The last few days, or off and on the last few weeks, have been rocky for me. I think the worst part is the self-harming. Troubling thoughts cloud my mind as well, but the wrist banging and scratching and pinching and hair pulling have dragged me to a low I haven't seen in a while.
This weekend the hubster, dog, and I went south for my brother's graduation party. I was feeling out of sorts before we left the house-even took a nap as some sort of delaying tactic-maybe my subconscious knew that I wasn't quite up to the challenge. I don't believe anything specific caused me to crack but the strain of being out of my comfort zone in a social situation got me feeling pretty low by dinner time Friday.
Friday night the hubster and I settled in to sleep on some cots in the garage/rec room and while I wasn't full-on suicidal I was wanting to peel away my life and be anything, anyone rather than myself. Instead of sleeping I began scratching my in upper arm.
I imagined myself covered in algae and barnacles and visualized my scratching chipping away the unattractive, destructive layers of growth from my head to my toes. Sometimes I would feel relief as my skin burned under my nails and I imagined chunks of barnacle falling from my body but these images were challenged by negative thoughts, memories, and projections, for each layer I scratched off I encountered more hopeless flaws.
I kept my scratching slow and quiet. Evading detection from my sleepy husband by trying to cultivate a white noise sound with my rhythmic scraping. Five minutes quickly passed. Ten minutes and I was in the zone. Soon 15 minutes had elapsed and my husband's breathing had deepened. He hadn't noticed. My sense of isolation increased, my pain driving my nails deeper to fight fire with fire. Physical pain numbing emotional pain.
Soon over 20 minutes had passed and a large sand dollar sized section of my upper arm burned with agitation, two patches of skin worn down by my scratching, not bleeding but oozing as skin peeled away. I quickened my pace. Scratching more furiously, forgetting my white noise technique and blatantly digging into my arm, wanting someone to catch me.
My husband awoke. Took a few groggy seconds to orient himself and then grabbed my arm.
We didn't say much. What much is there to say? It's nothing new. Earlier that day he had seen me bash my wrist across the counter in a serious of harsh bounces, watched me clench my fists and pinch my fingers until deep purple welts were left behind. A couple days before I had dragged a scissor blade across my arm, leaving a cat-scratch like line, never too deep just enough to burn.
This turn in my mood has happened before. A bad sign. A familiar turn of events. Accompanied by a knot in my stomach, a gaping emptiness in my chest, and jaw grinding tension. I feel worthless. I believe I don't belong and will not be missed when my existence here ends. The darkest parts of my mind campaign for my demise and the small hope I had gathered around me cannot contend with the twisted logic.
So here we are. How quickly I return to these lows.
My family sees something but says nothing. Stares. Any questions like "You okay?" are easily dismissed with "Yeah." Random hugs from my father supply some sort of ambiguous recognition, a fleeting touch of the arm conveying support, but my darkened mind quickly brushes them off. Like they're throwing cobwebs instead of life preservers.
In other news, despite my horrible mood I had a decent week. Cleaned the house quite thoroughly. Cooked various delightful meals. Even exercised a few times. Was planning on moving on to bigger and better things but it seems like I may be on a bit of detour for the new few days... I did apply for one job (first time in a long time I've applied for anything) and plan to apply for more.
One hour at a time. Here's to 1 day mark-free, trying to go for 2.