Age 16, 1988
For me my mental illness came crashing into my life in full force when I was sixteen.
That was the year I first started hearing voices,
started to believe people could read my mind and insert thoughts into my head,
was the first time I was truly suicidal,
was the year I started to self harm,
dragging a razor blade across my left arm and watching my blood flow,
the first time I was dissociative,
when the world became vague, dreamlike, less real,
as I observed events as if from outside my body like a movie in slow motion,
the year the panic attacks began.
This was also the year I suffered as a survivor of sexual assault,
the most difficult event of my life as a biker held a knife to my throat and raped me,
beating me severely.
From then on I carried a knife in case I am in a similar situation,
not so I could defend myself, but so I could slit my wrists.
To this day the sound of a Harley Davidson makes me physically cringe.
That was when the night terrors began reliving my trauma every time I closed my eyes.
That was the year the negative coping mechanisms developed: cutting, isolating, alcohol, drugs.
That was when the abyss of depression swallowed me up whole,
and I wanted to die or crawl in a hole forever,
because I was worthless, pathetic, weak, and most importantly,
I was to blame for being raped,
I should have been able to stop it as a sixteen year old boy.
This is not how it should be at sixteen.