“Why do you hurt yourself, Jay?”, Dr. Preston asked with a clipboard in his hands, leaning forward.
Jay Sherman smiled absent and blinked a few times before answering the question of the strange psychiatrist those doctors wanted him to speak to about his self-harm.
“For the sheer purpose of destruction”, he said in a breathy voice. “That’s why people hurt themselves in the first place, don’t ‘ey?”
“Destruction?”, Dr. Preston checked back. “Self-destruction”, Jay opposed suddenly and began to chew on his lower lip. How ironic, he thought.
“But don’t think that I’m doing it for perishing”, he added immediately. “You don’t?”, Dr. Preston seemed to be astonished.
“Of course not”, Jay emphasised, “I don’t cut my wrists for suicide attempts. If that was my intention I’d cut vertically, not horizontally. The reason I’m doing it is to feel.”
“How do you mean ‘feel’?”, Dr. Preston wanted to know. “Feel anything at all”, Jay asserted. He seemed a bit intimidated but didn’t know why. “You mean the feeling of pain is the only feeling you have?”, Dr. Preston’s voice became more compassionate. “Isn’t that somehow paradoxical? You said you’re doing it for self-destruction.”
“No”, Jay shook his head. “I said that’s why people hurt themselves basically. But it wasn’t about me.”
He blinked a few times and looked into the friendly, middle-aged face of the psychiatrist. “I wanna live, most of the time. And sometimes I just want to put everything behind”, Jay thought out loud.
“So when you want ‘to put everything behind’ you grab a sharp blade and do your own thing”, Dr. Preston paraphrased the process of self-harming. “Wrong”, Jay disagreed. “When I want to put everything behind I sit on my windowsill, let the legs dangle in the air, watch the leaves drifting in the wind, listen to the birds’ singing and enjoy the idea of jumping from the twentieth floor.” Dr. Preston sighed intensely. “But that merely happens”, Jay shook off the subject.
“But you wanted to know when I grab a sharp blade and ‘do my own thing’, correct?”, Jay said and formed quotation marks with his fingers. “Jay, I want to know about your thoughts as honestly as possible, alright?”, Dr. Preston mentioned. “I was about to tell you”, Jay assured him. “Go ahead then”, the Doctor spoke.
“Do you know the sensation you get from a sunny and warm morning after a very relaxing sleep?”, Jay asked the Doctor in cheer. “Sometimes”, this agreed. “I don’t, well not straightaway”, Jay’s cheer disappeared. “But I can feel it. It’s a grand vibe. I feel the warming sunbeams on my naked face, the orange-coloured sunrise in my mind. It’s there when I watch the warm red fluid dripping down my lower arm and my fingertips. All of it is there when I push the knife to my vein. Although it doesn’t have to be that deep but over the past months I caught myself cutting deeper and deeper to undergo this little experience even more profoundly.”
“Can I see your arms?”, Dr. Preston asked obviously upset and Jay ruck up his sleeves hesitantly. The psychiatrist put his hand to his mouth, almost a bit shocked about this sight. He saw a limb that was supposed to be an arm, covered heavily by bright reddish, enormous scars and fresh cuts, not much older than a few days maybe. The boy’s skin looked like it was wrinkled up, like cloth, but it was actually made unrecognisable by scar tissue. And it was not only his wrists but his whole arm up to his shoulder, some of the neck and the chest as well.
“Haven’t your parents said anything yet?”, Dr. Preston leaned back in paralysis. “I’ve kept it a secret”, Jay pulled the sleeves down again. “But I suppose now it’s not a secret anymore and thick polo neck pullovers can’t help on. Summer’s coming.” The boy tried to laugh but he couldn’t.
The psychiatrist let his eyes run over the adolescent’s arms that were already covered by the cotton sleeves again. “Is it the only way you hurt yourself?”, he wanted to know. “Why?”, Jay lifted his head. “Well, mostly. When I can’t bear it for even a second, I hit my hands against stonewalls but that happened only two times before.”
“What bearing for even a second?”, the Doctor asked interested.
“Imagine yourself as a computer”, Jay began to explain soberly, “that has been connected to the internet ever since its existence. But over the years this connection decreased continuingly. Until one day, it’s lost completely. You can’t see any opportunity to retrieve this connection. You’ve become disconnected from everything in the machine. Now you’re enduring an existence apart from the machine’s data.”
Dr. Preston seemed to record what Jay told him right now. “And you feel like you’re outside the machine”, he probed into it.
“No”, Jay whispered. “I am outside the machine. I’m not a part of it anymore.” Jay recognised how Dr. Preston underlined the words ‘am’, ‘outside’, ‘machine’ and ‘anymore’.
“So, what does cutting your skin has to do with this metaphor of a computer system disconnected from the internet?”, the psychiatrist put his fist under the chin to brace his head.
“It’s easy”, Jay assured. “Sometimes when you shake and batter this system the connection returns for a small amount of time. That’s what I did back then when my Wi-Fi card couldn’t find our home router. It worked, more or less when I gently hit the computer. But it abated after a few times and I had to hit harder to keep the connection for a longer period.”
“That is inconceivable. So the hitting of the PC is the cutting of the skin and the Wi-Fi is your feelings towards this world”, Dr. Preston pieced together the puzzle on his clipboard.
“When you got a connection you can reach everything, every part and corner. Through this little pain induced, I experience all of the feelings available to the human mind. Joy, sadness, anger, fear, loss, gain, amazement and even love”, Jay said feebly lifting his mouth’s corner. “It feels like eating ice cream on a sunny day in July at the beach with the whole family. It feels like a merry movie-evening and sleepover with friends. It feels like getting laid for the very first time by the most beautiful person one can think of.”
The psychiatrist remained silent for a few seconds, scribbling something on the clipboard and then softly laid down his hand on Jay’s shoulder while smiling auspiciously at him. “You don’t have to do this, Jay. You are not disconnected from this world. You can never connect to it the fullest but there are always enough cables open. If you want the connection to retrieve, you got to exchange the Wi-Fi card and that means exchange your ideas about this world, about yourself in it.”
Jay felt a severe flavour crawling down his gullet. “You are not alone, Jay. Never”, Dr. Preston stroked the boy’s shoulder. “We can find a way to replace the pain with real sensations, real emotions. You can reboot this.”
“Because, do you know what happens if you keep on hitting the computer more intense every time?”, the psychiatrist drew a deep breath and Jay looked at him with watery eyes. “The system is going to shut down forever.”


  • Author Portrait

    Ich würde mich freuen, wenn Du den Text in Deutsch übersetzen würdest..LG. Carmen

  • Author Portrait

    Maschinenfuchs, leider ist mein Englisch nicht so gut, das ich Deinen Text verstehen könnte..LG. Carmen

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