Blank page, why do you torment me so? Why, oh thoughts, do you give me trepidation? Why does it feel like the process of writing is tearing something from my skin? My soul?
Maybe because it’s a purging? A cleansing? I can feel it in my chest. This need to write, to expel, to confess, yell, scream, cry, release.
And it’s so odd because this past week has been pretty great in relation to how the previous weeks have gone.
Maybe it is a build up? Maybe it is a result of having to contain everything, hold it together, and now that the storm seems to have passed I am able to relax, muscles shuddering from effort and strain of holding my world together. Atlas no longer.
I feel, I guess is the best way to describe it, and yet I know for most people that doesn’t describe it at all. It explains everything, and yet nothing.
I feel my happiness. I feel my love for those around me. I feel my hope for things getting better. I feel my energy and potential coming back as I recover. I feel my tiredness. I feel my sorrow. I feel my acceptance.
All of it. All at once.
Sitting at work, writing this now, might not be the best time or place, but I need to do this. The feelings are like a wall inside. A wall swarming, shifting. A living, breathing thing tired of being ignored and in need of attention.
I suppose I should start with the worst and move forward from there.
I mentioned how Monday was rough, but I never went into detail about it. I don’t even know how to really explain it. I don’t remember a lot of the details, but I remember every emotion.
Zane and I fought. I had made a comment about how I wanted him to follow through on all of the things he kept saying he would do, and that had made him he feel invalided. How it made him feel like his efforts for find a job were pointless, and how all of the other things he has been doing around the apartment meant nothing.
Every time we tried to talk to reconcile our hurt feelings after that we came away worse than before, more emotionally wounded. The more we pulled away from each other, the more we lashed out due to hurt.
Every time he left the room I would cover myself with my sheet and cry in silence, alone, so he wouldn’t see or hear me. I couldn’t think past the hurt and loneliness. The desperation of finding a way to make everything ok. There had been so much fighting recently, and the day has started off so well. I wanted to make things right, and I couldn’t. It just kept getting worse. And every time Zane came back to the room he would make a comment about how I was in bed.
I was trying to think through the situation. I was trying to find something, anything that would fix it. But that’s not what he saw. He was frustrated that I wasn’t communicating with him and that I was shutting down and pulling away. He was frustrated that I had made a comment about him not ‘doing enough’ yet there I was doing nothing.
We needed different things from each other, and at the time I don’t think we were able to provide what the other needed.
I ended up taking a pair of scissors and scrapping five lines across the top of my left thigh. It is the first act of self-harm I have done since I lived with Warren #2. Roughly three years now? Maybe longer?
The scratches are more similar to shallow paper cuts to be honest. There was no blood, just the burning sting of scratched skin. I’ve had cat scratches that hurt more.
I am not justifying what I did. I am not asking for forgiveness or expressing guilt.
I am definitely not crying out for help, pity, or anything of the sort.
I guess I’m trying to explain that it wasn’t a need for death or an end. It wasn’t a suicide attempt, and that even though I did cause harm to myself, in reality it isn’t as bad as the initial knee jerk conclusion normally is.
I feel this is another instance where it’s like trying to explain color to a blind person. If someone has never felt those emotions before, if they have never felt the need for that sort of release, then there’s no way for them to truly empathize and understand when another person tries to express those emotions.
At the time it literally felt like the earth was falling beneath my feet. As if the only thing that existed was this horribleness and that there was no future past it. There was only the pain, there had only even been pain, there would only ever be pain. Blinding, consuming, burning and freezing at the same time, slashing at me from the inside, demanding expression, existence, in some way.
And so I gave it life. The red marks on white skin reminded me of animal claws. And a part of my mind found it fitting because that’s what it felt like inside. A wounded animal attacking me, lashing out even as hands reached out to sooth it, care for it, help it. Irrational pain driving it to self-protection.
I didn’t tell Zane anything about the feelings inside. Instead, I made the marks and than began putting the cloths away. When he came into the room next that’s what he saw. Me out of bed, doing a task I had said I would do.
I showered afterwards, the water stinging my thigh. I dried and dressed, the fabric rubbing against the abrasions. I went to work. I did my job, the whole while a calmness, a stillness, covered everything like a blanket. Safe. Distant. Detached.
The emotions were muted. I don’t think they were gone. But they were satisfied, and so logic was able to come back. I was able to think again. To understand and formulate.
That was when I made the post on Reddit. That was when I found the article about INFJ shadow traits. It was comforting to read that the overwhelming feelings weren’t an inability to cope on my part. That it was normal for others of my personality type to feel the same way.
After reading several articles I felt that I had a better understanding of my own actions and thoughts. I felt like a lot of my past actions were explained, and why sometimes I am self-destructive.
I felt acceptance rather than guilt and remorse. I had done this action. It was harmful, and it needed to be addressed. I needed to talk about it, and I would so it could not happen again.
It’s frustrating how I seem to understand others so well, and yet when it comes to myself and my own feelings I am always at a loss and confused. Baffled by my own actions. I can never seem to understand anything about myself unless it is explained to me by someone on the outside. Unless it is in an article with cited sources. Unless it is something that I spend hours, days, meditating on.
Because of my research Monday night I felt like I understood myself better and I would be able to have a conversation about what had happened to prevent it from occurring again. I wasn’t proud of my actions, but I would stand behind them because I had made my choice and the fall out would be my consequences.
I accepted what ever was going to happen, and so there was still only a calmness as I left work.
When I got home everyone was still playing Diplomacy. Bobby stayed for a little bit longer after the game, smoking hookah with Zane. I had tried to stay in the room because I hadn’t wanted to be around anyone. And for a while I was alone. Eventually Zane came back into the room to get me, though, because he didn’t want me to be by myself. I couldn’t stop a few tears from falling, the thought of being in the living room was overwhelming, but I couldn’t say no.
I didn’t want to be around anyone. I didn’t want the lights to be on. I didn’t want to watch anime. I didn’t want sound, or conversation. I didn’t want to pretend to be ok because I wasn’t. I honestly truly wasn’t ok, and I knew there was no way to cover that up.
And so I didn’t try. I sat on the couch. I said nothing. I stared blankly at the TV and I really didn’t pay attention to anything. I might as well have been miles away, but neither Zane nor Bobby said anything about it.
They let me sit undisturbed, traveling through my own thoughts, and as the minutes passed I actually started to feel better. I didn’t really want to be alone. I wanted to be there, but not engaged, and they let me have that.
Zane and I went to sleep after Bobby left. We didn’t talk. I fell asleep next to his warmth, listening to his breathing, still detached, still distant, but present. Which I guess is a bit of an oxymoron. I’m not sure how to really clarify it any better than that. Detached presence. Observant maybe?
When I woke up on Tuesday I took my laptop into the living room while Zane continued to sleep. I had my coffee and began to write, which is when I remembered the Reddit post I had made the night before.
The comments were amazing and so helpful. Since Tuesday morning I feel like I have direction again. Zane and I have new avenues to look into for help. We’ve found several promising opportunities for him, which he is actively pursuing.
We talked about the post Tuesday morning when he woke up. And Tuesday in general was a positive day.
It wasn’t until Wednesday that I mentioned the scratches. We were cuddling in bed and things were becoming more intimate. We were on our sides, facing each other, my left palm against his right, our fingertips touching, pressing against one another before our fingers slide in-between the others, clasping gently down so that we were holding hands.
I gave a painful smile. It was now or never.
Now or never.
Deep breathe. It would be now. It would be now.
Trust. Faith. Strength.
It would be now.
I bit my lip. “You’re going to be mad at me.” I said. My voice was soft. I knew this needed to happen, but the past day and a half had been so much better than before. He was motivated, he wasn’t as depressed, and here I was going to ruin all of that.
But this wasn’t something that could be hidden. And I didn’t want to hide it. I didn’t want to lie. And omitting the truth is lying.
He said he had known. That he didn’t know how I had done it, when, or where. But it was a feeling, and he knew. He asked me where and I told him. The whole time our hands stayed together. I didn’t meet his eyes as I focused on breathing past the anxiety, the tightness.
This was when he would get angry. This was when we were going to fight, and the downward spiral would start again. This is where it was going to end. Because of me.
He was calm. He didn’t yell or get upset. He didn’t make me feel bad. We talked. Discussed. He let me stumble through the feelings and helped me when I couldn’t figure out how to express what I wanted to.
“That is a bit of a mood killer.” He teased. I laughed, in a pained, relieved sort of way as I put my head on his chest. More tears, but of relief this time. I squeezed his hand harder, and he squeezed mine back.
I absently mentioned out loud that I wondered if the self-harm was a nature verses nurture thing. If it had some connection to primal instincts because it was such an overwhelming compulsion. A need. At the time there was literally nothing else that existed for me.
Zane said that it very well could be something primal, and cited that several animals such as cats and dogs, which bite themselves, or pull their fur out when they are in stressful environments. I never made that connection before. I wonder if there is any research on the subject.
I feel I should state that I do not feel guilt.
I am sorry because I know writing about this will cause people to worry for me. I know some people will think I should leave the situation, that I should leave Zane. And I know I’m not going to, which will cause unsettled feelings for them. Disappointment maybe.
I’m sorry because I know it will change some people’s opinion of me. I will have not lived up to expectations, and that realization will not be ok for some. I would have fallen in their eyes.
While I can say I will not actively seek out this outlet again, I am not sorry. And while I know there are some people who will not understand my lack or remorse and guilt, and will feel my stance is inappropriate, I know there are people who do and will understand it.
I understand it.
Despite the absolute hopelessness I felt at the beginning of the week I have completed most of my homework for my class. The final assignment is all that is left. I got a 100 on the quiz again.
I sat down and refigured my budget with the added expenses for Zane. I did that yesterday, which put a quantitative spin on our situation. That was added motivation for him. Seeing numbers, rather than just my emotional stress over the situation, was good for both of us.
Working on the task was actually really relaxing and gave me peace of mind. It allowed me to complete a task, a project, which gave me a small boost. I need to continue working on small things, taking small steps, to help build myself back up emotionally.
I’ve been playing Witcher 3 for the past two nights. Having a few hours of down time has been really nice. Zane does his own thing on his laptop while I let myself get caught up in the story. It’s much like reading a book. A bit of an escape where I can let go of the worries of the day, decompress, and in a way cease to exist as myself.
I’ve also run twice; Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday I actually ran outside. I forgot how awesome it was to go as fast as I can without the treadmill holding me back. I can go with what the music makes me feel rather than being forced into a certain speed. I can fluctuate as I need to.
I had the warmth of Florida’s evening air around me. The setting sun coloring the world around me in pinks, reds, and oranges, which slowly faded to blues and purples.
Running outside gave me the benefit of being away from the apartment, away from people, away from everything. I was out and part of the world. I was running on a sidewalk, so there wasn’t as much nature as I would have liked. Maybe I will run one of the bike trails today, and find a tree to meditate under. I’m not sure yet. But regardless, I wasn’t inside an air conditioned box.
Zane and I have also created a new character for Trevor’s Pathfinder game. We are going to be playing a goblin with a dissociative personality disorder. I will be the goblin’s original, more feral personality, while Zane will play the currently dominant, more civilized personality. Basically I’m going to be a voice whispering inside of his head the whole game, nagging at him to do different things.
I got to brainstorm her backstory with Zane and really flesh out her overall character. We were able to make a lot of progress with my elf character as well last Sunday. Pretty sure I didn’t write anything about that.
We got her enhancements and armor figured out. Actually I think I did mention that because I talked about wanting to write out her story. Still haven’t done any of that writing, but it’s something I keep coming back to. Much like writing my blog.
I might not be writing as consistently as I have in the past, but I keep thinking about it, so eventually it happens. Just like running.
I think the storm is over. I think things are getting better. I feel positive energy. I don’t feel lost and hopeless because I know there are other options out there now. Things we haven’t tried yet, things that can work out for us. The fight isn’t lost.
I know there’s more to write. But I feel done for now. I wrote about the hardest thing. The biggest thing. I admitted to it so it can’t fester in the darkness. I was honest with myself, with the world, and I’m content with that.
I’m not perfect. I still mess up. And I’m not going to apologize for that. I’m human and I still love myself.