Neal's voice: "This is where Grig explains WHY he went to court and got therapy..."
I always have a twinge of guilt here because I never really told Neal EVERYTHING. For the exact same reasons I never kept a diary or journal back then, what if my parents find it? I never told Neal about my suicide attempts, the screaming and yelling with my parents, their fights, or anything. I was scared if they knew I was telling Neal, they would forbid me from contacting him. So Neal saw a much rosier side than was actually true. Some of what I am saying I can hear my voice drifting because I know I am only telling the half truth, but now, as an adult, I want to know what I was really thinking. Too bad, although, I still think if I had said, "Dr. Neal, today started off with trying to kill myself..." he would have told his parents, which would have called my parents, and bye-bye pen pal (or, more accurately, magnetic tape pal). The key was I didn't attempt suicide for attention. I never told ANYONE because I knew a natural reaction would be they would try and stop me. I always wanted "that way out," so I kept it a secret. Well, my guidance counselor found out about it when it slipped out in a moment of anger, the school psychologist saw the scars on my arm from all the self-mutilation, and that started this whole ball rolling.
I have long avoided this story, and I think I may have to tell it because that's what the tapes might cover.
I start off with a nervous laugh...
... and just dump everything. My depression started in 3rd grade. I explain the years of not doing homework, spells of spacing out, bad teachers I had, and then I explain, for probably the first time, my father's wrath. I seem to remember as clear as a bell to this day my father's obsession with grades. He told me that an A was "a minimum standard," as in straight A's were the barest acceptable minimum for achievement. If I were to describe the overlying excuse for his abuse towards me, it was over school. I never got straight A's. I was only on the honor roll twice, and that was after my mother's suicide when teachers just dropped their standards (and the last two quarters of the senior year of high school, when people pretty much already know what college they have been accepted to, are really just written off anyway). My father's sarcastic cruelty is explained, like how his nickname for me was "Little Dummy."
I then confess my suicides. Three by poison attempt, two by stabbing attempt. I am not going to go into what I actually did (blecch, who wants to hear that, ever drink Maracide? Don't... major pukage from ick medicine), but the weird thing is, when I look back on it, is tens minute before an attempt, I didn't even know that ten minutes later, I would be trying to end my life. The mood shifted that quickly. I mean, there'd be some fight when my father would prove what an idiot I was, mock me, deride me, and twist my own logic and defense for my right to exist into some sham where I was stupid and had NO right to live. Then I'd be in my room, crying. Then a long period of just staring at the ceiling or my fish tanks. Then, I just did it. Almost like autopilot. I kept various poisons and a large chef's knife hidden away among my fish tanks stuff, and their presence there was soothing, like if I wanted to, all I had to do was just do it. I never even remember mustering up courage. Just a kind of, "Oh well," and zzzzzip! Blood. Or poison. Whatever my mood was. Of course, then I would fail, and I would cover up my attempts. Poison was easy, I just got sick. And since I always cut myself, any suicide attempts were just another cut, another wound, and if anyone asked, I'd say, "I fell on some glass," or something. No one really wanted to really know, anyway. And I wanted to keep it that way.
In the tape, for the first time, I explain that some part of me wanted to live. That was pretty monumental, and I can hear myself pause in shock. I never had said that before. I mention Mrs. Deborah Tucker, the school psychologist, as putting me in a "peer counseling program." Later, Mrs. Tucker would betray me in the most horrible way, and I swear, if I ever see her face again... well, for right now, and for two years afterwards, she was a pal.
Then the tape ends. Neal didn't number these in any way I can figure, so this may be picked up in a later post.
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