CW: Suicidal ideation; description of S/H thoughts.
This morning, waking up was awful. I slept badly. I’ve considered carefully whether to post this due to its personal and potentially distressing nature, but to not do so is to censor my mental health, not for myself, but because others may dislike it. The truth is that the thoughts I experienced this morning are not so unusual yet are rarely talked about, particularly not in adults, and often that is because of stigma and preoccupation with others’ attitudes, which I am seeking to challenge here.
I’m not sure how many hours sleep I managed to grab last night, but it was all broken, and having to wake up made me want to cry this morning. In fact it did make me cry. Oblong felt we were in a hurry to get up as we had to meet Daddy Oblong at the House and it was much later than intended. As such, we didn’t have time for the Morning Plan, which, if you have been reading regularly, you will remember is the list of things Oblong and I decided would help make getting up in the mornings easier for me. At the top of the list was that Oblong would speak kindly and nicely.
This morning, due to the hurry, she was a little frustrated and I, through my sleepy, sleep-deprived state, was being quite obstinate. I know I was, but it wasn’t something I could help, in that moment. I had the feeling this morning that every day I dread waking up with. I have it relatively often – most often when I wake up unnaturally (that is, with loud alarms, when I have not slept enough, or when I have not had a complete sleep cycles, and am bleary), or recently, without the Morning Plan to counter the lack of sleep. It involves absolute darkness of thought. Through my resistance this morning, I tried to capture the feeling so that I could relate it back to you all here.
It starts with being told that I have to wake, usually we are in a hurry, or I am being particularly difficult to stir into wakefulness. I can sleep like a log, so this isn’t unusual. I come to feeling horrifically depressed and often like I would rather die. This isn’t much of an exaggeration. Alternatively I feel enormous frustration, and overpowering darkness, and often have violent, self-harming imagery in my head. Sometimes I would rather I could make the roof cave in. More often it involves myself taking blades, usually knives, to my skin, usually my arms. All I want in those moments is to go back to sleep.
In sleep, those thoughts go away, or at least if they are there, I do not know about them, as I rarely remember my dreams. It’s possible that what actually is happening is that these images are parts of my dreams that I can’t tear myself out of when I’m being woken. It’s possible, but I have never had the sensation or memory of them as dreams. They are my direct response to having to wake up to the world in a distressing way. They are my immediate thoughts in the distress of waking and feeling bad that I am being awful at waking up, but they aren’t so conscious that I could articulate them this way. I don’t remember what I said this morning, though in honesty I didn’t try to commit my words to memory. I committed the imagery as it’s not uncommon and is part of why I can find waking up so difficult without the right strategies in place. It’s not always the reason I find the mornings difficult, it would be inappropriate to say or pretend it is. But sometimes.
This morning it was knives. I don’t remember great detail, but it was kitchen knives, oversized silver blades on black handles that I wielded at each of my forearms and brought through the skin with velocity. It’s not always that image and feeling. It changes. The images almost always are pretty violent and self-directed though. This morning I resisted waking up and kept fighting to go back to sleep. This wasn’t fair on Oblong (or her Dad) since we had arrangements to go and pull out the kitchen from the House. I kept dozing to escape the waking and Oblong kept trying to wake me up. I eventually was brought to waking and all I remember was her being cross with frustration at my resistance. She can’t see what happens in my head. It’s understandable to be frustrated. From the outside, I was just being incredibly difficult, and I was probably sleepily aggressive. I don’t remember.
I do remember waking up and recognising my feelings: the dread and darkness, and that on top of these feelings I had to hurry myself into action, find clothing and dress, collect my bag together and wash my face, and immediately walk to the house, down and up the hills that can ache my muscles when warmed through the day, let alone when they are unstretched from sleeping. It’s not a long walk but it seems it when it’s cold outside, you can’t dress to satisfy both the outside temperature and your inner temperature dysregulation, and you’re bleary. I was already crying because I felt awful. I cried more because we were late and it was my fault. I cried because I am scared about getting all my work done for the deadline of my Master’s project, and I thought I should be spending the day writing, despite already making plans to go to the House. I cried because we didn’t have the Morning Plan, because there wasn’t time. I cried more because Oblong was cross and frustrated and we argued about my waking and about getting to the House. Oblong suggested we take a taxi there, and I cried more because it means spending money unnecessarily, because if I was a competent human, I would get up and shower, get dressed and we’d walk there.
I’d brought myself into reality with my iPad, but the reality had gone again. I pulled on clothes and agreed to a taxi. Oblong was still cross and frustrated. I was being too slow. She had made us both second coffees in flasks to take with us.
She went to wait outside as she thought I wasn’t bothering to come. But I was just trying. I was trying to gather myself, I was trying to be dressed, I was trying to be a human and not let everyone down. I made it downstairs and into the taxi. We got to the house. I fished around, and we walked about and moved things for five minutes so there was space to sit down. I was alright after a little while. Before long, we got on with moving things in the House ready to pull out the kitchen.
I really enjoyed the day after that, and it was thoroughly productive. When the day starts with the darkness though, it doesn’t altogether go away, and this evening there were some tears too. I’ve been working on the thesis though, and have watched Mickey’s Once upon a Christmas again.