TRIGGER WARNING: Hey. Let me start off saying that I will be talking about self-harm and suicide in this post. I apologize in advanced.
“Tell me. When the metal touches your skin, does it help you feel anything, or are you more numb than you were before?”
Valentine’s Day is always a special day for me. No, not because of the holiday created by Hallmark to get us to buy their shitty cards. No, it’s because four years ago on Valentine’s Day, I made myself the promise to stop dancing with the demon that had controlled my life for seven long and agonizing years. Everyone knows that I stopped. But no one knows exactly what happened. So, here’s my story.
The end of that relationship wasn’t an easy one. Actually, it was probably the lowest point of my life. It all starts on February 13th, 2011 in my little bedroom in suburban New Jersey. I found myself freaking out, crying, pacing my room, not knowing what the hell what going on in my head. The past few months, I had been spiraling into a dark hole, and I had finally hit rock bottom. I was numb and needed to feel something. I needed an escape. I grabbed my weapon of choice and just ran. It was a cold winter night, and I didn’t know where I was going. I just let my body take me. I found myself standing in front of the Hudson River, just staring out into the black abyss of the midnight water. I stood there and just broke loose. My skin turned red with each touch of my weapon. Later, the doctor would tell me that I would have made approximately thirty cuts, just to my left arm alone, and just on that night.
When my head stopped spinning and I realized where I was and what I had done, I didn’t know what to do. I had finally reached the point of no return. I needed to do something.
“Hey. When you get home, can you take me to the hospital? I can’t take this anymore.”
My mother didn’t understand what I meant. But she complied. She was working a night shift, and I wasn’t bleeding out, so I was able to wait until she got home. I would’ve asked my father, but at the time we didn’t have such a great relationship. The funny thing now is that my mom turned out to be the enemy in my life, hiding behind a façade, just like she had been telling me my father was at the time.
But anyways, she didn’t know what was happening. But, when we arrived at the hospital, I did all the talking. I was temporarily clear-minded, so I was able to explain everything to the head nurse.
“Are you sure that you want to do this?” – Both the nurse and my mother asked me.
“Yes.” – As I raised the sleeve I had been hiding my arm with to show them I truly needed help.
From that moment, my mom never stopped crying. From that moment, the numbness kicked back in. It took an hour in the waiting room and three in the crisis rooms for me to finally reach my destination, the child psych wing of the hospital, where I would be spending the next five days. The doctor asked me questions. “Have you had sex? Have you smoked weed or cigarettes? Have you drank?” all of which the answers were yes, which caused my mom to cry even harder. By midnight, I was all set and would be examined in the morning. My mom left me alone to find myself in a place filled with people worse than I was.
In the morning, I started my week at CCIS. They examined my cuts and my health and questioned my placement for them. “I just needed to have a place to hide them.” I met kids like me, went to group, went to “school” which was just a fancy way of saying “do the work your schools sent you,” went to one-on-one. Every day was the same. I stayed calm the entire time. I talked about things. But, really, it was a time for me to be on my own to realize that I needed to get better. I needed to stop hurting myself to feel alive.
And I did. But, it took baby steps. I had breakdowns; still do. I got urges; still do. But, I stood my ground. I kept my promise to myself, and four years later, I am celebrating the fact that I kept that promise to myself. This Valentine’s Day marked four years clean from self-harm, and I have never been more proud of myself. I was able to reach this milestone that I never thought that I could. I finally escaped, just like I needed to that night.