I often work in my store's shipping department. Therefore, I build a lot of boxes. Sometimes the edges of the flaps from the big boxes scratch my forearms while I build them or I awkwardly carry a heavy bundle of boxes in my arms as I try not to drop them. The scratches usually welt up a bit and rarely end up bleeding much, but they leave a mark that takes about two weeks to go away. The marks typically are two inches long, run downwards—sometimes diagonally—and I usually have a few of them at any given time.
They were nothing more to me than a reminder of a hard day's work, but then, people started commenting on them, inquiring into how I got them—they wondered if I was cutting myself.
I can't deny that they do look similar to self-harm scars until they fade away, but they are not. Recently, they've had me thinking. I remembered there's a phrase that compared the lethality of cutting vertically vs horizontally, but I couldn't quite remember it. Given that most of my "self-harm scars" were vertical, I was curious, so I did something I hadn't done in well over a year: I googled how to cut myself.
I clicked on a Quora article that would answer my question. I read the answer and then came to the bottom of the page where there were links to about 20 other related questions, a few of which asked:
How deep should I cut?
Which is more lethal: hanging, overdose, or cutting?
Does it hurt to cut your wrists?
How can I die successfully by cutting my wrist?
I want to die. What is the best method?
How long will it take for me to die from blood loss if I slit my wrists and weigh 110 lbs?
These are just a few heartbreaking questions asked by so many people, all wanting to die and desperately crying out for help in doing so. It's not the form of help they should be asking for, but it is the only option they feel is left.
I was nearly moved to tears reading these questions because I felt them. I was once one of these people. I was once ready to give up. It felt like my life was in ruins. I was scared of the depression and who I was becoming. Ending it all seemed like the only solution. Besides, I couldn't see how anyone could find hope in all my darkness.
Never before have I felt lonelier and more lost than during this time in my life. Many dark nights I would cry about my lack of hope, and the sadness that was overtaking me and replacing the happy girl I once was. I would tell myself I wanted nothing more than to die, but I had no motivation to attempt anything drastic and simply cried myself to sleep each time.
I suppose I never actually had any true intentions to kill myself. Because of this, I always felt I was acting dramatic and never sought any help. I never considered myself suicidal because I had never actually tried to die, but when I look back now, I was in a very unhealthy place and had a lot of dark thoughts.
I've always been very studious and love to learn, but I should never have wanted to learn how to end my life. That's what I did, though. I spent lots of time apathetically reading article after article about the different methods to kill yourself, what could do wrong, the success rates of each, the pain rates of each. My head became filled with lots of dark knowledge and ideas.
All this research allowed me to come up with plans in case I got desperate enough one night. After learning how to do it properly, I had first planned on slitting my wrists and let the blood just pool around me. This, however, is perhaps the hardest way to kill yourself and I knew I wouldn't be able to cut deep enough, so I then moved on to the idea of overdosing. I figured it would be easy to simply flood my body with too many different substances. I could easily create a toxic cocktail of alcohol and drugs. If that alone wouldn't work, I knew I could try carbon monoxide or something else. Looking back now, it's ridiculous how much time I spent creating plans for each method.
As I mentioned before, I never attempted any of my plans, but the fact that I put so much thought into it proves I was sick. Thankfully, I somehow held it together each night and made it through my senior year of high school which is when I struggled the most. Having been freed from such a toxic environment, my mental health improved. I've still struggled from time to time, but now I really can tell I am doing better than ever. It's amazing what a year can do; I've gone to college, have a great job, met so many new people, and had so many fun adventures and experiences. Life will always have ups and downs, but I've learned to find my happiness and have found my hope.
Truth be told, I don't know the purpose of this piece. Am I to use it to debate whether or not people should share information about how to successfully commit suicide so people don't suffer and end up disabled, or is it to show that it is possible to make it through a rough time and provide my own personal testimony as evidence? Or could it possibly demonstrate how we have this thirst for knowledge we know will be detrimental to us? All I know is that this has been difficult for me to write and revisit old memories, so I wish to keep this brief. However, I wish to tell all those voices out there, the ones with Quora questions and the many, many more, that I hear you, and I hope that you are able to find the strength to reach out for help. Not help for ending your life, but to get better, because I, for one, am happy that the marks on my wrists are from hard work and not a drastic life decision.