First off, I’ve never openly shared any of my problems. The closest I’ve come was drunk nights when I was fifteen. I don’t know why I decided to really try this out, perhaps it was page 72 of A Bright Red Scream, perhaps it was reading the book in general. I guess the why is not what really matters.

I’ve injured I think since I was 11. The only reason I don’t know for sure is because I don’t fully remember when it began, just that it did sometime around the month my father left. I can’t really say I had the worst life ever. Stereotypical  to be honest. My father was addicted to painkillers, methadone in particular. Being bipolar and mentally unsound himself, he did hit me and push me around. I was his first born daughter, therefore being the cause of most of his pain. I was thereason he was stuck to my “b…. of a mother” and ecetera. The thing is though, for as many bad memories I had of being little, I also had good memories. My dad sneaking me out at 2AM for hot chocolate at the local diner, watching horror films with him late at night. Christmas being the biggest event of my life every year, birthday cakes in bed and exactly what I wanted for my birthday.

I loved both of my parents dearly, and my baby sister. I wanted to look just like my mom when I grew up. She was perfect, a born goddess. She has long flame red (bottle dyed) hair and big blue eyes. She was tall and sliender and graceful. She dressed to impress even to go to sleep. Granted, she was usually not around, but when she was I adored her. My dad was often cruel and/or indifferent, but he had his good points. He could make the best french toast imaginable, and he made the dark not nearly so scary. I guess I thought for a long time as long as no one else thought there was a problem I could pretend it really didn’t exist. I thought every family was somehow like mine.

Just before my 11th birthday, our family made a huge move to Tallahassee, Fl. I started out my last year in Elementary school in a nicer neighborhood than we had ever been in. It was exciting not to be considered White Trash anymore, or have my extended family look down on me. Everything was fine for a few months, even Dad was happier than usual. Until the morning he woke me up around 3 in the morning crying over my bed. I later found out my mom had discovered his addiction, and asked him to leave.

He didn’t come back for 5 years.

My mom remarried not 3 months after she signed he divorce papers. Once again we relocated to a new city, where my stepfather lived. He had three daughters, the two who lived with us were older than I was. To make a long story short, in the 3 years we lived there I met the one and only true friend I’ve ever retained. In those three years, I attempted suicide once and failed more from ignorance than anything else. I was terrorized and tormented by his daughters, one of which was a coke addict and the other was simply indifferent. I was diagnosed in 2003 with clinical depression and severe anxiety much to my mother’s dismay. She dismissed it as simply a absent father syndrome and sought to replace my dad with my stepdad.

Rachael Ann is the best memory I can recall from those years of being the fat freckled girl. Of being the friendless girl who lived in her books. I found out one month after I finally let her in on my secret, my mom told me we were moving all the way across the country.

Thankfully, we’re still friends.

I moved up North, and decided something had to give. It was a 13 year old identity crisis, I cut off 17 inches of my hair and dyed it black. I threw out everything in my closet. I began to put forth an even bigger effort in school and soon made a name for myself as being the wacky and crazy girl who was fun to be around.

Yet no one knew what was beneath my clothes. Every night I lit candles and injured. It was ritual, my private indulgence. Someplace the prozac couldn’t touch. Thanksgiving came, and I spent it with a friend from school. It wasn’t three days after the holidays I had my first real breakdown, and it ended with me in the E.R having medication pumped out of my stomach.

After a week in the mental institution, I came home. I stopped going to school, I considered it a sucessful suicide attempt, it had killed something deep inside of me. Or at least, silenced it. I began going out at night with my older friends, and thats when I met the first serious boyfriend I ever had.

He was a revolutionary, completely into the music of the ’60s. He played the drums and smoked like a chimney. I was in love. Although I had already lost my virginity to one of my best friends, it didn’t matter with him. He seemed honest.

That is, until I’d suffered one miscarriage and he’d beaten me stupid and senseless. I found out he was cheating on me the whole 9 months we dated, and he was using my money for drugs.

I started hanging out shortly after that with this girl I began to idolize. She was a mess, and she was beautiful. We injured together, we drank every day. We lived in a pot induced stupor. My stepdad couldn’t touch me here, he couldn’t push me around or call me names. I got kicked out for the 3rd time and she took me in. I ran around town as a “runaway” for three  months, covered in wounds and not hiding a single one. She taught me everything, we even plotted our suicides. She reflected pieces of me I covered up, and she didn’t.

During that summer, the boy who had taken my virginity told me he was in love with me. I naturally fell in love with him right back, more out of a desperation to be loved than anything else. I let him abuse me.

Once I finally handed myself over to the authorities, I spent a month back in the institution. My simple depression was replaced with Bipolar disorder, Obsessive Compulsive disorder, and they added mild Paranoia to the bill. It took two psychiatrists and a month of study for them to come to this conclusion. I often wonder how many disorders one girl can have.

When I was released that time, I was on probation for a runaway charge, and required to go to school.  So much happened in that time frame. I became really close to many people, mostly guys who understood me. There was nothing sexual in our friendship, I must add.

Eventually, I ended up thrown out again when I got off probation. But something life altering happened. MY DAD came back into my life. I was sent to live with him in Florida, back where I came from. I spent a year with him and thought I had really come to terms with my emotions, I was under control.

So after my mom left my stepdad, I came back up North to my friends.

Little did I realize how much a year could change everyone.

So now I’m 19 days from my 18th birthday. I’m living in my own apartment and I just began dating the best guy I’ve ever met. He walks in snow storms to get me anything I need. He takes care of me when I’m sick. He understands I have serious problems, but won’t push me. Sometimes, I wish he would.

I feel like I’m not healthy or myself when I don’t hurt myself, or I don’t cough up what I ingest.  I lose my mind and a series or strand of words races through my head. I don’t want to be dead, but I can’t stand being alive.

I didn’t know really how to get this out there, but here it is. If this isn’t right, I’m sorry.

Isabel