[trigger warning for self harm]
There have been many times in my life where I have felt negative emotions intensely.
This is one of those times. Instead of me trying to paint you a picture of the people and events that led to this point, let’s talk about these crappy feelings in general terms.
Usually, my anger results from dissatisfaction with myself or something so silly and trivial blown way out of proportion. That is the ultimate price I pay for being ‘sensitive’, ‘an idealist’ and forever ‘romanticising life’. These labels all hint at, but not quite explain, the intensity I put into merely existing.
You understand me, right? In fact, you’re a little bit like me, I’m sure. After all, there’s a little bit of crazy within the best of us. We are not spectators of life – we are life and life consists of more than new beginnings and happy endings.
The critics (which are oftentimes from within) will tell us that we’re being overdramatic, illogical and crazy – this isn’t a situation where I’d tell you to ignore them, instead, I wonder if maybe they’re right.
Just like how horror movies aren’t scary if you don’t imagine yourself in the characters’ shoes, maybe life will be easier if we took a more objective standpoint every so often…if we just paused for a moment and breathed out, pushed away.
When I was a lot younger, I just cried and cried when I felt negative emotions. Then as I grew up, I resorted to punching walls; I liked that sting that blossoms on your knuckles upon impact that fades out into a low hum of pain. Eventually, due to morbid curiosity – it was inevitable really – I experimented with a more stereotypical version of self harm.
p.s. this is when you click away if you don’t want to see imagery of self harm or romanticisation of the practise.
For me, one was just a natural extension of the other and, dare I say it, although I do not practise or endorse the practise, there is still a small part of me that is fascinated and obsessed with the concept.
Let me explain.
Nobody likes extended periods of emotional pain, right? So we find our own ways to expel it. Initially, my feelings could be washed away in the form of water, salts, antibodies and lysozymes (aka tears) but as my problems matured with age, my coping mechanisms ‘upgraded’ to compensate.
Just because my cheeks are dry, it does not mean that all is well. Oh no, I have become vindictive. I must inflict my pain back to the world. It’s both a cry of help and a thing of inexplicable, terrible, intense beauty, existing in what at the time felt like perfect retribution.
look, world, this is what you’ve made of me, of us.
as interesting as I’m sure you intended that to sound, will you please stop playing with your words and just tell the story straight: why did you do it?
“sometimes I will feel really really crappy about a certain thing or certain issues and I don’t know how to express it in words or anything so that’s when I would […] so it causes physical pain then I can be like oh, so this is what I’m feeling, I can’t express it but it’s just so much pain and that’s, that’s exactly how I feel like. Another reason I guess, is for attention. It’s like hi, there are these marks on my arm. I want help, I need you to give me help, will you please help me? […] You just can’t stop, you just want it to hurt. It feels kinda good in a bad way if that makes sense, like a beautiful monster” – voice memo 17/03/14
(this is just a personal account of my experiences and the reasoning of my brain, so it’s completely subjective)
When you fall in love with life, I guess this is what you get. The beautiful highs but also the inevitable lows that comes with existing day by day, minute by minute. Eventually I realised it was pretty unhealthy so currently, I try to get most of my cathartic release through writing.
I don’t really know what the purpose of this post is, other than bringing me out of a bad state into a much better mindset, which to be honest is justification enough for its existence.
I guess this also serves as a different perspective on self harm: how it feels from someone who doesn’t practise it anymore but also can’t bring themselves to condemn it in its entirety.
I was once so upset (I don’t remember why) and I started to run. I didn’t stop until I thought I would die if I took another step. Before I could catch my breath, I uncapped my water and started chugging the whole bottle down because I was curious about what drowning felt like.
I finished about 2/3 of the bottle before I had to breathe. I felt a little sick and a little numb but I kept walking.
I don’t know if there’s any message to that story, just that I did it, and if you do anything like that too know that you’re not alone. Perhaps like me you’ll overthink it and console yourself it’s your body telling you that it wants so desperately to be alive.
On the bright side, the storm has passed for now, and here I am, hopefully with you, braving the world.