Worth Living Ambassador Katie Campeau
Hi, my name is Katie, I’m 21 years old and am in my 3rd year of Sociology at Acadia University. I love writing and reading, and I’m very enthusiastic about learning. I also happen to be dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and depression. I know, just your stereotypical student…
TRIGGER WARNING: Katie discusses self – harming
This letter explores the relationship between my OCD and self- harming behaviour. In my case, I cope with intrusive thoughts by cutting myself, so it’s a compulsive behaviour associated with wanting to get rid of intrusive thoughts.
I wrote this at a time when I desperately wanted to cut myself because I was struggling. It’s been almost three months since the last time I’ve cut myself, and I can’t emphasize enough how much of a victory that is for me. But to this day there is still the temptation to fall back into that pattern and so writing this letter was a way to distract myself. This is coming from a very raw place, and I’m not used to being so open about this part of my mental health. I know that many people have seen the marks on my arm and I’m not always straight forward about them. I’ve never wanted to lie about where they come from but it’s not always easy to have that conversation. I hope that after reading this, you have a better understanding of what self- harming is and how it’s different for everyone. It’s time to be more open about the messier parts of mental health and maybe this is one way to start that conversation.
Shut the fuck up.
Seriously, I get it. I’m bad. I suck. Everyone hates me. I don’t deserve the good things in my life. Everyone’s going to leave me. I get it. Why are you being so God damn repetitive? I hear you, and you’re hurting me. I am nothing but an empty shell. Are you happy yet?
I guess you’re not. You’d be happier if I gave into the temptations of self -punishment. You aren’t truly pleased until I fall back into the oh so familiar pattern. You know. I take the knife out and then the first aid box. It’s never satisfying in the moment though, and that’s probably because I desperately wish I never have to go here in the first place. It’s always the bandaging up that feels best. The stinging means that the punishment is done and the thoughts are gone for a little while.
That’s your least favourite part though. You love the blade against skin action. You live for the blood and gory parts. You’re never satisfied by a little scratch, it has to be deeper than that. And when it hurts, really hurts, you’re in your fucking glory. You couldn’t be more pleased with yourself.
But you have to uphold your end of the agreement, and sometimes you’re really shitty about it. Maybe you’ll give me a day or a week, then there are times when you only give me a few hours. Those hours can be blissful. The pleasure that comes with not caring about the intrusive thoughts is what I believe to be heaven. It’s probably what it feels like to be normal.
Then again, there are the times that you still somehow get your way and I leave the experience feeling guilty. There can be guilt over falling back into self- harming. I think about what my friends and family think, how they’ll have to see the marks on my arm. They’ll think they’ve let me down even though it’s never about them, it’s always between you and me. I look at these marks and I’m reminded of how I’ve let myself down. How I am so far away from my goal of ‘self- love’ that at this point it’s merely a fantasy. It’s unattainable because I fall back into the pattern.
The pattern that you put me in.
Because you won’t shut the fuck up.