So, it’s Sunday morning. My day to go to church. I go because I need it for myself, but I’ve grown weary of having to put on my Ms Feelgood façade and interact. I will arrive about 5 minutes after the service should have started, but sometimes I am caught by surprise. The pastor doesn’t always start on time, and then sometimes I am forced to actually say something to someone. I wonder just how adept I will be at scooting out the door afterwards in my attempt to escape yet another interaction ordeal. I can’t, in all good conscience, be rude as I do care for these folks. However, they just don’t understand how badly I have to escape even 5 minutes of dealing with someone else. (well, I avoided Church altogether this morning. I had forgotten that today was their Fall Picnic. Too many people to deal with and I am so far out of my social skills that it would only create too much anxiety for me to actually socialize for 1.5-2.0 hours).
I should have seen the warning signs even back then. I was self-mutilating back then in my own attempt to mask the incredible pain I was feeling. And that time I really did quite a number on my arms I Am Bipolar, So Who Am I? I simple could not wrap my head around the desolation that led to self-mutilation. The pain I was experiencing was so very real, yet couldn’t handle it. The upside to self-mutilation allowed me to deflect the overwhelming, abject pain stemming from my emotional pain. Looking up-front to the horrific carvings, my mind no longer fixated on the emotional pain I could not understand and process.
My doctor raised a red flag of concern and I wouldn’t discuss it, so he quietly slipped me a script for an ant-depressive med (well before being diagnosed with BP). Little did he know that the anti-depressant would only open yet another opportunity to catapult me into my manic state) and upgraded my tetanus vaccine.
I feel fortunate that my whole approach to this carving process was anal-retentive as it was, with my medical background for some years before, I searched and found all of the sterile scalpel blades and holders that I had accumulated over the years. My initial though process was that these blades would make excellent exacto blades. The day I was compelled to carve on my arms (winter time…long sleeves), these were the first instruments I sought out. Mean, face it, these blades (#11 and #15 specifically). Even a that moment of insanity, I chose a solution with minimal side-effects (e.g, no infections!).
I still have acute reflections of that whole process. I’d laid out the various blades still wrapped in their sterile wrapper, took of my shirt (heaven forbid I get one bloody) and prepped all of my forearms. You still see the hesitation marks that slowly built upon a level of determination to begin slicing and dicing. They were in parallel lines first, then went back to cut back crossing those brand new cuts now from a perpendicular fashion…I knew that these would be deep and sure. It simply did not phase me to see so much of my own blood. It was almost all I could to do to keep up with the pooling of blood. In order to have a sense of control over this horrific direction I was headed. I called my then-counselor and asked her to come over my home so I could get rid of my instruments of destruction. I explained that my house had to a free-zone for me. Thus ending my illustrious history of the self-mutilation.©2009