All the Drugs in this World Won’t Save Her from Herself
Something is cold and blank behind her smile
No one really knows me. You, dear reader, might think that you have a good idea of who I am because I am so open about my inner world with you. But you really don’t know who I am. Because I decide what you get to see, through which filters you are allowed to see me and and when I close the door to my soul again. I don’t have public meltdowns. And I will never cry you a river. I hide my pain and my emotional chaos. A fog of professionalism, wit and a focus on topics far removed from my actual well-being blind you. You don’t know that, though. Because even when I reflect upon my past, or my struggles, or my pain, I do so with a smile. I do so with a show of self-awareness and acceptance. It is because I don’t emotionally connect to myself or my struggles in that moment. I dissociate.
And that is how I have functioned all my life. Protecting myself by only showing glimpses of who I am, to make sure that no one gets too close. I am scared of the judgment of others. I am pretty open about my kinks and my affinity for BDSM, but the moment someone actually says something rude about it, I retreat into my cocoon of silence. And I smile. I am without emotions. Because I dissociate from the situation.
If you ask me how I am doing, I will say that I am alright. Or not answer at all. Or intellectualize my answer. That is why I never managed to do much progress in therapy: I am disconnected from my feelings. So if you ask me how I feel about my life, you’d hear me give a rant about Schopenhauer’s: life is just a constant process of suffering, and then go into existentialism and Sartre’s influence on my thoughts on death. Because? Because most of the time, I am dead inside. And the few times, my emotions bubble up in the form of flashbacks, no one gets to see that. You will see the smile. The wit. But if you looked deeper into my eyes, you’d realize that it is all just a front.
She’s standing on an overpass
In her miracle mile
All the world’s riches mean nothing to me. I hate consumerism, I don’t dig capitalism, and it was never my goal to make a lot of money. My “father” is very much focused on those things instead. Money was a way for him to control me, and still tried to do so during my adult years when I was still in touch with him. I think happy moments are rarely about things you can buy. Although I think financial stability is admirable but totally not something I’d pick over other kinds of stability: emotional, relationship wise or health-wise.
I don’t get blinded by the lights of entertainment, or the shiny consumerist items. Those things don’t distract me from my inner struggles, or the way I see the world. I have been standing on that overpass many times in my life. Over 20 times. I stood there and I took the step. But I always fell on pillows that protected me from the hard concrete. Do I turn my back on the miracle mile, on the presentation of modern day society’s blind brainwashing through products and quick gratification? Yes, I do. Is it that what will push me towards balancing on an overpass again? I doubt it.
‘Cuz you were from a perfect world
A world that threw me away today
I don’t fit in. This idea of a perfect world that my parents were able to uphold for a long time, it never existed for me. We were not that normal family with three children, parents who weren’t divorced, living in a house in the suburbs. It was all a facade. And that perfect world, the concept of normalcy, compliance and adaption, that so many strive for in adulthood, was never for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I know how to act to be socially accepted. It is more that whatever my opinions were, however I dressed, whoever I tried to be, was never something that was accepted. Not by my family, not by my peers, not by society. I was an outcast, and alien. Something that was so different, you pointed your finger at it and you laughed. I think the one thing that has defined me for a long time now is my mental illness. I stick out because of it, even in company of those who are mentally ill themselves. It is because I top it all. I don’t want to be this fucked up, but I am. And that definitely makes me unwanted and unneeded in society.
Her mouth was an empty cut
And she was waiting to fall
Just bleeding like a polaroid that
Lost all her dolls
This describes the emptiness I often feel, and can’t really express properly. It feels like I am without content, because I never was shaped during my childhood. I was destroyed and molded into the broken soul that I am today. But I was never shaped into anything beautiful. The polaroids from the past show the past futures that are impossible. I was a girl like any other girl when I was born. And then it all changed.
I lost my childhood, well, I never had it for long anyway. And that left me with this strong longing to experience safety, a saviour and the beautiful things that children experience: playing with dolls, laughing, having fun. But just like that polaroid frozen in time, so are the possibilities to experience the sort of carefree play that I would have needed as a child. Everything that can happen now is just a cheap copy of past possibilities. But that doesn’t mean that I am not constantly trying to recreate that frozen reality, looking for the dolls that I have lost a long time ago.
A pill to make you numb
A pill to make you dumb
A pill to make you anybody else
But all the drugs in this world
Won’t save her from herself
The lines express so many experiences in my life, but mostly those with psychiatry. I was one of those people who thought that mental illness can really be treated like physical illness. I need some medication and I will be fine. After only a short while, I realized that medication is not the answer at all. Unless you have a simple anxiety disorder, or moderate depression, and you are otherwise healthy, psychiatric medication will make things worse for you.
I have tried about 30 different psychiatric medications. And it was only by the end of this trial of horrors that I started to educate myself around the topic, and realized: there is no medication that helps for trauma related mental illness. Antipsychotics are dangerous shit and they actually kill people on a daily basis, and are prescribed off-label, because they are designed for those who struggle with schizophrenia, and psychosis.
I even opposed myself to Lithium, although I have bipolar disorder. I just did not want to try another terrible medication that will break my body and my mind again. And I stand by it. I will never take any antipychotics, mood stabilizers or antidepressants again. They have made things worse for me, so so much worse. They weren’t able to save me, they pushed me further into the abyss and took years from me.
There is no quick fix for trauma. It is a life-long process of healing that you need to invest in. You are the one that heals yourself, no one, no drug, can do that for you. I also advocate for positive psychiatry: that the focus is on self-management and conscious decision making where the patient is involved. I can go on and on about the horrors of psychiatry. Pills are not the quick fix you are looking for. In the worst case scenario they kill you or push you to suicide, in the best case scenario they make you emotionally numb. I want to be in control of my healing. Or non-healing. Nothing can save me from myself, no one can save me from myself.
The lyrics in this post are from Marilyn Manson’s song Coma White.
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