Sunday, August 28, 2011
I suppose we must all have our vices. Until recently I truly believed that it was possible to get rid of an addiction. I really clearly remember going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting as part of an assignment and hearing almost everyone who spoke say that they were sober for an amazingly long time and yet still considered themselves an addict. That was something that was totally integral to the AA doctrine and I remember hating it. I thought it was so pessimistic and that if someone had been sober for 17 years, then surely they were no longer an addict.
But now I realise I was being rather ignorant. And I am an addict and now I'm not sure if I will ever kick the habit of cutting. I had stopped for well over a year and for a long time, I never even really thought about doing it. Even so, I kept all my stuff. Even when I wasn't cutting I was very aware of the stash of surgical blades I'd both bought and collected, I knew exactly where the sharpest scissors in the house were, I couldn't bring myself to throw out the bottle of betadine, sure that I would need to use it at some point for something else. Now I'm not sure if I ever believed it, was I really so well into remission that I thought I wouldn't cut again, or was I so good at fooling everyone that I'd fooled myself as well?
Anyway, whatever the answer might be, it doesn't really matter now. I like to think that deep in my heart I always knew I'd go back, that way, I had intentionally stopped to fool people and somehow it doesn't feel quite so much like letting them down, more like I'm hiding it to not hurt them.
I don't feel like a failure for going back, it's only a relief, a strange sort of relief that happens deep down but somewhere, more superficially, I'm gripped by some anxiety as to how to hide the newly formed cut from which little curls of red are blossoming. But I'm only hiding it to stop other people freaking out. If the world was perfect, I could walk out covered in self inflicted cuts and nobody would panic.
I want people to see them. I don't want people to panic, or judge or pity me, I just want them to see. I think this is because I'm recognising that I am depressed and maybe anorexic, and that it is something that hurts and that makes me suffer a great amount of the time. But I feel so fake when I walk into work and see people who are clearly ill and suffering, I feel like I have no claim on that. Yet at the same time I know I do, so I want people to see, not because I want any help or compassion or anything, just recognition that yeah, maybe life is tough for me too.
Is that attention seeking? Maybe. But I certainly don't cut to get attention. I go to great lengths to hide it from people because I know that nobody will ever react but just "seeing" and not doing something about it. So I must hide them and it almost becomes a game wrought with emotion and strategy. In the same way that not eating is isolating, having cuts can be isolating too. I can never go to the beach, or to play any sports when the cuts are on my arm. I must say, that compared to not eating, having cuts is easier to forget about, and easier to accidentally reveal, which I've only done once, and I'm not sure if she noticed.
So why do I cut? I've posted on this a long time ago. And the relief is just the same. The only thing that has ever kissed my flesh is the cold, sharp sting of a blade. And it is a kiss, I imagine it brings the same warmth and tingling as any man could. And then a string of little red pearls pop up, cheerful as always, before coalescing and filling the narrow gap that has opened up between two ends of skin. It brings me joy to look at it and think, I created that thing of beauty.
I've talked about the ophthalmology department many, many times before. In a strange way they are slowly becoming the family that I never had but probably always needed. They are the people who must never find out. Because I would be in such trouble. Which can make life hard because I see them more and more now. Still, it's been many years now and I have confidence in myself. It's funny that the people I hold in highest regard are probably the last people who would suspect I do such a thing, maybe that just shows how successful I am at hiding it.
Anyway, I'm glad it's back in my life. And together with Ana, they bring me peace.