Last weekend I was with my cousin, bombing around one of his uncleared paddocks in an old car. As we tore up a hilly area full of ferns and trees, the wheels kicked up a small branch, and it smashed end – first into my window but didn’t break the glass.
My first reaction was disappointment. I kept chiding myself for not rolling down the window when I’d first gotten into the car like my cousin had, the way you chide yourself for not picking a 3 instead of an 8 on a almost – winning lottery ticket. I could have been really hurt without even having to do it myself, and I’d thrown away an opportunity.
My rational brain is not disappointed. My rational brain knows it could have blinded me, cracked my skull, broken my cheekbone, at the very, very least given me a nasty concussion and a week off work without pay. But my first reaction is always disappointment.
Earlier this year I was in a minor accident (braked too hard in the wet and my car spun out and hit a wall) and I came very close to banging my head against a wall because I was so upset that I hadn’t been injured badly enough.
This is totally fucked up. It isn’t even just coincidences like those accidents – I deliberately put myself in dangerous situations and hope I’ll get hurt, either by people or by the environment.
I keep running through the possible reasons – is it because I think I deserve the pain? No, that only applies to self harm. Is it because I need to test myself to make sure I’m strong enough to take it? Kind of – that’s mostly self harm, but it’s also when I put myself in bad situations on purpose. I guess that’s kind of self harm, in a way.
But the accidents? I think maybe I’m looking for a justification for all my emotional pain. If I was in a major car accident, or a house fire, or I got stabbed on my way home from the supermarket, that would be a real trauma. I almost feel relieved when bad things happen to me. Like “here, here’s the bad thing that happened, it wasn’t my fault and I don’t have to feel guilty and wrong and pathetic for being fucked up and being in therapy any more“.
I feel like I need to punish myself for even acknowledging these thoughts.