Not much to say. It's about my experience with self harm. Everything I've written here is completely true and completely honest. I'm nervous about posting it but I'm going to do it anyway. It was just one of those things I really needed to write.
There was a point in my life when physically hurting myself was the only way to cope with any emotions I felt inside. It sounds completely absurd but at the time it worked. Dragging a razor blade across my skin made me feel better. It was easier than actually dealing with the emotions. It wasn’t the blood that made me feel better. I never bled much anyway. No, it was the pain. The pain was a distraction from what I felt. And what I felt was complete and utter isolation. Nobody knew what was happening to me.
Well, one person did. But let’s face it, there was no way she could help me. She was doing exactly the same thing only she was completely out of control and too wrapped up in her own problems to realise that I was in trouble and needed help too. She was the only one that understood it but I couldn’t even unload my issues on her. She didn’t need my problems as well as her own. Hearing your friend tell you that she cuts herself rather than talk about her feelings is indescribable. I completely froze and prayed that she was joking. But she wasn’t. That evening I cut my hand in an attempt to shock her into quitting. She saw it the next day. She was hurt but my plan failed. I know that was ridiculously stupid.
The shame you feel after hurting yourself to cope is difficult to deal with and I’ll be honest and say that the shame sometimes made me feel so bad that I actually harmed myself twice in the space of a few minutes. The term vicious cycle has been used to describe self-harm. I completely agree. It’s exactly the right term to use. You feel bad, you cut. You feel bad about cutting, you start to feel worse. And you cut again. And it keeps on going, and going, and going...
It’s very hard to explain and incredibly difficult for people to comprehend but hurting yourself is very addictive. I have no idea why but that’s the only word that I can find to at least try to explain. People often mistake is as a suicide attempt but that’s just because the most common place to cut is arms. It’s not about dying, it really isn’t. It can be a cry for help but for most it’s to help cope with emotional pain. It’s a completely stupid way to cope; I’ll be the first to admit that. But I will also admit that it worked unfortunately.
Like any other addiction, soon your normal ‘fix’ isn’t enough. You have to cut more or sometimes find something else to hurt yourself with to feel the same effects. It’s completely fucked up. I’m lucky in that I didn’t actually get that far. I did stop before it got too serious. I mean, I am aware that hurting yourself in the first place regardless of how or where you do it is a serious issue but I stopped before it got completely unbearable or too difficult to stop it.
Supposedly one in four people will at some stage in their lives use self-harm as a coping mechanism. You would think that would make someone feel a little less isolated but it’s funny, I’ve never felt so alone in my life that when I was cutting. It’s a very strange thing in that sense. It’s very common, yet nobody talks about it. I can completely understand why people don’t talk about it, I didn’t until recently. That was just to one person. I had felt I would tell at some point but it just happened and I don’t regret admitting to it one bit. But I think that’s more down to him than me.
To be honest, I feel like a bit of a fraud writing this. I know that there are people out there that were affected by this much worse than I was and hurt themselves in more serious ways than myself. What I went through is nothing compared to some other people. It was nothing but still had a huge effect on me.
She was hooked worse than me. She showed me her cuts. She leaned on me. She even asked me for first aid advice. It was fucked up and I don’t want to go back to that place again. But I do realise how lucky I am when I hear about people who can’t go out in public without covering up scars on their arms or legs.
Thankfully I have no obvious lasting physical reminders of it. There is one scar on my arm that’s still visible only if you look for it. I stopped before I got to that point after the phone call I got asking me how to stop a bad cut bleeding. I think that was what terrified me into quitting. There was no way I wanted it to get that bad that I had to put someone else in that position.
Unfortunately I did slip up and cut a handful of times after that but I haven’t done it in about four years now. Just a few times when I thought I couldn’t cope in other ways. It’s made me stronger in the long run and I know that I don’t need it now. I promised myself that no matter how difficult it got to cope with my feelings that I would not revert to harming myself ever again. There are far too many good things in my life now. I don’t need to cut. Not anymore. I promised him I wouldn't. And whatever about breaking promises to myself, I certainly don’t break promises to other people.
I’ve been thinking about whether I would change everything that happened. There is part of me that would rather that it didn’t happen at all. Going through all that left a mark, no pun intended. But the other part of me feels that it may have been a blessing in disguise as strange as it is to describe it like that. It’s made me into the person that I am today. I’m stronger for it. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody and that’s the truth. It’s probably one of the most difficult things I have gone through. To be perfectly honest, sometimes I don’t know how I got through it all. I’m just glad that I did.