The first time I cut myself was senior year of high school.
I used a plain straight razor from my moms medicine cabinet that she kept for shaping up her eyebrows. I remember opening up the door with an eerie determination, driven by a ball of violent and erratic energy. My body ached from emotion, exhausted from rising tension that felt like it could only be relieved by peeling back my own flesh. I sat down on the edge of my parents bath tub and pulled the blade across my forearm…and everything inside of my body went soft. My mind went quiet for a moment and I began to cry. Partly because I was actually feeling physical and emotional relief, partly out of astonishment at what just transpired.
That was the year when I first began battling depression. The last nine years have been marked with academic and personal milestones, but for the longest time, my depression seemed to be the only part of my life that was lacking in evolution. Even right now, as I type this, I doubt that I’ve come very far with my depression. In my reading, I’ve come across statistical evidence showing that African-American women suffer from depression at higher rates than their White counterparts. This absolutely blows my mind, because everything that I know about depression I’ve had to learn on my own. My natural interest in health and healthcare was the initial inspiration to decode. Over time my understanding of the disorder has deepened…meaning that I see it more vividly in every part of my life now, for better or worse. I don’t connect correctly in friendships or family relationships. I’m restless. I’m fickle. Unable to envision myself living a long life. I don’t remember 65% of my childhood. I frequently isolate myself only to detest the loneliness that comes with it. The only time I’m truly eager to reciprocate conversation is if a love interest engages it…someone who can show me affection. This all stems from the broken part of me. The part that I have hesitantly tip-toed around until I could no longer manage to avoid it a few years ago.