Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Stares and Stigmas

For whatever reason, lately I've read a lot of blog posts/articles on self-abuse and visits to the ER for suicide and that kind of thing. Not totally out of the ordinary for me, but still. I've read a lot of horror stories about the treatment people got for being self-harmers or for being suicidal. They are treated with condescension and disdain, considered selfish and less important than other injured or ill patients. They are told, "Why should I help you when you're just going to do it again?"

These stories made me realize just how fortunate I have been.

As I've mentioned in the past, no one has ever called me out for the scars on my arms. People have asked questions, but never said more. Sometimes I think people look at them, but even then I can't tell if I'm imagining it or not. Because I see every scar. I don't know how many I have, but when I look down at myself I see so many even though well over half of them have faded. When I look at pictures of myself I can see them. But can anyone else? I have no idea.

I can't remember exactly why, but when I went to the hospital for suicide I went through the ER even though we had called in advance and I was being sent there by my then-counselor. The guy who took my information was professional and polite, but I don't remember much more than that. That hospital had a very good psychiatric department, so maybe that's why I had such a good experience.

Though the psych ward was full of people with various issues, I was the only self-harmer and one of the few who seemed to be there for suicide. I was in the lowest-risk ward, so to speak. The nonviolent people and the ones who weren't expected to be staying much longer. Even though I was the only cutter at the time, they seemed used to it. Obviously there was a lot of stuff I wasn't allowed to have, but I also had to show the doctor every cut on my body and was often asked if I'd hurt myself since the last meeting.

Now that I think about it, the psych ward was actually where my arms got the most looks. Maybe because there, people knew what they actually were.

The nurses were all very nice as well. My favorite always told me to find her if I needed someone to talk to (I was practically mute for most of my stay there), and the one who took my blood was always jolly and cheerful. I have no idea how they all remained so happy when dealing with severely depressed people. I remember the first time she took my blood she asked, "You been cutting on yourself?" but not in a mean way. More like a casual remark. I can't even remember what I said (probably nothing). "Why you do that? What reason a young girl like you have to do that? Too much peanut butter and not enough jelly?" I wasn't sure exactly what she was talking about anymore, but I remember saying, "More like too much jelly," because I never liked jelly very much and if we were using peanut butter and jelly to represent the universe then I definitely had too much sticky gross stuff all over the place. "Too much jelly?" she laughed and seemed confused. We were both confused. But moral of the story is she was nice.

No one has ever asked me to cover up my scars for a performance. Maybe they strategically costumed me in long sleeves, but I'd never thought about that until now.

I don't usually make an effort to hide them anymore, except when I relapse and can't bear the shame of looking at it. I live in the south and it's hot here. I'm also a dance major and we wear tights and leotards on a regular basis.

Sometimes I almost hope someone will ask. But if they did, I probably wouldn't be able to say anything. I daydream of a meaningful, deep conversation with someone about mental health, but in real life I can't make eye contact and when I try to explain things I go down too many rabbit holes and don't actually explain anything.

Anyway.

I guess my point is that a lot of mentally ill people are treated horribly at ERs and hospitals. But I, at least, had a good experience. There is hope out there. Please don't be afraid to get help if you need it, but know that if you have someone to help you find a good place to get help, the help you receive will be much more, well, helpful.

I know all too well that some people don't have anyone to help them and are left with no option other than the one ER, and that they don't have the time or privilege of finding the best emergency mental healthcare. And that sucks.

But don't be afraid to get help. No matter what people may tell you, you're worth it. No matter what people say about scars you bear, you're strong and you made it through. You are making it through.

--Dexter

PS. I tried to wrap this post up with an inspirational ending but I'm not sure I'm even convincing myself anymore. I'm such a hypocrite sometimes.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Overheard.

Boys will be boys. But they definitely choose to by gay.

He's a boy, he can't help being enticed by a low-cut shirt. But this boy definitely chose to be gay.

Boys can't help thinking about sex with girls, but they can help thinking about sex with other boys.

Boys don't choose to sexually assault girls. But boys choose to be gay.

Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction. Are they LGBTQIA?

Having no sexual attraction is the opposite of having an "abnormal" sexual attraction, so they're not queer.

Having no sexual attraction is abnormal.

Asexual? I can fix that.

Asexual? Maybe you should get your hormones checked.

Asexual? It's just because of your assault, you just need therapy.

But you have a boyfriend.

Don't worry, you'll change your mind.

Good for you for choosing abstinence!

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Ally.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual.

A boy will see a pretty girl and instantly think he wants to have sex with her.

He can't help it.

Girls don't want sex as much as boys. It's just in their nature.

You don't want sex? What's wrong with you?

Why do you have to be such a tease?