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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Era (02/03/11)

TITLE: It Stops Now
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom


Yawning, I looked around the room; my head pounded. Scenes from last night’s debacle came rushing into my mind. My husband and I had the worst fight ever. My stomach started bubbling, covering my mouth, I ran into the bathroom and made it to the toilet just in time. Mouthfuls of bile spewed into the water, splashing up and hitting my face. When will you learn, you useless piece-of- garbage? John works late to avoid a fat ugly blob like you.

Standing up, I looked into the mirror. My face was blotchy, my eyes puffy, I could hardly see. I listened to the sounds of the house, all was quiet. Good, he’s not here. He must really hate you; he’s never left without giving you a quick kiss. Why can’t I remember everything?

I crawled back into bed. The wheels in my brain were spinning. I remember burning dinner. John was nice, but I was furious with myself. You’re supposed to be the perfect wife. Poor John works all day, and you stay at home doing nothing. Even an idiot can cook a simple dinner without messing it up.

Shaking my head to try to stop the loop of insults, I flopped on my side and squeezed my eyes tight. I didn’t want to start crying again. John didn’t get upset with me until I started saying how stupid I was. He tried to convince me it was a mistake anyone could make. But I kept on hurling insults at myself. That’s when the real fight began.

I sighed and took a deep cleansing breath. That’s when I noticed the coopery smell in the air. Oh no, you idiot, what did you do? I closed my eyes, but the only thing I could see was the scene in the kitchen from last night. I pressed my hands against my temples and tried to squeeze the vision of me picking up the knife from my head.

My stomach started churning again; I threw the covers back. The sun streaming through the window landed on the bed. I leaned in; there were red smears all over the sheets. This time I sprinted to the bathroom; the bile flew out of my mouth before I reached the toilet and splattered all over the walls.

I flung my body onto the floor and wept. Suddenly everything from last night came rushing back. There was nothing I could do to change the past. You finally blew it. I knew it wouldn’t take long before you wrecked your idyllic life. You’ve no business being happy and you’ll never be happy again. The whole world is going to know what a disgusting piece of trash you are.

Growling, my dog came out from under the bed. She looked at me and started barking. Tingles went down my back. I recognized her bark; someone was at the door. For the first time, I looked down at my nightgown; it was covered in blood. There were crusty trails of brown dripping down my legs.

Tingles went down my back when I heard the door open. “Honey, it’s me and the minister; come on out.”

My heart thumped as I fumbled for my sweatpants; wincing I pulled them up and threw on a shirt. Slowly, shaking violently, I walked into the kitchen. I turned my eyes down. John walked over and held me in his arms as I sobbed into his chest. “Shhh, everything is okay. I’m so sorry; I didn’t know you were cutting again. I’ve been so busy at work, I wasn’t paying attention. I should’ve seen the signs. Can you ever forgive me?”

Tears coursed down my face, “I’m the one who’s sorry.”

He covered my mouth, “You have an illness; I wish you’d told me that you were cutting again, but I know the signs. I should’ve called Pastor Jim earlier. He’s made arrangements to get you admitted today to The Healing House. You’ve been self-mutilating for too long. If you want their help, that part of your life can stop today. It’s a difficult journey, but it’s worth it. You just have to take the first step.”

Author’s Note: Self-mutilation, cutting, self-harm is a mental illness that anyone can fall prey to. If you or someone you know needs help contact your doctor immediately. There is also a hotline in the US 1-800-DON’T CUT (366-8288)

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This article has been read 747 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Noel Mitaxa 02/10/11
For your sake I hope this is not part of your personal experience, as it reeks of authenticity. The verbal self-assassination is bad enough, but the process of suicide by installments that cutting portrays is so much worse. Thank you for the insight and for the referral option at the end.
Barbara Lynn Culler02/12/11
This is heavy stuff. Would this refer to a personal era?

By the way-"God don't make no trash"
Danielle King 02/14/11
You've written an excellent description of how self loathing can affect a person's ability to function in life. So well that I also wonder if this is from personal experience. If so thankyou for being so brave in sharing it here as I think mental illness in general is too often hidden away in shame. So often people turn a blind eye to it unless it happens to themselves or some one close. And you ended with the only sure rememdy, God's love for you!
Rachel Phelps02/14/11
Your title is perfect for this intense story. Your MC's voice is as conflicted as the story, Excellent.
Kate Oliver Webb 02/14/11
I couldn't help the tears as I read this. Yes, this is a perfect description of an "Era" in the life of a individual trying to find the real person inside. With Christ's victory, it will be looked back on as the "Pre-Healing Era." Excellently written.
Gregory Kane02/15/11
Very very intense. Thank God for an understanding husband.
I felt that in a few places your tenses weren't quite right - present where it should have been simple past and other times where judicious use of the pluperfect (had happened) would have helped the flow. Especially in such an energetic narrative where the MC's thoughts are shifting all over the place.
That said, the story certainly connects with the reader and makes one wonder how many other such 'victims' are out there.
Melanie Kerr 02/15/11
That was very intense! I thought the MC had actually killed her husband and that was what the dog was barking about! How sad to be listening to such destructive thoughts. It was compelling to read.
Jody Day 02/15/11
Well written. I'm a little teary because I know some folks with this problem. Good job.
Lollie Hofer02/15/11
I hope this is one of those stories which will change someone's life. I pray the right person (or people) who is struggling with self-loathing and/or self-mutilation will find this story and the hope they so desperately need. Thank you for the courage to write such an intense and emotional story.
Kara Dunham 02/17/11
This is incredible emotional and you did so well at building the suspense and painted her pain so realistically. Putting those hard emotions to words is not easy. So powerful, I am almost in tears- which says a lot cause I am not a crier. Excellent job :)
Danielle King 02/18/11
Congratulations on placing 11 in level 3. Well deserved!
Amy Michelle Wiley 04/09/11
Oooo, I thought she'd killed her husband at first. Great suspence.
Rachel Malcolm 08/02/13
Powerful and heart-wrenching. It's so sad for friends and family when a loved one is involved with cutting. I have many scars that will never go away from self-mutilation, but I am so thankful for God's healing and deliverance.