It’s another gloomy Sunday afternoon. It’s drizzling outside & the day’s main occupation is emptying my over stuffed washing basket. It’s not a terrible day. Just routinely tedious.
It would merely be one more underwhelming day if it weren’t for the lightening crack in my pelvis. The shock that spreads to my back and sinks into my thighs. A monthly reminder. A living memory who’s intensity at times pushes the familiar into trigger territory. What rushes in full colour into my brain? Blood
Blood in my pants
Blood on the floor
Blood on my thighs
Blood in the bath
Blood on surgical gloves
Blood on a hospital chair
A supercut of blood. Staining an array of places I’ve called home, polluting clothing & towels. I can feel the rush of blood in my ears as various medical professionals tell me things I never want to hear. The heat, the rhythmic contractions, the fear rush me from yesteryears.
I know all the tricks. I breathe. I describe my surroundings in detail. I repeat ‘I’m ok’ over & over & over. I pet my cat; hear his purrs, feel his super soft fur. I plant my feet firmly & watch my toes wriggle on solid ground. I’m here. I’m safe. I’m in this room. And I am. For long enough to switch reels.
I’ve clicked over to a different familiar. My heart is pounding & adrenaline crackles. My body gets there a fraction before the idea fully forms. It’s too late to call halt. The only thing that ever stopped the bloody horror is more blood. Controlled, purposeful blood. I can almost smell the metallic rapids.
No matter how many days, weeks, months go by without splitting my skin the connections remain. My broken brain leaps from trauma to maladaptive solution with confidence. I must convince myself all over again that blood isn’t the answer.
Don’t find that box
Don’t open it
Don’t slip a fresh blade on the handle
Don’t find the perfect spot
Don’t drive the scalpel in
Don’t let blood trickle & flow.
I know this trick too. Sheer force of will. I will not. I can not. I do not.
I have not for so long. I’m ‘recovered’. No one told the deep dark core of me. That fucker still yearns for it. Not every day. Maybe even not all that often, but I know it’s there. I know how fast the urge can rise. And, oh, I know how hard it is to continue saying no.
I can’t say with any certainty that these thoughts will ever completely leave. I’m like an alcoholic who remembers the relief of the first hurried gulp. Knowing that carnage follows is enough to stop me raising the glass. I just don’t think it’ll ever kill impulse.
I’m good. My life goes on. Tomorrow could be wonderful. I’m tired, though. It would be nice not to have to fight so hard.
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