People don’t like to talk about self-harm. It scares them, it makes them uncomfortable.
Even though so many people do it.
You probably do.
The thing is about self-harm, there’s ways and there’s ways. There’re the active ways one can self harm, like cutting oneself, taking drugs and drinking too much, too often. Driving too fast, taking physical risks in the name of feeling alive and so many other ways I could never list them all. Being demisexual, I’ve punished myself by having sex with people I didn’t want to because I SHOULD want to. (Yes, I know… shush, I have a point to make here.)
Then there’re the passive ways of harming oneself. Things like failing to take one’s medicine on time, staying up to ridiculous hours at night when you don’t HAVE to because of pain or insomnia, not resting when you need it. Continuing to work and push and harm yourself further so that you don’t feel ‘lazy’ and ‘unworthy’. Not exercising (if you CAN exercise, I can’t, and I miss it). So, so many ways.
Lately, I seem to have developed, (since roughly last year at this time maybe? Or maybe when my brother killed himself? I don’t know, exactly when I developed it) but I don’t eat when I’m upset.
This is the diametric opposite to what I’d do when I was younger, when I’d go through a huge box of donuts, stuffing myself with them even though I didn’t really WANT a donut. In some sort of misguided attempt to feel better.
In the past five days I’ve eaten two half sandwiches, three granola bars, two bites of macaroni and cheese and three tiny sauteed mushrooms.
Yes. I know. It’s not healthy. It’s not sustainable, and I don’t know why I’m doing it to myself.
I AM trying to eat. But the act of eating is extremely hard right now. Maybe subconsciously I feel like I don’t deserve food if people can think such ill things of me?
I don’t honestly know.
Frankly, I’m not really great at remembering to eat in the first place, but I usually DO eventually eat what I’ve made. Often after reheating it twice because I’m doing something more important.
Lately though, I’ll make the food, it’ll get cold (or warm) and I’ll eventually force myself to eat a bite or two, then I’ll feel like my body is gonna upchuck it all and I’ll give it up.
It’s probably great for weightloss, which, yes, I could still stand to lose more weight, simply because I don’t like the way I FEEL when I’m this heavy, but this is in no way, shape, or form a healthy way to go about doing it.
I’m sharing this part of a very personal struggle for me not to cast blame or anything, I don’t hold grudges against innocent people.
I’m sharing it so that anyone else who is going through a similar struggle might know… you’re not alone. If we can keep talking, maybe it’ll make the stigma of being mentally ill less ostracizing.
And maybe we can start healing as a human society. Lord and Lady know we need to.
CW Self-harm, trauma reference, sexual abuse reference
Autistic burnout is where I find myself right now. It’s a lot like a nervous breakdown, and maybe a bit like clinical depression, but not quite like either. It’s got me right to the edge of a full-on psychotic break with regards to my PTSD and anxiety. I’m a recovered cutter, and yeah… I had to go back on anti-depression meds recently to cope with the desire to self-harm. I got my kit out on Friday. I didn’t use it, I have to give myself credit for that, but I haven’t even looked at it in over ten years.
The fact is, though, that I WANTED to use it. So for me to say, “I’m not in a good place right now” I REALLY MEAN THAT.
I’ve been through a psychotic break before, as well as a nervous breakdown. I have a very long history of trauma, sexual abuse, self-harm, and assorted mental health trail mix. I know the signs, I also know what I have to do.
I’ve had to remove the twitter app from everything but my computer. I can’t remove my presence there completely, and if I did, I’d miss people that I HAVE come to think of as closer to being friends than not.
I’ve already lost my joy and desire to be there. To even be on the internet at all. (and I LOVE the internet, or I used to) I’m having to make myself get on. Currently, I have an alarm set to go off for when I need to get on and try to interact.
Considering it’s 99% of my social interaction? How I get my sales, clients for editing/sensitive reading etc, communication with my editor who is working on my pre-pubbed book BLOODBOUND and my own editors as well as work? It’s how I communicate with my CPs and do my research for books? It’s even how I pay my bills. Yeah.
But right now? If I don’t make an effort to get on… in case you’re wondering, I’d probably never come back.
I will recover, I hope. I’m taking care of myself, but I’ll be scarce while I build myself back up. Much as I hate the symbology of the puzzle piece for autism (because of who uses it) it’s a lot like putting the puzzle pieces of ME back together.
In no uncertain terms, I’m shattered. I have to rebuild myself. Again. I often wonder when I’ll have lost enough of my pieces that I won’t make a whole picture anymore.
I know several autistics who won’t go near the internet because they’ve run into similar problems. Being misunderstood, running themselves into burnout…
I don’t want to be one of them.
In reality… and what helps me do the rebuilding, it’s clinging to the things in my life that are REAL. I’m holding my kids longer, just so I can feel that they’re real. I’m taking more time with my food, when I have any appetite at all. (I think I’ve eaten breakfast today? Which is the first thing of any solidity I’ve eaten all weekend, so it’s an improvement?) That’s a part of how autism affects me. The very idea of making myself eat, because of the textures in my mouth, the feel of the food in my belly, it all makes me nauseous. So that too, is something I’m making myself do, when honestly, all I want to do is make myself bleed so the pain has someplace else to be. (If I didn’t do it this past friday, I probably won’t. I’m not as low as I was then… I put the kit away, so I think I’m okayish.)
I’m making myself try to go to bed at a semi-reasonable hour. Tactile sensations are helping a lot, if they’re ones I choose.
I have to step back and away from just about everything for a while. Until I can be sure again what is real and what isn’t. Cause right now, nothing feels that way. I feel like everything I know, or thought I knew is just dust in the wind. (Yes, I listen to Kansas, shush, I’m old.)
The fact that a lot of my problems tie back to a horrifying event that I had nothing to do with… yet still got blamed for, and am, to this day getting blamed for (the harassment I suffered a few months back was also part of that, though I didn’t say so at the time) is playing a very large part in my reaction.
One of the things a lot of autistics really have a problem with is injustice. But we’re usually accused, easily, because 80 some odd percent of the population doesn’t understand us and most don’t bother to try. (If you know 50 adults, you know two passing autistics, and it takes a toll to pass.) In the past year, I’ve been accused, hounded, harassed (seriously, you should see my harassment folder in my email inbox… if it were paper it’d be as high as my head) threatened, and my family has been too. There’ve been death threats, threats to out my legal name, my husbands and my kids. There’ve been accusations of so much I’d never, EVER, consider doing. Just… so much peeps.
I didn’t honestly know what the final straw would be. I was hoping never to find out. I thought… because I’d been wise enough to go get meds, and that they seemed to be evening me out… that maybe I was on the mend.
Not so much.
Tomorrow I’ll be writing the official letter of delay for my authors at Multifarious Press. I have to, because of my inability to cope with anything right now, put the anthologies on hold until 2018.
If the contracts are already signed, I’ll be giving the authors a chance to break contract to sell their stories elsewhere. It’s not my intent to be terrible to people.
I’ll put up further notices when I know for sure what we at Multifarious have decided to do going forward. I’m not making any final decisions right now, but frankly? I don’t think I have the heart for it anymore. I’ll make any decisions after I’m more stable, but… you need heart to deal with something like a press, and I just don’t think I have it in me anymore. Who knows… maybe I’ll surprise myself. I keep thinking of all those (truly amazing) stories by marginalized authors I have in my query inbox. I hope it’s enough. I truly hope that time and the brilliance in my To Be Read folder will be enough to restore my heart.
Sitting here wrapped in my fuzzy blankets, earphones on to help ground me to what is REAL (that’s a large part of how I recover myself when shutdown) I’m not making any firm decisions about anything, not even dinner. Which I suppose I should go eat.
It’s not fair, nor is it right to the people I’ve promised publication to. It’s not fair or right to me, my family, anyone who has come to count on me, but I absolutely cannot push myself further right now without risk of utter collapse that might see me institutionalized.
For the fulls *I* have requested for the press. (Unless I learn differently, Cit and Kieru are still open for queries, Jamie and I are closed) I’ll work on getting them finished and an answer back to the authors while I’m closed to queries. These stories are so good guys, and I want to see them in the world. Don’t wait on me, just let me know if the situation changes and someone else wants them, please, so I can work on someone else’s.
I’m going to be concentrating on my writing a lot, I have an opportunity to sell a novella to my editor, so I’m going to do that. Maybe sharing my writing lines in the hashtag games will be enough of an internet presence for now. At least until I’m less fragile.
Writing has saved my mind and my life more times than I can count. It’ll help.
You know, I started the press to help marginalized people. I just have to figure out if closing it, or keeping it open will do the least amount of harm. To the marginalized people I opened it for… and to me.
Maybe I’m just too broken to be any good to anyone except my family and my stories. Life sure does seem to delight in throwing me into the deep end and failing to throw me a life-line.
I just need time to remember how to swim, before I drown.
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