It’s like…let’s say you cut your hand–bad. You’re upset, you’re in pain; people ask you, “Hey what’s wrong?” You grimace and point to your hand and they understand instantly. Empathy oozes from them, “I know how you feel.” So you go to the doctor and the doctor asks what’s wrong and you say, “Doc, I cut my hand. I’m in pain. I need stitches.” So the doctor stitches you up and sends you down a clear path of recovery.
But with mental illness there is nothing to point to and say I’m in pain. You go the doctor and she asks, “Where does it hurt?” You think for a moment, having never really placed it before, and you say “You know what Doc? It fucking hurts everywhere.”
I often think if I could just find a way to concentrate the issue, to pin point the soreness then maybe I could start to heal. It’s like making some intangible thing suddenly fully textured. Cutting my skin, breaking my bones, or bruising me is cathartic. It’s like taking the breath I’ve been holding for a long time. There’s a little pain but it’s drowned in relief. It’s making the outside look like the inside, like standing under a giant blinking neon arrow…just so I can say, “Hey, it hurts right here.”