Warning – this post contains some of the thoughts that I have when I am pushed to self-harming or suicidal plans. It contains mention of some of the ways in which I self-harm. If this may be distressing for you, you may not wish to read further.
There is nowhere I fit.
The rare times I felt any safety as a child were:
- Talking to Dad about what had happened just before Mother went into hospital, when her behaviour had become so wildly bizarre it could no longer be ignored. At last I was heard. My fears were heard. This was short-lived. As soon as she was back home, the admission of the strangeness was lost, explained away, forgotten… her world returned again, her world consumed ours.
- When I had some academic success. Did well in a test, or an essay, or an exam. Got good marks.
Now, perhaps, it’s also “safe” if I’m “recovering” at the pace and in the way my family want. For a while, it’s as if a bridge of some kind of expression or understanding can be built. Sometimes they startle me with understanding and acceptance and support and encouragement and say they are there any time I want to talk. But it’s laced with fear because as soon as I can’t keep up the progression, keep “moving forwards” – so just when I’ve started trusting, and just when I most need help (maybe I’m distressed, anxious, the voices are worse again, something has gone really wrong in my life) – they pull away, they are angry, they limit contact, I’m the problem, I just have to make more effort and try harder, I have to realise how impossible I am to be around, I’m a spoilt brat, everyone says how rude I am, on and on and on. Shift into a different gear, we don’t know anyone else who’s done as little as you, reaffirming the embarrassment and failure I am.
So the only way to cope, to avoid yet more pain of starting to trust and then yet again failing, hurting – others, and myself – is to only have contact when I can act how they want me to, present what’s acceptable and what they want to see. That won’t be rejected. The rest I’ll hide, and when I cannot hide, I’ll make sure I’m alone.
I do not fit in their world and I do not think I will ever be a part of it. Constantly I am too much to cope with. “Why isn’t it enough for you? Look what everyone has done for you! It isn’t anyone else’s responsibility to make you feel better. Look what I’ve done. It would be nice if you responded. It would be enough for most people. Why isn’t it enough for you?”
I hear the voices joining in the chorus and the guilt settling like a weight crushing my shoulders, fighting with the anger rising within me, mixing to a block of lead in my chest.
Why isn’t it enough for you? You didn’t say sorry! You didn’t say sorry enough!
I don’t know. I don’t know why it isn’t enough. I don’t know how to say sorry enough for the failure and rubbish and disgusting thing I am. Some part of me wanted to show you the razor marks then, the cuts down my arm, they still weren’t enough, but that was how sorry I was – though I still couldn’t do it well enough, I was too weak.
I don’t know why it isn’t enough. But there’s this weight on my heart and on my brain, there’s a noise in my head, the voices, screaming, white noise, sucking me back into flashbacks and memories of pain and fear and disgust and hurt and desperately, desperately wanting someone to protect me and see.
I don’t know why it isn’t enough. But I did try to tell you, and I did really want you to see my fear, back then. But all you could see was her, and she was perfect, and I was the problem, the one that had to change, that was acting weirdly, not trying hard enough. I did try to tell you and you were there, but now you say I didn’t speak and you didn’t see.
I don’t know why it isn’t enough. But inside every part of me is breaking and crying and I’m fighting the urge to run away and not stop, hope I will freeze or collapse or die, lie down and sleep to get away, because I am so, so tired, of what the voices say to me, of being so weak I can’t do what they say, when they tell me to pour the boiling water from the kettle over my hands, to cut deeper, to take the handfuls of pills not just look at them, to actually step on the train tracks this time, it would be so so easy, you vile disgusting selfish pig, why don’t you do it? You’re ugly, you’re dirt, you can’t ever get rid of the evil thing in you, everyone will see in the end, everyone knows you’re evil. Go on, do it, cut, starve, throw up, you disgusting bitch, what right do you have to this…
I don’t know why it isn’t enough. No matter how much I wash or cut or starve, it can’t be sure to get out the evil in me, that errupts dangerously and contaminates and hurts everyone around, and I don’t ever know when it’s next going to happen, that someone gets hurt. Mother told me for long enough that I was punishing her, plotting against her, deceiving, greedy, fat, selfish, getting my own way, hurting her repeatedly, driving her to suicide, driving her away from the family, going to have them sent to prison, and nobody would ever know it was really my fault, they’d think it was hers, but really deep down I’d know it was me, and so would she. So whatever they say, I know it’s me that’s evil really.
I don’t know why it isn’t enough.