Every now and then, I like to share an honest and real account of an issue commonly seen as taboo that has occured in my life. I’ve discussed alchoholism, abortion, SIDs and decided that since it’s been 4 years since I last cut myself, it would be OK to share it.
To be honest, the first time I cut myself wasn’t intentional - I don’t think. And there was no reason behind it I am aware of. It involved a weird plant on my mums estate, outside my crushes house…. long, thin leaves which are kind of covered in what feels like a sticky layer but turns out to be some type of spikes. Anywho, I ran the leaf of one of those plants up and down across my arm. I don’t think it hurt and I was in a normal mood. I didn’t think anything of it until about 10-20minutes later when I looked down and realised I had red, raised lines all down my arm. This isn’t when the problem started – this just provided a solution for the future.
Fast forward a few years possibly, it could have been less time but so much happened for a few years that it’s all one big messy jumble of shit. Life at home was terrible – my mum was in a terrible relationship that consisted of drug abuse, alcoholism and weekly domestic situations arising. Me and my sisters had been through the whole care and alcholic situation and come out on the other side. This was something else – my big sister wasn’t living at home anymore so I was the eldest in the house. One night, a particularly rowdy argument kicked off – one of many more to ensue – and I wanted to cry. But I had to be strong for my little sister – how could I cry and be weak when she needed me now? I was overwhelmed with emotions: fear, anger, confusion, stress and I don’t know why or where the idea came from, but I locked myself in the bathroom, took apart a razor (I promise you this was no easy task and proved how determined I was as it took a little while), took a razor blade and cut up and down my left arm in lines.
It hurt. At first. It wasn’t an instant relief until I stopped cutting. And then the pain kicked in – the sting of the fresh lines filling with blood. It hurt. And that hurt was a distraction. It distracted me from my emotions and allowed me to concentrate on a physical pain – a pain I could handle. And that is how it really started. I numbed my emotional pain by focusing on physical pain. I forgot how to feel. I stopped trying to feel.
Angry? Cut myself. Upset? Cut myself. Stressed? Cut myself. Need help? Cut myself.
The first time I done it left me wearing long sleeves for about 2 years, and then long sleeved t-shirts after that. I only cut the lower half of my left arm once. I touched my right arm only once. The top of my left arm was covered in scars and old cuts mixed with fresh cuts for years. My mother saw once, but when she was still at a bad place in her life, and asked me what it was to which I replied “nothing”, she said we would talk about it and never did. I don’t blame her. Shit happens.
The last time I cut myself was when my younger sister was causing problems at home – running away, upsetting my mum and just generally upsetting the peace at home now that my mums ex had finally gone. I don’t know if the skin was weaker or I cut deeper or what but I bled. I bled long and hard and I scared the crap out of myself. I didn’t know whether I needed to go to hospital, I considered waking my mum and I wrapped my arm in a towel. It took over 30 minutes to stop the bleeding and I never did it again.
Have I considered it since then? Yes. But I have also learnt – slowly over these last 4 years – how to accept, work through and deal with my emotions instead of fighting to ignore them.
This lack of feeling caused me to be diagnosed with depression for 3 years. I couldn’t feel so I couldn’t want. I didn’t need. I existed purely because I was alive with no idea of what I was doing or why I was here. I saw therapists, counsellors, psychologists to no avail. It took an impulsive move 200 miles away from where my problem started to begin the healing process.
Today, I am cut free. My scars are only visible if you know what you are looking for and my skin is hot. My razors are only for shaving. I cry, shout, laugh and aspire. I love – this is the best thing ever and I am so happy I am able to do this.
Self harm is not the way forward. It never was. It didn’t help or change the problem. It was just my way – a wrong way – of dealing with a fucked up situation. If you google “Help With Self Harm” there are so many websites, support networks and options available to help anyone find a better way to deal with their problems and to learn how to mentally break the habit.
This is part of my story. Part of me. I am not ashamed. I just hope that a post like this can help someone, somewhere even if it’s just once.
- The pain of self-harming: Who can you turn to? (mirror.co.uk)
- Stress, Chronic Pain, and Breaking the Habit of Thinking Negatively (1solutionfocusedcoaching.com)
- Self Harm (amylturk.wordpress.com)
- Depression: Self-Harm And Suicide (1 out of 2) (concealedinlife.wordpress.com)
- Love is Louder Than Self-Harm: A 13-year-old’s Anti-Suicide Letter. (elephantjournal.com)
- Crimson Drops (donethisbefore.com)