I’ve told my story before on Facebook, back in 2013. However, a lot of things have changed since then, so I’m going to tell it again. If you can’t handle reading about self harm and suicidal ideation, probably best to stop reading now. You’ve been warned.
My whole life, I’ve been different. As early as 1st grade, I told my mother I wanted to die. I was six. I don’t remember this (she tells the story sometimes, which is how I know about it) so I don’t know details. Even then I was a sad kid. I cried a lot. I think even then I knew something wasn’t right, but I was way too young to grasp what it was.
The remainder of my time at that school was uneventful for the most part in regards to my mental health. I don’t even remember much of it.
In 2005, right after my 10th birthday, I found out we were moving away. Far away. Almost 150 miles south far. I don’t even remember how I reacted initially. I was still extremely outgoing (to a fault) at the time and I went off on a kid for being rude to me within minutes of my first day of school there starting. He never did learn to like me, but most kids there didn’t.
I was harassed by him and a friend of his. Other kids joined in too. I was accused of being a pedophile because I slept with my brother (due to a misunderstanding on what the term ‘sleep with’ means), and I had a rumor spread about me that was so widespread that Casey (who was in 1st grade, so 4 grades behind me) came home from school three days after the incident leading up to it and told my mom he heard I flashed my bra to some kids at school (which I did not and would not do). I believe my mom had a meeting with the principal after this. I still don’t know who started that rumor, but I had some suspects at the time.
6th grade was the year my bullying got physical. Another 6th grader would punch me on the bus while the girl between us claimed she ‘didn’t see his fist’ and let him do it. I reported it to my counselor and was told that wasn’t a school issue. I didn’t pursue it beyond that. This boy was always an issue for me, all 4 years I lived down there, though 6th grade was his worst year. I only ever struck back once and it was when he went after my brother.
By this point, I was ready to just kill myself. I didn’t have a plan in mind at that time, but I was so over it that I just wanted to end it. I told one of my ‘friends’ and she said ‘You won’t do it. You don’t have the nerve.’ I don’t know if I ever would have, but that was the year my mom got pregnant with my sister. After wanting a sister for almost a decade, you can bet I wanted to be around to meet her.
7th grade was the first year I can recall ever self-harming. I didn’t do what would eventually become my preferred method yet. At that time, when I was frustrated, I would bang my head into cabinet doors. Not hard enough to leave a bruise, just hard enough to hurt.
I got into a lot of fights with my parents during these years. I will always live in regret because I hear of people priding themselves on having never told their parents they hated them, and I can’t say that I haven’t. They don’t seem to hold it against me, considering what’s come out since then, but I can’t help it.
Halfway through 8th grade, I found out I was moving back to my hometown. I didn’t want to leave. I don’t know what I was thinking. I hated it there. I suspect it was because of a diagnosis I received many years later that had a symptom of not wanting to accept change. More on that later.
Anyway, nothing really happened that final semester at all that contributes to this story, so I’m going to skim over it for now. In late May of 2009, we moved in with my grandma, who let us stay with her while my parents sold our old house (which ultimately didn’t sell for almost 4 years). It was rough because there were 6 of us in a house only made for about half that many. For a couple months Casey and I shared a room while my parents built two new rooms. That wasn’t a bad summer. Much better than the following one.
Then my freshman year started. I’ll admit, I was a little bit intimidated. I’d gone to private school when I lived here previously, so it was an all new experience. And the school was bigger than anywhere I’d attended before. Overall though it wasn’t a bad year. I did make some friends, including one my very first day whom I was good friends with almost up to graduation. We lost touch after that, but that’s common. I wrote two novellas that year, mostly in study hall. I got accepted into the radio program for the following year.
I had a couple of boyfriends that spring, including my first ‘real’ boyfriend. Then he dumped me and I had a rebound for about a month. We broke up in late May 2010 and I got together with a guy I’ve mentioned previously (‘Tyler’). That’s when my problems truly began.
I won’t retell the entire saga of that relationship, but to sum up, he wasn’t allowed to date and decided to get with me anyway, very likely to piss off his parents. Obviously, I was caught in the crossfire and blinded by love, so I stayed and it caused me to fall into a very deep depression. That was the worst summer of my life and I have very likely dozens of songs I wrote during that time that prove this. I began cutting at the end of the summer (late August) and eventually word got back to my parents. They did not take it well at the time, which didn’t help matters any. I was so stressed out after this that I decided to fake being suicidal at school because I knew I’d get sent home and I needed a day off. One of my parents came to get me and I believe I was grounded for a few days. This was around when I started going to counseling.
This cycle continued, where I’d be sent home for being suicidal or for cutting or talking about cutting, and my parents would send me to get cleared by my counselor to go back, wash rinse, repeat.
I was somehow managing to make and keep friends for the time being at this point. I’m not sure if they just didn’t know what was going on or it didn’t concern them, but I didn’t lose hardly any friends my sophomore year at all.
Midway through that December, my parents and I got into a fight. I don’t even remember what it was over now. All I know is, I stormed to my room and could hear them out in the living room talking about me. I can’t recall exactly what was said, but it probably wasn’t as bad as I thought it was at the time. That was the final straw for me. I had Christmas lights hanging around my room. I decided I’d use them and finally do what I’d been wanting to do since 6th grade. I made a noose (read: wrapped the lights around a hook once) on the closet door and tried resting my chin on it. Obviously it didn’t hold and I was back to square one. The only person who knew about this at the time was Tyler (whom I told a couple days later). Eventually I told my mom (whom I am positive told my dad) because I knew at that point I should probably go on antidepressants and would have to tell my counselor about the incident. Looking back, I probably could have avoided telling her and just said ‘I feel depressed. Is there anything I can take?’. But regardless, she referred me to my first psychiatrist, who just put me on Lexapro without giving me an official diagnosis.
I was on Lexapro for about a month, but it wasn’t helping. I felt like I was slipping away from happiness more and more every day. Everything from that period is tinged in gray.
Eventually, I got caught not paying attention in my favorite class (German) and the teacher yelled at me. This was out of character for her and it shook me up so bad that when I got to my science class the following period, I opened the ‘science kit’, took out the scissors, and cut.
The next day, I confessed to two teachers. Unfortunately, I had forgotten about the ‘mandated reporter’ thing (though I think these teachers cared and would have said something regardless) and next thing I know, I’m in my dean’s office being told I’ve been double reported and they were recommending I check into Wellstone, the local psychiatric hospital. They were sending someone from there to come check and see if I was eligible and I left school immediately. I wasn’t around for German, and my teacher, who knew I was depressed and the last thing she’d done was yell at me, called my mom to check on me the following day. By this point, I was already in the hospital for my stay.
I won’t go into detail about that 10-day stay because I could go on for hours, but I’ll say this–I do not recommend Wellstone at all. I will never recommend it. I’ll probably write a separate post about it someday soon. I spent my birthday there and it was horrible because of staff being rude to me. The other girls in my group were fine. They even made me cards. But the staff–grown adults–made it miserable.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder my first full day there and put on Abilify. I was on my best behavior after that, especially once I was on the full dose. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t ready to leave. I may have never been ready to leave. I wasn’t better yet. But, I wanted out so bad I put on an act to get out. I tried to tell my doctor I (and a few others) suspected I had anxiety, but he blew me off. That’s important later.
I finally left late on the night of President’s Day 2011. I was so glad to be out and I refuse to go back. I have lied in the past to professionals just because if I told the truth that was a plausible outcome. I’ve thought about giving a scathing 1 star review recently (well over 7 years later) just to balance out all the glowing reviews from people who work there. I firmly believe I’d have been better off not going.
After Wellstone, things for the rest of 10th grade were pretty uneventful. Well, enough so that I don’t recall much about it. I know I had a lot of medication issues that caused me to go off a lot. I went to Myrtle Beach for vacation over spring break and was miserable because of it. I pretty much ruined Mother’s Day for my poor mom due to having a meltdown that was probably due to the wrong medication.
The first semester of junior year was weird. I was still having medication issues, as we hadn’t found the right fit for me yet. I actually lost at least half a dozen friends that semester due to my many meltdowns. I had a friend who knew I self harmed and after he mentioned it to his mom one too many times she reached out to my mom and told her to keep me away from him.
The second semester, I did something I shouldn’t have done in the radio room at school and got kicked out. My dean wanted to suspend me but I don’t think he liked me after all the incidents the prior year. My counselor sided with him and I suspect it’s because I’m pretty sure they told stories about me in the break room so even though she hadn’t been my counselor for long, she knew a lot about me.
I showed a video to my German class chronicling my story sometime around now and some girl and I got into a fight and she called me a ‘f***ing psycho bitch’ for trying to kill myself and I went off on her, left the room, lost my temper in the hall, and got written up. She didn’t take German the following year, so I decided to.
Tyler and I broke up that semester too. Initially I broke it off because I wanted to date a guy from my church. That turned out to be a mistake. I reconciled with Tyler for a bit, but eventually he left and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t for the reasons he gave. There’s a blog post all about him here.
I didn’t take that well. I was still actively cutting. I don’t think I got in trouble for it anymore though, cuz I knew to keep my mouth shut.
My depression hit me hard on prom day. First, Tyler texted me for the sole intention of ruining my day (I realized later it was out of revenge because I sent him a passive-aggressive text the night before). Then I get to prom and hate it but can’t leave because I had brought a friend with me. I’m venting to another friend and admit I feel suicidal and all that. She told on me and I got grounded for a week. So yeah, not a good day for me.
My senior year was okay for the first semester. I dated a boy I wish I hadn’t but otherwise it went okay. I got to stay with Grandma over Fall Break instead of going to Myrtle Beach again so I wouldn’t miss Harvest Homecoming. It gave me more independence than I’d had up to that point.
I can’t say much about my second semester because I didn’t have much of one. Three weeks in I was reported for picking my nose in class by a teacher and told I wasn’t welcome anymore and that I needed to finish my school year at home. To be honest, I think my dean was just done dealing with me. He and my counselor were definitely both against me at this point. Anyway, I could come back for senior events and I could walk at graduation, but other than that I couldn’t come back to the school for anything but midterms and finals, and even then I’d be in the testing building. My parents and I were livid for a bit but after we had some time to digest it we decided this could work.
I finished all 4 of my final classes with two months to spare. I finished the first three in a week each but Algebra 2 was killing me. I had a tutor who had to help me through it but I managed a B in the end. I got to walk and I still have my diploma.
I honestly think that the nose picking stemmed initially from anxiety, because I don’t recall it being an issue until 5th or 6th grade, right after my move and all the bullying started, and I think it became a nervous tic/habit I never fell out of.
Around mid February of 2013 was when I quit cutting for three years. Now, the last time I posted anything about my self harming was a year after I quit, in February 2014. What I’ll share later hasn’t been publicly posted before.
After being fired from my first job on my first day in early 2013, my mom and I decided I should apply for SSI. I went in on Halloween 2013 to apply. I was turned down the first time (as most are), but we appealed and had a hearing scheduled for November of 2015. In September of 2015, I had a second psych eval done, the first one having missed a few things.
A few weeks before the hearing, I got the results back. Remember how my doctor in Wellstone blew off my concerns about anxiety? I was diagnosed with it. I can’t even imagine how much better off I’d have been if they’d caught it four and a half years prior (when I straight-up told a doctor about me possibly having it) and maybe started giving me proper medications.
I also was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome/Autism Spectrum Disorder, which was the one we’d been hoping for. I had suspected I had it for awhile and it was such a relief to finally know for sure. That pretty much guaranteed I would be granted my appeal.
My hearing date came. The judge was thorough. She was mentioning things I had forgotten about, but must’ve mentioned to my counselor. I found out about a month later (just after Christmas) that I won my case (me knitting during the hearing probably helped). My mom was on the phone with my dad when I got the letter and she almost cried while reading it to him. I’ll never forget that moment.
Then comes January 2016. I’m about to begin receiving payments and had to get ready for that. Late in the month I began dating a guy I went to church with. We were together for a decently long time (16 months).
In April, I began cutting again. I won’t go into why, because it doesn’t matter, but I did, and I felt like (and still feel like) a failure. I know I went over 3 years without cutting but in the end I still chose to start again.
I cut sporadically after that. Not nearly as frequently as when I’d cut in the past, but I still did. I never cut really deep, as I don’t like blood at all.
I had a lot of issues while with my ex. I was miserable a lot. He had mental illnesses as well and they exacerbated mine. I was often miserable. Eventually, after 16 months, I worked up the strength to leave him. I was pretty quiet about the breakup
When I left him, I stopped taking my meds for a few days. I was hoping that it would drive me to do what I’d been wanting to do since the 6th grade. After 3 days, I puked (probably withdraw) and decided to take them again because it wasn’t worth it. I know now I never should’ve tried that.
A few days after that, I began writing a letter. I’ll never know if it would’ve ever been read by anyone because I ended up being asked on a date by a friend. We ended up together and will celebrate 1 year on June 17th. He’s one of my only reasons to continue.
My sister has remained a light throughout all of this, and my brother has become one. I know they’d have each other if I killed myself, but I’m their older sibling. My sister is only 10, so if I did something, she’d have to grow up without me. It’d have been one thing if I’d done this back in 10th grade, when she was probably too young to remember, but now, she definitely would.
Ever since my diagnosis, my parents have handled me so much better. They understand more now why I am how I am.
Whenever I want to, I tell myself that I have too much to look forward to in life. If I killed myself, I’d never get married, have kids of my own, or see my siblings get married and have kids of their own. My friends too. My best friend recently asked me to be her honorary bridesmaid for her wedding next summer. I don’t want to miss that.
I think that’s all I have to say on this. Thanks to anyone who read all of this. I hope maybe it helped someone. It helped me for sure.