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 I wasn’t as withdrawn.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.