Tag Archives: self-harm

The Abyss.

Tonight I want to talk about the Abyss. I know when I started this blog I briefly discussed what the Abyss is to me. It is the deepest level of my system. It is darkness. It is fear. It is anger and horrible memories. It is terrifying and can be very very unstable. I want to talk about this place because I am there as we speak.

I thought about writing this for a few weeks, but wanted to spare my readers from my current struggles…until I realized how silly that is. This is a recovery blog. This is not a sugar coated, everything is rainbows and unicorns blog. This is down and dirty, this is how it fucking is blog. This is a, don’t give up…keep fighting blog. I am human, just like each and every one of you who read this. Sure I have a lot of clean time under my belt for drugs and for self harm. Sure, I’ve made a lot of progress in therapy…and sure, a few of my alters and I have integrated. But I am still human and I am still recovering from horrible things that had been done to me repeatedly. Nasty torturous things most people don’t even acknowledge are real because their own lives have been so positive. Things you see in horror movies and documentaries. This is my life. I have great ups and horrific downs. The downs don’t occur nearly as often as they used to, but they still come around. I am there as we speak.

I want this post to be a raw look into a breakdown. I want this post to really help others understand the pain we survivors go through, the battle we fight to survive. I also want this post to speak to those of you who are currently in your own version of the Abyss and persuade you to keep going.

The reason I am in the darkness right now is because an alter who has been with me since I was about 4 years old and holds some of my most traumatic memories has decided to break her silence. Suddenly, after about four months of stability, happiness, confidence and silence within my mind…I hear voices again. I feel a war of emotions within me. I am anxious, angry and deeply hurt. This alter has shown me things that were done to me that I guess she feels I am ready to deal with. Human nature is to avoid the harder, more dark path right? I know I just posted about this recently in my blog post about taking the dark road. Well, now I am fighting against human nature to continue on this dark, horrible road…because it is the one that will result in growth and strength. I know I am more than capable of surviving this and I know what is on the other side is well worth the pain. This is just very hard. I am feeling the same fear and anger I felt then as a small child, being used and abused, neglected and tormented. I feel the intense rage that is too much for my small human body to bare. I must get it out…but in a healthy, safe way. I have been drawing a lot more, painting and writing as well. I told my therapist how bad I feel and we have gone from one appointment every other week back to two meetings a week. At first I was angry and disappointed in myself for this, but truly, this shows my strength. Only a year ago I would not have called him. I would not have told him I needed more help. But this time I did. There is nothing wrong with admitting you are struggling. Asking for help does not denote weakness, in fact, it shows what a badass you are. Because it’s downright terrifying to ask for help. If you are struggling with telling the truth about your pain, please know you have every right to open your mouth…and you are showing your strength.

I have been forcing myself to cry. Allowing myself to get pissed off and journal my angry thoughts and feelings. It can be very scary to see such anger come out of you, but I promise you, it is vital for your health and survival. Get angry. Allow yourself to feel that rage for what was done to you against your will. All I ask is that you make sure you express it in safe ways. Journal, free write, draw, paint, meditate, pray, do yoga, play hockey, punch the shit out of a pillow, write a story and kill off a character (sounds weird, but it helps), hold your loved ones close, call a friend, call your therapist, attend a support group, dance, listen to HAPPY (never ever ever ever EVER sad) music, play an instrument, play with a pet, go for a walk…do something. Writing a letter to your abusers can be very cathartic. Or write to your addiction. Be completely honest. Don’t hold back. Don’t be afraid of who might see it because after you’re done I want you to rip it up in tiny pieces and put it in something safe to burn (like a fire pit) and light that mother fucker on fire. Watch it burn. Realize that holding in that anger will eventually be the end of you in one way, shape or form. Let it go. Let it out and tell it to get the hell away from you.

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of this one before…I bought a nice metal box with a combination code on it. It had a ton of makeup in it. I threw out all of the makeup and filled the box with things that made me happy, and things that reminded me of better times, things worth fighting for. I called this my emergency box. I still have it today. I highly suggest everyone make one and use it before you get as far down as I am now. It can really help you to slow down, calm down and put things into perspective. If it doesn’t help, move onto other coping skills that work for you.

I know it hurts to be where I am now, and where I’m sure some of you are, or have been. I know it feels as if someone is cutting into you with a scalpel, hitting you upside the head, all sorts of horrible things. But I swear to you, it will pass if you fight. Refuse to let this be your end. I know as I write this I am feeling so many negative, scary things. Some of these feelings are mine, others are feelings of my alters who have not let dealt with their abuse. Yes, I won’t lie, I am struggling with urges to self harm. I am dealing with a lot…but I absolutely refuse to lay down and die here. Hell no. This is my life damnit and I am going to fight for it. I will get past this…this is just another burning in the process of rising from the ashes. The pain is immense, but as we speak I am becoming stronger, wiser and more enlightened. I am removing what doesn’t belong, confronting my demons and growing.

Don’t give up. You are not alone. Help is always okay to look for and it is only a text, phone call, email or message away. There is always help. Those voices of doubt in your mind will try to convince you this is not true…but they are liars. Don’t listen. You’re a warrior! You CAN do this.

I love all of you, Dandi

Suicide hotline: 1(800)273-8255

http://www.fortrefuge.com

http://www.pandys.org

http://www.rainn.org

http://www.stepchat.com

http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=urgent_crisis_hotline

Take the dark road

Many times in each of our lives we come to a fork in the road. We are usually faced with many options, or paths. Some are easy and appear sunny while others, even from a distance look terrifying and difficult to say the least. When you get to this place stop. Just…stop. At this point you need to realize something very important that will help you heal, grow and make your life what you want it to be. Don’t take the easy road. Everything about that path will lie to you, seduce you, comfort you. That easy road will look so enticing, but it will do you no good.

I strongly believe in Carl Jung’s works. He was absolutely brilliant. Currently I am reading a book on his work and I came across a section that spoke to me more deeply than what preceded it. It gave me chills. “When we must deal with problems, we instinctively resist trying the way that leads through obscurity and darkness. We wish to hear only of unequivocal results, and completely forget that these results can only be brought about when we have ventured into and emerged again from the darkness.” ~Carl Jung.

Seriously…brilliant. Brilliant and true. I can attest to this personally. I have lost count of how many times in my past I tried to take the easy route and ended up in a situation far more horrible than the last. I hadn’t learned anything, I hadn’t grown, I hadn’t healed…in fact I had regressed, I had my scars ripped open and deepened. The bleeding began and it was at times, more than I could bear. I reached out to a few friends and to my therapist. Even more so…I looked inside. I was afraid of the most difficult path. The path that went straight into my mind, soul and very being. I was terrified of the darkness and tournament deep within me. There were so many things about me, my thoughts and my memories that left me paralyzed in fear.

I realized that introspection into my own personal abyss that was the network of my mind was the path that would set me free. This was when my true “burnings” as a Phoenix began. I plunged into the blackness, blind at first. I hit rock bottom and everything was silent. I felt disoriented, I felt the scary floating feeling of dissociation take over my body. Derealization and depersonalization attempted to take over, however, I managed to stay somewhat in control. I remained there for a while and began to pay attention to the darkness. Suddenly visions came, voices bombarded me, smells and even tastes came. I saw myself as a small child…alone, afraid, abused. I saw and heard the maltreatment, the process of my early abusers welding onto me the traits and ideals they wanted me to believe were me and my own. I realized that how I acted now and what I believed now wasn’t me at all. I wasn’t a scared, depressed, no-self esteem girl desperate to never be alone. Those were characteristics others had infused in my early personality to keep me weak…to keep me a victim, alone and afraid.

I came to realize the ugly truths about my personality that I had been running from. 1.) I believed my self worth was nothing. 2.) I believed that I deserved to be hurt, abused and isolated. 3.) I was terrified of abandonment.

It was hard to seek these truths out…the journey was dark and painful, but once I arrived I erupted in flames of strength, knowledge and hope. I began my ascent from the abyss and as I continued to rise I peeled the personality flaws, the lies, the untrue characteristics that were hiding who I was from my being. I ripped and scratched and fought. I burned and it was glorious…each burning was painful, yet beautiful.

I have been going through these burning processes for a few years now, but now I have completely risen from the ashes and I now work towards the skies. I don’t see limits anymore. I don’t see a scared, insecure, ugly, broken girl anymore. I see a confident, beautiful young woman with dreams, passions, strengths…I see the bubbly, positive, incredibly happy soul I truly am. You can be who you are too. You don’t have to hide anymore love. You don’t. Your past wasn’t your fault. You were a victim…but now it is time to shed that victim skin, plunge into the darkness and begin your own process of burning off what should not be there. The darkness can be scary, but only if you allow yourself to become lost. Continue working towards the light…when you’re lost look for lanterns. These can be helpful friends, family or therapists who truly understand and love you…they can be friendly spirits, they can be the Divine. They can be alters (other personalities…like I have). Rise Phoenix….rise to your rightful place in this universe.

“In order to rise from its own ashes, a phoenix first must burn.” ~Octavia E. Butler.

Zero tolerance taken too far.

Zero tolerance taken too far

 

Many schools and places of business have zero tolerance policies on things like weapons, drug and alcohol use and sexual harassment. Most of the time these policies are great and protect people from getting hurt. Have you ever wondered if any of these zero tolerance policies had any drawbacks or flaws? I admit I haven’t really thought about that until now. Just last week a friend of mine’s daughter was put in a very scary situation, but she remained strong, loving and brave. Another student, a friend of hers who is battling against self-harm had brought a razor to school and was using it on himself. Adrionna talked with him, urging him that this was not the way to cope and she took the razor from him. Immediately after she disposed of the razor in the trash. The next day at school Adrionna went to her guidance counselor and told the story of what happened with her friend. She was worried that if she didn’t come forward her friend may harm himself again or worse.

 

What do you think happened after this brave girl took an extra step to protect her friend? I thought that she would have been congratulated and that her friend would receive immediate help, but that is exactly opposite of what the school did. Adrionna was suspended from school and a hearing was held today March 20th, 2014 to determine if she would be expelled from Bayside Middle school. After the hearing today Adrionna’s mother was told that her suspension would end. Despite Adrionna being reinstated at school the school board told her she was wrong in her actions and would barely let her speak. I am more than appalled at her school’s policy and their actions towards a hero. It takes guts to speak up for what is right and even more to help someone in a scary situation. So often in our society the “standerby effect” takes place, where someone witnesses something bad happening but does nothing to help because they think: this isn’t my problem, someone else will help. This is a illogical and negligent way to think and because of it many people are assaulted, robbed and even killed because everyone around failed to act. Adrionna is nothing short of a hero and this world needs more people like her.

 

If you would like to help Adrionna and would like to show the Virginia Beach school system they need to change their flawed policies please write to: mike.mcgee@vbschools.com and tell her school how you feel about all of this. It doesn’t matter if you live in Virginia or not, I am certain her school is not the only school with flawed policies. Please protect Adrionna and all other students! If you would like to read more on her story you can read it many places now!!! Here are just a few links:

http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/2014/03/20/us-girl-says-she-was-suspended-for-stopping-cutter

 

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/20/va-middle-schooler-suspended-confiscating-razor-se/#.Uysgpz9E2cg.facebook

 

http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2014/03/20/Virginia-girl-suspended-for-taking-self-harming-classmates-razor/3851395334419/?spt=su

 

http://wavy.com/2014/03/19/student-suspended-for-taking-razor-from-self-harming-classmate/

 

If Adrionna’s story is not enough to convince you that this is a national problem please check this link out: http://famous101.com/famous-cases-of-zero-tolerance-in-schools-failing-miserably

 

I love Adrionna and her family very much, they have been there for me in some of the darkest times of my life and I hope that we can all be there for her and her family now! Please let Adrionna be an example of what to do in a situation like this. If you ever see or hear of someone who is in this much pain that they are struggling with self-harm please don’t look away. Please help them immediately! I hope and pray that the boy Adrionna helped is now receiving the care and help he needs to overcome this horrible assailant called self-harm, and if you are reading-you can do this! You are not alone, you are strong and wonderful and you deserve good things. There are many people who can relate to you and who will help you through the healing journey. Here are some resources to help anyone who is battling self-harm:

 

http://twloha.com/

http://www.fortrefuge.com/

http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/self-harm/#.Uyua6_ldWSo

http://www.lifeline.org.au/Get-Help/Facts—Information/Self-harm/Self-harm

http://www.selfinjury.com/

http://www.stepchat.com/

 

The last link, stepchat is a wonderful site where you can attend many different 12 step meetings online. One of my favorites is SMA, this is a 12 step program that helps people who self-harm.

 

Stay strong warriors and warrioresses! I love each and every one of you and we will heal a little more everyday as long as we never give up the fight.

The holidays

Hello everyone! I know! I know! I have been slacking again…It’s the holidays and like most people, things have been pretty emotional and busy for me. If you’re anything like me you probably feel ambivalent towards the holidays. You want to feel happy and excited, you think about the yummy food and the gifts you have bought for certain people…but then you think about the people you will be spending the holidays with, or the people you wish you could spend the holidays with. Then you start to feel very alone, depressed, anxious and downright pissed off. 

I have a very very small handful of blood relatives that I can say I care about and enjoy being around them. This is the number one reason why the holidays are normally very difficult to fully enjoy. Because of falling outs, attitudes and grudges most of my family does not want to be around one another at any point in time. I often spend holidays with my kids, my mom and step dad and sometimes a few others. (Most of these people I do not feel comfortable around and have to constantly tell myself it will be okay as long as I stay grounded). “Just get through it, just get through it”. It’s just…freaking annoying. I can’t stand being around negative people and people who judge others. BAM, that is most of the people in my family. Downright no-fun to be around. 

There are people I love dearly and consider my true family in every way imaginable. Most of these people live in other states, others live nearby but have their own little families to spend the holidays with. This also makes the holidays feel a little blue. Despite these two huge hurdles I face every holiday (especially Christmas/Yule/Hanukkah/all other holidays in December) I always find a way to enjoy it even if it’s just a little bit. 

I love snow…I live in Michigan. I can’t remember a Christmas where I didn’t have snow. So…that’s a plus! I have two children who I love more than anything. I get to spend most holidays with both of them (sometimes my son is with his daddy). That is a huge plus. It’s cold therefore I’m not nearly naked and still soaked in sweat and the humidity makes me feel like I’m drowning. Yay! Another plus! Doing nice things for complete strangers. Yet again another plus. Just a week ago I paid for the person behind me at Taco Bell. I didn’t know this person, I wasn’t even sure I should be spending the extra money. But I was sure about raising another person up, helping them to feel good. You never know who that person is…maybe that day they were contemplating suicide. Maybe that day they lost their job or their spouse. Maybe that one nice thing some stranger did for them made them decide it was worth it to keep fighting. I am ALL about giving people hope. A quote I remember seeing in high school that really hit home back then: “never deprive someone of hope; It may be all they have”. This is something we should all realize is very true and try to implement the meaning every day. 

I hold onto all of these positives and several others that I find. When you search out the positive and clutch it close to your heart it becomes hard to feel sad and down. It really does, I promise you. There really is a silver lining to every cloud, no matter how dark and ominous. Please know that you are not alone! Even if you don’t have friends or family around you right now, you are not alone. I’m fighting with you and there are millions more out there.

Happy holidays, merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Yule, and all the other seasons greetings!!! You’ve got this. I love you!

 

 

The night I ended my life.

Please know that all of my blog posts are potentially triggering, and please know that this post is highly triggering before you continue on. I want to talk to you about my numerous suicide attempts, and more importantly, the night that I was successful.

I was still active duty in the Marine Corps at the time, living in Pensacola, Florida. I had been raped by a Sergeant in my class and was having a very hard time picking up the pieces and moving on. Every day it was a battle to eat, get out of bed, do what was expected of me and even breathe. I hated myself, felt dirty and unworthy of living and was fearful. I was afraid to talk to anyone about what had happened to me. I feared no one would believe me or would think I was a disgusting whore. I did my best to act like nothing was wrong with me, but after a while I didn’t even have the energy for that. My addiction to self-harm was strong, I had quickly moved from scissors to straight razors and felt the need to cut myself even when we were “sleeves up”. Sleeves up meant that every Marine was ordered to roll their sleeves up, which obviously meant everyone could see what I had been doing to myself. Cutting because a nervous compulsion, a drug, a necessity to keep living. A lot of people started finding out that I was a “cutter” really fast. I’m sure some people thought I was doing it for attention because we were sleeves up, but the truth was I felt I needed to do it to keep going so intensely that I didn’t give a fuck anyone who knew.

I felt as if I was in this perpetual time warp of Hell. I wasn’t being given any tasks to do that made me feel like a Marine anymore and yet I wasn’t being discharged. It was limbo, which only made my feelings of fear and worthlessness grow and fester like a deep, open wound. The details of this suicide attempt in particular are pretty muddy in some areas because now it is apparent to me that one of my alters, Kristina had been the one to try to take our life. Some time before this suicide attempt I had been hospitalized at West Florida hospital’s Pavillion which was a psychiatric ward. During that particular stay my psychiatrist had tried me on an atypical antipsychotic drug to diminish the voices in my head. Needless to say the drug did me no good and had my blood pressure down to 60/30. If anyone reading this doesn’t know, a blood pressure that low is extremely dangerous. I was very ill and was confined to my bed until the doctor decided to take me off of the drug. I was furious that it took the doctors more than an hour to decide to discontinue the medication, in my mind they should have been in some sort of trouble for that.

At some point during the later part of the day I had switched and become Kristina. I did not know that I had Dissociative identity disorder back then, all I knew what that I heard voices and occasionally saw things that other people claimed to not be able to see. This was dangerous only because I had an alter (Kristina) who did not want the body/host (me) to be alive anymore. Because I was not aware of her, I was unable to stop her attempts at ending our life. None of my alters or myself are stupid, and contrary to what our abusers tried to beat into our head over the years. Kristina knew that this medication was deadly to us and she had found we still had a completely full bottle of it in our barracks room. During the time Kristina was in control, she downed the entire bottle. Sometime after this occurred I came to in the emergency room at the naval hospital. All I remember is that my heart was racing faster than I had ever felt it before, I was extremely dizzy, disoriented, sick to my stomach and absolutely terrified. I remember suddenly feeling it was becoming very difficult to breathe, and when I did breathe I could feel air wasn’t doing me much good.

My vision became more and more blurry and dim. This is when I realized that I was dying. I kept thinking to myself, My God, I did it…I’m going to die and I won’t be able to say goodbye to my Mom. I realized that I wanted to call my mom to tell her I was sorry, I loved her and goodbye but I couldn’t find the strength to ask anyone to call her for me. Then I remember not breathing and everything going black.

I’m still not sure how much time had passed after that, but when I came to I was in the ICU and a nurse had been sitting beside my bed holding my hand. The first thing I felt when I woke up was the warmth of her skin on mine. I clung to it as if I was terrified letting go of her would allow me to slip back into the darkness. She was so happy when I woke up and took care of me. Yet again, I am not sure how long I stayed in the ICU, I have very little memory of it other than the nurse and being hooked up to an IV, a heart monitor, blood pressure and pulse oximetry. I don’t remember what else. After my time in the ICU I spent anywhere from a week to a week and a half (still not entirely sure) in the hospital. The entire time I was not allowed to get out of bed because every time I stood up my heart rate would skyrocket. They had special socks on my legs that would inflate every fifteen minutes to prevent blood clots from forming and that damn heart monitor stayed on the me the whole time. After a good chunk of my time there a nurse would periodically help me to walk around the unit to get me used to walking again.

The repercussions of my overdose were immediately apparent to me. I still don’t know exactly what I did because my medical records are still not with me, but I did damage to my heart. To this day I still have issues with my heart rate and heart rhythm. I’ve always had frequent PVC’s (premature ventricular contractions) of my heart, but now they are worse, more frequent and a few times they have caused me to faint. I wish that I could have stopped Kristina from the overdose, but it’s in the past now.

I am telling this for two reasons. One, it’s part of my journey and therefore must be told in order for me to heal, but two, it’s important that people hurting have some insight to a suicide attempt that actually worked. I am very lucky to be alive…I shouldn’t be here, but I am. I may have been very deeply depressed back then and yes, there were many days where all I could think about was how much I wanted to die. But the moment that I realized I was dying I was scared absolutely shitless. The feeling of the life seeping out of my body with each sad attempted to draw air into my lungs was terrifying and painful. I am very thankful that the medical staff there saved my life and that I am alive today.

Please, if you are hurting (or know someone who is) don’t ignore that pain, and don’t believe the lies your pain tells you. You do deserve to be here, your loved ones will NOT be better off without you (they will actually suffer intensely for the rest of their lives over your death), and yes your pain may stop…but you’ll be dead, so what the fuck is the point? And for those of you who say suicide is selfish and condemn people who sadly do it…please realize that people who commit suicide are not able to think logically, their pain has them in such a sad, delusional state they truly believe they are being selfless…not selfish. The definition of selfish is as follows: A person, action or motive lacking the consideration of others. Like I mentioned before, most people who commit suicide truly and honestly believe that their loved ones are hurt over them being alive and killing themselves will remove a burden from their loved ones. It’s very sad that this happens, but it does.

Like I always say, be gentle with yourself and be gentle with others (especially those who are hurting). If you’re contemplating suicide, please…I beseech you to read this and to trust me. It is estimated that 1 out of 25 people who attempt suicide actually succeed, and most of the survivors will tell you that they were sure they wanted to die until they realized they were about to succeed. I can say that I am one of those people. Please live, please fight, I promise you, if you want your life back (happiness, no more pain, etc) you CAN have it! It will be hard at times, it will hurt at times, but it will pass and you will be free.

Please

Please

Please

Live.

Know that you are loved. And if you believe no one else does, know that I do. I love you.

Dandi