My #SIAD Story, ft. Lyme Disease

Since Monday was Rare Disease Day, I thought I would share a snapshot into what it’s like. A Lyme flare for me goes something like this:

I’ve lost my voice more than I’ve spoken this week. Every waking moment, my body hurts. No matter how much I sleep, I am tired. I have to force myself to eat and drink, and I’ve lost more weight in 4 months than I have in my entire life. I feel like Dory from Finding Nemo in a whale’s body; I forget everything right after it happens and I move very slowly. And did I mention that my body hurts?

I’ve been forced by my own body to drop a class, and I feel guilty over the fact that I cannot do what everyone else seems to handle with such apparent ease.

FYI: the rest of this post will be triggering. Please be safe, and here’s a lovely quote to brighten your day!

Today is Self-Injury Awareness Day. Self-harm is something that no one talks about it, no one wants to even consider it. Even most of the people who do it want nothing to do with the subject. And it’s a hard subject to tackle, there’s so much stigma and general misconception about why it happens and who does it. There are no good answers to either of those.

I don’t remember the first time I picked up a blade, but I know I was barely a high school freshman. I was lost, completely overwhelmed, and I didn’t know why I was struggling so much when everyone else seemed perfectly fine. Attending school, trying to maintain good grades and a flood of household duties inundated my sensitive being like being caught in an avalanche. As a highly anxious and vulnerable person, I hear, feel and see everything. It’s like all the dials on a sound booth are turned all the way up and every cell in the body is being electrocuted. My brain got tired of processing everything at a breakneck pace, and it was like a switch flipped in my brain. Some people call it clinical depression, I call it shutdown mode. I would carve words deep into my skin, out of anger at myself, out of pain. Within a few months, it was a daily activity. Sensory overload became one of the biggest triggers. I needed it to center me, bring me back to reality, make me more present and better able to handle the pace that I experience the world. I did it because I didn’t want to die.

Depression is spending all day completely locked away from the entire world in a bubble full of water, drowning with each breath until dragging that blade across your skin. The pain becomes your oxygen. It becomes the only way to get through your day; relief from the general nothingness or a release from too much of everything. There seems to be no in between. Each day, each hour, you’re waiting for your next breath of fresh air.

Every reason to quit is different. I knew there was help, that people loved me, and there are so many beautiful things in this worlds to see and experience. But mostly, I quit for me. Because there is love and a future for me here, and my story isn’t finished yet. In fact, it was just starting.

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