The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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tell me all about it
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
I've started this three times and keep erasing it trying to figure out how to put this. Every time I start, I kind of descend into really dry psychobabble I learned during intense study after my very first Psych class, when I found out there was a word--there was a concept--that covered what I'd been doing when I was nineteen. I was shocked and horrified and went along with vague class discussion, freaked out that everyone else knew about this--knew about this--and half of them were making fun of it. So I read. I read and read and read and I still don't know more than I started, just like I didn't know then that there wasn't something seriously wrong with me that I couldn't talk about to anyone, ever, not my best friend, not my boyfriend, not the people who were around me when it happened, not anyone after.

The first person I ever told about it was [personal profile] svmadelyn. The second was [personal profile] chopchica. Then I could talk about it. Sort of.



I used to cut myself when I was nineteen, when I found out by accident it helped. I mean, I won't lie about this, it's better than antidepressants, better than drugs, better than anything I've tried but writing--and possibly morphine, but whatever. When I say it helped, I mean--

This may not be obvious, but I'm just now getting into a lighter shade of severe depression after eight months talking to myself about brain chemistry and vitamin supplements and being careful about because it drowned out the reminder of the fact I own a boxcutter and can get a scalpel and I know, I know this like I know my name, that it would have helped. I haven't even considered it viably in years, but I caught myself thinking that it wouldn't be that bad. You can't even see the other scars. Because you know, I get we all are jaded and shit and people who really are cutters are like, not going to be on the internet talking about it, those are just attention-deprived teenagers and fuck them, that shit's funny, the attention whores. If you're a real cutter, you wouldn't talk about it, you wouldn't tell people about it in a last ditch effort not to go through with it, and you sure as fuck aren't triggered by anything happening, because the internet isn't real and if it's real you don't talk about it.

Fuck this shit; it's not like anyone is going to sit down after reading this and think, Gosh, maybe taunting someone threatening to cut themselves is like, bad or something, obviously it's attention whoring because if it was real, real real, they'd be ashamed of it. Yeah, no, shame my friends has nothing to do with it; I liked it. I loved it. It was the best thing, the only thing that worked when nothing did. It set an endorphin and adrenaline rush, it set off seratonin transmitters, it set off euphoria, I have no idea, everything I've read lies because when they talk about it, they miss the entire point.

In general, if you're a cutter, welcome, yes, there's something wrong going on there. In a shocking turn of events, depression isn't unique and for some reason, it's much more preferable to sit around in a fugue state unable to even want to get out of bed than let a little blood and feel like you can face civilization again. Take medication, meditate, think cheery thoughts, go out and get active, sleep more, eat right, and if that doesn't work, don't suicide, it gets better. And don't even fucking think of picking up that razor; the zombie look works for you. Better that than scarring. Better that than parade around with scars like the attention whore you really are because how can that feel good so it's not real. If it were real, real, real, real, real, you wouldn't talk about it.

It gets better. I know. And then it gets worse and the cycle starts again and its' not like I know right now isn't forever, that if I'm right about how this cycles, and I know myself, I have at least six months before I'm back to something resembling baseline, and that's until the next time. I'll backslide again in a few weeks--I know this shit cold, it's hilarious how self-awareness just does shit, but I'm not suicidal. I haven't been. Self-destruction can take so many forms, and if you're really fucked up, there are many better ways to hurt yourself so you have to live with it. I'm not scared, I've never been scared of killing myself; I'm scared of that, of the moment not-caring becomes finding a way, any way, to care about something. Being mildly OCD--diagnosed by a trufax doctor, so fuck off the sneer--has one use only for me when it gets like this and I've used it ruthlessly from spending hours and hours creating spreadsheets no one will ever see of stupid shit to hours reading linux to days and days of doing nothing but uninstalling and reinstalling and crashing my server so I could do it again and again until I could sleep, or what passes for sleep, because you can't call this shit insomnia when your life is where sleep, real sleep, is the fucking exception.

Just so we have that down, let's count the ways I find all cutting discussions fucked up.

It's more socially acceptable to drink for depression than cut yourself. It's more socially acceptable to become a drug addict for depression than cut yourself. It's more socially acceptable to commit suicide than cut yourself. Those three get you nice people who want to help. Cutting gets you internet diagnosis of attentionitis and mockery and reacting to it gets you more. Shock me.

I'm not advocating for finding a clean razor and practicing your art skills, anymore than I'm advocating for alcohol, drugs, or any of a thousand ways people with depression find something like relief. I'm saying, this is something people do to deal, and one that doesn't get you in the ER for an overdose, costs very little, and doesn't involve hurting other people because you ran out of ways to hurt yourself.

All of these things--all of them--are not the problem in the end. The problem is that you're fucked up from depression and there's no cure. There is no cure. It will never go away, and it will hit you from nowhere, or from a mile away you watch it coming and there's nothing you can do to get out of the way. You know, you know what life will be like, when it hits; you know you won't think right, you won't feel right, everything becomes impossible and ridiculous and boring and hateful and the most ordinary world imaginable becomes a nightmare you won't get to wake up from. You don't know when it will end and you take on faith it will end at all. It's kind of all you have, really, in the end; it's you and a brain that's betrayed you on the most fundamental level, that's stripped you down until the world you live in might as well be a different fucking universe than the one that everyone else seems to live and love and enjoy. And the worst part is, you do know it. You do. You know. And you still can't fix it. You just have to live with it.

Now, tell me about that girl--usually a girl, always a girl, you know girls, they do it for attention, that's what they want, attention--who totes faked it for attention again. She showed you her scars, she writes bad myspace poetry, she thinks she's a goth, it's not real. Because you know real people that have it and they're nothing like that. You do it and it's nothing like that. It's really all about you.

Come on, you know you want to. You know. You learned it on the internet.

Note: I reserve my right to make as many cutting jokes as I want. There's something comforting about them; sure, it's the internet joke, but it's a joke because other people did it and you know what? I need to know that.



I feel better. Ranting, I admit, isn't as good, but there's a lot less clean up.

Also, person who might not want to be named in my DW/LJ but had surgery for gall bladder, update me! I can't find the comment or the email, because I haven't read most of it. I should get caught up on that.

Posted at Dreamwidth: http://seperis.dreamwidth.org/72602.html. | You can reply here or there. | comment count unavailable comments

I get it. I didn't cut, but for a while when I was 15 I burned myself every other day. It had about the same effect without the blood because if I had bleed anywhere my mom would have found it and that would have been bad. Want to know the best way to get the smallest burn with the max amount of pain? Ask me. It involves colored pencils.

I take meds now, but every so often I catch myself looking around for matches and a toothpick.

[ETA: I only stopped because I got caught and they took away all the things I could use to start fires]

Edited at 2011-01-23 11:59 pm (UTC)

I take meds now, but every so often I catch myself looking around for matches and a toothpick.

God, yes. Well, in my cases, boxcutters. Ironically, the scarring came from the surgical razors; the boxcutter cuts healed perfectly in less than a year, but I can still see the lines from the scalpel.

*sends hugs*

ETA: Answered while you were editing!

[ETA: I only stopped because I got caught and they took away all the things I could use to start fires]

I only got caught once, the first time. Everyone thought, I think, that had scared me, so there were no checks, but they did take the boxcutter, which is why I went to a scapel until I could get it back.

Edited at 2011-01-24 12:03 am (UTC)

(Deleted comment)
God, yes, this, this is the whole damn point, that nothing else is quite as good, but my legs are a mess already and I'm trying so damn hard to be better, to be well-adjusted, to not be fucked up.

Yeah, I've settled for "not visibly fucked up" but I pretty much failed at that. I don't cut anymore, but what I do now is not an improvement.

And, in the end, I'm just drinking a lot more lately instead and the despair is still there. C'est la vie.

Fuck, I'm sorry. I'm pretty much one shade from there. Alcohol never worked on me for elevation; it just intensifies what's already there. It's so stupid, but that used to piss me off so much, because it just felt so unfair. Which is insane, but--yeah.

*sends hugs* I wish I had actual useful words here that work. God knows if there were, Id' be shouting them into the mirror every morning.

(Deleted comment)
It's now some 10 years in the past, but yes - it worked in an immediate, relief sort of way. It would make me feel better enough that I would stop wanting to commit suicide. Unfortunately broken mirrors and bottles leave scars, which I'd rather I didn't have now that I'm older and things really are "better."

Thanks for sharing this.

I guess it shows how differently people are wired. In my darkest days, I never thought of doing anything like that--mostly because that would have taken motivation; motivation that I didn't have at all. My depression took the form of a leaden despair that kept me from doing much of anything.

It's still around, as you said. It lurks. It's like a sneaky beast that sneaks up and smothers you, and even meds just keep it from completely taking over on the worst days. There are still things that I used to find joy in that don't even register for me any more. Luckily I have found other things to bring me joy--like my jewelrymaking, like learning new techniques. And my friends. :-)

Sweetie,

I can't lie and say I understand what you felt because I haven't been in that space myself. I do know what a dark pit depression is from having watched Lee struggling with it for years. And, I know the feeling of being trapped I feel some days because no one else in the family ever helps us with taking care of mom. But, it's not the same despair, I know that.

All I can do is offer an ear to listen if it helps. And hugs. Even though they're virtual the feeling behind them is real. I'd gladly help you carry the pain each day if I only could.

*hugs*

Yes, yes yes. Exactly what you said, in so many ways, but especially the part about if you talk about cutting, you're not a "real" cutter.

It's hard to even know what I think, really. I cut for 10 years, my arms and parts of my legs are a mess. I go back and forth on hiding my scars from shame and wearing t-shirts to work in this mock-definance of "I don't care if you know or what you think", all the while I'm wondering if people notice.

It's been 15 months since I've "stopped". I put stopped in quotes because maybe I haven't cut, but the thoughts, the idea, the desire is still underlaying there. And every once and a while I catch myself starving myself instead, and have to fight to get it all back. And it pisses me off that it's such a fucking stereotypical 'teenage girl thing', which is just so stupid that I can't even put words to it.

I spent years doing the reading, the research, trying to figure out what was wrong with me. My conclusion was eventually: there's nothing wrong with me. I'm just a person, living and breathing, and thinking and wishing. And that's all. No meds, not anymore. It took years to get back off of them and maybe I'm less stable this way, less consistent, more in and out and up and down. But I'm more me. And less sick.

Thank you for posting. It's nice to know that there are others.


It's hard to even know what I think, really. I cut for 10 years, my arms and parts of my legs are a mess. I go back and forth on hiding my scars from shame and wearing t-shirts to work in this mock-definance of "I don't care if you know or what you think", all the while I'm wondering if people notice.

God, this. So much.

It's been 15 months since I've "stopped". I put stopped in quotes because maybe I haven't cut, but the thoughts, the idea, the desire is still underlaying there. And every once and a while I catch myself starving myself instead, and have to fight to get it all back. And it pisses me off that it's such a fucking stereotypical 'teenage girl thing', which is just so stupid that I can't even put words to it.

However, it's a very good indicator of knowing if someone is a dick. Almost fool proof. And yes, its been years since I cut, but while I stopped, I didn't stop being one. Sometimes I barely think about it, and sometimes, I want it more than I want anything on earth, but it's always there. I can't even say I won't do it again; when I did it before, every time, it was a surprise--I'm doing this? Again? So. Yeah.

No meds, not anymore. It took years to get back off of them and maybe I'm less stable this way, less consistent, more in and out and up and down. But I'm more me. And less sick.

Yeah. Me too. I knew what I was trading when I stopped taking them, too. It's all of that.

I couldn't stop reading this-even though, yes, it is triggering. I knew it would be - but it's so damn helpful to have someone just say it like you do. No sharing of details here, and it has been a long time, but it is ALWAYS there. And you're right-I smoke cigarettes to get me through the anxiety that cutting used to get me through. A terrible replacement and everyone in my life really wants me to stop. But here's the thing, unlike cutting, it doesn't feel to them like I am doing it TO them. And I even kind of agree....I mean really I mostly cut when I was just feeling so damn unseen that I needed someone to really GET my pain. So, smoking may be killing me, but no one around me feels like I'm doing it to manipulate them. Fucked up as it is, this is a better option for me.



You know how I feel about it, I think, but in case you don't: word. And I do still have a visible scar I can find - but one is nothing. It's shocking to me, how things heal.

And I do not know how some people never have the urge to destroy things, to rend and tear and to turn that on yourself and how it HELPS, it makes things better... people's experiences are so varied and it fascinates me.

Same here. I don't cut, it's never occurred to me which is good because there were times where that would have left me a bloody mess in some hospital's psych ward and my house an abattoir, but sometimes the hurricane of emotions and thoughts reaches category 5 and pain is the only things that helps as well as the need to feel something crumble in my hands. There's a mental list of things I can either live without or can be easily replaced. There's also a STAY AWAY list, which always always includes the car and sometimes the phone.

The storm always passes but the ordeal until that happens leaves the world bright and loud and exhausting. Then there's the emotional aftermath of seeing the damage caused and gap where a belonging should be.

Thank you so much for this. You are a lot braver than I am.

It's not even close to this, but when I was depressed/anxiety/panicky, the only thing that got me out of panic attacks or near-panic attacks or anxiety thought cycles was digging my nails as hard as I could into my hand and stay like that. Never drew blood, but yes. It was the only thing that helped because without pain I didn't actually feel like I was present in my body. It's--yeah. It's never okay to hurt yourself, but god, the reactions are so weird. It's either "Oh my god you need help RIGHT NOW", as if that was a more clear sign of immediate danger than, I don't know, the apathy, or it's "Uh, you're not really having panic attacks, you just want me to feel sorry for you".

I appreciate this. When I learned that there were words and causes and ways out, I created a huge website. For cutting, eating disorders, drugs- the ways I was trying to re-assert control and power over myself, my body, something. I took a class for three years- Eastern psychology techniques to give me a set of tools to use so I could resist my self-harming compulsions. Smartest things I ever did, building that site and taking that class.

I still have feelings that can be a little too large to contain, but not those long tunnels I used to constantly find myself travelling.




It was very brave of you to make this post.

That means a lot coming from you especially. Thank you very much.

Thank you for this. I never technically cut, but there was a lot of scratching with fingernails and other objects, sometimes hard enough to draw blood. And there's always that knowledge that when it gets bad enough--when you can't bear the gray haze of depression or the horrible whining buzz of anxiety anymore--it works. It always works.

(Deleted comment)
Thank you for this. I...remember so clearly the way it helps that some days it's so hard not to start again. (Then again, being 3am with no sharp enough knives or razor blades in the house does wonders for helping. On a not at all related note, punching one's self in the face does not give the same high, though it does produce a lovely bruised area that you can continue tapping for days to maximize pain output. Ahem.) I hadn't really parsed properly that I was cycling again until this, and I really needed the wake-up call.

So...thank you.

(Also I apologize for the tl;dr / cool story, bro / TMI that this comment is. I just...you don't know me and don't care and sometimes it's easier to tell these things to people who don't have a huge emotional stake in your life.)

Hey, I am a huge fan of tl;dr comments. HUGE. *hugs you if you are into that sort of thing* Thank you for commenting. I mean, in theory, there are tons of people out there who do this, have done this, will do it, but it's--good to actually read the comments and see them and know they're there somewhere.

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