18 Years of Scars

Trigger warning: self-harm

 

When I was twenty, my parents got divorced, my father remarried, and I gained a sister and a brother.  Those were all good things (yes, even the divorce).  The big change happened in April of that year when dad, my brother, and I went to live in the (newly updated) house that my stepmother, Jill, lived in.  It definitely felt like a home.

A couple of months after living there, I noticed I wasn’t interested in things or motivated.  I withdrew into myself and kinda was just… there.  I brought all this up to my dad and Jill and they agreed they had noticed this.  Jill sent me to her primary doctor (since mine was so far away now), and when I left the office I left with a sample dose of Prozac and a prescription for when that was done.  Now, here’s the tricky part…  I had been diagnosed as Bipolar twice before I was prescribed Prozac.  I had even been on anti-psychotics before this.  I never told this to the doctor.

Thing is, the Prozac worked.  I felt happier.  I wasn’t as withdrawn.  I had motivation to do things that I previously would’ve ignored, etc.  I was even happy when my dad and Jill got married at the end of August, and got a little extra cash from a coworkers friend to help her understand MS office.  Nice, warm, fuzzy feelings.  They didn’t last.

Soon after their wedding at the end of August, I started feeling very hyper.  I stayed up all night and was still bright and chipper the next morning.  Then I became more manic.  My head felt a mess.  There were too many thoughts running through my head that I could barely function, and I started hearing things.  And feeling my brain itching.  That’s when I discovered the worst way to cope with these situations.  Self-harm.

I remember going to buy my first razors.  I didn’t pick up any first aid, which I learned I should have from the first cut.  I was so fixated on hurting myself to make the mess in my head go away that I didn’t think about my acting career.  I didn’t think about what if people found out.  I didn’t realize I couldn’t wear tank-tops anymore.  Luckily I only stayed on the upper arm.  And my legs.  Legs no one would see anyway.  The only person who knew was my sister… my newly acquired sister, who helped me more than I can thank her for.  And she was there the day I through all of my things out before I went back to college.  I swore I was done.  I wasn’t.

A few years later and a proper diagnoses with proper meds, I still found myself over-stimulated.  I had just graduated college.  It was 2004.  I had moved out of my parents house in October of that year.  And I started harming myself again for a few months… just on my legs.  I ended up telling my friend Andrea that time and she was there as I tried to stop.  Every time we’d see each other she’d usher me into the bathroom and make me show her my legs.  Eventually, I had stopped again.  No more.  Right.

In 2009, I had got tattoos on my upper arms.  One was really cool.  Bamboo.  The leaves being my scars.  But every once in awhile I would etch words into my skin with a razor.  They weren’t deep and they would leave minimal scaring, but I still did it.  Luckily from 2010-2012 I lived with some awesome guys who calmed me down enough to not hurt myself.  And from 2012-2017, I was so medicated that I didn’t even think about it.  But then there was last year…

Last year I noticed that the weight I had previously lost was starting to come back.  I cried all the time because I hated my body.  So I decided to do extreme restricting (that’s a whole other blog), and when I ate too much, I would hurt myself.  This time on my stomach.  And If I gained any weight I would put that many scars on my body.  I’m not sure how long this lasted, but, again, after finally telling someone, I tapered off and eventually stopped.

I still struggle to this day, though.  I can’t stand my body because when I quit smoking I gained a hell of a lot of weight.  I’m on medication that’s primary side effect is weight gain as well.  So I’m not in a good place right now.  But I’m trying, I really am.  This is the 18th year.  I haven’t yet this year.  But I didn’t put 17 years of scars as the subject line because I will always have these scars.  Always.  And it all started 18 years ago.

About I.V.

39 year old woman with Schizoaffective, Bipolar type. I'm also intelligent, mostly positive, fandom junkie. Oh, and I have two cats: Zim and Gir... they're 13. So... fandom junkie? Ah, yes. Supernatural, Merlin, Buffy tvs, Angel the series, LOTR, Harry Potter, old x-files. I also like anime and and Manga. farvorite anime? Vampire Knight... and it cannot be dubbed! I also like plenty of others, I think of Elfin Leid when I say that... oh, and Blood+. Favorite Manga? Junjou Romantica, Vampire Knight, Loveless, Gravitation. I like the anime for these as well if they have it. Books: Dune, Good Omens, HP, LOTR, The Hunger Games, Wicked, the Southern Vampire Series, Snow Crash, American Gods, Pride and Prejudice, comics. Movies: The Boondock Saints, LOTR, HP series, Girl Interupted, SLC Punk, Walk Hard: the Dewie Cox Story, House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil's Rejects, Foxfire, Empire Records, Star Wars (only episodes 4-6), Iron Man (both of them), Thor (1&2), The Avengers Video Games: Dragon Age 1,2 and Inquisition, Kingdoms of Amalur, Little Big Planet, Star Ocean. I also love watching other people play Mass Effect, Dead Space and all the above mentioned games Oh, and I love Sushi :)
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3 Responses to 18 Years of Scars

  1. One of the things that helped me with weight gain (and I’ve gained a LOT of weight since my chronic illness really took hold) is the body is a not an apology, which is the name of one of the many fat positive sites I follow. It’s hard to divest yourself of what’s been ingrained literally all of our lives, and I still find myself explaining “why” I’m fat, but I don’t owe an explanation to anyone even if I do have one. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes. This doesn’t mean I don’t wish I was smaller, but it makes me examine the reasons WHY I want this, and they’re mostly all related to accessibility e.g. I want more clothes that will fit. Well, the reason there aren’t clothes is because companies that make them don’t make them in larger sizes. I do want to be able to dance and jog again, and it’s very possible I’d lose weight as a side effect of doing that, but I got as small as I did because of severe calorie restriction, which I also believe led to my physical breakdown and inability to exercise or really do any physical exertion without passing out for hours. It’s tough, and it’s tough to fight your own brain. Whether that manifests as bipolar mania or depression and anxiety, it’s exhausting ♥

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  2. I.V. says:

    You’re completely right. And you know what’s the worst? I can look at people of any size and not judge them or think to myself “they should lose some weight.” And I can’t understand why if I don’t judge others on their weight, why do I judge myself? My thing is, like yours, clothes. Mainly the “I have bins of clothes that I don’t wear anymore because I gained weight and want to wear them again” thing, though. And I don’t have the money to go out and buy more clothes so I have stuff that fits.

    And you’re right.. it IS exhausting. I’ve totally done the calorie restriction, the binge and purge, and the exercise anorexia (as you know about all that). It gets into my head that the ends justify the means, when all I’m doing is hurting myself in another way.

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  3. Yuuuuup, same here. I’m way more forgiving/lenient with others than I am with myself. Diet culture still affects me despite knowing intellectually that I should treat myself as kindly. I’m not nearly as self-toxic, but it doesn’t mean I don’t think about it. We’re always more harsh on ourselves for some reason. It’s better in terms of interpersonal relationships, but it’s awful for mental health.

    Yup to that, too. I know I’m where I am not because of the things I did in order to satisfy diet culture. Like if I’d just exercised regularly, not like a mad woman, I don’t think my body would’ve broken down like it did. I realize that I don’t know how to eat “healthy.” I either overeat or I undereat. It’s either a feast or a famine. I think I need to learn how, but the problem is fatphobia and diet culture is so pervasive that it’s difficult to get that information. There’s also the problem of my constant exhaustion so preparing meals is nigh on impossible. It’s just difficult :\

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