Scars. I hate my scars. No. Not hate. Am ashamed. But what else could I have done? No amount of ice would create the release I needed. No amount of wall sits or credit card scraping or other self-harm prevention procedures.
Prayer. Would prayer have made a difference? I don’t know. I have never prayed out of pain. It doesn’t occur to me to address God in the midst of depression or anxiety and panic. (It doesn’t seem to occur to God to address me, either.)
Self-harm worked. I’m alive, aren’t I? It distracted me.
Except when it didn’t. I still wound up in inpatient care for suicidal ideation. And self-harm followed me into Good Sam, where I broke plastic and sawed away at myself.
Klonopin worked. Lots of it. And Ativan, some Ativan. But more the company of nurses who gave me grace over and over again. Nurses who held candles of hope for me. Nurses who gave me “This is Water” to read and teased me and my shaking hands and taught me to play solitaire.
Each cut became a strike against them, it seemed. I think that’s why I stopped. Why I made myself do two minutes straight of wall sits instead of cutting. I would collapse onto the floor, out of breath, thighs burning, and liable to be dizzy if I got up too fast.
I am ashamed because I hurt others each time I hurt myself. I am ashamed because I couldn’t stop myself. It took sixteen of twenty days of inpatient to stop. And I almost lapsed my last night.
I was full of nervous energy, horrible anxiety, and I knew I would become destructive if not distracted. So I asked Angela RN for help. I played word search games, cleaned the day room, and went back to her. So she sat me down and taught me solitaire. Solitaire saved me. No. That just sounds good. Having Angela sit with me for the last ten minutes of playing cards saved me.
Maybe someday I’ll learn to look at my scars with compassion. Maybe I’ll look at them and see Debra, Irene, Laura LPT, Leslie RN, Shery RN, Angela RN, Dev RN, Tracy RN, Christine RN, Martel RN, Millie RN, and so many more. Maybe I’ll look and see their support amidst pain. Maybe I’ll see their hope amidst suicidality. Maybe the scars will someday remind me of what’s gone right instead of what’s gone wrong. Of people who have been there for me. Of love.