Self-harm is a way that people deal with deep emotional pain. Some say it’s a way for them to feel in control when everything else is spiralling out of control. Others say that feeling pain is better than feeling nothing at all. For other people, they are trying to blur the lines between physical and emotional pain. Whatever the reason though, when you think of self-harm you usually think of the following:
Nervous breakdown and mental breakdown are dated terms describing emotional or physical stress that temporarily makes someone unable to function in day-to-day life.
There are days when you awake and think, today is going to be a good day and it is. A day when sadness and pain won’t dull the light in your eyes. When a sound, color, song or memory doesn’t threaten to crush the breath from your lungs or leave you on your knees without the strength to stand. A day when you can lay your head on your pillow and not fear falling asleep for the darkness which awaits.
Then there are the other days.
The ones where just opening your eyes takes so much effort it leaves you exhausted. Days when the smallest things sends your heart racing in fear. The ice of panic swelling in your chest until you can’t catch a breath. Times when you cannot understand why you’re alive at all, wondering if God hates you so much He takes pleasure in your pain. Everything in your life seems so pointless, meaningless. When every word you speak, every action you take does nothing but cause pain to those around you. Life becomes an ocean in which your drowning and you know no one else can see your struggles or hear the cries for help which remain locked in your throat.
And you never know which it is going to be today.
It’s been awhile since I wore something personal, mostly because most of what I might have said was the same things I have said so often throughout the years and if we were honest, I think most of us became tired of such things a long time ago…. (at least I know I did.)
The problem was I knew deep down what I needed to do to move forward in my life yet the was always something holding me back. Something I been fighting my entire life but of which I did not speak enough. Not to friends, family, or you.
Mental illness… depression, anxiety, PTSD and all the things which come with them.
Thinking about it, I have to say depression is the hardest to deal with. It makes everything ten times harder; leaving me feeling as though nothing matters, that nothing will change, no matter how much I might wish for it to be otherwise. How difficult it can be to simply get out of bed each morning or how many times it has put beck there, often without being able to say why. The feeling of being weighed down by a soaking wet blanket you cannot escape. Struggling in darkness, heat, and a closeness which leaves you feeling almost claustrophobic.
Then there is the anxiety eating through me like an acid and leaving me shaken and weak. Many times I’m not sure what might trigger it, a thought, a feeling, even the ringing of the telephone. Sometimes it’s a memory or someone using my birth name. Sometimes it’s being within sight of another person, sometimes shaking hands. It can be almost anything and anytime.
The PTSD may be the most difficult thing to explain to anyone who not had to deal with it. So much of what it entails seems so common place, so insignificant, it’s understandable why someone might think you’re over reacting or making it all up.
For me, just being around men can set it off or having someone walking too close behind me. Being surprised by someone or imagining there might be someone just out of sight or worst yet, by the flicker of a shadow out of the corner of my eye.
Worst of all are the thoughts I will finish this life not as who I am but as people insist on seeing me. To have my birth name used on my obituary. To have everything I have become, who I have become, simply dismissed.
In fact it was this final thought which haunted me most of all over the past two years. Years in which I flipped back and forth between moving forward in my transition and giving up. It has been the root of my thoughts of everything being pointless, of how , when everything was said and done, nothing will have changed. Knowing I will live and die in a body which tells nothing of who or what I was, am, had dreamed of becoming.
Trans Lifeline, an organization that runs a crisis hotline for transgender people and staffed by transgender people, said that calls to their suicide hotline have quadrupled since the story broke that the Trump administration is trying to legally erase transgender identity.
In an Instagram post, Trans Lifeline reported that calls increased by four times last week, and first-time callers doubled.
Nearly three-quarters of LGBT people have experienced mental health issues because of work, a survey has found.