TW: Detailed discussion of SH-related thoughts. Vulnerable readers should take the necessary precautions to keep themselves safe.
As seems to be a common theme amongst my Twitter contemporaries at the moment, I often find myself questioning my illness. I worry that family members see the results of a productive day in the house, where I have caught up with laundry or cooked the evening meal, so I must be ‘well’. I worry that people see me out walking, looking (albeit vaguely) like any other person doing the same, so I must be ‘well’. I worry that I can join the rest of the family at the dinner table, eat, listen to conversation and occasionally contribute something of my own, so I must be ‘well’.
But this is all visual. I don’t have mobility issues, I don’t require the use of a guide dog or a hearing aid – things others attribute to an ‘unwell’ person. No one can see into the abyss of my tortured mind, read my twisted thoughts. No one knows that I spend long periods of time wondering when I will next get the chance to SH, or imagining the specific things I want to do to myself. No one knows that, given any opportunity, I will carry out these acts without fear.
This evening, I participated (wearing my ‘mask’, of course) in one of the family meals described above, washed the dishes and retreated to my bedroom. Having struggled most of the weekend with some rather intrusive thoughts gnawing away at my mind, I could neither distract, substitute nor fight the urge any more. But at the crucial moment, my Mum entered my room, which is the closest I have ever come to ‘being caught in the act’. By the guilty look on my face alone, I have no idea how she didn’t ‘sense’ a problem. So, yes, it seems I have sufficient evidence to infer that I am ill.