“ When you go to the ER one of the first things they ask you to do is rate your pain scale from 1-10. From then they quickly decide what drug to use and how to use them. I’d been asked this questions hundreds of times over the years, and I remember once early on when I couldn’t get my breathe and my chest was on fire, flames licking the inside of my ribs, fighting for a way to get the burn out of my body, my parents took me to the ER. A nurse asked me what my pain was out of 10 and I held up 9 fingers. Later, after they’d given me something, the nurse was stroking my head and doing my blood pressure. She said “ you know how I know you’re a fighter ? You called a 10 a 9. But that wasn’t quite right. I called it a 9 because I was saving my 10. And here it was, the great terrible 10; slamming me again and again as I was laying lifeless and alone in bed, staring at the ceiling, the waves tossing me against the rocks then pulling me back out to sea so they could launch me into the jagged edges of the cliff, leaving me face up in the water un drowned.” I don’t talk about this much, but the first photo was 3 days after I came out of an induced coma. That was my 10. Both mentally and physically, I cannot explain it. I don’t talk about this much either, but every night while I’m alone, the shivers and the shakes and the tears and the silent hallows have become so heavy since last year. When people ask what happened to me, and how I lost my limbs, I get very anxious. I get anxious because people either are rude to me, or give me sympathy. I don’t want either of those. I just want to raise awareness and for people who suffer from a mental illness to know that it is hard. To know that it can get so dark. And it’s wrong. No one should judge. When I took this first photo, my pain wasn’t a 9/10. Or a 10/10. It was honestly a 20/10. But I still told my surgeons and my doctors that mentally, and physically it was at a 5. My trauma surgeon and my psychiatrist told me that’s how they knew I was a fighter. And that's how they knew I could do this. Because I called a unbelievable amount of mental agony a low ish number. When really, no one could comprehend how it felt like.