The last time I did this my brain uncovered a new memory. And it was not fun.
I’m scared of that happening again. I’m also scared of it never happening again.
I’ve spent the last few days in what I guess you could call ‘regression’. I wet myself today. Food tastes weird. I itch everywhere, especially my scalp. There is this spot inside my hairline that I’ve opened up into a wound and my first thought was “I don’t have to be embarrassed about how it looks because my hair covers it.”
I remember one of my parents using a whole box of band-aids to cover each one of my wounds one night. And then when they were all covered, I smiled and looked in the mirror to see a mostly-flesh-colored me. When I walked past my other parent and siblings, they said I looked like a mummy.
I remember being asked over and over again by friends and non-friends and random adults and other people who should learn to mind their own business if I had chicken pox. There was even a phase of this where I was confused that maybe I did have chicken pox. But no. This was clearly not that.
I think my parents were scared of what my scars and sores said about them. I was a walking indictment. The only way it could have been worse for them was if my skin looked like I was being beaten or cut. But it looked like a disease. And it seemed to go through phases. Sometimes worse, sometimes better, sometimes hidden under clothing, sometimes right on my face.
One of my parents was convinced that I did this on purpose. They would gawk at me trying to use shame to make me stop pulling my own skin off. They would sit and stare at me daring a wound to open up under their gaze. They tried to prove I was just being vindictive and evil, destroying my own skin cells to make people question their competence as care-givers. As if this problem was about them and the most important thing about it was how it effected them.
No. The most important thing about this was me and my own health. Mentally and physically I needed care. My body and brain were crying out for help in whatever way they could. Even at seven years old, or eleven, or until the cause is discovered instead of just covered up.
I am not a problem.
I deserve to be alive and I’m allowed to need help.