I've never been officially
diagnosed with anything. Let me just put it out there, right now. Yes, I have
depression. Yes, I have anxiety problems, but I will not go for the official
diagnosis. It's too permanent, it makes it real.
I was always the quiet
child, the one hiding something. I have so many memories from my childhood, and
to tell you the truth, most of them are memories of crying alone in my room,
sitting under the table at family gatherings so I didn't have to see anyone, and
pain. I have always frightened my family with these tendencies, so for a very
long time, I hid them away, pretending that there was nothing wrong with me. I
did not let anything make me happy, nor did I let it show when I was
I started to cut myself when
I was 12. It started as a suicide attempt on my dad's birthday (bad idea). I was
home alone. I found a sharp knife, a mock Civil War knife that I've always
admired for its beauty. I set it next to my wrist. I took a deep breath. And
picked it up. And put it down. I realized I didn't leave a note. With shaky
hands, I walked into my bedroom and found my favorite pen and a piece of my
prettiest stationary. I wrote the note. Basically it said, "I'm sorry". To this
day, I have no idea where that note is. Because as soon as I wrote it, the phone
rang. Wanting to maximize my time, I went to answer, because it was most likely
my parents saying they'd be late. The voice of my friend on the other line was a
warning bell in my head. She said "hey, I know we haven't talked in a while....I
just want you to know that even though we're both busy, and growing apart,
you're still one of my closest friends." I thanked her and started to cry. As
soon as I hung up the phone, I put away the knife and the note.
I tried to push that aside.
But it didn't work. The urge to hurt myself was too strong. As the only
one "outside the mold" in my family, I clearly didn't fit in. And I had no other
escape. I didn't want to hurt anyone else. So I started cutting, using my
fingernails, so it wouldn't go deep, on my hips. For years, it was very
concealed. I could wear bikinis and not have it show. But I started to get a
little more out of control when I was 15. Some of the cuts were visible with my
bikini, so I started to wear shorts to the beach and the pool. No big deal.
Every once in a while, I'd slip up and make a cut in a place where people could
see. At the moment, I only have six of those. Two are very faded.
But the depression was still
there. Even injury that I could control didn't help it. I was nearly 16, and
knew I needed something more than what I had. Out of the blue one day, I picked
up the phone and called a woman I know who is a clinical psychologist. I said
"look, I need help." Together, we formed a plan on how to tell my parents. She
called to tell them that "all artsy teens should be in therapy". And they hated
me for it. They couldn't accept it.
I went to one therapist. I
didn't open my mouth once. Not even to say my name. Decided, screw that...it's a
waste of my time. But I had one more name. I was not feeling optimistic as I
went to her office. She greeted me at the door with open arms and tears in her
eyes. I felt safe.
I told her right off that I
refused medications and that I would not resort to that in order to help myself.
She understood. So I settle for alternative meds and talk therapy.
I have been in therapy for
over a year now. It's weird to think how far I've come. Sometimes progress wears
a wonderful disguise.
I was starting to get the
depression and anxiety under control, when disaster struck again. Earlier this
year, two of my close friends committed suicide. It left me
About three months later, I
knew I needed to get myself together. I needed to find something that would take
off that edge for me. Something that would make me not feel so alone. And here I
I'm 17 now. Hardly, but I
am. It's been six months since the suicides. It's been a month since I've cut, a
week since my last panic attack.
For most people, it would be
hell, living like this. For me, it's bliss. I am safe, for once in my life. And
that makes all the difference.
I still avoid the labels. I
figure, I'm a cookie cutter model for something, I don't need to flaunt
it. Only accept it. And work to fight it.