Exposing My Shame: why I hate myself and fear honesty with others

**Trigger Warnings**

I’d like to think I am open with friends and peers if they ask a question about my experiences of mental illness.I don’t lie if someone asks why I was in hospital, if i’m asked specifically what my diagnosis is I openly share it. But thats where it ends I suppose. If I’m asked specific questions I answer- otherwise I just make vague references to medications, hospital, appointments and being ‘up and down.’  To this day I don’t think a single friend has ever seen my arms. The countless scars that mark me. Some call them war wounds, but for me, they are just reminders of ugliness, despair and shame, that if I had the guts to expose would reveal the distress I’ve been through. In a similar way if I am distressed I will rarely show any friends- they may think they’ve seen me in a bad way but it’s not even half of how I can be. The most that is ever really revealed is when my fingers seem to move without my permission and send a text that reveals some of my self-loathing and desperation. One such text was sent yesterday when I had to cancel something I was looking forward to doing with two friends.

The truth is, at the moment I’m all over the place. But not in a funny or clumsy way that is bambi-esque. But a way that is dangerous and desolate. I feel I am in a lonely part of Hell which only a few online friends really understand. One moment I am fine whilst the next I have to apologise and withdraw myself from any company because I have become teary and all I can seem to think about is cutting, burning or killing myself. I am eating revoltingly. Now, to accompany the scars of my self injury, I also have awful stretch marks across my belly, hips, thighs, knees and upper arms because I’ve put on 5 stone in the space of a year and a half. I try not to look in the mirror now because what I see across from me is a weak and unlovable girl who is too pathetic to end her pointless, pain-filled life.

The other day I was feeling suicidal. I felt angry with people who had less ‘bad’ mental health problems who underestimated my pain and I felt didn’t understand truly how bad it could get. Guilty for feeling angry and disrespecting their experience of suffering. Disgusted by myself. And too afraid that I would not be able to make a future for myself to stand thinking about living in hope at all. All I could think of doing to stop myself from attempting to take my own life, a struggle I do not understand the point of but feel obligated to continue, was to cut myself. The moment when I have self harmed deep enough that the two sides of the wound separate and an immediate red gash appears is one of disgusting relief that I am struggling to even describe in writing. I hate it- I struggle to say ‘cutting’ even to my psychologist, only referring to ‘self harm.’ I am not proud of it but I feel so far from these people I see everyday who are coping with life that I don’t know what else to do. I see them sharing how they feel but surely I can’t do that? Not wholly? To be utterly vulnerable in my ashamed and bare self, emotionally raw, lonely and afraid, loving, obsessive, childish- I’m not sure I could let myself…

Thoughts instantly whizz round my head:

They wouldn’t love me if they knew…

If they saw how much I stuff myself with food sometimes- the crumbs and drips on my top as I lie in bed

– If they saw how I stick my finger down my throat and watch it all come up

If they saw the tears that sometimes flow endlessly, my body in the foetal position as I rock

If they saw when, in desperation, I go to the local church and just kneel, praying for comfort

If they saw me being restrained from trying to strangle myself or jump into traffic, punching walls and people complaining about my human rights

If they saw me masturbate to try and feel like I could be lovable

If they saw me pour boiling water straight from the kettle onto my arms before slashing the reddened peeling skin

If they saw me do all these things, my own human experience, could they still love me? Would they still think I’m ‘great company,’ a ‘best friend,’ a fun and spontaneous laugh, a willing partner in deep conversation…

I’m not sure.

I have some amazing friends but I try so painfully to keep the line between friend and carer clearly drawn that I don’t let them know what my partially remitted life is like in reality-a foot in two worlds. Education and treatment, a part of normality yet also an observant onlooker: jokey and sociable during the day, suicidal and alone at night. I withdraw always, before they can see. Because If I can’t even look at myself in the mirror how on earth could they?

My vulnerability is scary. I am triggered easily. I feel too much, everything-all at once. I love so hard that when someone disappoints me or makes me feel rejected- I cannot control my jealousy- or my hurt. I push them away.

Because the truth is my scars are nothing compared to the confusion and intensity I have inside that I hide with humour and isolation.

But its still there.

And I’m beginning to wonder if, even with joyous breaks, it always will be there. Maybe I’m kidding myself that God exists out there and I have a relationship with him, that I could help people and make a difference in the future, that my friends might stay with me for the well and unwell me?

Maybe I’m just one messed up person hiding her pain forcing herself to live in this confusing and slightly less messed up world?

Maybe, actually, this is me seeing if my best friends will read this and show me they don’t care about all that stuff, or they do care but don’t judge me. Maybe it’s only me thats making myself this lonely and they would accept me for all of me,that really, one of us only needs to start a real and honest conversation. Maybe this is me laying all the things I’m ashamed about on the table because I can’t keep it in anymore and realise I need others…I just hope they aren’t as disgusted as I am.

I saw this earlier.

THERE IS STILL SOME TIME.

  • By: Jamie Tworkowski

If you feel too much, there’s still a place for you here.

If you feel too much, don’t go.

If this world is too painful, stop and rest.

It’s okay to stop and rest.

If you need a break, it’s okay to say you need a break.

This life – it’s not a contest, not a race, not a performance, not a thing that you win.

It’s okay to slow down.

You are here for more than grades, more than a job, more than a promotion, more than keeping up, more than getting by.

This life is not about status or opinion or appearance.

You don’t have to fake it.

You do not have to fake it.

Other people feel this way too.

If your heart is broken, it’s okay to say your heart is broken.

If you feel stuck, it’s okay to say you feel stuck.

If you can’t let go, it’s okay to say you can’t let go.

You are not alone in these places.

Other people feel how you feel.

You are more than just your pain. You are more than wounds, more than drugs, more than death and silence.

There is still some time to be surprised.

There is still some time to ask for help.

There is still some time to start again.

There is still some time for love to find you.

It’s not too late.

You’re not alone.

It’s okay – whatever you need and however long it takes – it’s okay.

It’s okay.

If you feel too much, there’s still a place for you here.

If you feel too much, don’t go.

There is still some time.

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3 thoughts on “Exposing My Shame: why I hate myself and fear honesty with others

  1. Learning about yourself, why you are the way you are, will help you manage the pain:

    http://hsperson.com/emotional-regulation-and-hsps/

    There are coping skills you need to learn, but you will need help. Trying to handle this stuff on your own and in isolation is not a solution. First ask yourself: Do you want to get better? The next questions might be: Why do you feel you deserve this self-abuse? Why do you feel so unworthy?

    I’ve been in constant physical pain for the past 30 years and there’s nothing I can do about that. But there is something you can do so you won’t suffer a similar fate — get help. This blog is only a first step, but it’s a really good one. But the blogging community is not a substitute for professional help. Please, don’t suffer in silence.

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