I have to stay alive

Guest Author: Julie

This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.

At a very early age I began self harming — I was a hair puller.

My parents were constantly trying to hide bald spots. They took me to a doctor who refused to diagnose a toddler but told my mom and dad I would grow up to have a mental illness.

When I was 16 I had my first hospital admission for mental health. It was on an adult unit as there were no mental health units for teens in my area. I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and depression. Later on in life came the added diagnosis of ptsd.

I would soon learn that the bpd diagnosis comes with a huge amount of stigma. When I was finished my schooling my parents were still working and I was living at home and unemployed as I could not keep a job.

It never happened — it was just a fear of mine.

I was left alone everyday and I was always calling 911 and cutting myself as an escape. I was afraid. Afraid someone was going to break into the house and shoot me. It never happened — it was just a fear of mine. The hospital was getting tired of admitting me for self harm and seeing me daily and I was too. But I needed an escape so I moved to a group home in another town.

I thought I could start over again and this was a new opportunity to never be alone again. It didn’t take long for the self harm to begin again and along with that, constant trips to the emergency room. The group home grew tired of this and kicked me out. This left the hospital responsible for finding me a new group home. They did, but the behaviour continued to get worse. I began swallowing foreign objects which would lead to surgery. I swallowed knives — two of them requiring back-to-back surgeries.

At the hospital a security guard sat outside my door to make sure I did not swallow anything else. After a while I was healed and able to return home but life would never be the same as I moved again. In my new home I began swallowing batteries which led to me having holes in my esophagus. I did this lots, but why? I do not know.

It was a quick fix — a way of quickly changing my current feeling.

I guess I liked the feeling. It was a quick fix — a way of quickly changing my current feeling. This didn’t go over well with anyone. The hospital began restraining me all the time for just showing up because they didn’t know what to do with me to keep me safe. I didn’t feel welcome there. I know the system is frustrated with me and so am I.

I have been in intensive care more then once as I have stopped breathing when batteries were being removed and had to be intubated. It is scary to wake up with a tube down your throat unable to talk.

Still I continue to do these behaviours and am not sure why. I do know I am lucky. Lucky to still be alive. The hospital and paramedics tell me this and they also tell me that one day I am going to die and it will be by accident. This scares me as I really do not want to die.

But I have hope.

I moved again last weekend looking for a fresh start to another group home but in the same town — a town where they are frustrated and I am frustrated. But I have hope. Hope that I can change. Hope that I can change me and the attitude of those around me. I go to the hospital twice a week now for an outpatient trauma and DBT type group. It seems to be helping. I, however, have to remain hopeful in myself and try try try.

Try to use my new skills to fight the urges to not to give in to self harm. I have to stay alive. I have had a job now for a while. Work is very accepting of my illness and is very accommodating. I love my job. I also now have a nephew and a niece and I want them to know their auntie. I want to see them grow so I must keep fighting, keep fighting this battle I call my life

Julie’s poem of hope
Julie’s hope poem
Hope is something to aspire
Something in our life that we all require
I am learning to cope
Because I am now finding hope
I am tough
Even though I struggle with thoughts that are rough
Hope is becoming more then just a word to me
It’s part of my journey even though sometimes it’s hard to see
All this stuff about hope I’m trying to retain
To be hopeful I will remain
Hope is not something you learn in college
It is within yourself and you have to acknowledge

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