Tales of Despair: Scars and Scratches

I have alluded to this many times in the course of this blog (in fact, I’ve probably outright stated it before), but I used to self-harm. For the peace of mind of Mrs. Satis, who sometimes reads these posts, I should state that I haven’t lifted a blade to hurt myself in over ten years; in fact, I stopped around when we met, and partly because of her. But there was a time in my life when cutting my skin was an enormous part of my identity, and I of course bear the scars (both physical and emotional) to this day.

I’m not ‘better’, and I doubt I ever will be.

There’s a wide range of reasons why people hurt themselves, and just as wide a variety of methods. From cutting to burning to starving oneself (Princess Diana once said she used to throw herself down stairs), self-harm can often be an outward reflection of the emotional pain someone is enduring every day. It’s often associated with suicide ideation, but I don’t think that’s quite fair; the people who hurt themselves (myself included) might often dream of and think of ending their lives, but the harm itself is born out of a burning desire not to die, but to feel alive. Although it might not look (or feel) like it, self-harm is usually topical and superficial, leaving little lasting harm. My deepest scars are not on my wrists; they’re on my upper arm, a fleshy place that was easy to cut deep without doing serious damage.

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Tales of Despair: The Day I Fought my Father

I’d like to resurrect an old post thread, Tales of Despair. In the past, I used this topic to discuss works of art and music that were born out of, or inspired by, depression and despair. Tonight, I’d like to use it as an opportunity to talk about my own struggles with depression. I may keep this series going; I may not. I can’t promise it will be interesting, or well-written; I can promise it will be a deeply personal look into what depression has meant—and continues to mean—for me.

I first became depressed in my mid-teens. I don’t recall much of the early days, but one of the contributing factors may have been the lack of control I felt as a child growing up with well-meaning but overbearing parents. I remember a trip to Germany one year, a kind of exchange-student trip, and when I came back, everything was different. Life was empty and meaningless; colors were muted and gray. Music held little joy (this was before I discovered rock and metal).

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