This is a break from my traditional posts of fun and photos. I want to bring up a serious issue that I have personal experience with: self injury. By self injury, I mean any form of intentional infliction of pain on one self, without intention of loss of life. And when I say I have personal experience with it, I mean I struggle with this issue myself.
I started self-injuring when I was 13. The guy that I loved overdosed on heroin and I blamed myself. I couldn't handle the pain so I started pressing thumb tacks into my upper arms and rubbing my hands raw with rubber erasers. I would pull out my hair and scratch my scalp until it bled. Sometimes I would push on my wrists with a rusty steak knife my dad kept outside for working on various projects. That escalated to scratching until I would bleed.
In grade 9, my mom was diagnosed with cancer, my brother was diagnosed with autism, my dad started a home business, I started at a college prep high school, and the entire responsibility of the world was on my shoulders. My scratching became more intense and more noticeable. If anyone asked me about the marks, I would say my dog scratched me or that I fell.
Right before I turned 16 and started grade 11, we moved from Florida to Tennessee, leaving behind all of my friends and going to a completely new school full of rednecks. I started scratching myself with keys, sharp rocks, backs of earrings, anything sort of blunt that I could cause a little pain with. As I became more depressed, I started using scissors and broken glass. By the end of that school year, I had started using razor blades. I would cut mostly on my wrists and ankles. I would cover the cuts with knee high socks and arm warmers, even in the summer. I told my mom about it, hoping she would get me some help, but she just laughed at me and told me that if I wanted attention there were better ways to get it.
Over the summer, the guy I was dating sexually assaulted me, and my cutting became the worst it had ever been. Any time I wasn't at work, I was sitting on my bedroom floor with a razor blade turning my thighs into hamburger. A few months in to grade 12, I got a new boyfriend who tried to help me stop. He would come over and listen to angry music with me and hold me for as long as I wanted, but he couldn't always be over at my house to protect me. Fights with my mom always made me cut and the anniversary of my friend's overdose always tripped me up. I finally started seeing my school counsellor a few months before graduation. She referred me to a free therapy clinic to go to once I graduated. With help, I got to the point where I stopped cutting.
My last cut since I quit was April 7, 2009. I dragged a safety pin across my upper arm just hard enough to draw a drop of blood. I've slipped up twice since then, both due to stress of relationships. The first time, I cut myself in the shower with my razor because I was unable to trust the guy I was dating and I was punishing myself for it. The second time, I was engaged to a guy and he called off the wedding and I was so upset that I cut myself with some barbed wire. I've come to learn my triggers and how to step away from the situations that were causing me to self harm. I haven't cut in more than a year and a half and I intend to never cut again. I still scratch my scalp until it bleeds, but that's more out of habit than self harm. I'm working on stopping that behavior as well, as it has become troubling to my husband.
The one thing I've learned from my experience with cutting is that it doesn't ever really solve your problems. The feeling of euphoria and then the numbness from pain is only temporary. You wake up the next morning with the cuts on you and still have the same problems to deal with. But eventually, those problems do go away. You just have to hold on and have faith. Whatever you have to do to make it through with your sanity is your decision. But if you're thinking about self injury, please don't start. If you self injure now, please seek help to deal with what is causing you so much emotional pain. You can get through this. Someday, you'll see how good life can really be. And when that day comes, it will be a glorious day for you, free from sharp things and away from pain. Life is never going to be perfect, but there is still lots to enjoy. And remember, you are never alone.
I'm always here for you. For all of you. If there's anything in your life that you're going through that you think talking to a friend might help with, I'm all ears. You can email me or message me on facebook, or even comment on this post. We're all together in this life and I'm here to hold the light for anyone still struggling. If there's anything you're struggling with, I'm here to share that burden with you and help you the best I know how. All you have to do is let me know.