Mental Illness

The Caress of Steel

It’s 2 a.m. again. I am fighting my never-ending battle with insomnia. Comedy is my first line of defense: Patton Oswalt and Aziz Ansari comedy albums help me through the night. At some point during my 2 a.m. restlessness, I click through to my friend’s blog. The words hit so close to home that my eyes turn into spigots. (TW: Suicidal thoughts, self harm) 

Not wanting to wake up my awesome wife, I stumble through the darkness to our kitchen. Lately, I have felt the feelings coming back strongly. The feelings of wanting to feel my pain turn red as it flows from my body. I cannot explain it. I have such a decent life. Why do I constantly feel like I am fighting a losing battle? Am I forever destined to be the Washington Generals to depression’s Harlem Globetrotters?

I grab a steak knife. I fantasize that my flesh is a juicy steak. I touch the blade to my wrist. I feel the cold steel on my skin. My heart races. I slowly drag the knife across my wrist. I do not draw blood. I back away.

I drag myself into the bathroom. I know that water might meet my needs. I draw a hot bath as I submerge myself, trying to cleanse my thoughts. I have sought refuge here numerous times. My tears have not shut off, and I fear that my eyes are puffy red. Through my tears, I begin to think through my life’s tragedies. I worry that I will end up in a straight jacket in a state run facility somewhere. On second thought, maybe that’s what I need. A time with little other choice but to reflect on who I am. Maybe a trip there will finally open my parents’ eyes to who their child is. I realize that I have overcome a lot in my brief time. My will triumphs as I resolve to not cut myself tonight.

I stand at the mirror naked, staring at my body with both repulsion and love. My desire for gender corrective surgery has grown stronger in the last few months. I want to experience sex with the correct parts my body craves. I have slowly become more sexual in the last year, but my dysphoria has been cranked up a notch. This cannot be good for my depression.

I realize that what I am really missing is living my life. Transition has been awesome, but it has not made me whole. I need to try to do new things. I make friends easily, but these friendships fade fast. I try to hold onto them, but I think that only hastens their departure. My family and upbringing has brought this incessant need to try to please all of the people all of the time.

I still miss my mother. I wish she could know what awesome stuff her daughter has accomplished in this last year. I wish she knew just how awesome I really am. The reality is that she is not at a place in her life to talk to me about me being trans in a healthy way. I hope more healing will happen in time for her visit this fall; at the very least, she will see how happy my life is right now.

The insomnia takes my body to whole levels of weird, which might be what prevents me from ever attaining a normal life. I begin to ruminate on life in general and where I am headed. I have so many new experiences ahead for me. I know this moment of wanting to self harm will wane and that I will, hopefully, triumph. I have started to contemplate getting out of my job and finding something that will allow me more time for hobbies and things I want to try. A nine-to-five job would be nice so I could find the time to be a derby girl or a burlesque dancer or a crime fighter.

My body begins to call me back to sleep. For this, I am thankful. I feel the need to dream tonight. I hope tonight I can have a nice dream, not one riddled with anxiety. I am hoping for the dream where RZA steals my iPod and I chase him all over Victorian Steampunk London (Nyquil is a hell of a drug). This dream is way better than the recurring one in which my mom berates me for being trans. Fading into sleep, I know that my will to not self harm means the Generals have passed the Globetrotters at least this once.


By Alyson

Queer Pop Culture Junkie in the Northwest. Addicted to Coffee, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fantasy Sports, The Mountain Goats, and Tottenham Hotspur.

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