Frankly, I’m Not Doing Well
By Daniel Crocker
A week ago, a little after 3am, I stood up from my laptop, pulled off my robe, took off my shirt, grabbed the scissors that had been calling to me from my desk for weeks, and I cut my upper left arm exactly twenty times. It was the first time I’d cut in years, and as far as self-harm goes, it wasn’t so bad. In my early twenties, I would cut myself over 100 times—arms, legs, torso. This time I got away with twenty. Not my best work by any means. Nothing that would leave a scar. Not really.
A week ago, cutting was an orgasm. The keen edge of a blade brought me back to the here and now. It’s private. That’s why I cut in places no one can see—until they do.
Early in our marriage, Margaret found my stash of bloody paper towels.
What is this? She wanted to know. What could I say? I rolled up my sleeves and showed her. She cried, and I didn’t cut again for years.
A week ago, I told Margaret that I thought I needed to go to the hospital. I was shaking and on the verge of tears. I’m not much of a crier. It got her attention. I was standing in my bathrobe and Pikachu hat that tends to reduce my anxiety by a minuscule amount.
I think I need to go to the hospital, I said. Margaret stood there a moment, taking me in. Thinking.
All they’ll do, she said, is keep you full of drugs for three days and let you out. She had a point.
Maybe you start back on your meds and call your shrink on Monday.
Okay, I said. Later that night, I went through rapid, severe mood swings—mania, rage, euphoria, depression and back again. That night, I cut myself twenty times on my upper left arm. Continue reading