I Have Scars, But It’s OK
I was 13 when I first discovered depression existed within my own brain. It consumed everything I cared about and covered it in darkness. Everyone said I was “angsty,” like other teenagers. However, angst does not exactly describe the hovering feeling of wanting to die.
As I got older, it only got worse. I found comfort in darkness, in being alone, and in sharp objects. I did not find comfort in people. I spent summers in pants to cover every cut. You would never see me in a swimsuit or shorts. I hid my skin because I hated it, so why would I let anyone else see it?
Then there was one summer that I had built up enough courage to try on a bikini, but it did not occur to me that my mom wanted to see how it fit (just in case she had to return it). I had forgotten about the fresh wounds on my hips and did not react in time to cover them. She came into my room, noticed the multiple scabbed slices, and immediately started the interrogation process.
“How did that happen?” and “Are you OK?” were two of her most repeated questions, with the utmost concern in her voice. Of course, I responded with a lie. “I ran into the dining table really hard, but don’t worry—I will take care of it so it heals properly.” She believed me.
After that summer was my freshman year of high school. I had moved to a new place and was starting at a new high school where I did not know anyone. I had some acquaintances from eighth grade because I spent a few months there prior to the new year, but they did not hold the same value to me as my friends from my hometown. My freshman year was rough because I had to start getting to know new people.
I spent a portion of that year being closed off from everyone because I never wanted people to see how badly I was struggling. I would go home after school, hoping that no one was home so that I could cry and find security in my blades. One night, I admitted defeat to everything. I lay in my bed, waiting for my family to go to sleep so that I could start the process of trying to end my life. Once they were asleep, I proceeded to fill the bathtub with water. I filled it with an amount I felt would be enough so I could submerge myself fully. Once the water was at the right depth, I got in and began to cry.
I started saying, “I love you and I am sorry,” in between all of the shallow breaths that I had left, hoping that God would relay the messages to my family and friends once I was gone. Then I submerged myself entirely into the water. I was under the water long enough so that parts of my brain started to go fuzzy and I felt the pressure build up. Then, I pulled myself out. I was bawling. I was ashamed that I could not finish the deed. I sat in the water and figured I would just cut myself and bleed into the water—which is what I did.
I sat there with tears streaming down my face. Once I felt I had seen enough blood come out, I drained the tub and sat on the toilet and cried even more. I still could not believe that I had come so close to completing the one thing I wanted, only to step away from the ledge.
I spent years trying to hide the scars from everyone. Even through high school, the depression battle raged on. Some days were victorious, and some were losses. Relationships were never easy—intimacy was even scarier. The thought of letting someone in was terrifying, because what if they did something to push me over the edge? Sadly, someone did exactly that. The texts he sent were some of the most painful things to read. Ingrained in my brain are the words, “You should’ve killed yourself because you are a horrible person and no one should ever have to deal with you.” And then, the rest is blurry.
Even during that time, I fought the feeling of wanting to die. I chose to live in order to change myself. I wanted to love myself again. I hated the girl I saw. I was so ashamed of what I had done to my body. At that point, I knew I had to put my blades away for the better.
Fast-forward a year. I had moved away for college. At the time, I was in a house with five other people, two of whom were my friends. I realized my depression never fully went away, and for the record, it never actually does.
This time was different, though; cutting would again cause suspicion and be obvious because I lived with so many people. I chose to drink, instead. A casual beer turned into half a bottle of rum or more every night. I would skip class because I was so exhausted from fighting my thoughts the night before, or I was hungover.
Then it reached a point of no return; the bottles were piling up. The alcohol could only do so much before my brain found its way back. I faced this once before, which meant that I could do it again. I knew I had to stop drinking. However, I did not know what to do or even how to start the conversation of needing help. The one thing I built up enough strength to do was tell myself, “It’s OK” every day.
“It’s OK” became my mantra. I wrote it on sticky notes and put them on my mirror, on my laptop, on my wrist, or anywhere I knew I would need the reminder that, no matter what, “It’s OK.” And it helped.
I would have emotional breakdowns every now and then. It’s OK.
I would be angry for no reason. It’s OK.
It was calming and secure—and honestly, saved my life.
Fast-forward a year later. I moved back home, and I was able to celebrate turning 20 years old. This was monumental for me because I never thought I would make it to 20. I thought I would have been dead before I reached that age. But I made it.
Coming face to face with my own demons was not a task I thought I would ever be able to handle, and yet I fought them for years on end. “It’s OK” is now tattooed on my right wrist, in my handwriting, in the same place I wrote it with plain ink before.
Suicide was a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I knew that my depression would stay with me forever, but I did not know that I would one day build up the strength to fight it. Going from nights of wanting to stop breathing to mornings where I am thankful to be awake is huge. Through my struggle, I have learned that while darkness is comforting, it is not my life. My life has dark days and days full of light; sometimes, it may even be gray. Regardless of what is going on, I know that it’s OK.