Some mom I am...
I am the worst kind of mother. I have given up on life.
How many times have I tried to end it?
One is too many. But three times was not enough.
(Third time was not the charm...)
Now, I am just content for survival's sake.
Just content. Not happy.
I do things simply because I have to. Because it's what's best
For my family.
I justify, I explain, I
Have simply settled.
Because I know I am nothing now.
I'm no example. No role model.
I don't even pray anymore.
I simply don't know what else to do.
I am not the mom I want to be.
Not the mom they deserve.
Some mom I am.
An estimated two million people deliberately cut or injure themselves.
This is her story, and she needs our support.
Some days I wake up feeling mean and hateful and angry and tired. I'm not allowed to hate anyone in my life. Thus it makes sense (I guess) for me to decide to hate me. I'm a mean and hateful person. I deserve to be hated.
Today I wish I could cut. I wish I could beat my head on concrete. I don't want to teach my children to do these things any more than I want to teach my children to be mean and hateful.
Today I've got nothing to give. They don't really care. They will still be demanding every five minutes all day long.
I don't know how to be nice today.
If you or someone you love feels the urge to self-injure, please call the National Self-Injury Helpline at 1-800-DONT-CUT (366-8288).
Extreme self-loathing can distort a person's body image and lead to depression and isolation.
This is her story.
I have no idea how and why I am consumed with self-hatred.
Every day seem so exhausting and painful. I am truly disgusted by myself. Mostly, my body. My hair, arms, legs, and anything on my body is so unattractive. Some days I feel so ugly and unwanted that I lay in bed for hours and cry. I spend a lot of money on makeup so that I will look nice.
Most days I am late for work or class, because I am so insecure about myself that I stare in the mirror for too long or I try over and over and over again to fix the "elements of ugly." My makeup takes almost an hour to do, because I want to hide what I hate.
No matter what, I am truly disgusted by myself.
I really hate my fat body. I always say, "I am a skinny chick living in a fat chick's body." I believe that it is true. I have a theory. My theory is that I am in the wrong body. Everything else is great about me. I am a great friend and lover, really smart, and I have a great personality, but I look like a monster. I hate it.
When I am walking somewhere, I feel so cautious. I feel like everyone is looking at how fat and out-of-breath I am. It exhausts me to write this, it is almost too hard to write. When I am walking or out somewhere, if someones laughs I get paranoid because I think they are possibly talking about me and laughing at how ugly and fat I am.
Every since I was a small child, I remembered being bullied about my image. I also noticed how fat I was, how I was larger than all the other children.
I cannot live my life or be happy in this skin. It is so gross.
Everything bad that happens, I blame myself and I always say that if I was beautiful and thin, my life would be better. I would feel good about myself. I could wear beautiful clothes. I would have more friends. I could shop wherever and find clothes in my size. I could walk in confidence knowing that most people admire my thinness and beauty. I could be the loud, funny, smart and desirable girl that everyone would like to say "hello" to.
But instead I am this fat, short, chubby, ugly, gross monster that is always alone. I am gross. In the mirror, my reflection sickens me. I just want to be beautiful. That is all I want.
It is hard to live in skin that you hate.
I have never been particularly fond of myself, so my self-esteem has always been relatively low. So, I believed too much, was too trusting, and too naïve to know any better. In other words, I believed what people told me I was; I trusted that everybody was my friend, and was too naïve to know that I was worth more.
It came as no surprise, therefore, when I was sexually assaulted that I believed everything those guys told me.
“You’re not pretty enough. You’re not good enough. You’re worth nothing.”
These words repeated over and over again in my head, never shutting up or slowing down. The Game of Comparisons started, and I lost. Every time.
She’s pretty; you’re not pretty enough. She’s skinny; you’re not skinny enough.
Soon I became so full of self-hatred I was virtually incapable of feeling anything else. Every laugh, every smile, every tear was forced. I felt dead - a human devoid of emotion is no human at all.
In order to feel something, anything at all, I began to cut myself. And every time I cut myself open with the razor of hate, you’re worth nothing echoed in my mind. This routine continued day in and day out for six months. Eventually, cutting wasn’t enough anymore. So I stopped eating.
Well, okay. Technically, that’s not entirely true.
I stopped filling myself up. I started eating less and less, only eating enough to stop my stomach from rumbling. Sometimes, if I completely hated myself, I would skip a meal here and there. The cutting, not eating, and the voices continued for another year and a half. Until one day, I couldn’t take it anymore.
I wanted to die.
And I almost did. But there was a quiet voice in the back of my head whispering, you are good enough. That tiny voice was enough to give me hope that things could get better.
Over time, I stopped cutting. But I didn’t start eating again. It got worse. The summer before Senior year, I went two weeks without eating anything but a few crackers every day. Senior year I didn’t eat lunch, partly because I was taking too many classes to have a lunch period, mostly because I couldn’t stand the thought of people watching me put food in my mouth.
If I didn’t like myself, how could I expect anybody else to like me enough to want me to eat?
Graduation came and went, and for the first time in a long time, I almost, kind of, maybe a little, liked myself. I started eating a little bit more than I had before, and was pretty much excited for college.
Until I went to college, that is.
College is much like high school, at least my high school. There are the same groups of people - the popular kids, the athletes, the music nerds, the nerds. At a College like Roberts, where the number of girls heavily outweighs the number of boys, I found many more people to compare myself to.
When I walked in on the first day of classes, I was terrified by the number of people sitting there, talking in their groups. I saw many beautiful people and I wasn’t one of them.
Sitting alone at a table the first day, I was overcome with feelings I hadn’t really felt in a few months. So I retreated to the library; I felt comfortable there among the books. Nobody cared how much food I ate or didn’t eat. Nobody cared that I sat alone, procrastinating important things while scribbling away in my notebook.
But the Game of Comparisons continued, and I lost every round, even the ones I didn’t participate in. Only this time, it was different; the voice wasn’t saying “you’re not.” The voice was saying, “I’m not.”
I’m not good enough. I’m not pretty enough. I’m not skinny enough. I’m not ‘insert adjective here’ enough.
And trust me when I say that telling yourself you’re not good enough is a whole lot worse than having someone else tell you. It’s true, you know. You are your own worst critic.
Every day I would look in the mirror, hate what I saw, and compensated by being someone I’m not. It was physically and mentally exhausting. Between the not eating and the not being, I was having a really tough time.
But when you spend all your time in the library, among the books and the silence, you have a lot of time for soul-searching. Towards the end of November, I was sitting quietly sitting at my table, trying to study when the quiet voice was back.
Then it hit me.
I wanted to stand on my chair and tell the world, “I am having some major epiphanies going on up in here.” But I didn’t. I was in a library, and shouting in the library is highly frowned upon.
So I went in the bathroom and cried.
Three things hit me that day.
I am capable of so much more. In the battle between Who I Think I Am and Who I Could Be, Who I think I am won every time, because that’s what I let get a hold of me. That’s what fed off my energy. It doesn’t have to be that way.
We are all capable of doing something great. I am, you are, we all are. But we all have something holding us back.
Every mirror tells me something different. I can tell myself that I’m beautiful until I’m blue in the face but my brain that refuses to let me believe it. Even though deep in my soul I know I’m capable of greatness, there is something holding me back. And until I figure out what it is, until I figure out how to overcome it, I am destined to live in my own shadow.
I have figured out what mine is: fear and self-doubt.
I decided I shouldn’t spend so much time in the library, because it was making me all emotional (but that will never happen because I love books too much).
Even though I have figured this out, it’s still a struggle. I’m only "fine" 20% of the time, which is good but not great. But it’s a whole heck of a lot better than 10%, which is how I felt before. There are still many days when I don’t want to eat (which is more than I’d like to admit). Oftentimes I can eat a little bit every meal but some days I don’t like myself enough to force myself to eat.
Sometimes, when I’m sad, hate myself, and don’t want to eat, I look at the lines on my hands. They remind me that I have been stitched together by the master sewer, and I’ve learned that sometimes, that is enough.
Such a simple word with such a variety of implications, not a one of them simple.
This month, the Band is focusing upon recovery- from anything. Part of getting through the traumas, the addictions, the mental illnesses is to focus on the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel and focus upon new coping mechanisms, new ways of life, and recovery.
So, The Band, how are YOU recovering? What are you recovering from? How are some ways you cope while recovering?
Part of my recovery and healing has been helping others. I suppose every person who reads, writes, volunteers and comments here on Band Back Together is familiar with this concept as that's what we're doing every day.
An extremist, I've taken it a step further and made it my occupation, so I'm blessed enough to take a paycheck home for helping others.
I've been in full-time ministry for six years, and a chaplain for the past four. Mostly, that means I seek God with other people, listen to their stories, as we all try to heal together with His/Her help.
I want to share one of those stories here:
She was a fragile arm and peeking eyes, a nest of hair on her pillow.
"I'm Joannie, I'm a chaplain, here. Remember me?" I said, as she nodded and wiped tears from her eyes. The slight arm brushed the tangled hair a bit and tears spilled. I sat down close to her and she said, "I'm so scared."
"I would be scared, too. Right now, they are just testing for cancer, they don't know it's cancer yet - but I would be scared, too," I said.
"I feel like a little girl," she sobbed.
I smoothed her sweaty hair back from her face. I felt so helpless; wordless.
"It's okay to be scared. It's a scary thing to hear," I said.
"I did this to myself," she cried. "I'm so scared that God is mad at me. When I was younger... when I was younger, I took a page of the Bible and used it to roll a ... cigarette with."
"Oh, honey," I laughed as I took her hand, "He's a big God. He can handle that one."
"I wasn't as good a person as I should have been, you know?" she said through tears.
"I do know, because no one is. He's the Creator, He's the only perfect One. He loves us anyway and forgives us for all of these things."
"I just think that if I have cancer it's because of what I done to myself, because I wasn't a good person," she said crying and crying.
Fiercely, I said, "That is not true. You listen to me. Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people. Life is a series of ups and downs, light and dark, joys and sufferings. You did not do this to yourself. This just happened."
She held my eyes with hers, held my hand with hers and we prayed. We prayed that He would shower His love on her and that she would feel His forgiveness and mercy. We prayed against cancer, we prayed for healing and for peace and for comfort.
"I love you," she said to me and my eyes opened with tears of their own. "I love you and I don't even know you," she said.
"I love you, too," I said as I cried with her.
I spend my days praying for the sick, praying for healing, praying for their comfort, for their strength, for God's peace to infiltrate their hearts, for doctors and nurses, for family member's courage.
At bedsides, I seek God as one who should know God. I seek Him or Her as urgently and desperately as those for whom I pray. I speak as one who knows, but I seek humbly as one who doesn't. I speak of the light as one who lives in it, but I live as one who can see it only in the darkness; one who has hope.
In this journey, I am grateful that my Creator has given me these opportunities to serve as I seek, to serve my brothers and sisters who seek alongside me.
I am grateful that as we seek, we know we are not alone.
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