not extinct

i’m here. not extinct. for now.
it was a meme, a cute tidbit from the net
now it lives inside my head forever too
i’m not extinct. see, i like that
to put it obviously: it implies i am endangered
but still alive!

what a joy. what a thing.
something, at least, to be alive still
i can’t talk about how badly i’m doing
without instinctively smiling because
i’m scared someone will put me back.
inside the hospital.

it’s not so much, so little, so anything
that these monsters need to be extinct
extinct unlike me. for now at least.
maybe my rapist needs to be fired from the local psych ward
but i already reported him twice
i remain alive.

i fought on out of spite. i did it.
for six months i swear i didn’t even want to die.
after the second time that i have in my memory
i guess it lasted too long, or i had too many injuries after
or maybe the second rape is just worse, but i didn’t want to die
prove he couldn’t do that to me

nobody can do that to me
i could go through worse. i almost always can.
the only person allowed to hurt me is myself
the only person i let touch my soft core
is the little demon that lives inside me
fills me with self hatred.

cuts me up. inside. where it hurts.
it doesn’t hurt outside like the knives in my stomach do
and brain and heart and being always ache
when i have taken razors or scissors or nail files or needles to my skin
it hasn’t hurt so much as bled. i sit here crying and writing
this is an alternative to the tiny weapons

it’s not uncommon to keep a kit
a little box full of self-harm tools
it’s been written about in comics and essays before
it’s been evident from the tiny metal boxes i hide in my room
i invite too many friends over for my loneliness to choke on
to be visibly this sick.

i haven’t even used the kit in months.
i thought my friend was dead, again, but this time more so
i considered it but honestly
what is the point of a wound when a death will do the job better
and though i stopped caring about living for revenge after some time passed
i still stay alive for my cat and

i guess, i suppose, my new antidepressant is working.
it’s hard to admit when you are attached to your sick girl identity,
but then when i think about attempting with these deadlier pills–
i think about how i’d feel if i survived and they were taken from me
it’d only be my own damn fault. not extinct.
if i died, would that be better?

the slow ache of the invisible prongs
of these ugly murky invisible starfish attaching themselves to my soft skin,
tugging at the edges and eating me from their middle
tearing away at my skin and my muscles
i cannot go there again. i would not, even for death
but death would be so sweet without the means to overdose

is the grass always greener, or whatever
in the sense that if i start to get better it will feel too uncomfortable
and if i start to breathe properly people will expect me to function
so i let myself starve instead. i let myself drown so, so slowly.
a drop of water in my mouth every week
eventually i will choke and drown

that’s the plan, right? that’s the method.
that’s how sometimes eating disorders are actually suicide.
how you can hurt your family less by giving them a disease to blame
rather than themselves
if it was accidental and just got too severe, it won’t hurt them much, right?
neither my mother or i want to outlive each other.

but i am moving tomorrow. today. it’s 2:46am as i write this.
i am not packed and i am running out of hours to keep surviving in a way
that keeps others happy…of course i can’t keep myself happy while not extinct.
but there’s only one me and if i died, i would be. extinct.
no more pink haired sick girl to listen to her friends and cuddle xena
and no chance at some kind of future like i want to want

the message is always positive at the last minute, the paragraph i write before i publish.
so that nobody reads this, calls the authorities on me & causes a panic attack or worse.
and also so that i learn to one day believe my own words. live on and write more of them.
each paragraph here is getting longer, maybe my life will be similar, maybe i’m not so bad
not so doomed, not so destructive. maybe i can get better.
i have to remind myself, but it’s not just words, it’s the truth.

a chance may not be much.
but i am still lucky to have that.
i am still thankful to have that. i think.
i will still keep fighting because truly what else is there to do
besides the obvious. isn’t it too obvious?
wouldn’t it be amazing if i died of old age rather than suicide?

maybe i can

i am sad and i am angry

The US 2016 presidential election results are in, and I can’t even say the name of the winner because he and his actions disgust me so much. He’s managed to insult and threaten every marginalized group, making many, many people absolutely terrified for their safety today. Today and for the next four years. Among those groups is disabled people, although a group of people being treated terribly should be something you care about even if you are not a part of that group of people. 

So maybe you aren’t even severely mentally ill and poor like me, and you don’t have to worry about your benefits being cut, or your health services, housing, income, etc being taken away as a result. So you aren’t a Muslim woman having to refrain from wearing hijab for safety reasons. You in no way are negatively affected personally, maybe even those you love aren’t. You should still care, you should still feel empathy, because I like to think my readers aren’t, idk, fucking monsters. I don’t know. I’m so scared that so few people seem to feel empathy or care, that so many people are expressing such violent misogyny, and that that person and his running mate could ever possibly be in power, with a republican house and senate to back them up.
For the record, yes, I voted early, for Hillary Clinton.
I would love to direct those of you who will be affected, who are terrified and crying and angry and so many things (so many reactions are valid) to a suicide hotline list in case you need it, but while you should absolutely try if you think you need to, national hotlines have been busy since she lost and he won and we were handed four years of fear on a platter. You should still try but please don’t expect to necessarily get through to anyone right now. I’m so sorry, and I’m going to do my best to list other resources you can draw on after listing these currently unusable helplines:
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
The Trevor Project (LGBT): 1-866-488-7386
Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860
Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741-741
Okay. So maybe you don’t want to call a helpline, or maybe you tried one, or two, or three, and they were all busy. Okay. Deep Breaths. Here is a gif about breathing that might help with that:
source
Maybe you’re angry. I get that too. A personal favorite coping technique of mine when I have feelings of anger (usually directed inward in my case, although not this time for once) is to play a song that helps me get some of my emotion out and maybe even sing along, really loud.
For this presidency, I think that the Dixie Chicks’ Not Ready to Make Nice is pretty appropriate (or find something you like better, if that’s not your jam!)
So what have I got to recommend besides deep breathing, music and hotlines that may or may not work? WELL, ladies and gentlemen and non binary people also wearing formal wear for some reason, here’s a list! I may add to it over time:
  • Got extra money burning a hole in your pocket/sitting around? Help out with the situation we’re in for a tangible feeling of having done something good. Of course, you can do this for free in many ways, by helping others, and volunteering, for example, but what I’m talking about is donating money to a charity that will probably really be needing it soon thanks to our future president – such as Planned Parenthood, NAMI, or Radical Monarchs. There are many more, and I hope to blog with a longer list included soon.
  • Learn how to fold a paper crane.
  • Spend time with your pet if you have one, cuddling or playing with it.
  • Take a bath, keep sharp objects away if that’s an issue, and use some relaxing essential oils or a bath bomb to help de-stress and indulge in some physical and mental self care.
  • Take a hot or cold shower, even if it’s quick.
  • Brew a cup of caffeine-free tea. The caffeine could increase anxiety so I’d recommend avoiding that, but the warm beverage itself can be very soothing.
  • Look into volunteering somewhere local. You’ll be benefiting your community and also have a reason to feel good about something in this world – the hard work you’re putting into making it better!
  • Write. Journal, write poetry, or blog. There are other options too. Express the emotions you’re feeling. They are valid.
  • Coloring books are extremely soothing, even if you haven’t heard of the adult coloring books trend and it sounds silly to you. The simple act requires some concentration but not enough to make it difficult, and you may find it very helpful in coping with negative feelings or anxiety.
  • Put your hands in cold ice, or hold ice tight for a minute. The bearable pain from the cold is especially good if you are struggling with a dissociative disorder or strong sadness.
  • Reach out to those you love. Let them know you care. Send an email with cute animal pictures to your favorite people, or call someone who matters a lot. Talk, make sure they’re okay, make sure you’re okay.
  • Deal with anxiety preemptively if you need birth control but need it covered by insurance to afford it by looking into longer term options, since we may have access to birth control restricted in the next four years. Implants that go in your arm can be effective for up to four years, and IUDs can be effective for up to 12!
  • Paint your nails, do your makeup, or use a face mask, if you enjoy that sort of thing. It may not help much, but you’d be surprised how soothing these acts can be for many people.
  • Look into local community events coming up protesting the election results, and other similar events. I don’t think anything can be done about the situation, but you’ll meet like-minded people who may help you cope with your frustrations and fears.
Okay. That’s all I’ve got for now. Feel free to share suggestions for coping or helping things be better in the comments. I’m emotionally drained and still crying more often than not. 
Stay strong.

sexual abuse

“Have you ever been sexually abused?”

Silence. Absolute lack of conversation, or “I don’t know.” At this point, I am 16 years old, and usually pouty and angsty enough that nobody really feels sorry for the suicidal pink haired girl, maybe. I don’t know, I’m biased, I was the suicidal 16 year old. I was the one answering every single question from mental health professionals with “I don’t know,” only not to be difficult, just because I didn’t know.

Fast forward for now.

I have one memory.

It shuts off part way through, like a corrupted video file. It shuts off like most of my childhood memories are shut off from the start, from before that. They all were really, until this February, now just most of them are.

I was 23 years old this February.

Another day, another month maybe, another mental health professional. “Your symptoms seem consistent with physical or sexual abuse, have you ever been abused by anyone as a child?” They eye my mom as an afterthought, “we can have this conversation alone, if you’d like.”

“I don’t know.”

So next we fast forward, I’m 17, older but still a teenager, losing mental functioning already but still hopeful that this brutally suicidal depressive episode will end soon – it has to, right? When the memories start, at age 13, when I moved to the USA. Well, technically six months or so before. When my dad moved out. When we started planning the move to another continent, setting up our dual citizenship, myself, my brother and my mother. When my dad wasn’t really around. When things were quieter.

My memory starts and stops. It’s hard to stay on task. To be “together”.

But there’s that question, “have you ever been sexually abused?” and that year, late 2009, when I was 17 and being asked that question and being asked that question and being asked that question.

Let’s write it out three times, for the three psychiatric hospitalizations within days of each other that I had where they asked it upon admission each time, for accuracy. I had to write a list of coping techniques 100 items long to be allowed home after that third hospitalization.

“Have you ever been physically or sexually abused?”

I don’t know. I don’t know.

“I don’t know.”

“That’s not an answer. I need to put yes or no.”

“I don’t know. No.”

“Have you ever been sexually abused?”

“I don’t know. No. I don’t think so.”

“Okay…” then they move onto the next question on the computer. “have you had thoughts of harming others, or only yourself?”

“Have you ever been sexually abused?”

“I…. no.”

So now it’s almost November 2016, and my memory has slipped into a state of “it probably has to be there a little bit still for me to even be alive, right?” but not caring at all about any effects ECT could have on me if they ever get around to that treatment, because memory loss doesn’t scare someone with little to no short term memory already.

I have this one memory. Big windows. My childhood home. Curtains? Embroidered darker green curtains. It comes and goes. Something happened, maybe. I shouldn’t have seen that. Then it cuts off. Why are his pants off? Why can’t I remember his face? Why is he approaching me like that, when I remember being young, too young for a memory like that. Is it even real? It shuts off.

I told my mom about it on the phone while in an ER earlier this year, after February. Her first reaction was that the brain can fabricate and alter memories, which while true, is the most invalidating thing you can say to someone who just told you they might have been sexually abused.

I dissociate a lot. I am hypersexual at times. You can trace my cPTSD easily to other abuse, to being raped, more than once. Of course I am a mess. I am such a mess my symptoms and traumas are hard to untangle. I have self harmed by having sex with people I knew I would hate myself for doing it with. I have self harmed in other ways. I have a brain that I can barely keep afloat on a day to day basis, I have monsters to slay every second of the day, but it plagues me in a different way that I don’t know.

I don’t know. I don’t know. I remember too much, I know things I shouldn’t, but there are other explanations for that. I don’t know. He would leave the tv on late and fall asleep with porn on in the bedroom we shared, that doesn’t mean he did anything.

I also can’t say nobody didn’t.

I guess this is less valid than a solid, real trauma I could pinpoint and take all the way to the legal system, if I wanted to. I have traumas I can pinpoint but this is not one of them. However, this also isn’t “was I touched in ways I shouldn’t have been?”

Instead it’s, “How inappropriately young was I when I was first touched in this one way? What about in this other way, without consent, a way that nobody should ever touch someone? How old was I the first time that happened?”

My lack of memories that are of my abuse aren’t evidence that it didn’t happen, I remember other things very clearly that are mostly gone but that I know happened enough times, and probably many more.

Trauma being “blacked out” in memory is a common response.

Why does this one memory start out this way? Why does it shut off?

Why does it shut off? I don’t know. I don’t know. It makes me angry, hurts, I stop thinking about it.

Usually, and in about five minutes, at least.

“Have you ever been sexually abused?” Nobody is asking me any more, partly because I am avoiding care, due to a mistrust of the system built on its deep flaws and glaringly bad history of taking care of me within the past few years. Nobody is asking, but I am asking myself in this blog post. Because:

I don’t know.