The Train (trigger warning)

Everytime I stand on the train platform, I have the urge to jump. I picture my body flopping around like a rag doll, and honestly there’s something oddly satisfying about it. About it all being done. And dealt with. And over. Nothing left to protect. No secrets left to hide. Nobody relying on me. The ultimate fuck you.

It started two summers ago, after I had been home for a particularly awful visit. The next time I tried to get on a train, I visualized jumping in front of it. That time scared me so much I hospitalized myself. I didn’t want to die, and couldn’t understand why a part of me did. Of course I understand those things better now, but not a day goes by where I don’t have the urge to kill myself by jumping in front of a commuter train. By becoming another one of those faceless ‘medical emergencies’ that stops rush hour traffic. 

Instead of being surprised by the urge to jump, as I once was, I would now be surprised if I didn’t feel it. I’ve learned to live with it. Some particularly bad days I’ll re-route and walk an extra 20 minutes. Otherwise I grab on to the cold handle of the railing behind me, or visualize myself like a tree growing roots into the ground, or turn around so I don’t see it coming, or press my back up against the wall and pretend I’m glued there. I think about the kids who love to ride at the front of the train and how scarred they would be. And then the train comes, and I get on it, and everything is fine.

But there is this part of me that just wants to die. And it shows up there, every day. So today, I tried talking to it. It appeared, and I thought, why not. 

“Just jump, or let your foot get caught. Or just trip onto the tracks. Make it look accidental.”

“No. We’re not doing that. Why do you want to die so badly?”

….

“Because it hurts. Because that hurt so fucking much. And I’m so done with hurting.”

“Oh, I know, I know it hurts. But there are other ways to deal with it that also bring happiness back into your life. I honestly believe we’re almost there. I also believe the closer we get the more afraid you become.”

“I don’t want to share because nobody ever hears me. Nobody cared. And every time you trust someone they let us down. And I don’t trust this. I think you’re being careless.”

“I know. But I want you to know you don’t always have to hurt. More importantly I want you to know that we aren’t jumping. Not today. Not ever. So the way I see it we have two options. One – continue talking. Two – continue hurting. I like option one.”

“Three – jump. You won’t see it coming. You didn’t see the self harm coming last week. Your precious coping mechanisms failed you.”

“You caught me at a bad time. I don’t leave the house when I feel like that. There are only two options. Bottom line.”

“You’re a fool for trusting her.”

“Are you sure it’s not the other way around?”

“I’m not going to talk to her.”

“What are you protecting us from. Why are you so scared?”

……

Silence from within. And I got on the train. Like I do every day. And like I will do every day until that part of me is addressed, and healed, and integrated. I honestly have no idea what it’s protecting me from. But it’s something.

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3 thoughts on “The Train (trigger warning)

  1. You’re right, it is protective. That part of you, destructive as it is, deserves to be listened to, cared for, and gently re-framed. It’s really, really hard work but the fact that you’re exploring it more deeply and deeply every day, while painful, is amazing. xoxo

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  2. Wow, great job with talking to that part. I’m curious what’s there, what’s underneath, that she’s protecting you from. I think if you keep showing up and talking to this part, maybe she’ll tell you. Think of what A does: she continually shows up for you and listens and fights for you. Maybe you can be like A to this part?

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  3. Keep on talking back, PD. Keep on telling the part that wants to jump in front of the train that you KNOW she needs an end to so much pain, and you are giving her an end (or at least a huge reduction and a lot of management skills). You are the grown-up, and you are choosing a life-affirming, grown-up path to the peace she wants. It is not as fast and not as outwardly dramatic. However, it is brave and inwardly dramatic. It is inwardly fucking AWESOME, and she might want to take a look. She might want to see that every day that you try to change things, every time you open up a big more to an excellent therapist, you are jumping in front of the old train of emotional misery and stopping it in its tracks.

    There will be a day when you and she can stand on the commuter train platform and say, “Huh, remember how we used to think about jumping in front of the train? Wow, those were really hard times! Aren’t we glad we hung on to that cold railing?” I hope that day comes soon for you. In the meantime, hang on tight. It is worth it; you are worth it.

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