Day 19: ‘…Today I choose not To end it at once…’ Superficial Cuts: Poetry by Ruth Durkin

“Schoooool in the morn-ingggg”

Uh-oh! My grandad used to always say to my mum, and later, to me and my brother’s when we were little, in a really low voice. The rotter! I love it though. And I love saying it. Even though I still hate mondays! Or do we all hate them? Morning people – are you out there? Maybe you don’t work on Monday’s? We want to hear from youuu 🙂

I hope this brings you some comfort, or some interesting creative reading. Lets cling on to Sunday evening together! like a sleepy little sloth.

While I start this post lightheartedly, it is one of a very sensitive nature, and I hope that Ruth is happy for me to take this approach. Today’s post features a really touching poem by Ruth. Ruth Durkin sent me this having sadly experienced some terrible treatment in hospital, having being treated for what she was told were ‘superficial’ cuts. I feel so sad  when I read it, because harming oneself is often a form of private release, but sometimes it can be indication that the person desperately needs to be taken seriously on account of how they are feeling. When you read Ruth’s words, you’ll see that whichever way you look at it she was feeling so low at that time that she felt relief in harming herself.

I’ll hope that the way she was treated was down to a lack of understanding, a habit of technical language? It seems she was treated with insensitivity. And I hope that this is rare. Unfortunately I may well be wrong. Our zine hopes to act as a small filler inevitable gaps in professional care. These gaps should be filled with help from people like Ruth, who are professional in being able to articulate and share these experiences. Either way you look at her expression – she’s letting people know that they are not alone. Ruth, and everyone involved with DoS (in every way!) have been courageous. Ruth has created something beautiful and meaningful from her dark experience.

I think her website may be down at the moment ( but hopefully she’ll supply a new page and we can have a read of more of her work.  A statement is provided with her work below.

Ruth works full time for a charity and is working on a portfolio of mental health-related writing. She has been diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder and BPD. She has just started a mental health blog entitled Just look at the birds and the trees:’

Ruth has previously been published under her maiden name with Choosing to be by Ruth Kilner in Our Encounters with Suicide by Eds Alec Grant, Judith Haire, Francis Biley & Brendan Stone.         

Superficial cuts

Razor Sharp

Yet smooth it slithers
Onions, carrots, steak

Glide it through
And bright it glistens
The deeper it goes
The better it feels

Just once not enough
Repeated, I slice
Worktop as forearm
Display what I chop
Red streaks down the arm
Cry tears from beneath
The vision of blood
A reminder of life

Today I choose not
To end it at once
Jumpstarting emotions
Is all that I crave
Yet well-meaning man
Takes me to that bleak place
With neon strip lighting
And chemical smells
A wetwipe, a plaster
A psycho-exam

You’re fine, go back home
Keep taking Mirtaz*
These cuts superficial
Suicide not intent
Our time you have wasted
Your knives you must wash

By R.E.D.

*Mirtaz is an abbreviation of the
antidepressant, Mirtazapine




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