On the evening of November 18th, 2011, I had a freak out. Technical term, a “crisis” – a rise of emotion and/or situation likely to cause severe reactions on my part that may be damaging to the situation, people I know and/or myself. That’s a rough definition, anyway.
I tried cutting. But I’d actually cut that month to the point of losing feeling in my arm (calluses? psychological dampers? my arms were too cold?). So it sucked. It wasn’t relieving, satisfying or calming in any way. My boyfriend was not impressed, when he saw me. But I lost the ability to speak when he came in the room. It wasn’t intrusion – I just wasn’t ready to talk. I was too emotional. I started drawing on my arms with nearby markers. They happened to be dry erase markers. I had stains on my skin for a week.
I’m not thrilled about the “style” here, but here’s what I was finally able to sit down and write, a few hours after the crisis had begun.
I’m sitting in my dark office, blinds pulled, floor covered in debris. I threw a temper tantrum. Or I lost my mind.
It started with cutting. But I was just so sick of the stinging pain and my inability to actually stab or cause damage. My boyfriend appeared and suddenly my speech was stuffed up with a sock in my vocal chords and all I could do was cry and sob and say nothing.
I began to rip scrap paper on my desk. I began to roam the room looking for more paper, throwing clipboards on the ground, overturning all the cookies I made into the garbage, flipping boxes of supplies…
I grabbed the dry erase markers and scribbled all over the board, crunching the fibrous end, furious with the light streaks of colour. When it wasn’t enough I scribbled all over my body, trying to scratch out my skin with red ink, green, black, throwing the markers back on the ledge uncapped.
That reminds me. One second.
Ok, they’re capped.
I pulled up my shirt to draw on my stomach and ended up pulling it right off. Then off came my skirt and my stockings. I found the multicoloured box of markers and began to draw on every patch of skin I found. Snowmen, scribbles, cuts, skylines, words of hate and disgust, blocks of colour, the outline of my skeleton.
After I pulled almost all of the Kleenex out of the box and ripped it up onto the floor I finally asked, “What.”
He said he was relieved that I was trying other methods. I spat that I was just sick of feeble infections and slashes and I didn’t know what else to do. He nodded and left me to sleep, keeping my boss at bay.
I woke up an hour ago and stared at the room, cold and hungry. Eventually I put my clothes back on and read an article.
It hurt me that a page I found showed me the research work I wanted to do already done, already being funded for someone else. And here I remain, working a job that bores my soul, 60 hours a week, stuck here until I have raised enough to go to school. I keep falling through funding holes because I have to study abroad, and I’m not a minority, and am therefore assumed to have money. So it is like a slap in the face to be trapped here and losing the race to get to study my field before it’s all history. No one wants to be Wallace, but it was Darwin that had the money.
I saw a show last week, Love Lies Bleeding, the Elton John ballet. It was a blast, and beautifully done. I didn’t know very much Elton John music, and this was a good introduction. One of the final songs was The Bridge, and the duet was so beautiful with the lyrics that I cried. I am not generally someone who listens to lyrics – they are very much secondary to the music. But The Bridge happened to be one of those songs that I heard, and it has lovely, simple lyrics. And it was challenging me not to die and not to give up. I am strung between hating and loving Mr. John and Mr. Tautin for such stabbing sentiment, and the calm, down to earth realism of the song. It asks for taking up responsibility, and for daring.
On those counts I have recently lost all faith and strength, letting depression wrap me in childishness. Fighting to get out of it seems impossible though. The conviction of my worthlessness is so strong, too strong, and beats me every day. If it has to be such a battle to live it seems wiser to give up. My brain is trying to kill me.
I don’t feel like that right now. Some of it seems a bit silly. Some of it still stings. It’s a good glimpse of crisis thinking, though.
P.S. I hate it when you can see that therapists are right. I don’t hate them or blame them for being right often, but sometimes it just really grates to have to look back and say, wow, so there was a perfect example of “catastrophizing” or “black and white thinking” or blah blah – basically my brain climbs to the top of the mountain road and finds that there’s no road back down. How can I feel good when I both believe and don’t believe what my brain is saying? How can I get better when realizing your own brain failure is like seeing that you’re stupid? FRUSTRATING.