Wave of Mutilation 

I have always considered self-harm to be out of my realm of possibility. I don’t cut myself, I don’t cut my hair when I’m feeling depressed, and i’ve never removed one of my eyebrows. I’ve never given the topic of self-harm much thought, honestly, until the other day, when I was having a particularly stressful conversation with my husband. We were outside talking, and he asked me repeatedly to stop picking. I have been picking at my skin for years. My arms, my shoulders, my neck, my face. Most of the time I don’t even recognize that I’m doing it. I absent mindedly scratch away at my skin until I draw blood. I have deep scars, especially on my arms. Sometimes it takes months to heal, because I keep pulling the skin off to create a fresh wound. He told me that I do it to relieve stress, but that it causes me more stress in the long run, because having a face with bullet sized holes in it starts the cycle all over again. 

I have been thinking a lot about why I do this, and i’ve come up with a few ideas. 

Stress relief. When I’m frustrated, upset, anxious, I scratch away until I’m feeling better. Although as my husband mentioned, the craters in my skin cause more stress when I look at them, which results in me scratching more. 

It feels good. It’s a release of tension. I don’t know that I can accurately describe it, but I can feel areas of my body that feel like they’re going to explode. When I break the skin it literally feels like a release of pressure. 

It keeps me from feeling good about myself. There are a lot of times when I don’t feel like I deserve to feel good about myself. When things in my life are headed in a positive direction, I dig in to remind myself that I don’t deserve happiness. I don’t deserve someone telling me I look pretty. I feel ugly on the inside, so I subconsciously make myself ugly on the outside to match. At times my ego seems grandiose, I am skilled at portraying myself as someone who is overconfident, secure in their own skin, someone who can’t be bothered with what anyone else thinks. On the inside I am none of tthos things. I am riddled with self doubt, I hate my appearance, and the things people say and do affect me deeply. I think now that exposing the raw layers of my skin is a way to expose who I really am on the inside. I don’t think it’s working. I’m literally peeling the mask off that force myself to wear everyday. 

Self-harm can be so many things and manifest in myriad ways. It’s meaning is personal, and everyone is different. The important thing is to recognize what it is to you, and find your way out. I am in the realization stage. As I’ve been writing this I’ve been clawing at my face. I don’t yet have a plan to overcome this, but I thought writing about it may help sort some things out. 

   
  I don’t have acne. I never have.  
Have you made it to the other side of self-harm? Leave me a comment and tell me your healthy way of coping with the urge to hurt yourself. 

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Pieces. 

Does anyone else feel like their lives are constantly on the verge of falling apart?

I have a lot of good things going on right now. Biggest kid is playing lacrosse and loving it, middle kid is coming out of her shell and enjoying her school and mates, smallest kid, is growing like a seed and developing a very sweet personality. This weekend I met William Shatner, something that I never thought would happen, and he was every bit the man I imagined him to be. Later on this month I’ll be travelling to Calgary with my brother for the Fan Expo there, and at the end of the month I have my oral surgery consultation so that I can begin the process of fixing my teeth. In the wise words of every 90’s kid, everything’s coming up Milhouse. So what exactly is my problem? 

I am constitutionally defective. No matter how much good can happen on the outside, the inside is still highlighting all of the things it feels are wrong about me. My inner monsters hate my body, but steal my energy, so I can’t find the motivation to exercise. The want is there, but the hate always wins. The inner journal of my mind is constantly stained with pools of sticky, black ink; the kind that never dries, but instead glues pages of good thoughts together so that I can’t read them. I know that they’re there, but I can’t see them without tearing the pages. 

The biggest pools of ink currently staining my mind are telling me that my supporters and loved ones are getting tired of me not ‘getting better’. One minute I’m feeling strong and wanting to talk to Big Daddy about what I’m feeling, and the next I’m worried that I’m becoming too much of a burden for him to bear. His life comes with its own stressed and worries, a lot caused by me. How much more can I put on his shoulders before he collapses? I have nightmares of waking up to him gone, the children with him. Finding out that he can no longer act as my caregiver, that I am no longer fit to be a mother. My bipolar monster telling me that they would all be better off without me. Even in dreams I cannot escape the clutches of mental illness. I awake in a cold sweat, heart racing, sometimes crying. I know that everyone is tired of hearing how tired I am, but I wake up exhausted from stress. I haven’t slept peacefully in years. I can’t remember the last time I went to bed not hating myself. 

I spend the majority of my days trying to make it seem like I’m not struggling. I can smile, I can laugh, I enjoy my children, but nothing (so far) has been able to quiet the anger and self loathing that I feel inside. Everything I do, my demons find a way to tell me I could’ve done it better, or that what I’ve done is too insignificant to matter – so I should stop trying. Run away, stop being a burden on the people I love. They don’t deserve a crazy mother, wife, daughter, friend. Why do I punish them? I rationalise how much better off we would all be. Perhaps if I left and didn’t feel the constant guilt or not being the person I should be, I would also feel better. When the rational part of me pushes those thoughts away and reminds me that I am a good mother, and that I couldn’t survive without my girls, the monsters call me a coward. It hurts, and I feel alone. No matter how hard my loved ones try, I am always alone. Alone with my manic thoughts of grandeur, my depressed thoughts of wanting to die, my rational thoughts of putting on clean clothes and trying to make it through another day. In the end, these thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are all I’ll ever have, they are what I’m made of, and as hard as I try, I cannot quiet them. More often than not it is too hard to combat these feelings. I lay on the couch, distract myself with tv or my phone. My mother thinks I’m lazy. Maybe I am. I’m losing the will and the energy to fight every single minute of every single day. I make promises I can’t keep in the hopes that something will click inside of me and I will magically become the person that I’m “supposed” to be. Instead I repeatedly let people down. Why am I the only one that doesn’t function like a proper human being? 

I know that I’m not, but it’s hard not to feel that way. I am always alone. I am the only one fighting my battle, and even though they try, no one can help me. 

So here I sit, the coward on the couch. Over weight, lazy, and unwilling to be a productive member of my family. I’m sure that’s how it looks from the outside, anyway.