When I was in high school, I would cut myself for attention. I also did it because of the control, the endorphins, the eventual dependency I developed, and several other reasons but I absolutely craved the attention. I wouldn’t seek it out intentionally – I did my very best to hide my scars, eventually migrating all of them to my upper thighs, inner ankles, my stomach, and other hard to see spots. But the moment that someone would lay their eyes on the self inflicted wounds and I’d see their expression shift into pity, sadness, guilt… I would smile. I would smile every. single. time. I’d try to hide it, look away, change my expression quickly, but I could never stop the knee jerk reaction of a sickeningly satisfied smile slithering across my lips. This was the smirk that said, “Yes. This is my suffering. You can’t deny it. Witness me and how much pain I’m in.”
There was something very gratifying about having physical evidence of my agony, as well as being able to elicit such a response from people. The sorrowful, “oh, baby,” of countless lovers as they’d gently graze the scar tissue with their fingers, drawing me close. I would remember this is the point at which I was supposed to cry, act ashamed, beg forgiveness. Inside, I was delighted. Finally, the adoration and sympathy I so desperately needed.
Fun fact, if this shit reads as #relatablecontent to you, you might have Borderline Personality Disorder. It’s pretty textbook BPD. But that’s not really why I’m sharing this today.
I felt compelled to sit down and write because I’ve been more suicidal recently than I have been in some time. Last year when I was going through SSRI withdrawal and an enormous upheaval of my entire life at the same time, I was also quite suicidal. I honestly don’t remember if I addressed it directly – it would have been around the time that I started this website. That was a different flavor of nuts. That was almonds, this year it’s cashews.
And if I’m completely honest, I was suicidal long before I stopped taking my Lexapro or left my home town. I brought a gun with me out to the woods of Hamlin, fully intending on just putting an end to all of my misery, when instead my boyfriend got back to me and was available to hang out. I’m so grateful for him.
And it’s this gratitude that allows me to draw a contrast between this period of depression and that period. Last year, I kept going because everyone around me was telling me I should. This year, I feel like my only cheerleader. This isn’t totally accurate – I have one friend who texts me regularly and my sister listens to my bullshit about once a week. My husband is present as much as he can be with his obnoxiously demanding job. But largely, I spend every day, all day, alone in a hotel room with my thoughts. I haven’t been able to work out without aggravating an old injury from last year. Every time I try, I end up less mobile and in pain for the next few days, (the dull ache is with me now). Working out was a huge piece of the puzzle that helped get my chemicals back to some regularity last year – who knows why my hamstring is being such a bitch now.
Last week, I recorded a video that once I was done I realized was intended to be “my note”. The irony of a writer killing herself without leaving an actual note is not lost on me. But if ever I do go that way, it’s unlikely I’ll leave one because only on an intense impulse will that decision be made. Fortunately, I’ve spent years and years and years tempering my impulsiveness and more or less suicide-proofing my brain. Even with the “everyone would be so much better off without me” and the “I’m basically just a useless carbon footprint in the world” thoughts, I feel pretty confident I won’t actually kill myself. It’s a shame I don’t have some LSD to drop so I could hit the Reset button on my “I could never fathom killing myself” experience. That was neat. I was suicide idealization free for a good five years. Guess some of the psychedelic magic just wore off.
In lieu of tripping balls, I meditate. But my brain wants to cling to my suffering so I skip sits or only sit for a little while. It’s a vicious and quite frankly exhausting cycle. Hopefully I’ll get a better handle on it. In the meantime, I’ve eliminated a lot of my social media. I’m fucking tired of feeling like I’m the only one trying to reach out over and over and over. Spectator society is literally killing people. We’re so overstimulated that we don’t know what or who to pay attention to and end up wasting all our time scrolling nonsense we won’t be able to remember literally 24 hours later. The internet is a magical, powerful thing but the over saturation of content is beyond ridiculous at this point. Again! The irony of me writing this on my internet blog is not lost on me! To be honest, I’m utterly unsurprised that no one has commented on me unpublishing the carlykaxt Facebook page, deactivating my Twitter, uninstalling Snapchat, etc. How could you notice something being gone when there’s so much extra bullshit to fill that hole right up?
So I’m back to writing on this for my own relief, hoping that maybe one person reads it and gets it and it changes their heart somehow, at least a little. I don’t know if I’ll keep the domain when it expires in May. At one point, I certainly entertained the notion of the “carlykaxt brand”. I hoped that somehow I could make a living off of this thing that I’m very passionate about but I don’t know if I have the energy to market and push and do all the work that it takes to get people to see your content in this vast sea of noise. I don’t know if I even believe it’s worth enough to somehow make money – whether it be through sponsorships or ad revenue. I have no idea and little to no motivation. That’s the fun of depression. At least I have enough energy today to write about it. The past three weeks I’ve barely been able to brush my teeth or make dinner. Some days I didn’t. It is what it is.
If you didn’t know before, now you know: this is what a suicidal person sounds like. They sound like someone doing everything they can to keep their shit together, erasing all ties to other people while simultaneously desperately wishing someone would notice and give a fuck. Consider this my flash of scars. Though the older I get, the more clear it becomes that no amount of attention will ever satisfy this emptiness inside of me. The only way I’ll ever truly get rid of the rotting piece inside of me that whispers to end it all is if I dig it out myself. That kind of responsibility is terrifying. But I can’t deny this truth any longer.