25 years of Mental Illness
Twenty-five years ago, I started the world into therapy and madness. It was my aunt’s birthday. I stayed home because I didn’t want to go to the party. My father called me a liar and I lost it. I needed an escape so I started scraping myself with a pair of scissors, hoping to dig into a vein to end my life. The deeper the scrape was, the more it hurt. I barely exposed the adipose tissue but had scraped away most of the dermis. If I had continued, I probably would have reached the fatty layer. I didn’t plan ahead so I didn’t have a bandage to cover up my wound. It was burning as air hit it so I just covered it with my long sleeves. The next day, I went to school and carefully kept the wound concealed. I have no idea how I kept things together and just went on as if nothing had happened. The next night, my cousin had come over the house. He wasn’t supposed to be there. My father had banned talking to him because he lied to him, too. It was scary because I knew there was going to be a fight when my father came home for dinner.
And he came home. All was calm at first. Both men were civil towards one another and then my father’s explosive temper exploded. He wanted my cousin to leave. He refused. My father got really angry, threatening him. All I could think was that this is bad. Then my brilliant father thought of shooting my cousin with his rifle. I dissociated and was hearing bullets being fired. I felt like I was in a war zone but no gun had gone off. My father kept threatening my cousin and my cousin became indignant, refusing to leave. So my father got his gun. He loaded it and then threatened my cousin one last time. I snapped. I got between my father’s aim and my cousin and told my cousin to just fucking leave. I was so terrified that something bad was going to happen that night. My cousin threw me in my room so forcefully that I have a mark on my nose where I hit my heavy bureau and moved with it. He closed my bedroom door so forcefully, that I couldn’t open it. My mother then, I think, told my cousin to leave. He left. My father was still ape shit. Never had I seen him so mad before. My mother was in her bedroom and I think she may have had a hypoglycemic attack, I am not sure. I was in my room. I was fighting the voices who were going ape shit at me. They wanted me to talk to them, to ally with them. I couldn’t think straight. The voices wanted me to kill myself. The leader of the voices ordered me to kill myself. So I got out the pair of scissors from the night before and started over again until I felt no pain.
My father had taken the phone off the hook. My idiot cousin kept calling to see how we were doing. Asshole. He started the whole fiasco. How do you think it was doing?? I was so terrified that his brothers and my uncle were going to come to the house to kill my father it wasn’t funny. I barely slept that night. I was in pain, both physically from what I did to my wrist and mentally. I wanted to die so bad that night and prayed for death that never came. The voices were hounding me left and right. But I kept my mouth shut. Something told me that if I escaped to their world, I was never going to leave it. I had to stay in my century as bad it was. I lost faith in my father that night. He tried to kill a man for no reason except because he was defying him. He made no physical attack toward my father and my father didn’t do it either. But the damage was done that night. I had started cutting to save my life and I liked it. I was hearing voices on a continual basis, telling me what to do and no one knew this at all.
The next morning, it was just like the previous morning. Everything went on as if nothing happened. I got dressed for school, wore long sleeved sweatshirt, and left the house like I normally did. I got to the corner of the end of the street and lost it. I started crying. The events of the night before came flooding back. The voices were still trying to get me to talk. I was a bubbling idiot. The more I tried to control my tears, the more I cried. I don’t know how, but I finally got some composure and went for breakfast. Kids always copied my homework because I was the smart one in school. I gave it up and didn’t care if I got it back. I barely said two words for fear of crying again. I made it through my first period ok. But during homeroom, I lost it again. Someone asked me something and when I bubbled an answer, I lost control of the tears I was fighting back. My best friend noticed and asked what was wrong. I said nothing. My wrist was throbbing with pain. Thankfully because I wasn’t alone, the voices were just hiding out, just waiting to attack me when I was alone. I went to my second period and there my best friend told my teacher something was wrong with me. I wasn’t upset with her. I must have looked a mess from crying and keeping my emotions together. The teacher pulled me aside once she started a movie for the class. I thought I would be able to sleep with the movie going but she wanted to talk to me. I told her I was fine. Nothing was wrong. Then she rolled up my sleeves and I was caught. She said to wait for her after class. I felt like I was in trouble and I was never in trouble with a teacher before. I was always the nice one, the goody two shoes.
She took me to the nurse and they talked for a bit and then it was my turn. I think I told her I tried to kill myself last night, that I wanted to die. My father had a big fight. I didn’t tell them about the gun or my father trying to kill someone. I didn’t want the police involved. My father would kill me. My mother knew I had problems. When I was ten I told her I was going to kill myself but she didn’t believe me. Now, five years later, it took the word of the school nurse to believe me. We went to the county mental health center where I was evaluated. I was tired of going over my story again and again. I didn’t tell them about the voices and they didn’t ask. They just wanted to know if I was suicidal and I lied. Told them I was fine.
I kept in contact with the school nurse for the weeks following this traumatic night. Eventually, the nurse convinced me that I needed to see a school counselor and so I agreed to talk to her. I told her about my abuse, all of it. The sexual abuse at the hands of my cousin (same one that instigated my father) and my mother, the physical and emotional abuse of my father, and the neglect of my mother as well.
In my mind, I had killed my parents when I was 12 and had been an orphan since I was 10 when they died. It was the only way I could survive. I was tossed around between family members and no one wanted me because I was unloveable. Eventually, I started talking to the voices again. They didn’t want me to and were still telling me that I had to kill myself so that I could live with them, to start a new life. I never believed them. I must have had at least a half dozen voices in my head and most of the time they were all talking together, among themselves, about what to do with me. They knew I had to die. I knew I had to die. And so my path to the world of psych began and still continues to this day.