Health: Your Stories - Iy

19:41

I am so thrilled to share the second in my 'Your Stories' series. 




**CONTENT WARNING** 

Today we explore PTSD and Self Harm with Iy. 












I have a tattoo on my right thigh. I had it done about 4 years ago; the first time I believed that self harm might be over for me. It’s a small poem that I wanted to have with me permanently. Six lines of simple typewriter script that embody an important part of my story. A tattoo seemed the perfect way to mark the progress I had made with my mental health. It was important to me to acknowledge that yes I have struggled and I have used my flesh to illustrate those troubles, but they don’t define me. I have hope.




If I were writing this for one of the mainstream mental health organisations I suspect this is where this piece would be cut. It would be a neat little story of redemption; unfortunately mental illness isn’t that tidy. The above is all true. I have made strides into a new life. I did want to commemorate my evolution, but I was also making a declaration of defiance. The fight isn’t over, you see. I am fairly certain now that it never will be. The urge to hurt myself has never completely left me. 

There have been relapses since then. Big & small. I have been doing well for what I consider a long time now. I am working towards the life I’ve always wanted. Trying new things, stretching myself. I’m sharing my life with someone in ways that I had long given up on. I haven’t cut for quite some time. I have begun to feel that I am wrestling back some control. 
It’s never that simple though, is it?

PTSD is a persistent foe. You can make progress & start to think maybe, just maybe you can actually defeat this bastard, but it knows you think that. 

It’s waiting for you to relax your hyper vigilance. The moment you begin to let go of the breath you’ve been holding for 18 years it will suck it in & grow.
Folks in your life see you gaining strength & think you’re better. There is no ‘better’.  There is managing ,
coping,
trying to live,
daring to live?

The good days can start to stack up. You can feel a safe distance from the horror, but you can never be sure. 

You can never be certain that a flashback won’t stun you like lightening. 
And stuck in that hot, white memory you could loosen your grip on the here & now.
The relative calm & safety could be shattered. Perhaps only for that instant. You could be lucky, those smells & fears could melt away. Current achievements or delights may well wash over you. It’s possible. That happens. 

You’ll make plans & take steps. But you’ll always be looking over your shoulder. The knowledge of the cruelty of your own mind will keep you rigid.

Because lightening does strike twice & thrice & ever & on.
With every thump of your heart you know you’re only one more squeeze from disaster. Where little sleep becomes none. The crazy creeps out from behind all those positive walls, it brings terror & tsunamis of grief. 
And the pills don’t work
Or Dr’s 
Or the life jacket you had to make with your bare hands. 

There is only one way to row to shore & it’s brutal. It’s hot blood dripping from your fingers; slippy yellow fat & an uncontrollable urge to cut a little deeper. 
Bleed a little more 
Wrapping up the unthinkable pain in the easy hurt of butchering yourself. 
This illness is being  awake in the night & writing so you won’t do. It’s ignoring the destructive comfort because you so desperately want this new, real life. 
And, yes, all those yous should be I’s. 
It’s my past, my pain, my unpredictable battle.

I never know when a bad day might become the worst day. I do know that I’m still fighting. It’s been a long road to get here, within hoping distance. I still have to make a decision everyday that I will not reach for that scalpel. I still have to convince myself that I deserve a happy ending. I want you to believe it too. Mental illness is insidious & it is vicious. You may never get ‘better’, but you can live.


With a combination of medication, therapy, love, luck & unrelenting hard fucking work; I am living. This is the recovery story I think needs to be told. The harder, messier story. 

That tattoo wasn’t a mistake. I still believe in those words.

You can follow Iy's blog at somethinginthewayshemoves.me







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