It all started as just a few thoughts, but over time, I started having extremely bad anxiety and was becoming more depressed. School was using the little effort I had left. I gave up on writing, singing, and drawing, which were the only things that kept me from going insane. I threw away all of my diaries, picked up a blade, and put it to my wrist.
Halfway through the summer of my freshman year, everything seemed to fall apart. The worse I felt about myself, the worse the cutting got. My brother was taken away from me and put in a mental hospital, and that’s when I lost control.
The first cuts were small and clean, using a pair of scissors. When that wasn’t enough, I introduced myself to the razor.
It was out of slight curiosity at first, I saw pictures online and people said that it helps and I was in serious need of a new coping mechanism.
The first time I self-harmed was at 15 years old. I had been struggling with my mental health for a while, and felt low, anxious, and overwhelmed on a daily basis. I was desperate for a release from the distress I was experiencing and from what was going on inside.
It became a nightly ritual for me.
At the time, the physical pain felt easier to deal with than the emotional pain I was experiencing. It gave me a sense of control when I felt I had so little control over the distressing thought. It became a very unhealthy coping mechanism.
It was also my cry out for help.
I didn’t want my family to know, so I wore sweaters in the house, which no one questioned since it was always cold in there. I showed my friends in hopes that they’ll help, at first, they tried but it didn’t do much. Thankfully they never gave up.
It wasn’t easy to tell them, I was afraid it would have scared them off or they thought I was crazy. It was never easy trying to explain the heavy feeling in my chest, the lack of motivation I had for everything, the heavy head and whirlwind of sad thoughts constantly sitting in the back of my head, but they stood by me.
It started with my old diary, which was filled with sad stories and hateful thoughts about myself. Then I thought maybe if I cut once would relieve my pain, but what I didn’t know was after it relieved my pain for 5 minutes, I looked down at my arm and I felt so ashamed.
So because of that constant want of reliving the pain, the first time wasn’t the only time. I kept cutting in hopes that it would relieve something, anything. I was desperate. I also thought I deserved it somehow. I guess constantly putting myself down wasn’t enough for me.
I felt like I was such a horrible person, daughter, and friend that I deserved to be in pain. When I first started, it was light cuts, enough for someone to notice but not enough to scar my body, I was too afraid to go deeper. After months of harm, I stopped, just to start again. At 16, I left the blade alone and started burning objects and putting it to my skin. This time, I wanted to hide it.
Instead of harming my wrist, I harmed my thighs.
I didn’t worry about people seeing because it was winter time so I was covered and getting naked in front of someone was the last thing on my mind.
I think cutting is an addiction, It’s something you want to do over and over again. Though it was hard for me to fight the temptation, it didn’t lead to a serious addiction. Every time I did the dishes, every time I shaved my legs, I got so tempted to cut.
I’m glad I had friends that helped me through it. No matter how hard I tried to push them away, they didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. It really helps when people you care about and care about you are there for you at that low point in your life.
Looking back now, it gives me goosebumps to think about what I did to myself. To think that I felt so low about myself that I would turn to the one thing I swore I would never do because of what it would do to my mother. She’s my best friend, the last thing I wanted was for her to think she failed as a parent because of my hatred for myself.
Then came the part that still kills me today. The look on my friend’s face when they saw them in person, I can still see them holding back their cries and trying to be strong for me.
It was time to create a less harmful, and more healthy coping method. I tried the rubber band technique but it didn’t work.
Instead of going back to cutting, I turned to other methods like drinking and boys and partying, it wasn’t the healthiest but to me, it was better than nothing and for a while, it worked. I then thought of my family and friends and how much they love me.
In a time when I had no self-worth and no self-esteem, I would remember how much they loved me, even when I went back to self-harm, I thought about how much it would hurt them to see me fall low again, that is when I quit for good. I never looked back, even though my self-destructive behavior had no impact on me, it hurt them. I couldn’t put them through that.
A month after my return to self-harm, and quitting again, I made the decision to go back to the one thing that kept me sane, writing. It was the best and healthiest decision I’ve made that year.