**Trigger warning: this article is about self-harm**
I have been bitten by a poisonous spider, I have huddled in the corner of a room while rockets exploded overhead, I have slept with only a piece of canvas between myself and lions. When people ask whether I get scared, I always tell them that the odds of dying in any of those circumstances are so remote that they don’t warrant more concern than is necessary to take the proper precautions. The other half of the answer, which remains unsaid, is that I live every day with the biggest risk to my personal safety: myself.
I am fortunate to have the most supportive husband, but as I struggle with depression, he struggles to understand what’s going on inside my mind. I’ve heard it described by different people in different ways, but for me it feels like I’m being chased by a part of myself that wants to hurt me. She reminds me of everything I’ve ever done wrong. She reminds me of my every shortcoming. She reminds me of my every failure. She makes me fantasize about my own death. And, when she gets close enough, she hurts me.
Sometimes I don’t eat or drink, even as my head starts to ache and even as my ribs start to hurt and even as it becomes difficult to stand. Sometimes I purge, even as it causes me to bleed and even as I lose the energy to get out of bed. Sometimes I hit myself, even as it causes concussions. Even as it frightens my husband to watch me hurt myself.
So I run as fast as I can from that part of myself. Sometimes I work up the courage to ask for help, despite that the last doctor I went to told me that I was just looking for attention. Sometimes I get exhausted, even when I’ve done nothing else that day but survive.
But, like the protagonist in a horror film, like Sigourney Weaver in Alien or Millie Bobby Brown in Stranger Things, I am proud of every day that I survive. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished as I survive. I’m proud that, in the struggle to survive, I prove to myself how much I am capable of – including publishing this post.
Like any villain, depression is most powerful when it isolates its victim from their support network. So I refuse to be alone. I refuse to be silent. I refuse to be ashamed.
I’m the hero of my story, and I’m going to be victorious in fantastic style.
Posted in: Progress