In time for Christmas, Tarpaulin Sky published Piper Daniels’s exceptional essay on self-harm and suicide, “Sirens.”

Here are some excerpts:

…[D]eath, as a solution, is so all encompassing, so finite, other ways of coping pale in comparison. In no time, your neural pathways form a perfect arrow leading to the afterlife….

Because the mind is so labyrinthine and psychology so uncertain, it makes sense to talk instead about the body as an instrument of manic-depression.

The way I presented—cutting, burning, swallowing glass—these were considered acts of self-injury, when in fact, I was trying to save myself by driving out the poltergeist who suddenly lived inside and spoke to me at night of unspeakable things. It is confusing the first time your body becomes an instrument of psychosis. There is no precedent for questioning or rejecting your senses. You hear a voice and have no way of knowing it’s coming from inside the house….

If human life is an oath, then suicide for me was like an oath recited backwards, a protest against the physical body that gave entrance to that first strange and violent ghost and all that followed. I would use my body as a vehicle for annihilation, and I kept those plans secret, teeth clenched, mouth like the silencer on a gun.

Read the rest at Tarpaulin Sky.