Archive | February 2014

Uncertainty

Uncertain

One of my least favorite things. While being spontaneous is fun, I like to know exactly what is going to happen and when it is going to happen when it comes to more serious situations. And right now I’m in the middle of a very serious, very uncertain situation.

If you haven’t read my last post, or you started to and got lazy halfway through (it is really long, I know), a general summary of it would be that the people surrounding me and I are in crisis mode right now. I received so many wonderful responses to my entry that I will be forever grateful for. From family and friends to people I don’t know at all. It’s amazing and heartbreaking how much love and care there is for me out there in the world. Heartbreaking because, much to the frustration of those around me and myself, love and care is not enough to get me through. I wish I could say that I’ve been saved by every person that’s reached out to me. In a way, I have been. Even if it’s just helped me to get from one moment to the next. However, in the long term, I need much more help.

As a result of that need, my mom and therapist are looking into psychiatric hospitals for me to go to. This will be my seventh time being admitted. At this point, we have applied to a program in Maryland specifically for trauma disorders, but they may not accept me for whatever reason. I might not be crazy enough, or I might be too crazy, or I might be the wrong kind of crazy. Then if they approve me, we have to see if insurance will cover enough of the program for us to be able to manage it. If that doesn’t work, I might go back to Brooke Glen (where I spent my last two hospitalizations) or go to the ER and get assigned somewhere. Then it’s just a matter of where a bed is available. Plus I’m kind of on the line between adolescent and adult, so it’s not even a definite as to which unit I’d be on. And don’t even get me started on aftercare. Whether I’ll be discharged home or to an outpatient program or to a residential or group home I have no idea.

So many variables. It’s all very much up in the air. I don’t know what to do with myself, and I don’t know when we’ll definitely know what we’re doing. In the meantime, I’ll go to school tomorrow and try to function like a normal person. Keeping my anxiety down while simultaneously putting all of my energy into maintaining life is going to be a huge struggle. In my mind, every item is a weapon, and every second is an opportunity. See why I need to go somewhere safer? I am holding on by a very thin thread of insecurity. A very very large part of me still wants to die though. That one ounce of doubt in my suicide plan that my teacher and all of you have instilled in me is what is keeping me alive right now. Hopefully intensive treatment can help reverse those parts of me again.

Thank you for your continued support.

You Are Greatly Loved

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Let me begin by saying that this will probably be one of my most serious posts, and I’m hesitating a lot in putting this out there, but I feel like the information is just bubbling inside of me and I’m going to explode if I can’t get it out somehow.

Basically, my life has fallen apart. I know what you’re thinking: “What the hell happened?” Literally nothing. Nothing is different from the time that I was target-free. That’s the weird thing. I relapsed for no terribly apparent reason and I’ve been getting worse and worse still without a cause. Recently, I have had the dosage of one of my mood stabilizers lowered, but I definitely hesitate to put any significance in that.

I’ll break down the week for you.

Monday, February 17, 2014:

I had a meltdown at school. I was sitting in guidance at the end of third period waiting to talk to my counselor. Suddenly, I felt tears start to well up in my eyes. I was like, “Dafuq?” I had no idea why I was crying. I got extremely anxious and depressed. I sat there for a little bit, but I kept spiraling downward. I told the secretaries in the guidance office that I needed immediate help. They said they would try to email and call my guidance counselor because she was in her office with another student. I paced back and forth and my breathing started to get out of control. Suicidal thoughts and shame began clouding my mind. I was flipping shit.

By the time my counselor was free, I was basically sobbing. She asked me what was going on and all I managed to gasp out was “I really want to kill myself.” After we spoke for some time, she called my mom, who came and picked me up. When we got home, my mom wouldn’t let me out of her sight until it was time for me to go to bed. Not long after she left me alone, I cut.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014:

I can’t remember much other than some tidbits of my school day. However, I know that I did cut and burn myself that night.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014:

When questioned on my self-harm at school, I openly said that I had cut and burned. Of course this caused some alarm, but it was known that I had been hurting myself throughout the week as well. Burning just kind of stepped it up. The school nurse checked out my burns and wrapped them. I don’t know why I didn’t expect my guidance counselor to say something to my mom about my self-harm, but she did. I guess I really should have seen it coming. When my mom talked to me about it, I got extremely dysregulated. She really dug into me with points she made about me not putting effort into using skills. The way it came across, however, was more like “Everyone is trying so hard to help you and you aren’t trying at all”. That’s not super far off though.

At that point, something inside of me snapped. For the first time in my life, I decided wholeheartedly that I was going to kill myself. Even other times when I had attempted, it was more “we’ll see what happens” than “this is definitely going to happen”. But on Wednesday I made up my mind that, without a doubt, I would commit suicide on Sunday, the 23rd. I felt almost instantaneous relief. I had an escape. I began planning what I would do. Overdose. My medication and cold medicine I had stashed in my room. Lay on a towel so that clean up would be easier if I threw up. Lock my door and turn on a fan so that if I was having a seizure or in pain I wouldn’t be able to back out and get my mom’s attention. I began writing notes to everyone that was important in my life. These notes would span over 20 people from my friends to my family to my therapist and teachers. I went to bed that night feeling calm and confident despite another aggravating conversation with my mother.

Thursday, February 20, 2014:

I woke up feeling at peace with my decision. I read a text message from one of my good friends saying that I’m meant to do incredible things, and that I’m one of the strongest people in the world. She also said that I would live to be like 105 and then eventually I would go to heaven and have the dopest time together with Isaiah for the rest of forever. That’s when my confidence first started to waver. I was able to accept the compliments and somewhat brush them off.

I ate breakfast. I didn’t want to, but I knew that if I didn’t eat, people would know that something was different. I headed off to school. If I could get through the school day and my following therapy session, I’d be in the clear away from my support staff and therapist. My plan was to avoid my guidance counselor and emotional support teacher. I have daily check-ins with them that I was going to skip. I didn’t go to my first one during homeroom, and things were going okay first period. I was partially paying attention to chemistry, but mostly just writing more suicide notes. I started to get impatient. I wanted to die immediately. Sunday seemed ages away. I decided that I was going to die Friday, the next day.That’s when it occurred to me that another one of my support staff is in my second period. Unavoidable interaction. If I skipped the class, someone would know things weren’t normal. I started getting anxious, but I tried talking myself down. “I can do this.” “I’ve acted before, right? I must have learned something in theater.” “It’ll be okay; its almost over.” I decided that I was just going to try to keep our conversations to a minimum.

I skipped my first period check-in and went straight to second. All I needed to do was keep my cool through second period. It seemed easy enough. I sat down and realized we had a test in that class. Shit. I have testing accommodations in my IEP. She was definitely going to talk to me about that. My support teacher came in and started talking to all the other kids that I guess get testing accommodations too. I thought in a brief moment of hope that maybe she’d forget about me. They were getting ready to leave the room, and I got excited. I thought I was good to go, but then she turned around and asked if I wanted to go with them.

“I don’t know. I’ll probably hand it in blank.” I said less nonchalantly than I would have liked.

She said that that’s why I should come with her. If I turned her down, it would be obvious that something was up. I followed her and the other students to an empty classroom. She passed out the tests. I stared at the paper. I knew the answers, but I couldn’t bring myself to write. Math seems so irrelevant when you’re going to die in a day.

My teacher sat down with me and read me the first question. Without thinking, I said, “It doesn’t matter.” My voice shook and tears began to form. I was surprised and instantly angry. I had no idea why I was about to cry. I was disgusted with my emotion. I needed to die then. I decided to move my death date once again. I would kill myself that night. I took a deep breath and forced myself to maintain composure. She said that she knew it doesn’t matter, and that surviving is what matters for me, but if I wanted to get out of those hallways eventually, it mattered. I didn’t know what to say. My vision got blurry. More tears were coming. FUCKFUCKFUCK is all I was thinking. My teacher got up and brought me a box of tissues. She came around behind me and gave me a hug, whispering “You are greatly loved.”

That’s when I really lost my shit. I felt a pang of agony in my chest. The tears flowed freely. I couldn’t control it. She asked me if I wanted to go to guidance, and I said no. I couldn’t afford letting my guidance counselor see me like that too. Raising alarm was the very last thing I wanted. I thought about all of the people that I love and that love me. It was sinking in that I would be leaving them that night. I thought about Isaiah leaving me. I cried. She asked if something had happened the night before that was upsetting me. I said kind of, but that it wasn’t important. She said “Everything about you is important.” Even more crying.

I sat in that room and cried for a little longer before I stepped out into the hallway. That’s where I began all-out sobbing. After a few minutes, I saw my teacher look through the window in the door to check on me. I’m sure I looked like a complete mess. It wasn’t long after that that the school social worker came up to me. She asked me if I wanted to come into her office. Shit. What have I done? I’m blowing it! I followed her downstairs into her office. She tried to get me to talk to her about what was wrong. I said nothing. I just cried. 

After a bit of her prying, I said, “I don’t want people to care about me.” She asked me why I wanted that, and I just shook my head. I felt like I had already said too much. She said that whether I want them to or not, a lot of people care because that’s what they do. I cried some more. 

Eventually, the social worker had to go to a meeting, so she walked me down to guidance. I was very hesitant because I had no idea how I would handle talking to my counselor that I was usually so open with, but again, if refused to go, things would seem even stranger. I was still crying uncontrollably once I was in my guidance counselor’s office. She asked me many questions, trying to get a grip on what was going on. I said “I don’t know” or “it’s not important” to almost everything. I must have cried nonstop for 45 minutes or an hour before I snapped. She asked me what one thought going on in my mind was, and I said “People love me.” I was exhausted from the war that was going on inside of me. Part of me was screaming to shut the hell up, and the other just wanted to be honest. She asked me why that was upsetting me. What felt like forever passed as the argument continued in my head. I blurted out between sobs, “I’m going to kill myself tonight.”

As you can imagine, this sparked a whole ton of shit. At that point, I just started spewing word vomit. The majority of my plan came tumbling out of my mouth. I regretted each thing I said more than the last. She called my mom of course, who came and picked me up early from school. My mom and I went to Friendly’s after that. Kinda weird, I know, but oh well. She was probably trying to cheer me up. There we started brain storming where to go from there in terms of my life. However, I was still not very committed to living at all. We did it anyway. Unsurprisingly, hospitalization joined the list along with dropping out, being a bum, doing the same thing we were (regular high school and potential work), and some other things. We didn’t figure out which one we were going to stick to. I had a therapy session at 3 o’clock that day, so we were going to wait to get my therapist’s opinion. I thought for sure that she was going to hospitalize me. I had a suicide plan. That’s usually a direct ticket to inpatient. My mom said that if I wasn’t completely open and honest with my therapist, we were going to leave her and find a different one. Now, I have no idea what that would do to help. Seeing someone brand new while in crisis seemed like the worst idea proposed so far. Not to mention the fact that I’m relatively attached to my therapist of two years.

So we got to the therapy office and I was anxious as shit. So many things were at risk. My suicide plan, my freedom, my relationship with my therapist. I was freaking out inside, but I tried to stay as calm as I could on the outside. My mom had called my therapist when she was on her way to pick me up, so she already knew about my plan. I told her what my week had been like in a recap that was similar to this one, but with more swearing. We talked about all the options that my mom and I had come up with. She said that if I went to a hospital, it was likely that they’d only discharge me into a longer term program because I had been discharged home in each of my other hospitalizations and time after time failed to remain safe. This was shitty news. A long term treatment program (like a residential or group home) was not going to make me want to live. 

At the end of my session, we brought my mom in and talked with her a little bit. Not much was decided for sure except that I would have two sessions the next week instead of one. I wasn’t confident in my ability to even get to next week, so it seemed like a pretty thin plan, but I let it go. My mom said that she would be my one-on-one staff, which means that again I would not be out of her sight.

After I was home again, I began to feel numb. Everything felt so surreal. My mom made me help her clear my room of razors and pills. We found razors that I didn’t even know I had. Each time we found one, I slashed my wrists open in my mind. Holding a box cutter, I knew how easy it would be to cut deep enough to really fuck something up. I knew that my mom would be able to get medical attention there fast though. Death would be highly unlikely, and then I’d definitely get sent away. Not worth it. 

Thinking that night, I allowed myself to fall further into my numbness. The thought popped into my head that maybe I was in shock. I had believed with every fiber of my being that I was going to be dead that night, even after I told my guidance counselor. I wouldn’t have gotten as upset as I did if I had had any doubts. 

In the days following Thursday, I tried to go about things as normally as I could. I went to a leadership summit on Friday with students from my school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. Then my friends and I went out to eat. Saturday, I went to breakfast with two of my good friends and hung out with them while they played guitars. My brother and I got a surprise visit from some friends at our house and then went to an auction, a pizza place, and some antique shops. Later Saturday afternoon, my sister came home from college, so that was really cool.

It all sounds great, right? It is great. I’m surrounded by so many wonderful people, but I am plagued by the desire to leave them all. All the while it’s been very much in the front of my mind that I’m not supposed to be here. If my teacher hadn’t said anything to me, I wouldn’t have broken down, if I hadn’t broken down, I wouldn’t have seen my guidance counselor, and if I hadn’t seen my guidance counselor, I really wouldn’t be here. With each person I talk to, I picture them at my funeral. I run through the suicide note that I left for them in my mind. I feel such guilt for wanting to abandon everyone that loves me, but at the same time I feel a crushing amount of disappointment that I haven’t yet.

Today is exactly one year and four months since Isaiah passed away.

It’s also the day that I had originally set out to die. 

I have no idea what to do.

Dear Isaiah,

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These are only a portion of the papers and items I own that have to do with you. It’s anything from a guitar pick to that letter you wrote me. Pictures, a sweatshirt, a bottle cap, a soccer ball, drawings, etc. This is my collection. 

I don’t think I can quite adequately express how I feel right now. It’s an agonizing emptiness. I walked to the bus stop this morning knowing that I wouldn’t see you there. I walked into the high school knowing that you would have been there with me this year. I walked past people that knew you in the hallway. I saw a kid that looked like you and almost threw up. I left school today knowing that you wouldn’t be getting on the bus with me. I came home to our street knowing that we would never play soccer there again. I wake up every day knowing that I won’t see your smile, I won’t feel your hug, I won’t hear your voice.

Life is getting really bad again. I know things wouldn’t be perfect, and we’d both still be struggling, but I know that everything would be easier if you were here. I still can’t even comprehend the fact that you’re gone. It feels like just yesterday I was saying goodnight to you, but at the same time it feels like it’s been a million years.

I don’t want to live anymore.

 

But we can’t both disappear.

 

…right?

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Fading

I’m posting this picture with this entry because A. it’s a really cute picture of Sasha and me and B. my photos from this day are probably some of the last pictures I have where I actually look “normal”. I have this terrible fear of looking normal. Now I don’t mean that in the easily controlled ways. Aside from being kind of androgynous, there’s nothing special about how I dress or wear my hair or anything of that, and I’m okay with that. What this fear has to do with is my skin. Look at my arms in that picture. See anything abnormal about them? No? Exactly. Four and a half years later, my arms are distorted and littered with scars and healing cuts (as well as tattoos, but that’s not what this is about). My legs, chest, hands, and face are as well. In almost every picture that includes my arms, it’s clear that I have scars. If I ever wore shorts or low-cut shirts, the other scars would be exposed as well.

However, my scars are fading now. Some will be with me forever, but others are paling and beginning to sink back into nothingness as though I had never ripped my skin open. After over a year for them, even the color of some of my burns is starting to drain. The patterns and words etched in my flesh are vanishing, and that terrifies me.

It’s hard for me to explain my desire to people. The desire for mutilation. It’s really quite sick. In addition to self-harming for the pure relief or distraction of it, I want my arms and legs and all of me to look as bad as possible. I want my self-harm to be severe. I want people to gasp when they see me. When I see people whose scars are worse than mine (which is frequently), I feel inferior. I want to be as “bad” as they are. I want people to be able to tell how much I am suffering based solely on the condition of my skin. I guess that’s probably the root of it. I want to look as bad as I feel.

Until last year, I was upset about the superficial nature of most of my injuries. That’s when I started burning. I knew it would produce a more dramatic result than what most of my cutting had been, but I wasn’t expecting it to be as bad as it was. That’s when I started to acknowledge that I was crossing into a new realm of self-harm. Then I got stitches. I never thought I would be “that guy”. The one that went too deep to handle. I’ve never lost my cool over an injury like I did with that. It was out of my control, taking me by complete surprise. It was scary. But afterwards, I found myself judging the wound. The cut wasn’t as deep as it could have been, or it wasn’t as long as it should have been. I felt like it was less valid because I didn’t get “enough” stitches. 

I am still plagued with the same mindset, perhaps even more so now that some of my scars are becoming less prominent. The urges to cause more damage grow stronger every day it seems. I still judge every injury that I make as being “not bad enough”. I feel pathetic when people see my scars. This is not because I’m ashamed that I self-harm (although sometimes it is), but it is mainly because I’m ashamed of the pitiful extent of what I’ve done.

Now I know what I’m saying could sound like I’m attention-seeking to people who don’t understand. I don’t think that’s what it’s about though. I feel kind of crazy because I’ve never heard anyone talk about self-harm in this way that I view it.

I don’t really know what I would do without my scars. I feel as though I need them. I feel as though I need more of them, but at the same time I know that it’s likely no amount would be enough to be satisfying. And no reaction to my scars will ever be validating enough. It’s a maddening place to be.