May contain triggering content. Please be cautious when reading if easily triggered.
For the last couple of days I have been trying to collect my thoughts so I could put it all into this blog. It hasn’t been easy, that’s all I can say as this week marks 8 years since I started self harming. This week has risen many thoughts, feelings and flashbacks and I just needed to release it in a healthy way.
High school years are supposed to be some of the best years of your life/schooling life. Making friends, having fun, going out, learning to drive, just generally enjoying life etc. For me this wasn’t the case, high school was some of my worst years of my life/schooling life. I won’t lie, I had fun, laughs, made friends and enjoyed school but all that suddenly changed when I resorted to Self Harm. There are different types of self harm as some of you may or may not know, cutting was the one that seemed to stick with me. One the loved me too much to leave.
I will never forget the day I made that first mark on my skin. I was alone and desperate. Desperate for a release. I will never remember what put the thought into my head in the first place or when the first inkling of a thought arose in my mind. All I remember is – that it was just there – one second the thought was there and the next I had a sharp object to my wrist. (Honestly didn’t think this blog would be so hard to write.)
The day after I had injured myself for the first time, I remember reaching out to a teacher at school. I didn’t know what else to do, my head was a mess and I just wanted comfort. I promised that I would never hurt myself again, that it was a mistake. 2 weeks later, I relapsed- went from 1 cut to 2-3 cuts. During Year 8 I was bullied and transitioning from primary school to high school was a massive hurdle for me. Most of my friends went to different schools so I was left to make new friends all over again. Maybe that’s what started the thoughts? I wish I could remember. As the years went on, memories came back to me from my childhood as well as dealing with the present issues/problems. It all got too much, too overwhelming. I can’t remember when the cutting got out of control, I can’t remember what triggered it. What still kills me to this day is that I went from 1-2 cuts to 600+ cuts in such a short amount of time. Covering my legs, arms, stomach – it even got to the point where I ran out of space so I had to find other places to injure. Ankles, hands, underneath boobs, pelvic area- it kills me writing this knowing I let it get so out of control that it took me years to realise I needed help.
I remember in the beginning when I had 1 or 2 cuts that I didn’t care if people saw it, I just wanted someone to ask if I was okay, I wanted someone to just help but I didn’t know how to approach the whole REACHING OUT situation. It’s when the cutting became intense and dangerous that I began to cover up, not let any of it show. I’ll tell you now, wearing long sleeves in 40 degree heat was a killer.
I’ll never forget a girl once said to me that I didn’t cut myself properly, that I had to use a different cutting implement and do it a different way to classify myself as a “cutter”. It cut deep, tore me apart to hear that a so call friend thought like this when I was struggling. When all I needed was support and comfort.
When people started finding out about my self harm I would often get asked ” Does it hurt?’ In the beginning my answer was yes. “Why do you do it to yourself”? In the beginning my answer was ” I don’t know, I need a release.” As time went on it all began to change, I no longer felt the physical pain from self harm – this resulted in deeper cuts which scarred badly, took ages to heal or became in infected. My answer to “Why do you do it to yourself” went from “I need a release” to “I deserve it”. A paper cut would hurt more than ripping my skin open. It was the sight of blood that helped me cope, It was like seeing the blood helped me see that I was still alive. The release was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders, like I could breathe easy for a little bit. Finally, I can sleep calmly tonight, my mind can shut down for a bit. This is how it felt for me, once I opened my skin it felt like all my thoughts were gone for a split second, and it was the split second that kept me coming back to self harm. I just was so desperate for peace and quiet and control. I felt like I couldn’t control any other aspects of my life so I had to try and control my thoughts and feelings for a little bit.
The amount of blood I lost, I honestly don’t know how I’m still here today. I know some of my injuries needed medical attention, I was just too scared to speak up, too scared to end up in hospital – too scared to be called crazy. Losing so much blood that you go light headed, hand goes purple/blue and you’re super pale and weak the next day. Could hardly walk properly because your leg was so weak – I won’t lie – this scared the absolute crap out of me – yet I kept doing it. I was addicted- I never wanted to admit it but I was. I used to log every time I injured myself, how bad it was and how many cuts. I used to take pictures, cut words and phrases into my legs. I used to have a necklace with cutting implements around it that I would take places so I always had my security blanket with me (that’s what I saw cutting as, a security blanket) I knew that as long as I had my cutting implements with me that I was okay. I would be able to cope (even though self harming wasn’t coping.) I used to self harm during classes at school, lunchtimes and before school. I used to go to the bathroom and just zone out from everything. That was the most dangerous part – zoning out while self injuring – when you come back to, all you see is blood dripping from you and you finally realised what you have done and you frantically do everything you can to stop the bleeding.
I was once told by an Ex that I was possessed because I did that to myself. I had an ex break up with me because of self harm – I hadn’t self harmed while dating him yet he wanted to use my weakness as an excuse to end it with me. I have always been cautious when meeting new people, not knowing whether they’ll like me with scars, what they’ll think of me or if they will stick around. Cutting not only hurt me but it hurt the ones around me as well which was the hardest. I’d need a release and in that moment all I could think about was how good it would feel to relapse, I didn’t think how it would affect the ones around me- that’s half the reason I kept it a secret for so long, so I didn’t have to unintentionally upset/hurt the ones around me.
It’s the urges that make recovery the hardest. I tried going cold turkey once and man that was hell. I had these expectations and when I didn’t meet them I would feel like I failed. People say relapsing is a part of recovery. I wish it wasn’t. I wish it was as easy as baking a cake. Follow instructions and the end result is achieved in no time. These last few weeks/month haven’t been easy with urges. Working two jobs, getting no time to myself, time with boyfriend or with family/pets has affected me more than I thought. Even writing this tonight the urges came and it was an ass to ride the urges out but I did it. On the 28th November it will be 1 year that I’ve been clean for. This time last year it was close to my 1 year clean but I relapsed due to the memories, flashbacks and thoughts and feelings associated with SI and the 1 year anniversary. That is why this year is also hard because I know I relapsed this same time last year due to the same reason.
All I have ever wanted to be was a role model my little sister could look up to. I felt like I failed as being her sister as soon as I started cutting. Never would I want her to go through this- I was so scared and self conscious about her seeing my scars, let alone my cuts. I know there were times where I had self harmed and I reached out to her and told her and we used to lie together in bed – just for comfort and support. I never wanted her to have to deal with that. Never in a million years. If you’re reading this sister – I LOVE YOU SO MUCH AND I’M SORRY. Same for you MUM< sorry for putting you both through this. I thank you both so much for helping me keep my head above the water – without you both, I wouldn’t be here today xoxo
To this day the scars and the memories behind the scars still remain and I’m okay with that. I can look at some particular scars and know exactly why I did that particular scar. Anyone out there who is struggling with SI or is considering it I AM HERE. Please Please Please – I beg you, not to start SI. It’s not worth it, it consumes your life, your body, your mental, physical and emotional well being as well. It makes life and many other things seem distorted. You don’t want to live with physical scars for the rest of your life. No matter how hard you try and recover and move on from it they will always be in your face reminding you (My biggest struggle still to this day). Self harm is still in the back of my mind when things get tough (just like any addiction- it’ll always be there as a coping mechanism) but I have learnt to release my feelings and thoughts in healthier more productive ways- gym, writing, spending time with family/pets/boyfriend, watching Netflix etc. All I have ever wanted was smooth, scar free skin. Be able to wear shorts without my ugly scars on show for everyone to see. I don’t want to have kids and one day they ask me what they are. I don’t want to tell them I used to cut myself because of how I felt. I don’t want to give them that idea. I don’t want people to look at me and see the scars and be afraid of what to say to me or cautious on how they treat me. I AM STILL HUMAN…
Anyone out there who is on the path to recovery or wants to recover from this illness – I support you and am here with you along the way. 2 1/2 weeks until I am 1 year clean – lets hope I can make it this year. Recovery is possible.
SI isn’t easy, but remember you are not alone. You are loved, worthy and special. I love you, god loves you and a million other people out there that also love you whether you believe it or not. I would not wish this upon my worst enemy – reach out, speak out and ask for help. We are all human and we all need a little help sometimes.
IT’S OK NOT TO BE OK.
Take care and stay strong