Because sometimes scars tell all…

Stones,

Last week I talked about suicide and it turned out to a pretty relevant topic that made for a pretty well-received blog post. Today I want to talk about another topic that is sensitive but desperately needs to be discussed:

Self harm.

I think the reason that fewer people take this as serious is because of the stigma of an angsty, “emo” teen slitting their wrist blasting “alternative” music when they don’t get their way. But the issue is so much deeper than that. Self-harm can look like a lot of things. It could range from moderate things like scratching, cutting, burning, and pulling out one hair to as severe as causing broken bones. It varies from person to person but doesn’t lessen the severity.

I remember when I first started cutting. I was around 12 and when my grandmother found out she took me to my pediatrician and told her that I was cutting. I’m not quite sure what my grandmother was expecting but I don’t think either of us was expecting what my doctor said next. She equated cutting to smoking, in the way that they were both addicting stress relievers. Once you get stressed out, you have to do the action again to relieve that stress. She then said that we have to find better-coping skills.

Things went back and forth over the next few years, I had really good months when I’d be fine. Then there were other times where my arm barely had time to heal before I was adding more scar tissue. Things hit a head during one summer but I think the lowest point was having my grandma clean my wounds after I had cut and then fell asleep because I had drained myself of all my energy.

We never talked about that night after that. If we had I wonder how that conversation would have gone. The only thing she ever said really in regards to the subject was that I was going to get an infection. I feel like at that point sometimes I would cut just to prove her wrong. I always used clean razors but cheap never the good one because was a waste of money. Looking back now I can see how easy it would have been. Funny how hindsight is 20/20 when you can look back and realize how misguided you were.

Now at almost 26, I can say that I’ve have self-harmed in a while. Most of the superficial cuts have faded away. I am however left with a very unsightly burn mark a year ago when I couldn’t find any razors. As much as I really don’t recommend self-harm, self-harming out of desperation is even less of a good idea. I’m lucky that this is the only real damage that I’ve sustained after all these years. If I had the chance I’d go back and talk to that confused and traumatized little girl.

A lot of times things like this aren’t talked about. How would one even approach the subject? Typically the times when you have to have these talks an incident has already occurred. How can we take a sort of preemptive strike? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Until next we meet,

S. Hollisway

Scarred and Faceless

Because sometimes the view from halfway down isn’t the same…

Stones,

This very topic fills me with so much anxiety to discuss but it threatens to rip me at my very seams if I don’t. I can only tell you know what I know.

Included in this blog post is the link to a segment of the 15th episode of the 6th season of the American adult animated web television series “BoJack Horseman”.I highly recommend it. If you can get past the very superficial focus that half the characters are animals and the other half are humans and you don’t try to compare it every other “raunchy” adult cartoon then I promise you won’t be disappointed. I could go on and on about how amazing it but I know I’d drop spoilers. But I digress.

Without going into too many particulars, this poem entitled “The View From Halfway Down” talks about the topic of suicide from a very interesting perspective. The character jumped from a bridge and goes from acceptance to terror and regret. Even if you don’t give the show a chance I do recommend at least listening to the poem. It was nominated for a Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program which is quite impressive considering some of the content.

My point, I think, is I wonder if people who have failed suicide attempts share the same sentiments. It’s kind of a final decision if everything goes as planned. How many times do you get to replay the final scene? Rehearsal is one thing but actually replaying the final scene over and over until you get it right is, well morbid. Most would like to believe that one suicide attempt is enough. Sometimes it takes a few to get the point across. Sometimes you get well and the moment passes for good, and other times the curtain closes in finality.

I think I’m somewhere in the middle. I’ve had multiple suicide attempts. Most were passive, kind of like swallowing a handful of pills just to see what would happen in my teenage years. Nothing ever came from it. My half attempt that was documented was when I took 10 Ativan to ease a panic attack and that did not go well. Misinformation kills. I thought that benzodiazepines and alcohol was the only way to kill you, but apparently they can relax your chest to the point where you aren’t breathing. My first documented suicide attempt was on August 24, 2014. That date is branded into my brain because this was when I learned how overdosing really worked. The thing with overdosing on medication is that it’s not always instantaneous like in the movies. So once the intense wave emotion led to the act passes and you think you failed once again but overdoses do have consequences especially on the body.

My second documented suicide attempt was on Lithium which is an old school medication with nasty side effects. When used properly blood tests are still needed. This was my view from halfway down. As I stated before overdosing isn’t instant and there will be side effects, some very noticeable some not so much. Lithium was very noticeable. It wasn’t immediate but it definitely hit me like a ton of bricks. For someone suffering who suffered from suicidal thoughts for most of my life, it was a very terrifying and inconvenient time to realize that there was a huge possibility that I didn’t want to die. Not saying that I don’t sometimes still want to end but that experience definitely makes me reevaluate going through with it again. Well, that’s one of the things.

What most people don’t understand about being suicidal until you’ve been suicidal is that no one besides yourself should be the reason you are here. I’ve had people tell me time and time again that I should be here because of this person and that person and think of all the people I would hurt.

First of all, can you imagine how messed up in the head someone has to be to believe that by ceasing to exist that they would be easing the pain of others? I mean someone who genuinely believes this. Now imagine how crappy of a human being you have to be to guilt-trip them into thinking that your needs and wants supersede theirs. Just for anyone who wants to claim selfishness.

Second of all, and most important, it is impossible and extremely unhealthy to make someone else your reason for living. It’s not healthy to tie your reason for existing to another person because no one should have that weight on their shoulders. No one should have to live with that shotgun to their head, feeling like if they make the wrong move then the person they are bound to be liable to call it quits. No one should have to live like that. It’s not fair to anyone involved.

Suicide isn’t a perfect solution. To many, it’s not a solution at all except by definition. People say that things will get better but that’s no guarantee either. When I got back to my dark and twisty place, I think from a very logical standpoint of there’s always a chance I’ll get it wrong. The odds that I’ll end up a vegetable for the rest of my life is pretty strong. In addition to that, there is always a chance that halfway through I’ll change my mind but what if by that point it’s too late and I’ve done too much damage. The last thing I want to do is the struggle in vain. Gasping for air that’s just not there, panicked in alone.

I don’t know, that’s just me and I can only tell you what I know.

I hope I have offered you guys a think piece. Let me know what you think in the comment below.

Until next we meet,

S.Hollisway

“The View from Halfway Down”

Scarred and Faceless

Because sometimes moms matter…

Stones,

For anyone that is a mother, have you ever been told it’s not about you anymore? Have you been told that it’s all about the baby or the children come first? That your time is over?

Well, let me be the first (or second) to tell you that that is a big steaming pile of crap.

Hear me out!

If you think about it, a child’s first connection is with her mother. They help form their view of the world. So how can you expect them to take care of a child when they aren’t taking care of themselves. You can’t pour from an empty cup. I know I use that saying a lot because it’s true. I have a lot of experience draining myself for the sake of other people.

I remember when I had my son. I was already diagnosed with mental health issues and couldn’t take my medication for 9 months. I was depressed I was suicidal and for most of my pregnancy, I was alone. I was barely coping or keeping it together. I got into a situation with CPS and I couldn’t be with my baby for 11 days. Everyone expected me to be a robot until this situation was over. I wasn’t allowed to go through postpartum or go see a doctor’s determination on what meds I could safely breastfeed on. No one cared. My son became more important.

That’s not to say that he wasn’t important. Of course, he was important. He was and still is the most important person in my life. But how could I be trusted to take care of my son when I didn’t have the time or resources to take care of myself. People are so quick to pick the flower and forget about the roots. Here are some quick statistics for you:

Did you know…

Approximately 70% to 80% will experience, at a minimum, the ‘baby blues’. Many of these women will experience the more severe condition of postpartum depression or a related condition.

The reported rate of clinical postpartum depression among new mothers is between 10% to 20%.

One recent study found that 1 in 7 women may experience PPD in the year after giving birth. With approximately 4 million live births occurring each year in the United States, this equates to almost 600,000 postpartum depression diagnoses.

https://www.postpartumdepression.org/resources/statistics/

I do encourage you to finish the article in its entirety because it does include a lot of helpful information. I also want to inform you that this article was written early in 2019 so can you imagine how those numbers have grown? I can say from personal experience that the mental health field isn’t competent or compassionate towards women. Not all of them mind you, but I’ve encountered enough of them. One time I had a doctor suggest taking Lithium because there was a 1 in 5 chance my firstborn child would be stillborn or serious birth defects. A 20 percent chance was okay with him.

I say all of that to say this. Of course children matter but mama’s matter too. There is no more or less here because I feel as though they are equal. We worry so much about our children, but we need to make sure their moms are okay too.

Until Next we meet,

S.Hollisway

Scarred and Faceless