The Night of December 13, 2015

Bottle of pills[Image: A full bottle of pills.]

I recently overdosed on Klonopin in a bout of self-harm and, while completely out of it, posted on Facebook that I needed a ride to the hospital. I stated that the overdose was an accident which happened while I was trying to get to sleep. I later clarified that this overdose was no accident, it was a form of self-harm that I had engaged in. My second post seems to have confused some people about what is a suicide attempt and what is self-harm and more pointedly, which one I was engaging in.

Allow me now to clarify the definitions of some terms:

Overdose: an excessive or dangerous use of a drug. Overdoses can be accidental, although in my case, it was not. However, overdoses are not always suicide attempts.

Self-harm: intentionally harming one’s body often without the intention of suicide.

Suicide attempt: an intentionally attempt to end your own life.

Self-harm is an often misunderstood coping mechanism which is very difficult to explain to someone who isn’t mentally ill and doesn’t suffer from these recurrent thoughts. What happened the night of December 13 was that I was trying to punish myself. I started out taking the Klonopin to help me sleep. But then I stayed awake and kept thinking of my most recent setback, the crushing guilt I felt, the dread that saturated my mind, the feelings of worthlessness, loneliness, and hopelessness that had been plaguing me for weeks.

I kept taking more pills. When I started to become impaired it only spurred me on. I have no idea of the timeline of that night, but I remember downing small handfuls at one point. The only recollection I have are some very disturbing poems I wrote while I was taking the overdose.

According to the poems, I Googled Klonopin in order to figure out how much would kill me. I couldn’t find the exact information and lamented there existed no overdose calculator which could tell you how much you needed to end your life. I cataloged my disappointment that, apparently, Klonopin is only dangerous if you get addicted to it and a fatal overdose is almost impossible without ingesting huge amounts of the drug; far more than I had on hand.

Although I never consciously wanted to end my life, during my altered state, I was well aware that this was a possibility. I finally went to bed at some point, after taking either one or two narcotic pain pills which I had leftover from my breast reduction surgery earlier this year. When I woke up I was vomiting and aware that I needed to do something. So, instead of simply asking either of my roommates for a ride to the hospital, I got on Facebook.

I didn’t want to die. I experienced a setback and that compounded with whatever kind of mixed episode I’m in right now and led to me experiencing the all-too-familiar feelings of guilt and shame which drove me to start and continue taking pills. After the overdose, what I thought was a solid romantic relationship disintegrated, and I continued having thoughts of hurting myself.

I felt as though I had ruined the relationship and needed to be punished for it. I told myself that if only I had been more normal and didn’t have these mental health problems, everything would be fine. In an effort to prevent me from once again acting on my feelings of self-harm, I got rid of all of the excess pills I had, including a fresh refill of the Klonopin that I had gotten a few weeks before the overdose. I also reached out to a few people to chat when the need to hurt myself was becoming too strong for me to handle.

At this point, I realize I’m experiencing a bipolar episode and I need to be cautious. I also realize that I’m a person with a mental illness and I need the space and understanding that will help me work through these issues, not compound them. My desire to hurt myself may never go away entirely and I might not be able to stop myself from acting on it in the future, just as I was recently unable to.

However, I now recognize these old feelings of shame and worthlessness are futile. I am only capable of what I’m capable of and no one in my life should make me feel as though that isn’t enough and trigger these recursive negative emotions. I hope I can remember this the next time I’m in a situation where the desire to hurt myself arises and I have to fight it. Because it is a very difficult battle and one that I’m not always strong enough to fight.

Drunk Star’s Takeover

Sutter-Home-banner

[Image: A rainbow arrangement of Sutter Home wine bottles.]

AN: I literally wrote this while drunk one night in March. I was unsure of whether or not to post it. But really, I was dealing with a lot, my bipolar was acting up, yet again, and this is just what it’s like to be mentally ill and trying to cope with it through alcohol. Spoiler alert: it’s not a good idea.

Hello everyone! Drunk Star here. I’m here to tell you thinks that Sober Star won’t. Cause she has thing thing called a filter. It’s not that severe and usually doesn’t stop her from much. But there are still some things she holds back. But don’t worry, I have no filter. I’m here to tell you why I came out in the first place. First of all, it’s March 25th today. Sober Star is that far ahead on her blog. But that’s okay. I’m just giving you an idea when this was written.

Hang on, need another swig of wine.

Okay, we’re good.

Here’s what bothering Sober Star right now:

  • She’s still in mourning about her relationship that never was. She realized recently that she moved on entirely too quickly. She wanted to be done with it so badly that she said that she was and she wasn’t. She didn’t realize just how deeply this affected her and now she’s waking up crying and writing poems about what she feels because she didn’t give herself enough time to get over what she was feeling.
  • She also just realized that she drinks for reasons not as noble or mighty as wanting to have fun. At the very best, she wants to numb herself. But really, she mostly just wants to hurt herself and wine is enough to do that. At least she doesn’t have to think clearly when she gets like this and when your head is swimming you don’t have to really consider that many weighty things.
  • As much as she wants to push off whatever happens on OKC, she has a hard time doing so. Today she was talking to a racist that she no longer wanted to talk to. But he messaged her back and was completely casual. Something about the sink overflowing. All Sober Star could think was that if she honestly answered him that she didn’t want to see him anymore, that he would respond with insults and threats. And let’s just say that Sober Star doesn’t like those. I don’t like them much either, but Sober Star gets upset about them.
  • Sober Star also recently came to terms with the fact that one of the major things that she wants, getting into a mutual romantic relationship with a man, might not ever happens. And that’s a lot for her to deal with. She really want to get into a relationship with a dude, but between being threatened, harassed, sexually objectified, and insulted by most of the single men in Hampton Roads, it hardly seems fruitful. And the reality of it is, there is no fail safe that ensures she will ever get married and be happy and find whatever it is she thinks she’s looking for in a romantic relationship.

Good thing Sober Star has me to deal with all of this. Cause I don’t give a fuck and I can deal with everything as long as the wine keeps flowing. Cheap wine. But who cares? I have wine and that’s all Drunk Star needs to be happy.

There’s also some bullshit about not being respected as a human being or something, but she’s always on about that, drunk or sober. It seems pointless to go over it again. Yes, very few people treat Sober Star like a person and that bothers her. To be fair, no one really gives Drunk Star that much more consideration, but Drunk Star doesn’t have the ability to give a fuck. So it all works out.

Until next time, kids! Which might be pretty soon. Sober Star bought two gigantic bottles of one and one is still unopened. See you soon! And remember, Sober Star is very good at not hurting herself on accident.

Prompt 14: White Blood

SONY DSCPrompt 14. You’ve cut yourself, but the blood that comes out is pure white.

It looked like paint. For a second, I thought that is was. That there was paint dripping onto my jeans. But it was coming from the cut I had just made on my forearm with the paring knife. The realization that what could only be my own blood was white stopped me from what I was doing. I touched the substance and found that it was thicker than blood. Almost rubbery. I lifted two fingers and rubbed them together, trying to figure out what was happening to my body.

I stared blankly across the room, my mind too numb to even comprehend what was happening. I saw a reflect of myself in the window that was directly across from me. I didn’t look normal. I couldn’t say what was wrong with me, but it wasn’t my reflection that I was looking at. I touched my face, the white substance smearing on my cheek.

Suddenly, my face pulled apart. I watched in terror as the sides of my face stretched and strained until they ripped. White blood spilled out, falling onto my lap, covering my clothes and the couch that I was sitting on. I screamed, trying to touch my face to put it back together. But it was too late. All I could feel was the rubbery white substance and my bare skull. The bone was cool and felt almost like plastic beneath my fingertips.

I screamed again. My roommate heard me this time. The door to my bedroom was locked, but I heard him trying to open it and calling to see if I was okay. I continued screaming. He called my name again and again, but I couldn’t move. My face was gone and I was drowning in this white substance. I felt it filling my throat and lungs as he yelled for me. I sat there, completely still, terrified that the slightest movement would make the pain worse.

The door swung open as he broke through the flimsy lock. He looked at me in wide-eyed terror. He must have seen how my face was gone and was just as scared as I was. He approached me and grabbed my arms, shaking me. His lips moved as if he was talking to me, but I heard no sound come out. I only heard my own screams as I continued to cry out for help. He shook me harder, but it was no use. I couldn’t stop.

He took out his phone and dialed three digits before pressing it to his ear. I saw his lips moved as he talked to someone at the other end of the line. I stopped screaming. I couldn’t anymore. The white substance had turned hard and was clogging my throat. No sound was coming out from my lips but a hard rasp. It was almost zombie-like in its tone. I heaved, trying to breathe, but I felt the substance in my lungs, pressing against me. I fought to stay alive. I wasn’t sure of when I passed out. I just remember falling and then nothing.

*

I had no idea what was going on. She had been acting weird all day. Then, when I was trying to catch up on my favorite show in my room, I heard her scream. She was screaming like something was tearing her apart. I thought something was attacking her. I had to break down the door to get into her room. I kept thinking, did she invite one of those sketchy guys over that I had been telling her not to talk to? Did someone follow her home?

I finally broke through the lock and got into the room. She was sitting on her couch, just staring at her reflection. She looked fine, except that she had a small cut on her forearm. The knife she had used to make it was still in her hand. I grabbed her and tried to talk to her. I kept asking her if she was okay, but she just kept screaming. She wasn’t even looking at me anymore. I looked down at her wound. It was so small, only a tiny bit of red blood was flowing from it. That couldn’t have set her off.

With her screaming ringing in my ears, I grabbed my cell phone and dialed 911. I stood up to talk to the operator and she just stopped screaming. I looked down at her in confusion. She was making a loud rasping sound. As if she was struggling to breathe. I told the operator that my roommate was freaking out and needed medical attention. I sighed, telling them that she was schizophrenic.

She never wanted anyone to know that, but all I could think of was that she was having some kind of hallucination. Nothing else would account for her behavior. She needed help, clearly. And the people that were coming to give it to her needed to know the entire truth. I glanced back at her and saw that she had slumped over on the couch. Her chest was still rising and falling, so it seemed that she had just passed out. I sat down next to her and gently brushed her hair out of her face. I wished there was more that I could do to help her. But I was at a loss. The 911 operator told me that an ambulance was on its way. I felt relieved knowing that help was coming.

I don’t expect you to understand

no self harmContent warning: self harm.

Because she was lonely. And desperate. And sad. And easily insulted.

She wanted to cut herself. She longed to sink a razor into her flesh and distract her pain gauge from her emotional pain to focus on her physical pain. She wanted to see blood. She wanted proof that she was hurting. There was very little stopping her from doing this. Perhaps, because she knew that once she started she might not stop. Not until she slit her wrists in half and bled out. Then she could find her never-ending, peaceful unconsciousness.

Lovely.

Fuck.

-Excerpt from Portrait (2006)

I can’t explain it to you in any what it would make sense. It’s basically impossible. The best sentences that I could construct would only confuse and upset readers. The only people who would find themselves agreeing with me have lived it themselves and really don’t need me reiterating the illness in their brains to them.

There’s really no way to justify when your own evolutionary survival instinct is completely ignored and your only thought is utter self-destruction. Your body works hard to keep you alive. It really does. But sometimes the brain decides that it knows best. And it needs to see blood.

The word “impulse” seems too soft to describe the need to carve into your own skin. It starts as an idea, just an innocent thought. But once it pops into your head, no amount of logic, will power, or disbelief will keep it at bay. Once it’s there, it must be attended to.

Then there’s the relief after you do it. The wave of calm and satisfaction is overwhelming. You simply feel so much better that not doing it again is no longer an option. You would never deny yourself the intense peace that follows self mutilation.

I once had a doctor tell me that self harm was a maladaptive behavior. As if I wasn’t already aware of that. As if that hadn’t been the one thought that I had been thinking ever since the need to cut myself appeared. I almost laughed after he said it. It seemed so fucking obvious and an unintelligent thing to say. I knew this wasn’t good for me. That was no mystery. I did it because there was no way to stop myself from doing it. I didn’t put a blade to my arm because I thought I was adequately coping with my illness.

So I can’t explain it. I really can’t. I have tried very hard and so have many others. But being able to inject logic into mental illness is not something that really can be done. Occasionally you can make sense of something, but only if you suspend all rules of common sense and natural law. And doing that is itself sometimes incredibly difficult to imagine. In the end, it seems quite impossible to understand unless you have already lived it. And if you have, you don’t need me to tell you what it’s like.

The problem with emos

PICEDITOR-SHDThe first, and probably most apparent, problem with emos is that there is no singular definition that accurately describes anyone and everyone who has ever called themselves “emo”. The social group or lifestyle encompasses so many parts  that if you call yourself an emo, it could mean any variety of things, some of which are completely unrelated. Urban Dictionary itself has 1199 definitions of the word “emo”. Although there are some similarities between some of the definitions, there is still no one unifying theme.

Some say that emos are people who listen to certain bands and dress a certain way. Others claim that that doesn’t matter, it’s all about an emotional outlook on life. Others claim that emos are just whiny privileged kids who have no idea how good they have it. The debate rages on.

So when you say “emo”, you really need to qualify exactly what you mean by the term. I have developed my own definition, mostly through the emo love stories that I have been MiSTing for several years now, but also through some interactions with real life emos in a middle school that I helped out at. Overall, I find the emos, to be straight, white, middle-class children who haven’t received what they consider to be their deserved amount of praise and consideration for their perceived specialness.

Instead of realizing that they aren’t special snowflakes who have earned commendation for doing their homework or taking out the garbage the first time they were asked, they create a persona around their belief that no one sees them for the amazing person that they are and anger that no one is there to constantly assure them that they are wonderful, unique creatures that the world wouldn’t be the same without. Then every single thing that happens to them in their lives is another display of the unfairness of the outside forces that are trying to undermine them at every turn.

They create fantasy worlds, such as the stories I’ve MiSTed, that revolve around teens who are horrifically abused and have actual problems. They then get to whine as much as they want that they are being treated badly and life is conspiring against them, while doing nothing proactive to fix their problems or taking responsibility for anything that they have ever done. Emos are blameless, white unicorns who are always the victims and never able to do anything for themselves. Ever. For change to come about in their lives, they have to meet the emo lover of their dreams that will do everything for them and finally tell them, non-stop, how incredible and exceptional they are.

These are what I have witnessed as traits of emo-dom. But there’s a sinister side to emos that I’ve never seen anyone address and that is the harm they are doing to people who suffer from real mental illnesses. Someone who tried to defend emos to me said that he would spend a lot of time on emo forums, just talking to fellow emos and helping them to overcome their problems. He proudly claims to have saved several people from suicide. However, I find this to be misguided at best and delusion at worst.

People who have real mental illnesses, people who are actually suicidal, are not going to be talked down by a total stranger on the internet. It just doesn’t work like that. If it did, then no one would commit suicide, ever. Because all it would take would be the kind word of a passing stranger and BAM! everyone would no longer be depressed or suicidal. Real depression, real mental illness, is a chemical imbalance in the brain and is considered a medical condition.

Just talking to someone that you don’t even know, who has no training whatsoever in psychiatry or psychology is not going to be able to do any actual help. Maybe in the short run, someone will feel better that there is someone who empathizes with them and knows all of the lyrics to Avenged Sevenfold’s latest album, but it won’t correct the chemical imbalance or teach adequate coping skills and won’t yield lasting results.

Emos also engage in self-destructive behaviors with a sense that it’s fun and interesting and makes them more intellectual. I’ve seen teenagers write about cutting, eating disorders, and other harmful behaviors like it proves how deep and intense their feelings are and makes them every inch the super important, delicate person they want to be.

All of these behaviors should be considered symptoms of larger problems and handled with the same medication and therapy that emos seem to either scorn or never think about at all. When an emo does this to show people how special they are or generate enough attention for themselves to feel important again, it puts the thought into everyone’s consciousness that cutting, eating disorders and other forms of self-harm are just ways for indulgent people to seek attention and praise, when what someone with a real problem needs is medical help and support.

In a way, emos are tiny little posers, who take on the traits of someone with a real illness, but can conveniently walk away whenever they want to stop being depressed or sad or anxious or manic. They want to be treated like someone who is really sick because they want the perceived attention that goes along with it, when what they are really doing is draining resources that could be used on someone who has an actual problem and instead grow up and stop expecting the world to recognize how special they are and give them the incredible amount of attention that they claim to need.

Another thing that never fails to annoy me about emos is their continued lack of ability to take any responsibility for themselves. I have never seen an emo love story where the hero or heroine realizes that they have a problem, seeks medical attention and devotes themselves to recovering and leading a full and complete life. Never. Their stories either end with the main character committing suicide to everyone’s horror or a love interest presenting themselves and the main character’s problems all magically disappearing under the boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s loving gaze.

The problems that emos experience and never caused or continued by their own actions. It’s always someone else’s fault and they are helpless to do anything about it. Like children, they either wait until someone comes to rescue them or they kill themselves and thus teach the cruel world an important lesson about how dangerous it was not to properly appreciate them while they were alive.

When it really comes down to it, though, these emos are children. They are expressing themselves in a way that they will undoubtedly look back on with embarrassment and a perplexed laugh in about ten years. Hopefully. What teenager hasn’t cried that the world didn’t understand them or think that they were the first person to experience rejection or heartache? What teenager hasn’t resented their parents for not being millionaires or demanded more than their due for simple existing?

Most children will grow out of this and will look back on their days as emo love story writers as quaint statements of their childhood and the turbulent emotional scene that they were experiencing. But part of being an emo seems to be seeing everyone who isn’t emo as the enemy and emo friends and acquaintances as experts and confidants to be used when making all life decisions. I worry that some of these emo children will never leave the state of helplessness where life is what is acted out upon you by exteriors forces that can neither understand you or appreciate you for the beautifully dark creature that you are.

In essence, there’s nothing wrong with being sad. There’s nothing wrong with being depressed. There’s nothing wrong with becoming overwhelmed by life and needing help. The problem I find with emos is their ability to manufacture their own problems, refuse to seek help through professionals who could actually assist them, their reliance on other people to solve their emotional issues, and their denial that they could have actually been responsible for anything that has ever happened to them.

Also, endless descriptions of skinny jeans, band t-shirts and eyeliner applications just get fucking annoying after a while.