One night she hid the pink cotton scarf from her raincoat in the pillowcase when the nurse came around to lock up her drawers and closets for the night. In the dark she had made a loop and tried to pull it tight around her throat. But always just as the air stopped coming and she felt the rushing grow louder in her ears, her hands would slacken and let go, and she would lie there panting for breath, cursing the dumb instinct in her body that fought to go on living.
Perhaps passing through the gates of death is like passing quietly through the gate in a pasture fence. On the other side, you keep walking, without the need to look back. No shock, no drama, just the lifting of a plank or two in a simple wooden gate in a clearing. Neither pain, nor floods of light, nor great voices, but just the silent crossing of a meadow.
I saw no other way of escape from this dreadful spectre. Suppose that today cowardice won a victory over despair, tomorrow and each succeeding day I would again face despair heightened by self-contempt. It was merely taking up and throwing down the knife till at last it was done. Better today then I reasoned with myself as though with a frightened child. But the child would not listen. It ran away. It wanted to live.
The bleakness of the landscape is unimaginable. It is as friendless and alien as a Dali painting. Ordinary concerns, such as work or friends, have no place here. Futility muffles thought; time elongates cruelly. Who is to blame for this situation? Those with depression think it must be them. Pointlessness and self-loathing govern them. So the natural final step is suicide. People with depression don't kill themselves to frighten an errant boyfriend. They kill themselves because it is the obvious and right thing to do at that point. It is the only positive step they can think of.
It's a bargain you make with yourself, okay? An escape hatch, maybe today I'll try drinking see if that makes me feel better. Then drugs. More drugs. Cutting yourself. You're scared, so you make a deal to make yourself feel safer. And if it doesn't stop next week, next month then you're going to do something to make it stop. And the next month comes and the thought of waking up another day and feeling as badly as you did the day before is worse than the unknown. So you decide to jump. Seems simple, clean, elegant.
I felt like a spy. The camera had caught them in the middle of a smile, in the middle of the day, in the middle of their lives. They were looking into the lens for each other and themselves. Could they have imagined that a girl like me, hungry and feverish, would drink in the details of their privacy, so many years after they were gone? I knew how it had ended for them. but I wanted not to know because they didn't know it themselves. It made the pictures so sad. I felt like some dwarfed and fallen god who could create nothing and change nothing, but could predict their fate with cruel certainty. I could point to each of them and say, You will die of consumption in your twenty-ninth year. You will marry a man you do not love and never have children. You will drink yourself insane. You will live well into your nineties and neither of your daughters will forgive you -- you will die alone. The sorrows that were set to happen to them had already happened. I knew what was coming, and like a train wreck that couldn't be stopped, I wanted to cover my eyes so I wouldn't see the smoke and the burning.
It would solve a thousand problems if I rolled the Jeep over an embankment. It's not like I haven't thought about it, you know. On my license, it says I'm an organ donor, but the truth is I'd consider being an organ martyr. I'm sure I'm worth a lot more dead than alive -- the sum of the parts equals more than the whole. I wonder who might wind up walking around with my liver, my lungs, even my eyeballs. I wonder what poor asshole would get stuck with whatever it is in me that passes for a heart.
Perhaps the greatest achievement of Man is his ability to die, and his ability to disregard it. Certainly poetry and paint are not deterrent, nor the high hurdles of the mind over the skulls of realism. Let us say, finally, that truth is not all that matters - often, it is the putting aside of a truth.
My name is Gabrielle and I am twenty-eight years old. I began to self-injure at age fifteen -- so nearly thirteen years minus a two year period. This website is one about self-injury (self-harm), made to let self-injurers know that they are not alone and to help their friends and family learn more about self-injury and how it affects their loved one.