As I transition from the manic part of this episode to the depression part, cutting has become a problem again. It’s not a way to self-soothe or express intense feelings. It’s a way to *feel.* Full stop. Thursday afternoon, I felt like I’d stepped outside my life and was merely in the audience of a play. One might think this is a good reaction to what had been the chaos of mania, but it’s too much of a change. To go from feeling everything to feeling completely numb in a few hours’ time produces an odd sort of panic, at least in my experience.
I tried everything I could think of, but the numbness just got worse. I went outside and concentrated on the feel of the wind and the sun. When that didn’t help, I turned to the more physical activities. I worked with clay, forcing myself to notice the temperature, texture, and even the scent of it. I coloured intricate geometric-patterned pictures. I even tried holding ice just to feel the sting of that. Nothing.
When I finally did give in and cut my arm, it took a minute before I even trusted the cascade of blood as proof of my existence. The razor was sharp and cut immediately, but I didn’t feel it. I just cut deeper and deeper until my arm looked angry and the blood flowed steadily. This has become daily, and both of my arms now look angry. No one will ever see these cuts, and no one is meant to. They are simply reminders to me. I feel my shirt scratch them or feel them burn slightly, and I know that I am capable of feeling something, at least. As those sensations lessen, though, more are needed. More cuts, more blood, more proof that I am alive.