Instead of writing about one of my experiences, this post is a link to a podcast I was a guest on. The podcast is called The JV Club and is hosted by my dear friend, actress and comedian Janet Varney. I’ll let it speak for itself but I have to give a huge thank you to Janet for asking me to record with her and for being who she is. Enjoy!
My life was slipping into a slow suicide. Because my brain was literally being starved, I could no longer function in school. My thoughts scattered and depression ruled my being. Things began to happen that I viewed as tragedy but later realized they were the life preservers I had to have tossed to me for survival.
I remember snapshots, like a slideshow of events. I see myself working out to the point of pure exhaustion, blacking out at the gym after my 3 hours run on the treadmill. There was the manic shopping trips, buy package after package of utility knife razors gradually increasing in the size and sharpness of each blade. I fainted downtown when I was with all of my friends and played it off that I had the flu. The incidents and sloppiness of my secrecy lead to poor explanations of my self-destruction. I neglected to conceal things like drops of blood on my shirt sleeve, vomit splatters on the toilet seat and forgetting to toss out the napkin that I quickly spit my food into when no one was looking at the dinner table.
I could not keep up with my lies. My memory was compromised, forgetting what I said when to explain away my secret life. Then one day, out of love and worry, my mom broke the silence. What I did not see through my denial was that my sickness became transparent. She saw the dark side that I coveted of a dual life and intervened with what at first I viewed as interrogation Later I see she did it to save my life.
The day I caved into my secrets and let the world into my truth was a turning point in my struggle with the self-harm in its entirety. I slowly left my comfort zone and began to talk about the plague that had been ailing me. Gradually conversations of hope and healing took place. I bravely began taking baby steps into recovery. It was then that life had possibilities once more.
I was 28 years old when I finally moved out of my parents home and burst out into the world with vigor and fear. I had spent 10 years in and out of psychiatric hospitals with my emotions blunted by medications. My time was spent mostly doing arts and crafts and partaking in group therapy where I would process my goal for the day. Life was… dull. How did I find myself housed in the walls of institutions? Let’s look back to high school at the young age of 17.
I had many wonderful friends and a great family. I was to graduate soon and then off to college. My life looked promising and exciting on the outside. Internally, though, was a rage so volcanic and an anxiety that never let up. There was so much pain contained in a body that was without a voice. The truth was I had never developed a voice to express anger because to me it was an unacceptable emotion that I did not possess. Little did I know my “bad” emotions were seeping out in ways that were far more destructive than words.
My rage turned inward and I was repulsed by my existence. I found things so wrong with myself that facing each day in my body was unfathomable. So I self-destructed by taking razor blades to my arms and keeping food from my lips. I spoke with my actions of self-harm and an eating disorder. In my delusional world, everything was under control and I could live with myself.
I wore long sleeves and baggy clothes to hide my secrets. My arms were never exposed to the outside world because I knew they would not understand. I wept, but with my own blood instead of tears. My weight-loss I concealed with bulky outfits. I was undercover as a happy young woman, though inside I was a mess. This is how I lived for a year, until the day the silence broke…(to be continued).