ÅRT | i ache
I have this problem; and you might have noticed. I suffer from depression. That doesn't mean that I spend my days crying and trying to commit suicide, it rather makes me feel numb and distant and irritable most of the time. It can get worse though, some days, and the inner pain can become unbearable. And then I do something I'm not very proud of. I reach for an x-acto knife. Cut cut cut. The pain doesn't go away, but it gives sort of a release.
I know it is a real problem. But what's even a bigger problem is that other people know it too. Some of my friends / of my family / of my high school teachers even. No one ever did anything significant to prevent it.
That's why I did the following thing: I opened a bottle of wine. I put Hole's Doll parts on repeat. ('and someday you will ache like I ache') I got quite drunk. I reached for that awful sharp thing again, after 7 weeks of not touching it. I cut cut cut. I took Instax pictures.
It wasn't mental-illness-fuelled this time. I didn't do it to get any sort of relief. I didn't do it to punish myself. I didn't do it for the attention.
I did it to raise the awareness about the way we treat mental illnesses and such problems. People know and see it but pretend not to. It is not pleasant, it is not bright-and-shiny-and-everything-is-blimey, it is not pretty and happy. Treating someone with a mental illness is almost as hard as suffering from one and therefore we try to avoid it. I am guilty too. I know that some of my friends do the same bloody thing, I always notice the scars, but I've never tried to talk to them about it.
So please, if you know a person who suffers from any kind of mental illness, being it a depression, eating disorder, bipolarity, anxiety, PTSD or anything else, educate yourself about how to treat such people. Simply use Google, even that can be enough. Do not blame them. Do not tell them they are crazy. Do not tell them to 'suck it up and try to be normal'. Do not tell them to think happy thoughts. Just... be there for them. It is already extremely hard to be fighting with your own mind, don't make it even harder by your inappropriate behaviour.
I also did it to test my own limits. How much pain can I undergo? Will the sight of blood make me feel nauseous? How long will the scars be visible? How hard will it be to explain it to people? Will someone understand? Will writing a huge 'I ACHE' on my skin and therefore aching on the outside make me ache less in the inside? How will consensual cutting (I believe that depression cutting is not very consensual, it's more of an instinct) feel and will it still bring any sort of relief? Will it make me realize how twisted my own acts are? Do I really strive for self-destruction? Think of it as a weird, masochistic, self-defeating little conceptual art project. Or not, because it sounds pretentious as fuck.
Writing this article was even more painful than cutting the four letters into my skin.