My dearest Body,
Oh, how I have treated you so unkind. Oh, how so unkindly others have treated you. Yet, you still remain intact, bearing the physical, emotional, and psychological scars of unpleasantry for so little to see. Body, you have carried my being for years. You are much younger than I am in here. For reasons not yet completely known to me, there have been times where I have pinched you until you bled, cut you until you bled, starved you, poisoned you, and exploited you. Through all of this, you still remain with me: A young, beautiful shell carrying an old, bitter being.
Depression has allowed me to do these things to you. I never meant to hurt you. Family history runs deep within the vile rivers of disparity and self-loathing. I greatly apologize for those times I lacked the emotional and psychological ability to stop forced hate upon you. I want to blame my family history for my own past.
Rightfully so, these thoughts and actions are learned at a young age and I do not believe I would have naturally turned out this way if it weren’t for everything I have witnessed since birth.
Anger, depression, addiction, lust, and selfishness: the list continues. I have always known anger. I have always seen physical anger. These learned actions and reactions have caused me to harm you in ways I would never harm another living being. I cannot even kill a cockroach without crying inside.
My dearest Body, you did not deserve any of those things. I have taught you to stay still while I transcended into deep meditation. I taught you to stretch and run. I nurtured you with medication to heal you even when my brain maliciously told me not to. You are so incredible. I don’t tell you this often enough, but I spend long moments just staring at you up close. I love the rivets in your skin and the olive hue it gives off under its paleness. I am learning to love your eye color and your toes. I am learning how to give you what you need when you need it instead of selfishly taking and keeping from you.
With all of that being said, there is nothing I would want to change about you. Your lips are beautiful. Do not listen when I tell you they’re too thin. Your nose is perfect. Do not listen when I tell you it’s too big. Your vagina is magnificent. Do not listen when I tell you it’s not. Your nails are exactly as they should be. Do not listen when I tell you they’re too brittle.
The only things I wish to change are of my spirit. I am bitter and angry, yet hopeful and happy. I’m sorry that my mind is a bit confused, Body. I’m so grateful for you! For you have not betrayed me once. It is I who has betrayed you.
Yet, you inspire me by continuing to carry me forward!
You give me so much hope!
Thank you, Body.
Submitted by Ashley Godwin
Sometimes, late at night when I can’t sleep, I sneak out of bed, making sure not to wake my husband or to stir the sleeping dogs, I go to the living room and take refuge in the darkness and sit on the couch with my favourite blanket. That way I can be alone as I try to figure out why I have these thoughts running through my head. I look at my thighs and my ankles and my stomach and my wrist and I picture thin lines of bright red blood oozing out of my skin. I feel the warmth of the blood as it bubbles up and then runs down my arm …….
I look around me. I am surrounded by wonderful things. My sleeping husband. precious dogs. Yet this darkness around me right now is deafening. The heaviness I feel weighing down on my chest makes it hurt to breathe.
I hate when this happens.
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have this voice in my head. At first it was just a whisper, sneaking in late at night when it was quiet. But the voice got louder and spoke to me more and more over the years. It makes me doubt my every action, it makes me agonize over every word I speak. It tells me I am stupid, it calls me a failure, it tells me I’m annoying and it tells me you hate me. Sometimes the voice is so loud and I feel so exhausted I can barely move. When I ask the voice what I should do, it tells me to hurt myself, it sees some busy traffic and it tells me to
run in front of it, it sees that knife and it tells me to hurt myself with it. The voice was so loud and so persistent, I saw no end, I believed everything it said. I became so sad, I eventually stopped feeling anything.
The voice became “helpful” then — it helped me make a plan. It tricked me into thinking the only way to make the voice disappear, was to also make myself disappear. However, that’s when the other voice would also speak. This other voice made me see the future, it made me see all the detail, it made me see all the pain. That voice would save me, but that voice also plagues me. Voice number two has a physical form, much harder to hide. It clouds my mind, it stops my brain from functioning, it makes me feel sick, it causes me feel physical pain. This second voice is no friend, it makes me scared of everything.
So welcome to my mind, where three voices battle. There is the depression, it floods my mind with painful thoughts and memories spontaneously. Then the anxiety, the voice of panic and overthinking. Then, somewhere in there is me, who just wants to be happy.
I know this sounds silly, but the hardest thing I do each day is just getting out of bed. I spend all night agonizing — sometimes it’s depression giving me a highlight reel of every painful memory, other times it is anxiety racing around my mind, listing everything I need to do. At some point I eventually sleep, sometimes even without nightmares, but when that alarm goes off I feel so exhausted. I can just about deal with that — coffee helps — but then anxiety and depression also wake up. I panic, I think of all the things I need to get done today, I imagine them all in my mind. I’m scared of not finishing, scared of failing, and then depression tells me I shouldn’t even try. So I lay there for a while — powerless, exhausted from the nightmares and panicking about the clock ticking, plagued with the fear of failure.
Eventually I force myself up and try to focus on just one little task. The voices quiet down and I gradually get on with my day. Some days I’m not so lucky. Some days the depression wins and I lay there for hours and hours, doing nothing but thinking about how pathetic I am. I tell myself I will fix it tomorrow, then the panic and the pressure increases and that night’s sleep is even worse, so the next day is even harder. That cycle just continues and the voices get stronger. But don’t fear, because I understand the voices are not me. I don’t know where they came from, but I know they’re not my words.
That is what makes me better now, why I seem happy. I try my best not to listen, and some days I am really strong. I push it down with dreams of the future, of a life where I might one day be happy. I know how to fix myself now, I know I will beat this. However, I need you to understand more than anything that everyday is still a battle for me. It may seem silly to you, but for me this is all so real and so difficult. So when you say I am lazy or weak or pathetic you cut deep into my wounds. You make me doubt everything I am trying to do, and you become just like those voices. As well as shouting at me, telling me to snap out of it, telling me the voices are my fault, you might as well be a part of my illness too. You may forget your words or your actions, but depression takes great satisfaction in storing it and playing it back to me.
I don’t expect you to fully understand, but can you please just accept this is happening to me? That alone will make me ten times stronger. That is all I need from you.
Do you ever feel that you want just one more little taste of the past? To feel it just a little bit.Once more. That feeling that you used to crave so much. That feeling that got you into so much trouble. Just once more I want to taste that destruction, whose memory has been feeling my every thought. Maybe if I can taste it just one more time the dots will leave me once again.
I’m trying to make sense of what exactly is happening to me right now. I spent the night in hospital last night. It all started with some dull chest pain that wouldn’t go away. As the day progressed it kept getting more crushing and it was starting to get difficult to breath so I begrudgingly went to the ER. It ended up being a pulled chest muscle.
But spending the night in the exam room triggered the PTSD and the portal opened. Images of my unconscious, lifeless body lying on the stretcher with people running in and out, trying to stop my bleeding (when I had a car accident and lost my arm) Connecting me to catheters (which I unfortunately remember clearly) … and sometimes I wake up in a panic because I dream someone is standing at the foot of my bed trying to put a catheter in me.
Another incident was when I was lying on the stretcher with 2 nurses working on me, one on my arm and the other on my feet. Trying to get needles into me. So I lay there on my back and just glanced up above me on the wall at the bare bulletin board. I was immediately brought back to the many many times I have been there, in such a horrific mental state, and the boards had to be stripped for safety reasons. Staples and all tacks were things I’d grab and hack away at my skin.
Those are just 2 of the things that kept happening to me throughout the night. And now, at home, it continues.
My psychiatrist has diagnosed me in a full blown manic stage now. Maybe this is a part of it?