Today we welcome Cindy Overton to the blog. She was a bit nervous about sharing her story, but it will absolutely touch your heart! She discusses self-harm and her attempts at suicide, and it’s raw and tough. But it’s her story, and it could save a life. Thank you, Cindy, for sharing.
If you have a story that you would like to share, you can do so here.
I have been sitting here for 20 minutes trying to think of where I should begin. I am not a writer. I am not a blogger. I am a simple housekeeper at a hospital. I am, however, someone who has struggled with depression and self harm for many years. I started cutting myself at the young age of 13. I was in middle school, had a lot of anger from being bullied at school, but had no coping skills to deal with it. I got into a lot of fights with classmates, and began what would become an addiction to self harm. The fighting stopped once I got to high school, but the cutting continued, and gradually got worse. I made excuses to my family, said I scratched myself on my locker, got cut from the claw of a cat. Anything I could think of to avoid telling them the truth. I eventually found ways to hide the cuts all together so I wouldn’t have to think of more excuses. My friends figured out what was going on and went to the school counselor about it. While I was extremely angry with them for it at the time, I think back now and it warms my heart to know they cared that much about me. Of course, even though the counselor talked to my parents about it, and they made me see the school psychologist for a brief time, I was a stubborn teenager and refused to believe anything was wrong with me.
It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that things really blew up. I was away from home, had the freedom to do whatever I wanted, so I began drinking. A lot. I was at a house party pretty much every weekend, and burned through the money I had for food using it for alcohol. One particular night I was at a party with my boyfriend at the time when he and a friend decided to play a prank on me. I was drunk, completely over reacted, and left the party to walk the 2 miles back to my dorm. There are pieces of that night that I can’t remember, but what I do remember was not pretty. That night I ended up in the hospital for attempted suicide. I spent 3 days in the psych unit, and swore that once I got out, I would never let myself end up like that again.
Fast forward 3 years to me being dumped by the guy I was in love with. Hello breakdown #2. After my first stint in the hospital, the university I was attending decided my episode was mainly brought on by the alcohol and put me on a mild antidepressant. The shock of being dumped threw me into a downward spiral. I began slacking off at work, started cutting again, and eventually got fired. The stress of not having the money to pay my bills, and still grieving from the breakup became so overwhelming that I made suicide attempt #2. This time, I was finally accurately diagnosed with a combination of Depression and Borderline Personality Disorder. Through therapy and proper medication, I was able to find ways to deal with and ease the bombardment of emotions I experience. I still have my tough days where I feel like this illness will overtake me again and maybe for good, but those days are getting less and less.
I have many ways that I deal with my rough days. From music, to movies, exercise, to crafting. If one thing doesn’t seem to be working, I try something else. Anything to keep the pain and darkness from taking me over. Late one night, during one of my episodes, I sat down with my computer to take down what I was feeling and going through. Earlier that day I had tried explaining to a friend what I was going through, but in all honesty, some people just aren’t going to understand. I am including in this what I wrote down that night. It may not make sense to everyone, but my hope is that it rings true for someone. “I get bombarded by every negative emotion all at once. It’s like my body is completely consumed by negativity, fear, paranoia, and panic. My heart races, I feel like I could cry, scream, throw things, and explode all at once. My body and mind are exhausted. I get the kind of craving for self harm that smokers get when they haven’t had a cigarette in a while. I can visualize and sometimes act on my urge to repeatedly cut myself to feel the pain and see the blood because in my twisted mind, that is the only way that I can release all those negative emotions. I am lethargic, tired, my body feels heavy and all I want to do is sleep, but when I lay down, I can’t fall asleep because my mind is running a million miles a minute. My mind twists things that most people ignore, into something terrible and deceives me into thinking that everyone is against me and that the people I think care about me are really just faking it. There are a few people that I know will love and care about me no matter what, but my mind eventually twists that into hating myself for being such a pain in the ass for them. I hate myself for being such a burden to those I love. My mind begins to turn to suicidal thoughts, tricking myself into believing that my friends and family would be better off if they didn’t have to deal with my constant drama. I become paranoid thinking the slightest change in my health is something major, or if I even perceive that someone is looking at me wrong, they are talking about me behind my back and really can’t stand me even though they are nice to my face. I hate myself for not being able to control my emotions. For being weak even though I know that it is a medical issue. I fear that one of these days, people I care about will get fed up with dealing with me that they will finally realize they deserve better and will leave me. These episodes can last for a few hours, or sometimes a few days. In fact, I am struggling with it as I write this. Hence the random form and free thought. I hope this will give a little more insight into what I struggle with. I’m not asking for sympathy, or pity. I simply hope for more understanding for those who struggle with the same things. It’s a big thing, for me at least, to know that there are people around me who get it. Who understand that as much as I try, I can’t always control this, and my mind twists things way more than is normal. My mind tricks me into seeing issues and problems that aren’t there, and I destroy friendships and relationships because of it. I apologize to all I have hurt in dealing with this.”
Through this long, and possibly boring entry, I hope that I have reached and helped at least one person. As I was growing up and figuring all this out, I felt completely alone. I felt that no one would understand and that I was a freak. Please, please, please know that if you are reading this, and have gone through any of this, or what other people have described, you are NOT alone and it is nothing to be ashamed of. You are loved, and wanted. Please always remember that. There is someone out there that you can always go to, you just need to reach out. Don’t be afraid. Don’t try to handle it on your own. Seek help. It is said that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. It sounds corny, but it’s true. You are loved and you will be missed if something happens.
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