I want to tell you about my self harm. I want to make you understand and I want to make me understand too. I want to get to a point where I can be wound free — where my body only shows the scars of where I’ve been and not where I am right now. I can’t remember the last time I was completely wound-free. I was once, maybe when I was about thirteen. It’s hard to say.
At this point in time my harming is in the form of picking at my skin. I’ve managed to beat the cutting for now, although when things get bad the urge is (almost) unbearable. I also pull out my hairs. These two lesser known forms of self harm are more difficult for me than the more dramatic ones. I feel much more ashamed of my scars from this — the blotchy red patches on my legs — than I do of any others.
I would like to share my story of self injury because I want people to understand self injury and me. I started self injuring about four years ago when I was twelve. I couldn’t really say why I started cutting myself, or how I even got the idea at such a young age, having never heard of anyone self injuring at the time.
The first time I ever cut myself wasn’t for any reason, just as an experiment, which I unfortunately took a liking to. From then on I would cut myself every fortnight or so, nothing serious considering the inconsistency and the wounds weren’t too deep. I continued doing that for a year, just as a pass time. Things changed when I was thirteen. I was sexually abused twice, one being rape, and I took a turn for the worse. I didn’t tell anyone, not even my parents, I just kept it inside which tore me apart.
As a younger child through the ages of six to eight I was molested by neighbors. Then since I can remember I was abused by my whole family. I was stupid enough, I guess you could say, to realize none of this till I sat down at the water one day and talked to myself, or so I lead myself to believe.
I was eleven when I first noticed what had occured in my life through the years. As did I notice I SI’ed. I told someone when I had first started, I guess you could say I was looking for attention at first. It quickly changed when I unraveled my life. I became angry, enraged with the hell I had been put through as a little kid, stripped of my childhood, even now. When my mom found out by a so called “slippage” as my brother claims on my part, I was immediately sent to a shrink. After about half a year of that I finally was set free of it. I thought I had stopped, though I knew in my mind it was all that was left for me now.
I always longed for a mother to brush my hair when I was younger, a mom that I could laugh with, a mom that I could turn to. Instead, at the age 2 my parents divorced because my mom was too much for my dad to handle, she had paranoid schizophrenia. So I was left with my dad, my two sisters and brother. Things were okay, for a while, until grade 5. We seemed to be happy, but once that front door was shut, my dad got violent. Flipping couches, hitting, kicking, punching, and throwing chairs, shoes and whatever else when he got angry. I never told anybody. My dad’s favorite victim has always been me. It gradually got worse over a couple of years. People were always picking on me. I hated the world at the age 11.
When I’m out and I’m alone I find myself remembering that day when I was 12 and walking home from school alone, I walked through part of the estate that was elderly persons bungalows, I remember someone jumping out on me and pulling me into an empty garden and he pushed me up against the fence and he started touching me he was hurting me, I was frightened and didn’t know what was happening, he heard someone coming and he said that if I told anyone he’d fine me and kill me then he ran off. I pulled myself together and walked the rest of the way home, I decided to keep it quiet in case he did track me down. I was jumpy, and depressed and after a while I felt a bit better but still felt the need to keep it quiet.
I’ve been cutting for about 2 years now, and it’s odd because I don’t have a traumatic life. I was never abused, my parents never had a divorce, no one close to me died. So why do I cut? I don’t know. I do it to see the blood. The pain doesn’t help me; I have a low pain threshhold and it hurts. But I love the sight of my blood. I love knowing that I’m fucked up enough to do that to myself. I see it as physical proof that I’m not normal, that I’m not okay.
The first time I cut was in my freshman year of high school. I had heard about self-mutilation before, in magazine articles, I think, but it had never occurred to me to try it. Until finals in January. I was stressed out already, and the transisiton into high school was not going well. I had been depressed for awhile, but after studying for classes I thought I’d never pass, I just lost it.