god was in me. I still don’t.

One day I went over to my best friend’s house, we went swimming and went out to her boathouse where we both broke down, I couldn’t help it. I didn’t want my depression to effect her, but I couldn’t stop! My mom seemed to think that she was a bad influence on me, because I happened to tell her Sarah was sad. I got so mad when she even suggested me and Sarah not hang out as much, so I hung out with her more and more (considering she and I didn’t live very far away from each other) all I wanted to do was yell at her ‘I was already depressed before I met Sarah! She didn’t make me this way, you did!’

Anyways, that one night, Sarah happened to make ‘death soup’. It was just a mixture of a lot of different pills. She said it would for sure kill someone. She had mashed them up so that she could snort them later on. She didn’t want me to snort them with her but I insisted. We wrote notes, mine saying it was not Sarah’s fault it was my idea, she didn’t want me to do it but I insisted. All I did was defend her, my soulmate the only person in my world that knows just how I feel.

We woke up the next morning, I couldn’t move, I could barely speak.. I wondered if Sarah was dead. I tried to wake her but she didn’t wake. I think she was passed out. I crawled out of bed and into her bathroom. Where I puked my guts out. I vomited so long I wondered if I would die from that.

I didn’t, obviously, I haven’t gotten any help, I’m still best friends with Sarah (who is taking anti-depressants), I am still depressed off and on. I still, if I had the choice, would just lay in my room all day. So no one could see how pathetic I am. Or see me crying, but I don’t have that choice. I must go to school, I must act happy so my parents can never know, so my brothers can never know, so my friends will never know.

No one can know about me and Sarah. And no one will ever know.

Tomorrow I’ll Be Better

Copyright, Anonymous

DancerDaisies, broadway music floating through my body, and sunshine radiating its glory all over my room. Sounds like a good day, eh? Not really.

The sad thing is, I dont even remember what happened that day. I was around 13 years old, equipped with a few good CD’s and a pink razor, with white daisies glittered all over it. My mother bought them at CVS, she thought they would be a nice change from the standard grey ones that used to sit aimlessly in the closet.

Anyways, let me get back to where I think I began. My bed was deeper that day somehow, my whole body seemed to be engulfed into it and sit there like stone. The Forrest Gump theme song was listlessly playing in the backround, and my flowered daisy seemed to be calling my name. Sitting there all alone. Hey, I shouldn’t be selfish, my razor needed company too, right? No one should be alone. I was doing it for the razor.

Numbminded, I reached over for the piece of plastic. My trance was momentarily interupted by the moisture that dripped from my eyes and fell helplessly onto my knees. With my fist in a tight pulse, I shook and stared at my begging veins. I deserved it, the razor would love it. If I did this then everything else would be okay, it would just fall into place.

DancerThe uplifting part of the song came. My right hand was lifted. It began slicing horizontally like a pyscho with a machine gun, killing every civilian in its path without a second thought. I didn’t stop. Not until my blood started to drip on the carpet, that is.

My left forearm was suffocated with thick blood. It was pulsing, moving, keeping me company and bringing a clever grin to my face. Normal? Yes! Who defined normal anyways?

Better bandage myself up; better run into the bathroom and get some gauze strips and medical tape. Don’t worry me, me will take care of you. It’s okay me, me is here now. Me will make everything okay, so close your eyes, and relax, you’re not alone anymore.

That same pattern has been going on for about five years now. Happy to say, yes, I do change razors, and yes, my mind is in much better place. I get sick of hiding scars and wearing long sleeve shirts, even when it’s so hot that I can feel the sweat between my thighs. I was sick of being a freak, of cutting, of being me. So I have cut it down a lot, but unfortunately, every now and again I get hit with one of those ironic ‘sunshine’ days. Hey, its okay, we all do sometimes. Right?

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