Conscious, Deliberate Mistakes

Hey kid, good morning,
You look like an angel.

BY CHELSEA RICCHIO

I watched The Last Five Years recently, a movie I’ve owned for close to a year but never got around to watching. I knew it was sad; I knew it would make me Feel Things, but I didn’t foresee just how much.

The reason for that is because I thought that the story was going to be about the organic breakdown of a relationship that occurs even when both parties are trying their best and doing nothing wrong. And it mostly was, but there was another element too: cheating.

I have never cried harder at a movie. Or any piece of media, actually. I don’t cry at things unless they’re happening to me, generally. But this movie and its songs hit me right where it hurts in a way that is unique. Almost immediately after the song “Nobody Needs To Know” began, the waterworks started flowing.

In this scene, the male protagonist, Jamie, is seen having an affair with multiple different women. That’s pretty typical. What was different was that it was apparent that he actually cared about the women he was with. Normally you don’t see that. Normally what you see is a guy just fucking random girls left and right, telling them he’ll call and then doesn’t and forgets their names. And normally, said guy doesn’t care about his girlfriend either. Continue reading

A Faded Hospital Bracelet

BY CHELSEA RICCHIO

I’ve only ever been in the hospital three times in my life – when I was born, when I had a spontaneous tear in my lung, and exactly two years ago as of this past Monday for suicidal thoughts.

I credit that day for turning my life around. Although the most difficult moments of my life were still yet to come, I’ve never felt as hopeless as I did that night since.

I will say though that I have come very close. I become depressed when I’m lonely or experiencing other social issues. And for the past month and a half, I have been very socially isolated.

I’m not really sure how it happened. There are a lot of reasons – me facing criticism that I am not used to regarding my morality, other people’s changing minds and flip-flopping attitudes, new situations in other people’s lives, me just generally being annoyed with everyone for no real reason, and the fact that it’s winter and despite the fact that this is Canada, everyone becomes a little bit hermit-like.

Every couple of hours or so a thought will fleet across my mind that I’m just wasting time and my life is meaningless, because if other people don’t want me around then what is even the point of me? What is the point of life?

DBT Distress Tolerance Skills.jpgThis is the thought that makes me want to kill myself. I still have it, more than I’d like to admit. But now I can control it more often than not. I have much higher level of distress tolerance than I used to and I’m better at self-soothing.

Two years ago my level of distress tolerance was very low. I tried my best and that’s what kept me alive but I was exhausted constantly and small things affected me much more than they would affect the average person. I experience trauma-like reactions to many negative social situations, based on my experiences with bullying in high school, and I was not able to control those either. Continue reading