I haven’t been able to find the words to respond to your comments yet, but please know that you and Everest have literally been getting me through. I am so grateful to all of you. [TS, tonight I sat in bed with chocolate milk and read Winnie the Pooh.] But this post is different, and it talks about things that feel incredibly wrong to share with people who have survived assaults when they had no choice but to endure it. So I want you to know that if you feel angry with me, or repulsed, or whatever you might feel, that’s okay, and I’m sorry.
Last night, I wanted to hang myself. I had the rope tied, and I leaned my weight against it to make sure it would hold. Right now, the idea that I didn’t hang myself seems crazy, but I wrote here, and read blogs, and watched children’s movies on Netflix, and somehow the time passed until I fell asleep, with a scalpel under my pillow.
I am so far at the end of my rope (oh, god, pun not intended) that I seem to be giving zero fucks right now. I told my boss that I couldn’t work because I was suicidal. I told our HR manager that I couldn’t go to our biggest event of the year because I didn’t feel up to it. And last night, when the beautiful La Quemada said she wanted to keep me safe, and asked what she could do, I told her she could make me a recording. When I first started writing, I was so impossibly in awe of her, but she has been one of my staunchest and most loving supporters, and when she offered, I wasn’t afraid to ask.
A little after midday today, I got up, got dressed, and went out for a walk. I patted a dog, and smelt some flowers, and felt a little better. Then I went into a hardware store, pretending to myself that I just wanted to look at plants, when I knew I was really going in to look at dangerous things.
I found one that I really wanted. I picked it up, put it down, walked away and came back to it, then repeated the cycle again. I really wanted it. If I’d taken it home, I would have used it. So I took a breath, and thought ‘Okay, this is the time to listen to Q’s recording‘. The shop was pretty empty, and I ducked behind a shelf and sat down on the ground.
I was in tears after the first two words. I cried, and I felt relief. She told me she could see that I was weighed down, and beyond tired, and that I couldn’t see how I was supposed to go on living my life like this, and that it’s okay to feel like this. That I don’t have to force myself to keep pushing through no matter what, and it’s okay to take a break.
Actually hearing her say that was powerful. I’ve only ever been able to express myself with cuts and burns and suicide attempts before. But I’ve been using words, and Q understands. She really understands. (I think you all do.) Those two minutes and forty-six seconds decreased the urgency of needing to act on the thoughts and the feelings.
I went back and touched the dangerous thing one more time, then left without it.
It’s getting harder and harder to hurt myself. That sounds like a good thing, but it isn’t. I still need to hurt, I’m just too much of a cowardly chicken-shit to do it myself any more. My pain threshold is getting lower, or my critical voice is getting weaker, or something, I don’t know, but sometimes I just can’t make myself do it, even when my whole body is on fire with the need for pain. I’m afraid of it, but I need it.
I don’t know if this is a sensation that’s familiar to anyone else, and the closest analogy I have is that tingling sensation that comes with attachment pain, that visceral need to be held. It feels intolerable, like there’s no way to soothe it.
A few weeks ago, I was lying in bed, completely taken over by it. I don’t remember what was happening, whether I was stressed, or anxious, or if something had happened, but I needed to hurt. I ran through all the options in my head – cutting; burning; hitting myself; banging my head; breaking a bone; choking myself – and I couldn’t come up with a single one I felt capable of doing. I didn’t think I could cut deeply enough to feel better, and I didn’t want to hold a flame against my skin. It hurts so much, and I was scared, and I just didn’t want to. Couldn’t.
I felt desperate. So I started Googling.
“Hire someone to punch me in the face.” No results.
“Pay someone to beat me up.” No results.
“Looking for somebody to hurt me.” Nothing. Other than an (apparently defunct) app in China which allowed people to hire vigilantes to beat up their enemies for revenge (or their friends for a laugh), it wasn’t getting me anywhere.
I am very, very averse to sex of any kind. I don’t want to have sex, ever. I’m saying that (with some discomfort) so you understand that when I reluctantly started looking into S&M, it was a last resort. The urge to cut myself is coming up now, just thinking about being in that situation. But I was desperate. I couldn’t hurt myself, so I needed to find someone to do it for me.
Over the next few days, I trawled through Craigslist and any other website I could find, finding men in my area who fit my criteria. Anybody who mentioned aftercare or safe words was automatically off the list. Anybody who seemed kind or respectful was off the list. Somebody who was just going to mildly bruise me in a controlled way then rub it with soothing ointment was not going to hurt me enough to make me better. I was looking for somebody who wouldn’t want to talk to me, who seemed likely to punch me and cane me, kick me, who wouldn’t stop if I was crying, or if I said no. Somebody who would probably want sex, and wouldn’t care that I didn’t.
It sounds like a rape fantasy or something, but I swear it’s not. I want it because I don’t want it. Part of me believes that if I go through something traumatic and awful where I have no control over the pain or what happens to me, it’ll fix me. If it’s bad enough, I won’t want to hurt any more. The same way I thought breaking my wrist might fix me. It won’t, I know it won’t, but I don’t know what else to do.
I held on for a few days, and then the need to hurt triumphed over the fear of going to a stranger’s house where god knows what would happen. I clicked on the profile for the man ‘looking for a submissive slut to abuse‘, and started writing a message.
But god, I so didn’t want to do it. So I ended up in the bathroom, giving myself a chemical burn instead.
The last time I burnt with chemicals, I’d promised myself I’d never do it again. It takes hours, and it’s agonising, like a million fire ants biting at your leg. Unlike lighter burns, the pain lasts for days, and the next night I was literally writhing in bed, whimpering and crying. But it’s passive. You don’t have to slice, or hold a flame against you. You just have to sit, and endure.
And that is why I needed surgery.
I think this is maybe part of why I’m so suicidal. The burn didn’t change anything – it just postponed it. I’m still struggling to hurt myself, and I still need to hurt. It would be easier to be dead.