I woke up today testifying in church again. In my mind, duh, lol. And I was again recounting the time You became known as The Lord my Silencer.
Grade 12. The loudness inside my head. Before that day there was only one other time there was this much noise. I was outside church, after failing to get myself drunk, I was standing outside the doors, in a corner trying to let my voice out of my caged wrists. Trying to let the noise out through my veins. I remember standing there with all the worst feelings and the voice that had all the worst things to say, angrily screaming instructions, demanding that I run the blade a little deeper and a little harder across my arms and just stop being such a burden on the world. Stop being such an ugly, stupid, unloved, unwanted, fat burdensome weight on the people I was suppose to have loved or who were suppose to have loved me. I tried to open my veins and let the noise out but I failed. The voice wasn’t pleased and I could feel it’s disgust and anger towards me. I couldn’t even please what I now know was the enemy. Even the enemy made me feel useless. But that was his goal wasn’t it. By this point I was wailing. Whoever got to me first came out and consoled me and of course saw the bloody hands I tried to hide. They prayed. It was quiet for what seemed to be only a moment.
Grade 12. I felt like I had lost my filter. That part of you that makes the world and all in it somewhat palatable, that, I’d broken it somehow. The news was too much. Little girl raped and killed, little girl committed suicide, little boy found dead…possible suicide, soldier kills common law wife and children and suicide, violence, broken people, dark world, it was all too dark, all too grim. I was overwhelmed. I was terrified of failure so school was overwhelming. Examination periods must have been my worst times. I had more thoughts of suicide during testing times. I was afraid. I was TIRED. I felt like my brain had no more vacancies yet things were still coming in for rooms.
I was in a Sociology class I believe. I remember the teacher, she was kind and caring and very understanding. Ms. C. Campbell. I wrote a note. Very short. All it had if I remember well was my grandfather’s cell number and “if I don’t come back call Daddy”. I called my granddad Daddy. Something to that effect was all I had written before I had asked to be excused to go to the bathroom. I walked down that long passage into she grade 12 bathroom. Yes, each grade level had a bathroom assigned to it. We, sixth formers (grade 12 &13) had rights to use any bathroom but no one else was permitted to use ours. It came with the jacket lol. (We wore skirts and jackets in sixth form, the others wore tunics.)
I made it. Boom! Cue the voices, or rather, the voice that had nothing good to say all at once. It was as though the moment I had gotten into that bathroom stall a switch went off and the noise was louder than I’d ever heard it before, preventing me from airing my own voice. I couldn’t hear myself think. I couldn’t talk myself down, I’d been locked out of the session taking place in my mind. This voice hated me, that much I could always tell. It hated me from the depths of its soul. I hated me too. I could feel the anger towards me. I could feel my anger towards myself. It was like a relay. It felt the feeling, spoke the word and I felt the feeling and felt the word. Then I spoke the words inside my head until I screamed the hate back towards myself.
You’re ugly, you’re fat, you’re stupid, you’re a waste of their time and emotions, you’re not good enough, you’re worthless, you’re a burden on them, you don’t deserve their love, you remember that that and that, it was all your fault, yes it was your fault, so was that that and that, just do it, just cut the vein, CUT IT, do it deeper, you can’t die unless you go deeper, just die, just die,just die……!!!!!
I could barely see through my tears. I barely felt what I was doing. My hand was just moving to the sound of hate. I felt so unloved and unwanted and undeserving of any good thing. I felt like nothing. An empty nothing full of everything no one wanted around. I kept going. And it was as though I blinked harder than all the other times. Maybe I was shutting my eyes real tight so I couldn’t witness the self inflicted massacre. But I blinked and all of a sudden I could see my hand in front of me. A gaping hole down into my wrist. I was looking at my pulse. I had cleared away all the baggage, the skin, fat and flesh had all been sliced away. I was looking directly at my vein. Pulsating. The voice had another go at creating noise but the sound kept growing dim. Do it! Do it! Try it! One more cut! You can end it! You can fix everything! Just do it! You can make the noise stop if you just do it! But I couldn’t. You’re so stupid and worthless! Kill yourself! Do it! I couldn’t take that last glide across my wrist. I wept.
Here comes Melissa W. singing into the bathroom. Hope. Maybe I can survive this I thought. Maybe I can get help. Maybe I could live. I knew her voice so I called her blindly by name. And she answered. I asked her to get the nurse. She could have said no, she could have asked why, but she didn’t , she just went. Blindly. Without an explanation. The nurse walked in and called a name that wasn’t mine. I guessed that she had had another student see her prior to my beckoning that she thought now needed her help. Well, I opened the door to the stall I was in. She was a high coloured woman so her emotions were seen across her skin. She was turning red. Her eyes welled up with tears. She sent Melissa W. to get whatever teacher was in the lab next door. Ms. Rhone walked in. She was a pleasant teacher I had in lower school (grade 7-9), geography. She had this look on her face. She almost looked like she could feel my sorrows. Like she’d walked in and found herself bleeding from her wrists. But with this overwhelming sense of calm. Melissa W. got sent for a stool from the lab, or maybe it was already in the bathroom. I started forgetting the moment at that stage. I remember sitting, I remember the sink, I remember the mirror, I remember the nurse, “Racene I’m going to need you to stay awake for me ok? I need you to talk to me, stay awake, I know you’re tired but you can’t go to sleep now, ok? Look at me, talk to me, Racene…” If she’d slapped me a few times I can’t say I remember but I do remember her hand on my face. She was also terrified, she was afraid for me. In the sense of, why would you want to end your life? What makes you feel so overwhelmed?
I was up. Barely. She needed to get me to the nursing station. I volunteered to walk. Alone. My premise was, if you walk holding onto me, everyone will think something is wrong. They’ll notice. I walked alone. They all walked with me. Close by. Class was over now, so I caught the gaze of a friend and she immediately knew and I could tell my silence had hurt her as she saw me walking by, hand against my body, trying my very best to hide my attempt to escape. Then there was another friend, she’d taken my bag and all from the classroom, she shook her head in something I can just call disappointment. Like, you were strong, so why? Or, you could have used our shoulders but you cried alone, why? You would have left us without saying goodbye, were we not worth a wave?
I finally got to lay down. My hands in bandage. Well, my hand, I don’t think anyone noticed I had wounds on both arms because the gaping hole on the left was too vile to look away from. I woke up to Daddy and a loving teacher friend from the school he worked at, Ms. Brammer, she loved me too. His eyes were wet and sad. He didn’t understand why I was running. He had some ideas but those were but a few. My coach came. She was also a MD. She volunteered to take me to the hospital. I was glad to go alone, with her. Away from the sad faces. They looked like reflections of my own sadness. I wanted not to be sad. She wasn’t sad though, she was angry. Her daughter and I were good friends. Her daughter was away. So the idea of her child coming home to news of a dead good friend was fuel to the flames of her anger. She looked like how I figured that first gaze I’d caught must have felt. Like, how could you betray us, how could you betray me, you had lied to our faces with a smile full of joy and hid your tears and chased death so swiftly. How could you?
She asked for all the razors, I surrendered them all. She asked, were there more? No. I kept them all with me. She asked what I wanted to do. Surviving the voice really started giving me a voice in what happened TO me. She explained that going to the hospital meant I’d be checked into a psyche ward. Not just for the open wounds but also for the history of scars continuing up both arms. She didn’t know there were more and worse scars tucked away. Because I knew, I took the second option. She’d stitch me up. She offered no anesthesia. I told you she was angry right? Lol. She said if I could be that cruel to myself I shouldn’t mind being stitched drug free. After examining the wounds. They, her and the nurse at her office, settled on sutures. Pulled my skin together, forcefully pushed the spewing parts back into my arms and stuck them together. Then the gauze and bandages.
I was a billboard for failure to commit suicide. I got back to school I don’t remember how soon, and Meisha-gay M. asked, “you couldn’t keep your hand over the toilet…?….there was sooo much blood,…everywhere…”, but it was in a comical tone so I wasn’t further broken. Some students were scared of how fragile I seemed. Especially on a day when the healing itched and I’d scratched it and ripped the sutures and started a fresh flow of red across my wrist. Jamaica is hot, so imagine the free flow of blood.
Of course I had counselling, of course I had some persons fearful I’d hurt myself if they were honest, etc. So at this point I still felt like I faced that experience alone.
It took me this many years to recognize my Silencer. The voice had died down. I could see clearly not to take the last swipe at my arm because the noise had quieted down. The Word of God says, my sheep know my voice. I knew that voice wasn’t my Shepherd. But I know the Silence was Him. For Him to have silenced the adversary and spoke through that silence into that stall with no words, just quiet. That makes my heart joyfully overwhelmed. He silenced that torturing voice. Gave me peace so that I could see clearly. I could recognize love. I could recognize I was worth more than a bathroom stall death. He thought I was TO DIE FOR!!! He laid down His life FOR me.
If for no other attribute, I give Him great bouts of praise for His role as My Lord the SILENCER. To have a clear space inside my head to think and to hear from Him is something I am forever grateful for. Something no one can take away because He gave it to me. So I make it my duty to dedicate/commit that very space to Him. My SILENCER has a home in my mind. My ears are inclined to His voice. My mind is guided by His thoughts.
I am grateful my Silencer walked into that stall and without a word, just His quiet, breathed freedom into my mind.