“No one can tell if you’re having suicidal thoughts, you can just keep going. Ideation shouldn’t stop you from cooking dinner or looking after your child…”
– My Shit Psychiatrist, 2014
You know that pain scale thing with the laughably bad comic faces where you/doctors/who knows place you between 1-10 based on which face you jab at/how zig-zaggy your mouth has gone…Is that actually a thing?
Do they really use it in hospitals or did I just see it in Scrubs and I’m actually making this up?
I’m probably an 8.5 on that scale right now. That rests nicely between ‘hurts whole lot’ and ‘hurts worst’.
[Nah, this isn’t real is it? That’s not a real thing “it hurts worst doctor what can you do for the paaaaain?”
…I’ve just googled again. It is real. Bloody hell]
I’m teetering on the edge of a panic attack which itself is teetering on the edge of some deliciously depressive thoughts. Dangerous territory. I can’t give into this because if I do, the bubbling undercurrent of anxiety currently coursing though my body is telling me in no uncertain terms that I WILL DIE I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP THIS IS FOR REAL THIS TIME DEATH IS IMMINENT.
I’d quite like to avoid death and the excruciatingly slow and painful descent into death (panic) that precedes it so let’s not, okay brain? Conversely, if I jump onto/under the depressive thoughts train then I will probably end up actively wanting to die before the night is out and that’s not exactly a fun way to while away the hours either.
So I’ll just sit here, shoulders so tense that they’re hunched up around my ears, hot and cold and sore and achy and weak. Bit of a shitter really that the whole poorly brain thing manifests in actual physical suffering too. I might feel sick for a bit in a minute, maybe shake uncontrollably, feel dizzy and spaced out…I’ll probably ruminate for a while on how I’m a terrible excuse for a person. I might spend some time feeling disgustingly guilty, achingly empty, oozing with self hatred…
So yeah. 8.5. Hurts a whole lot. Hurts worst.
My face is a glorious 1 on the scale of weird faced pain though. NO HURT ALL FINE. Because, unfortunately(?), I can mentally do up to 10 looking like 1 but if you inflicted a juicy physical 4 (hurts a little more) by, say, administering a brutal kick to the shin or similar I’d probably do a 10 face.
I probably do a 10 face if I stub my toe or drop my phone or my kid wanted the blue cup not the red cup even though she expressly said she wanted the blue cup for the love of god.
It turns out, being able to clearly and calmly express burning, searing agony doesn’t go down well. No one believes it because to anyone who hasn’t been there, that kind of pain, that kind of anything, should present in a whimper from someone curled in the foetal position. By rights, I should be doing the hurts most face with its sad eyes dripping tears.
Thing is, I know myself better than anyone because I live inside my own complex little mind. I hate, hatehatehate, the reach out for help rhetoric…It’s treatment innit? You mean treatment. Don’t put the onus on me to ‘reach out…’ or ‘ask for help’. Help denotes some kind of weakness or inability to cope and that is far from fair. I cope because I have to every day but can I at least have a paracetamol and a cuddle to take the edge off?
Don’t brush me aside because I can sit with a 1 face and talk articulately about that time heinously self harmed. I don’t know how else to talk about it. I don’t want to tell you about it and I’m ashamed and embarrassed so this is all I have.
“Do you ever want to end your own life?”[looks at the floor] Yeah. Sometimes. [looks up, acknowledges concerned head tilt with a smile] Sometimes I’d just rather not exist, y’know?
AH-HA YOU SMILED NO HELP FOR YOU!
An elderly woman stopped me in Sainsburys last week, she asked if I would pass her something from a high shelf. She called me dear and she smiled at me. She smiled but rather than turning on my heels and exclaiming WELL YOU SEEM PRETTY FUCKING HAPPY WITHOUT THOSE RICH TEA BISCUITS SO GOOD DAY TO YOU LADY I said yeah, sure, here you go.
And then I smiled back and dropped some chocolate HobNobs into my own trolley and carried on around the shop at around a 7 (hurts even more) with anxiety because bright lights lots of things people everywhere what did I need again?
Pass the smiling old lady the biscuits for you know not of her need for biscuits; be compassionate and caring to the smiling girl asking for help because you know not her true 10 face.