For anyone who has triggers or has no wish to read about issues regarding depression, suicide/suicidal thoughts, childhood abuse, or self-harm, then please do not read this article.
I will be glad when 2017 finally ends. It has been one of the worst years of my life, and there were times I never thought I would see the end of it. Seriously. I have a darkness in me. Sometimes it threatens to overwhelm me, as it almost did this year. I have survived to this point at the years end, certainly not unscathed. but still here. This is a very hard thing for me to write about and I’m not sure where to start.
I am a writer, and I’m also a loner, and an introvert. I don’t mix well with others, though I wish I could. If people get close to me they usually get sick of me or bored with me, and I find it hard to deal with rejection especially since I reach out to so few people. I think it’s best that I keep to myself at times. If I am intimate with someone, they will eventually lose interest in me or push me away, and it hurts. It hurts a lot.
There were two things that went on to spark a crisis for me this year. Firstly at the beginning of the year, following a resolution I made to try to sort my life out, I finally began talking about how I was sexually abused when I was eight years old. I had never talked about it before. A therapist suspected that was an issue when I was being assessed as a 17 year old and tried to prise it out of me, but failed. There was also another time, a couple of years ago, I resolved to talk to a therapist about it, but she couldn’t see me for over a month and by the time the appointment came I had lost my courage to talk about it and canceled. I’m a member of a secret small group of friends on Facebook. There we talk about things we don’t necessarily want other people to know and it was in this group that I first talked about what happened to me. Talking about was like opening a Pandora’s Box. All this stuff came out. Yes I was glad I had got it off my chest, but a whole host of other feelings came with it. I had to finally admit that it had happened to me. For years I had suppressed it and now having to confront it made it more real for me. I was embarrassed, I was ashamed, and I didn’t want people thinking of me as a victim. I also became full of anger and rage about what had happened to me. And this rage began to dominate me, and began to spill out at inopportune times.
The second thing that happened was at the same time this was going on I fell deeply in love with one of my flatmates, which I shouldn’t have. She already had a partner, and she was a flatmate. But I can’t control who I have feelings for, and can’t switch off my feelings for people. It would be nice if I could. We used to talk a lot about various things in our lives and I treasured every moment I spent with her. I even ended up smoking again as it gave me an excuse to hang out with her. I wished I could spend more time with her, but she was with someone else, so it couldn’t happen. When I have strong feelings for someone it can bring out the worst in me. I get jealous and possessive. Which is another reason I think it’s best I keep away from others. Then one day she began pushing me away and it made me feel hurt and angry. In March, after an altercation, she unfriended me and stopped talking to me. I was devastated. I had never felt so wretched. I ended up drinking a lot of whisky and cutting my arm up with a craft knife, not as a suicide attempt, but as a way to punish myself for my actions which had led me to this. We eventually did begin talking again, but it was very civil. I was now just a flatmate, not a friend, something she reiterated several times over the next few months. She would also engage others in the house with conversations, sometimes directly in front of me, but not me, in fact she would ignore anything I said. And that hurt. Eventually I ended up screaming at her one night, and I’m not proud of that. I thought she was deliberately trying to hurt my feelings. Then in late June after another altercation I resolved to kill myself.
At the time the house was mostly empty. Flatmates were away elsewhere in the country. I was severely depressed and had run out of hope and I no one to talk to about it. I wrote a suicide note and then ran a bath of hot water. I took into bathroom with me my iPod, whisky, and a knife. It took a while to gather up the courage to cut myself, but once I did I began to cut myself with a focused determination. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the knife was too blunt. No matter how much force I put into it I couldn’t do a deep enough cut. My arm was bleeding but not enough to cause harm. After a lot of frenzied cutting I eventually gave up. I just ended up sobbing until the water became cold. When it became clear I was no longer going to kill myself that night I got out of the bath and collapsed in my bedroom. My arm was cut up and bleeding but my blood clots up quite quickly, so it wasn’t that much of a problem. I did resolve to sharpen my knife and do it again the next night, but by that time the strong desire to die had lessened. As it was the middle of winter I don’t think anyone noticed the cuts on my arm under my sleeve.
I learned that night that given a sharp enough knife I would probably kill myself. Since then the woman I was in love with and her partner have moved out and that was probably the best option for both of us. I no longer see them or hear them all the time, and in fact I no longer see them at all. I have slowly begun to heal, but it is slow going.
I am proud of my writing. I am so proud of my poetry. I don’t care if no one else likes it, because I like it and I feel it is good. But it’s not enough to save me from the darkness. I know I should probably go back into counseling to talk about my abuse and what’s happened this year, in fact there is a government agency willing to pay for it all, but I’m mindful that I withhold information from therapists. I don’t tell them everything, I keep stuff hidden. It’s what I’m used to doing. So I’m not sure it can help me, or ultimately save me. The thing is if I have resolved to kill myself I’m not going to tell anyone, not if I want to really die. I am too brittle for this world. I want to be a better person, but I’m not sure how to do that. I don’t know if I will survive in the end. It all depends on how strong I am when the next crisis or severe depression hits. Up till now I’ve always been strong enough, though I nearly wasn’t this year, and that has shaken my belief that I will always come through it. I am a survivor, but the darkness is always there.