the background [pt. 3]

>> 8.19.2012

Find part one here.
___________________

It hurt more than I thought it would, the first time.

I was too scared to use anything as "dangerous" as a knife or a razor blade, so I went for what I had available--a safety pin. I scratched deeper and deeper, and felt the sting, and saw the blood, and went a little bit numb. It was a relief.
The music was pounding in my ears, and part of me knew that I was in it for good. If I didn't have "problems" before all of this happened, I certainly did now. I remember, after it was over and the cut was there, the panic and despair sinking in a little deeper.

How was I going to explain this?
How did I ask for help without saying a word?

The worst part is when no one noticed. I guess it shows just how good I was at keeping the mask in place--no one would entertain the notion that I could do something so "disturbed". It was such a surreal feeling, walking around with the cut on my wrist, waiting for someone to say something, to point it out, to ask. It was like holding my breath, and waiting for someone to tell me I could breathe again.

The relief was only temporary, as it usually is.
The darkness kept getting thicker, and life kept getting harder to get up and live, and the mask was starting to crack. I think I wanted it to crack. I wanted someone to look at me and say, "You're not okay." and "Let me help you, because I know this is real, and I know it hurts, and we can fix this."
That's what I wanted most of all. To be fixed.

~*~

I don't remember how it came out--whether I finally broke down and told someone, or if they asked, but somehow my parents learned about my scars. 

Now that I'm a parent, I understand the panic that they must have felt when they saw the pink lines and the fear they had to swallow when they heard the words spill out of my lips. I also understand the desire they must have had to rationalize the situation and put it in perspective with my age and where I was at in life. They did the best they knew how--prayed with me, sat with me all night on a "self-harm watch", and told me that emotions and hormones were hard things, but they weren't absolute truth. Although it felt empty at the time, I know they were doing everything they could--and I love them for that.

Unfortunately, I needed more. 
I needed more than the knowledge that I couldn't let my emotions or my "teenage angst" control my behavior.
I needed more than a command to not let the devil win. 
I just didn't know all of that at the time.

After the "night of revelation", I bucked up my resolve as best I could and decided that I was going to muscle my way out of this. 
I took the words "fake it 'til you make it" to heart, and started acting the part. I figured that it would have to work eventually--light would break through if I just acted like it was already there.

And it kind of worked for awhile. 
The monster was still inside my head, and the whispers of darkness still wound through my brain, but I buried it deep enough that I thought I was safe and that I had finally conquered it.
I went to school, I went to work, I went to church.
I talked to God, and He listened. I thanked Him for saving me from the devil, and I promised that I wouldn't let my selfishness take over and drag me down again.

Because I thought that's what it was.
I thought that it was just me--the deep, ugly sin inside of me, causing me to get caught up in my own head and my own feelings and putting myself in the center of the world.
Because if I was really a Christian, and if I was really a good person, I wouldn't struggle with any of this. I mean, look at what I had--Jesus, two parents who loved each other, sisters that I loved, a house full of clothes and things, a car, a job, an education, and on and on and on. 
I knew people that had infinitely less, and came from monumentally worse situations that didn't struggle with any of this, and I thought that I was simply the most selfish person on the planet for feeling so absolutely low and sad all of the time, even when I didn't want to.
And that is what made me want out.

~*~

Because I was homeschooled, I skipped my junior year of high school and attended a community college my senior year. 
The pressure was on, since I wanted to get into an Ivy League college or a private university in-state. I knew I needed scholarships and good grades, and that I was going to have to live up to the potential that everyone was telling me I had.

It's kind of funny though, because the strongest memory I have from that time of my life really has nothing to do with college or grades or any of that. 

It's of the freeway, stretching out and curving to the left of my car and the sun rising over the mountains and the thought so plain in my mind, "You could just not turn the wheel, you know. You could drive straight on, into the concrete dividers and all of this would be over." And there was a moment. A split second where relief flooded through my entire body and I knew that it would be the answer.

But it wasn't.

Because the next thought that screamed at me was, "You have got to get help."

1 thoughts:

Anonymous,  August 26, 2012 at 11:20 AM  

Thanks so much for this and just know that by putting this out there, you're touching so many who have blamed themselves for their imperfections based on a distorted view of what God and His grace are all about. It pained me but also gave me a flash of recognition when you attributed your depression to your own selfishness. I'm looking forward to your next installment.

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