Flesh like Candy
Mental health is steeped in controversy; people simply don’t like to talk about it as a subject equally as much they don’t want to talk to the person suffering with it. I had problems with the state of my mind from about the age of five according to my parents
Mental health problems can be kept at bay, but it can also be a hard struggle. Currently l am in a very positive state of mind, l took steps to offload many of my demons and banished them from dwelling free of charge within my darkened vaults. I am not going to lie to the reader and suggest for one minute that l do not experience down days and dips even now, for l do. But l am determined this time around to NOT allow them a firm foothold. In October 2017 l freed off thirty years of dark haunting, which the professionals referred to as PTSD, and l am damned if l am letting them back in again!
Strangely we live in a society that loves to manipulate bad into good and magic problems away like its glittery fairy dust. Our society will glamourise and romanticise certain topics if it is brand worthy whilst other issues will become stigmatized and taboo bound.
Mind Matter issues are on the rise so in many respects should be ‘trending’ but they’re not because people fear the labels – not just fear – but they are actually terrified! We are encouraged to talk about our problems to a society that simply doesn’t want to know – they don’t want to talk about it!
Mental health isn’t a broken leg – it isn’t something that you can see – it isn’t something that is paraded around for your pleasure. It is a darkness that lingers in your very soul and eats away at you continually – it destroys your very being, your essence! You lose your mind to its greed! It can consume you, it will rip at you, tear you up, scream at you – it wants nothing more than your complete emptiness. When your mind works against you it becomes treacherous, stealthy and devious and underhand in its efforts to bring you down to the brink.
Talking about it to someone who is willing to listen can be the difference between life and death literally – trust me on this. When a link buddy isn’t available you look for alternatives to stay alive, to stay awake, to STOP the screaming inside, and to lessen the pain.
YOU HAVE TO WAKE UP!!
I am an ex self-harmer – l was a flesh cutter – there is nothing pretty or romantic about the truth behind the bloodletting. I cut at my flesh, l gouged my body, l screamed, cried and sobbed whilst l ravaged my very being with broken glass, scalpels and blades! I hated who l was and stabbed and slashed and hacked away at the demons my mind conjured up – l had to kill them before they killed me! I cut in the shadows, it was my war not yours! You wouldn’t understand – you refused to listen to my cries for help. You criticised and judged me but never bothered to listen to me! You wouldn’t talk about it, you wouldn’t let me talk about it, you threatened me with sectioning, l just wanted to talk to someone, anyone, l wasn’t just scared l was terrified.
That ‘you’ was and still is a supposedly aware and caring society – l challenge that.
I have not cut into my body with a loving earnest since 2012 – l experienced and have experienced a few ‘close shaves with the kissing blade’ excuse the pun in the years that followed 2012, but not once have l lingered in that arena for longer than a few days. It is safe to say l am free of that addiction – because it can be addictive.
Today l carry my ageing and whitening scars with pride, not a pride you might understand, but a survivors’ pride – a ‘l got through it’ pride. I travelled through some of the darkest tunnels my mind could conjure up, and even though many a time l tripped over hidden obstacles, l picked myself back up and walked forwards again. As the cliché as corny as it might be suggests, no failure, no win.
Knowingly l would have to say that l was aware of self-harm or injuring myself from as young as 10. My Mother would correct me if she saw this and say it was from around 5. I didn’t become officially aware of the right terminology for ‘self-harming’ until my Doctor informed me during my breakdown, that if l did not cease to self-harm then he would have me sectioned.
So, l learned to hide my cuts and bloodied body parts from all prying eyes. I had in fact been hiding the bloodletting, but showed my doctor that one time and asked, what was happening to me? His response that day ensured l never showed another person again purposely. It became my very private affair.
Self-harmers don’t just cut – that was my pleasure, many will do what they can to cause pain to themselves, this might be scalding, burning, breaking bones, strangulation, suffocation, drinking or inhaling toxins or punching, but there are many ways to hurt yourself and drug taking and drinking alcohol can also be forms of addiction to pain.
If you know someone who self-harms try to remember this – this isn’t about you, it’s about them. Don’t take their actions as a personal affront to you. You may feel frightened or worried for them that is a normal reaction, but try not to overreact, do not become angry, do not judge or criticise, do not chastise and try not to become stressed as hard as that may be. Try not to understand it if you don’t, as there is a good chance you logically never will. But the importance is to be there and show you care.
If you can help them by listening then offer that – try to be as objective as you can – clinical almost – push your emotions and feelings to one side. Do not make them feel guilty or demand that they stop – you must learn to accept and understand. If you are able to, encourage them but don’t push them to speak about their emotions, what they are feeling and listen to them if they trust you enough to speak to you. Just support them as best as you can, but DON’T destroy that trust by walking away and not bothering with them.
This isn’t a pretty subject, it is still taboo, society stigmatizes this, they condemn those who do self-harm, they criticise and spurn them, they shun them and they detest them. We need to drop the shrouds and Talk About It – We Need to Break Taboo!
Flesh Like Candy is about self-harm and only those who have lived through it and survived will understand it and that’s also applicable to the non-harmers who have braved the darkest journey of another and have come out the other side.
This design is NOT for the faint hearted, it is a design of ripped flesh, it was to signify for me personally, when l stopped actively self-harming of the journey l had undertaken to free myself of the addiction and the demons connected with those times.
Almost everyone has an addiction to something sweet,
I am no different, except mine is not something that l eat!
Chocolate is something consumed when one is down!
Mine is more personal, and makes others frown!
But it awards me an immense inner satisfaction,
For when l am miserable, it gifts me gratification!
There are many styles of my candy, it has to be said,
Personally mine is motivated by the hungering in my head!
Some prefer the listlessness awarded by the booze,
Or the highs inspired by a drug-induced snooze!
Others get their kicks from smelling their flesh burn,
Hitting objects, scratching themselves without concern!
But for me, l like to feel my emotional tormenting spin,
Carving delightful slices is my ultimate sin,
Wearing upon my body the badges of achievement!
Don’t get me wrong, it’s personal to me, not your merriment!
Scarring my soul in such a way, is unforgivable,
But with this suffering my damage is still liveable,
Mentally, each slice of the cake consumed is a lesson,
To walk warily next time on the way to the delicatessen!
Dark horrors constant within my mind, never far away,
Lurking within shadows, preparing to strike any day!
Mood swings that can change at the flick of a switch,
Usually as a result of my life nose-diving in a ditch!
Contending with a continual attack of nightly terror,
Struggling daily with a life that has seen its’ fair share of error!
Maintaining a healthy and stable mind, is indeed an art!
Like a finely tuned restaurant menu of a la carte,
Mindlessly l acknowledge that life is not easy,
And conceding that despite my candy making others queasy!
l have travelled far to reach the end of the darkest tunnel,
At times squeezing through, like a rock through a funnel!
One can succeed if they choose to, and see the light,
But it’s not easy, and does come with a hell of a fight!
Life is for the time being well worth the effort,
And delightful slicing is currently no longer my mental escort!
© Rory Matier 2013
I wrote a poem about it called Delightful Slices – which was a personal piece of writing to describe those days to me for days like today when l look back and think – l got through that!
I DID, l got through that – alone.
Be mindful of others folks, seriously none of us know the exact journey many have to walk just to get through their days.
Part 2 – Tomorrow.
Not for sale