“I have razors in the post”

Trigger Warning: self harm, suicide

 

I have razors in the post.

 

I do not remember ever having good mental health. Some take on anxiety or depression has been my constant companion for as long as I can remember, and my memory for my mistakes is excellent. I remember once trying to reassure my mother that things were getting better, that at least I was more supported and connected and confident than I used to be – after all, I was such an unhappy child.

 

The look on her face! Well, I thought she knew.

 

I have razors in the post.

 

How are you? I’m fine. Does it matter if I’m sick and crying and wracked with nerves if I pull it together and swan through the bits that matter the most? If you can pull it together for the 2% of the time that you’re on stage, in the exam hall, at the interview, then does it matter if you fall apart for the other 98? You don’t seem so bad. Does it matter if your husband had to carry you home, crying, giggling and complaining that you want to spit out your tongue if by the time he makes you phone the counselling service you can’t remember it and by the time you get there you smile reassuringly, tell them it’s alright now and run? If you can hide it, you can still be fine.

 

I have razors in the post (if you say it enough, you understand, it becomes part of a piece of pretentious prose and stops being part of a real and concrete and messy plan)

 

How sick is sick enough? It’s an odd tension. You can’t be too sick – nobody can be, is allowed to be. Nobody wants to hear your problems; stop putting them on, making a mountain out of them. We all have problems. I’ve been sad too. I’ve been nervous too. You don’t see me complaining – stop faking, don’t you know how it is for people with real problems?

 

You need to be sick enough. Come back when it’s worse. Worse than that. Worse than that. If you’re really depressed, why don’t you slash your wrists, why don’t you cut yourself, how come you’re smiling, how come you’re going out tonight? It must hurt this much (and we must see it hurting) to be a real problem.

 

I have razors in the post (see? It’s a refrain, not a fact, it’s all part of the performance.)

 

I wonder if I make things worse for myself to struggle towards that threshold of legitimacy. I hope not, because you know, that would just be attention seeking, not a real problem, and we’d be back to square one. I wish I could have back all the time I have spent hating myself for daring to hate myself without a ‘real’ problem. I could take up pottery.

 

I have razors in the post (it’s alright, I don’t believe it now either; repeat these words until they lose all meaning)

 

The first step is admitting you have a problem. Scratch that – the first step is permitting yourself to have a problem. In order to get better, you must first stop being fine. I’m trying. It’s a difficult balancing act – how much can I justifiably drain the resources of my lovers and my friends to support myself in not being fine? I don’t know. Perhaps answering that question is step two.

 

I have razors in the post (has anyone ever had a razor that didn’t come with pre-packaged heads anyway? Who uses these for anything else any more?)

 

A new take on my not-coping method. I’m no stranger to self-injury to be sure, but punching, biting, scratching, key-scraping, none of these are so messy or visible, nor are they such well-known signs of something wrong. Maybe that will be enough to tip me over the borderline of ‘good enough’ to ‘really bad'; maybe then I can permit myself more than the most desultory help, maybe that will give me permission to stop being fine. (Maybe I’ll trap myself in a new layer of barriers – you can stop being fine when they’re deeper, when there’s more of them, when you have to go to A&E, when you have to go again; then again, maybe I’ll be up when I go to the post office and throw them straight into the bin).

 

Even if I’m not ready to stop playing the game, I’m sick of it, I am so sick and tired of all the energy I put in playing off against myself, all the energy I put into throwing up barriers and making like I’m fine and all the energy I put into hurting and hating myself in the hope that people will know that I am not.

 

I am going to save the energy I would spend on apologising here for wasting your time and instead use it to tell anyone who read this far that I love you for it, and to tell you that much as I may struggle to believe it that there is no such thing as ‘not bad enough’ to stop being fine and start seeking out the support and resources you need.

 

 


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