A week or so ago I found on my dashboard a picture of me. A picture of my S.I when I was 18, the cuts that made me realize I needed serious help or I would soon be dead.
At first, I thought someone had taken apart one of my recovery photosets and simply reposted the before picture. However, upon closer inspection it was the unedited version of that same picture. Dug up from livejournal or photobucket many, many years ago and I regret ever posting those pictures now.
Why? Because that post on my dashboard had 400+ likes, reblogs, and comments. Because all of those responses were people idolizing my disease, wanting to know how to accomplish cuts that deep and wanting to see more. I visited several of the blogs that reblogged my past and all I found were blogs full of triggering images that inhibit any chance of recovery, that annihilate hope. And I’m a reason why…
I know that picture and probably others are out there, I don’t hide what I go through and how bad my S.I was or has the potential to be if I don’t hold strong.
I sent a message to the source of that photo and asked that they at least change the source back to me, so that a few out of the many might come to my blog and read my stories… See my before and after pictures (that if I ever post more will combined to one image) and realize that cutting and any form of self injury can be battled.
I’m not a perfect person, but I’m not a bad one either. All those pictures I posted to S.I blogs turning the worst of my addiction will now drag on my mind. It tore me to pieces when my sister starting cutting because of me, now that feeling is multiplied by every person who sees that image.
Happy Birthday Joey
You would be 22 today, and it’s the first time since I met you that I will wish you a happy birthday and you won’t respond. You’re missed, by everyone regardless of if you would miss them or not.
I think you’d be happy for me now, I know you would be actually. I wish you were around to see that but then maybe your death was a catalyst that turned so many lives around and set us all straight. I’m grateful to have had you in my life, I am grateful to love you, and to learn from you.
You would have been okay, but not in the timeframe you wanted. I understand that and I won’t be selfish, your dad’s speech at your memorial was one of the best pieces I have heard regarding suicide. Your family is so strong, I love them and am keeping my promise to you and them. Which really means to be there when I can, they will always be a second family to me and their happiness for my wellness means so much to me.
So, Happy Birthday. I wish more than anything you were on this earth to celebrate it but that was not your purpose. Your life held so much, and the loss of your life has brought so much change. Change that has made my life amazing. I miss you everyday but I’m happy you are not suffering.
You know, in case you care to know a wee bit more than my interests, looks, and traumatic past occurrences.
- My name is Katherine Celeste, I go by Kat
- I was born in Nashville, lived for a couple years in Evergreen, CO, spent a majority of my so far life in Atlanta, and now live in Austin.
- I do not drink, I have not had a drink in over three years. I chose not to for my own reasons.
- I live with my boyfriend, Matt, and our pets, Claudio (orange tabby named after Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria) and Tegan ( Belgium Malinois mix)
- I love metal (Opeth, Black Dahlia Murder, Necrophagist) but lately prefer the softer side of my music taste (The Avett Brothers, Elliott Smith, Neutral Milk Hotel).
-I work at GameStop, I start tomorrow and I’m super nervous because I worked for the same company (Lush Cosmetics) for two years in Atlanta and was pretty much the manager of a store when I up and moved to Austin.
- I’m Bi-Polar I, some other mental stuff, and I’m doing really well. It took 3+ years to get my meds solid but it was worth the hassel. I will gladly talk to anyone about what I went through in this process, I’m not ashamed.
- My two major pet peeves are: 1) When people refer to Swallows as Sparrows, especially if they have swallow tattoos or are in the tattoo industry. 2) When people refer to Frankenstein’s monster as Frankenstein.
Lyrics from “Two Headed Boy Part II” by Neutral Milk Hotel
A memorial tattoo.
I’ll write more tomorrow.
I took the first photo today, the second photo I took a few days before I checked myself into a psychiatric hospital. I was 19, I was tired of going through all those emotions, all that self hate, all the mental pain, and all the guilt, blame, and judgement.
I was inpatient for 3 weeks, and intensive out-patient for another 3. I slept out in the hall by the nurses stand for over half the time I was there, and I self harmed several times as well… I started smoking again too.
I have friends that I still talk to and get support from, I have beaded bracelets that are great conversation starters, and I adore the psychiatrist that I found through the hospital.
It was worth it, I know what’s wrong with me. My parents know that there is a reason behind my behaviors. The weight has been lifted off everyone’s shoulders. It isn’t an automatic cure but it is a step onto the right path.
I guess I need to supply a little background, though I’ve mentioned it a couple times in posts before. That boy up there is Joe, he was my first love, and this past April he committed suicide. The other pictures are all memories of our relationship:
The lyrics to Two Headed Boy by Neutral Milk Hotel (our song, the song some of his friends performed with me at his memorial) is pictured with the bracelet he made me, 3 daisies soldered together from pounded copper wire.
Mourner’s Kaddish prayer in Hebrew with the English translation, pictured with one of the strings from his bass that I twisted into a bracelet and the ring he gave me for our first Christmas.
And finally the many versions of what I read at his memorial, it went through several phases and the final product came through mania at around 5:45 in the morning after being up all night. The final version is what you see below:
Poetry comes easy when I am out of my mind
It’s almost 6 a.m, I’ve been awake since 9 a.m yesterday
I fear my part in your life may seem trivial to most here
But there is a gaping hole that has been torn from my chest
I can’t breath, I am drowning on fresh air
I have thought of you everyday since the day we met, and I will think of you everyday until the day I die.
Joey, I’m sorry, I will always call you Joey.
I know you don’t mind, and I know Mike gets a kick out of this privilege of mine.
I love you, I always will.
You taught me how to love.
You taught me how to be genuinely happy and how to smile.
I can only hope I did the same for you, your family and friends seem to believe so.
We had rough times.
That’s an understatement, I know.
But for nearly two years we overcame everything in our way.
I had two families.
Holiday cookies shaped like turtles, renaissance fairs, new cars, kitchen haircuts, many different pies, a new t.v (nearly destroyed by tesla coil), beach vacations, and more family memories that could fill this entire notebook.
I actually recently asked Joey if I could trade him my handmade baklava for some of his mom’s homemade granola, a trade in my favor and he readily agreed.
I realize this hasn’t been poetic and perhaps not long but I only have two more things to say:
When Joe and I started dating Neutral Milk Hotel was our favorite band.
Eventually in our relationship we wanted to get relating tattoos, nothing matching. So, we decided that when the time came we would each get whatever our favorite Neutral Milk Hotel lyrics were our favorite, individual to us.
Well, the time came this past Thursday night. I knew I would fulfill my half of what Joey and I had planned. Sorry Mom and Dad, the lyrics read:
And in my dreams you’re alive and you’re crying,
As your mouth moves in mine, soft and sweet.
Rings of flowers round your eyes and I’ll love you,
For the rest of your life in your reading. *
If you’re interested about Joe’s favorite lyrics, they’re in the favorite quotation section of his Facebook profile.
The final personal thing I want to say is:
Mama Lastname, Papa Lastname, that’s all I’ve ever known you as, Tim, Lin, Mike.
Joey was there for me through and after all of my hard times. With your permission, for Joe, I would like to be there for and after all of yours as well.
Note: For you NMH fans concerning the lyrics of my tattoo. They are from Two Headed Boy Part 2, the final line is not what most people THINK it is. It is however what some people think it is, and it is what Joe and I believe it is. Therefore, I do not care what you say.
In April and May of this year I spent many nights in a manic state, staying up for hours, and days. Whenever I felt the need to cut, or bruise, or burn; I would grab my art pad and charcoal, spread a sheet on the floor and go at it. Most of that pad is only charcoal touched with red, everything seems to be bleeding like I wanted to be but pushed through. I took this picture of myself after one particularly hard night.
I was crying, I chain smoked on the roof until the bedroom at my parents house reeked, I was listening to Bright Eyes (cliche?), and I couldn’t stand the depth of the hole in my chest anymore. So I drew, and I drew, and I drew. I worked until I was down to my sports bra and shorts, I worked until the paper tore and it was more of a mess than anything artistic. I worked until I finished and over the entire page wrote, “Joe doesn’t blame me.”
And in that realization so much weight was lifted off my shoulders, I couldn’t hate myself as much. Everyone else could blame me for his suicide, though they probably don’t and I’m just paranoid that they do, but Joe doesn’t. And he is all that matters. And he would want me to be strong. And I promised I would be there for his family. Because they are every bit my family and I love them. And I love him.
I worked out my pain with Charcoal, Sweat, and Tears.
I was 18 in the first picture and I’m 23 today, when I took the second picture.
I started cutting when I was 11.
I went without from July ‘09 to April ‘11. And that’s something to be incredibly proud of. If I can make it that long, then I can make it longer. And if I can make it through everything I went through this past spring without needing stitches, without needing to go back into the hospital, and without hitting psychosis… I can get through more. I am strong. I don’t need self-harm in any form.
Don’t make any mistake, I never made a conscious decision to quit cutting. I did make the decision to check myself into rehab when I knew I was at risk of killing myself.
I’ve lost friends, dear friends. I lost the first love of my life and I cry for him all the time.
Please talk to me if you have any questions, I’ve been there. Sometimes I still find myself in that dead place but I’ve found ways out…without a blade.
“BE STILL” - These are words that tame monsters, words that make you king of the wild things, these are the words that I chose to mark one year without self injury.
With Max’s crown and the font straight off of Where The Wild Things Are cover, I got this tattoo just a couple of days after my 1 year without cutting or any other form of self harm. The longest period of time I had gone without since I was 11, that’s 10 years. It’s on my left wrist, where my worst cutting tended to be, and the tattoo goes over many scars which is why the lines look a little wonky…from areas of raised skin.
I had a minor relapse a couple months before I made it to 2 years, but I made it that far. I have a reminder of how far I’ve made it before. “BE STILL” reminds me that I am in charge of my actions and of the wild things within me that are caused by my bi-polar disorder.
These are my swallows, they are part of my recovery chest piece.
There are several meanings to swallow tattoos but when I got these I thought of this one: Traditionally swallows represent a journey, sailors would get one after they had traveled 5,000 nautical miles and the second one after they had traveled 10,000 nautical miles…there after they would add nautical star tattoos.
My swallows represent many miles traveled, though I probably need to add some stars as well, because my recovery from Bi-Polar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Self Injury continued drastically for years after and will always be a part of my life. My first swallow represents where I was, anyone who has or is closely familiar with some one who has a mental disorder that has a depression element especially, is also familiar with that dead feeling. My self injury and borderline personality kept me separated from life, dissociated and in hiding. My bi-polar downs left me suicidal, the highs put my in the hospital for stitches and ruined my relationships. I was torn, tattered, bleeding, broken, and lifeless.
My second swallow is really just the next step in the journey, alive and healing. I didn’t want him to be perfect because I never will be. I will however work on improving, work on recovering. Because I still am, I got these a few weeks before I turned 19… I checked myself into rehab for Self-Injury the following September. I just turned 23 and had a minor relapse into cutting several months ago after my ex-boyfriend, my first love, first everything committed suicide. This past spring was horrid but my psychiatrist and I finally found the right combination of medications.
Yes, I relapsed but I didn’t need to go to the hospital, I didn’t soak an entire t-shirt in blood. I started art therapy, I started dating the most amazing man, I moved away from all of my triggers. I have my struggles but they’re not what the used to be. And they’re getting better still.
There was a time when I didn’t think it wouldn’t get any better. Checking myself into rehab was the best thing I have done in my life, it always will be because it’s the reason I’m alive. It does get better, it does, it does, it does. Life will never be rainbows and unicorns but it will be worth it.
I love you all.
It is Suicide Prevention Week.
And although it is a time that I have always held close, sadly this year it pulls on my heartstrings far too much.
Please, please, PLEASE always take any sort of suicide threat or mention seriously. It doesn’t matter if they’ve said it 25 times and never done anything. Don’t let it turn into a “boy who cried wolf” type situation, where the one time you stop believing them and think it’s for attention turns out to be the one time they really cannot see themselves holding on.
It really does get better, I know from personal experience it does. I wish so badly I would have called Joe all those times I had thought about doing it in those weeks preceding his suicide. You never know what a kind hand reaching out of the darkness may do. And NEVER under estimate the darkness, there are so many things that you don’t know. And NEVER EVER tell anyone who has admitted they are feeling suicidal that they are being selfish, that just burdens them with more guilt.
You are not selfish, and you are not wrong, and you are not a bad person.
Love, love, love, and listen.
Ask for help.
Seriously, I will always tell people that checking myself in to a mental institution when I was 19 was the best decision I have ever made. And it will remain the best decision I ever make, you know why?
Because that decision is the reason I am still ALIVE.