Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Depression and pain

Don't you love it when you're reading and then you suddenly have an epiphany?

Two years ago I had severe depression, and when I was coming out of it I started hurting myself. I later realized that what I did was only minor, I didn't actually cut myself (I didn't want to deal with the blood) but I did cause myself pain by pinching myself really hard and doing other little things like that. Nothing serious, but very intentional and very unpleasant.

Afterwards, and even as I did it, I wondered: why? Why in the world?

It seemed like a way to physically express what was going on inside of me. Yet that didn't seem to fully explain it, and I've wondered about it.

Then, I found this passage in Songmaster by Orson Scott Card:

"...and he rubbed his face back and forth against the wood, and threw himself to the stone floor, so the pain would drive all the other voices out of his mind, would let him hear the one voice he searched for, because that was the voice that would save him from the terror that swam every moment closer to the surface where he watched and waited helplessly."

I was listening to the audiobook at work and actually stopped what I was doing for a few seconds as this sunk in, and as I compared it to how I felt.

In Songmaster the pain is used as a release. Maybe not intentionally, not with the character saying "Oh, I'm going to hurt myself and allow my frustrations out that way, so that it will help me heal!" But that's what it happened. And it occurs to me that I started hurting myself when I was recovering. Maybe it was part of the healing process?

NOTE: I have not properly researched this. This is only my own thoughts on the matter, trying to make sense of my actions two years after the fact. I would not recommend hurting yourself as a cure for depression. If you're depressed I highly recommend that you do what I refused to do at that point in my depression, and get help.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

That's a profound insight from literature. Worth thinking about and exploring, as you say. I'm glad those dark days are behind you now, Sarita.

Toriz said...

That actually makes a lot of sense.

I went through a stage of using scissors to make a small cut on the side of my wrist. The only reason I could think of at the time is that watching the blood run out made me imagine that I was letting the badness run out of me, and it made me feel better to do that. I know now that it was stupid, but it seemed logical to me at the time. Of course, since it was a couple of years before that I started suffering with anemia it was even more stupid than with most people, since one of the issues I have is my blood is slow to clot, so it takes me a while to stop bleeding. But when you're depressed you don't think about things like that. All I remember thinking was that I wanted the badness I felt was inside me to get out, and something made me thinking that was the way to achieve it. Like I said, I know now how stupid that was, but at the time I was depressed and the only help I was getting was a psychiatrist who I couldn't trust because she discussed everything I told her with my Mother in front of my brother (which meant that after the first time, which caused issues with me and my brother that we've never healed from due to her repeating something I'd said about him) I refused to do anything but sit on the floor playing with Lego bricks during my sessions.

Sarita Rucker said...

Debra -- I'm also glad that's behind me! I'm really hoping that I don't ever go back there.

Tori -- People do crazy things when they're depressed. And I'm sorry about the psychiatrist. Some are good and some are bad.

Toriz said...

It worked out in the end (apart from the issues with my brother; we still aren't as close as we were before the psychiatrist opened her big mouth). Luckily I found something that helped me more... I later married him, LOL! (I never shared those details with the info on how we met when I did my post for Magaly's blog party; they weren't necessary for the story, and I didn't want to).

Sarita Rucker said...

I need to go back and find that post of yours...as I've said before, I haven't been reading much in the way of blogs lately. But I am making an effort to change that. :)