Good morning world!
When I was 11 or 12 years old, my best friend growing up gave me a card with a quote from my favorite song from an amazing musical. No One is Alone from Intro the Woods. It included the lines, “Sometimes people leave you halfway through the wood, others may deceive you, you decide what’s good. You decide alone, but not one is alone.” Did I mention this friend was 11? Yes he was/is a bit of a kid genius. Anyway, this quote means the world to me and I hang his card up in every home I’ve lived in since that fateful day I received it at French Woods for my birthday. Eventually, after High School, Alex and I parted ways half way through the woods because he was off to Columbia and I to Michigan, but we’re still good (if not as close) friends to this day. Why have I decided to name 2017 the year that “you decide alone, no one is alone,” you ask (and freakin’ buy a domain name about it)? Well, it’s probably the most concise description of humanity that I’ve ever heard. We can’t depend on other people to make decisions for us but that doesn’t mean we don’t have people in our lives to lean on. Actually…the latter phrase is even more loaded than that. It’s also a call out to anyone feeling alone right at this very moment. Anyone feeling scared, sick, depressed, unhappy, anxious. You may feel so desperately, heart-achingly alone, but the fact of the matter is…no one is alone.
Now, for a real-life story. Trigger warning: includes a discussion of self-harm
2016 was a horrible year for me and not just because of Brexit, Trump and seemingly unexplainable deaths. 2016 was the year I developed a bad, bad habit to deal with my anxiety and depression. My decision to reveal what this habit was on the internet was not taken lightly (I assure you, concerned relatives). The reason I AM going to tell the “world” is because I want to take responsibility for my actions and perhaps by sharing my experience, I’ll bring comfort to someone going through a similar experience. I’m also hoping that my internet-honesty will make me more accountable for my actions and perhaps prevent me from doing this in the future.
Basically, back in January, 2016, after a very, very stressful few weeks, I began self-harming (using sharp objects to scratch and cut my arm) in order to deal with the dark thoughts i was having and the pain in my chest and head (symptoms of depression and anxiety). If you’ve ever experienced a depressive episode (according to the DSM V – lasting two weeks or longer), then you know that it’s a bit like a black hole. It’s not just that you’re emotionally and psychologically empty but you feel like your “self” is slowly being sucked out of you. It’s shiiiiiit.
The worst part was that even though I thought I kicked the habit by April, I was cutting again in June and then again in September and November. WTF world? I’m a strong ass woman trying to get my doctorate. If I can create an experimental paradigm, why can’t i stop myself from cutting? Well, “despite what pretty poets say, the night is only half the day” (The Fantasticks). Don’t worry, I haven’t lost my damn marbles, just yet. What I mean is, our conscious awareness is only half of our “mind.” We ALL (yes all) have unconsciously controlled habits (e.g. musical theatre quotes popping into my head like a second language), thoughts and ticks that are not easily thwarted.