I’ve suffered from depression on and off for most of my life and in early 2008, I was scarred on a particularly relevant part of my body – the right wrist. But, despite being self-inflicted, I didn’t mean it. Truly.
One Sunday night, towards the end of January that year, I was at my bar job polishing a wine glass with the left hand deep into the ‘cup’ and the right hand holding the base. Some shots bought by a customer were waiting on the counter. Suddenly, the base of the glass snapped and the stem ripped through the skin of my right wrist. I shoved my hand under running water in the bar area hoping it was the kind of smaller cut so often got from little fragments of broken glass but the blood didn’t stop pouring out and I left a trail of red through the bar as I ran downstairs in a panic. My assistant manager applied first aid saying he had seen 2 or 3 accidents like this in his career (only to admit a week later that was a complete lie), an ambulance just happened to be outside the bar at the time, the paramedic narrowly dodged my sudden throwing up and once at the hospital I received 19 stitches to my near 3-inch slash. They said it was ‘a flesh wound’ but the amount of blood definitely looked more than that. I just know that thankfully it hadn’t hit an artery, otherwise things would’ve been a lot worse. Oh, and I never got to sink that free shot.
A couple of weeks prior to this freakish of accidents, I had failed to submit an assignment in the sound engineering course I was then doing. This triggered a big crash and a few people have supposed that the accident reflected my then mood, and even perhaps that I subconsciously wanted to do it. I’m not sure; I distinctly remember thinking while I was running through the pub ‘not like this, it can’t end like this’.
Needless to say, the accident sent my mood spiralling further down, and it prompted mGy admission for the first time in my life that I needed counselling. However, as so often happens once rock bottom is reached, the year that followed turned out to be one of the best of my life, full of music, culture and new adventures.
When people notice the scar, some jokingly (but nervously) ask a variation of ‘did you try to commit suicide?’. Depending on who they are, I respond ‘no’ and just tell them about the accident or add ‘...but I have felt that way.’ When I look at it, I sometimes feel melancholic, sometimes optimistic, even sometimes admiration. I cannot escape the fact that it’s in a place that represents a dark state, but, as one of my favourite symbols the ‘yin yang’ circle shows, and as I experienced after the accident, that dark state can and has been shrunk so often to make way for the light.