The story that has yet to end…
Copyright Raven Dreams
Well, I’ve been into self-harm since the sixth grade. I’m now in the eleventh. It’s been five years. I hadn’t even realised that until now.
I started because I thought it was cool. My older sister had done it once, and I wanted to mimic her, so I got a little sewing kit of my mom’s out and used the tiny knife in it. I don’t remember what I wrote, but when some people saw it at school, I took the liberty of showing them how it was done. But this time I did it with a pencil. After that, I realised that others didn’t really think of it as cool. So, I stopped doing it so publicly. None of my friends knew I was doing it. I didn’t even realise what I was doing at the time. I just did it sometimes when I was frustrated. It was never really deep. I just did it with paper clips, safety pins, staples, and whatever else I could get my hands on easily. This ‘minor’ cutting, as I refer to it, continued through the seventh grade. I made it public a couple more times in class, but teachers never caught me and everyone around me were so sheltered (including myself) that none of us knew the extent of what I was doing. My peers would just tell me to stop, and that was the end of it.
In eighth grade, a couple of my friends and I were at home alone and felt like experimenting. I don’t know why we did it really. We each carved a name or a phrase into a body part. I carved some band name into my arm, while they each did something on their legs. Well, one of my friends’ brothers finally came back and caught us. He ‘told on us’ to her mother whenever my mother was there to pick me up. They yelled a bit, told us to never do it again, and I believe they smacked us around a bit. I don’t really remember. We still didn’t understand the extent of our actions, and no one told us. They just told us not to do it again.
In ninth grade, things started to deepen for me. I was pretty depressed. Over the summer, I had finally let some truths known to my friends and family. The truth? That I had been molested as a child. From the age of seven to the age of eleven. I think that may be one reason for my dark outlook on everything. It’s an outlook that I’ve always seemed to have had. Especially since I was ten or so… when I realised what was actually going on with the molestation thing. Well, I finally told my parents, and that started a lot of things. They called the Department of Human Resources, and suddenly I felt like my whole life was being analysed. I felt horrible because I had only wanted to get the experience off of my chest… but unfortunately it was something much more serious than that.
Soon after all of the interviews and interrogations, school started. If I hadn’t already felt alone, then I did so soon enough. In late August I learnt that I would be moving away from my hometown. It was heart-wrenching to say the least. I had grown up in the small town and to leave it all was beyond comprehension for me. Already I felt so apart from everyone else, but now I felt that no one understood at all. So, I turned back to my old time habit of cutting. I did it with paper clips and safety pins. This time, I understood exactly what I was doing and why I was doing it. Unfortunately, others seemed to also. When they saw the cuts on my wrist, they turned to each other and some adults. One day they all ganged up on me and confronted me about it. I think it may have made it worse, but I stopped for a bit when a friend wrote a story for me. It was about how she was afraid that I might commit suicide, so instead I turned to poetry. I couldn’t talk to anyone about it, because it seemed that no one understood… before I knew it, my time with them was over. It was time for me to move.
I began to regret my behaviour toward my friends for the three months that I knew I was moving. I began to hate myself even more because I realised how childish I was being. Instead of cherishing the last few months that I would see my friends constantly, I grew distant, cold, and even pushed away my best friends. I felt stupid and weak. I hated everything about my world around me, and especially myself. It was a horrible time for me.
Once I moved, my feelings of hatred only grew more intense. Now I didn’t have the support of my friends that I had so childishly taken for granted. I had no one. I lived in a completely different state, and a big city almost the exact opposite of my small home town. I didn’t even want to try to make friends; a foolish mistake.
One night, I realised that I had been using petty tools for cutting. I pulled out a shaving razor and managed to break the blade free from the plastic. It became my new best friend. Within a month of living in my new city, I had been able to make the most beautiful works of art across my wrists and legs. But one day it was too much. My parents and I were getting into some sort of argument and I lost all self-control. I pulled up my sleeve and showed them my cuts.
A couple days later I found myself sitting in a ‘Behavioural Health Institution’ where I was being evaluated. I still remember the exact number of cuts on my body at that time: thirteen on my left wrist, one on my right, and three on my left leg. The scars still show, though they’ve grown pale. That night, when I was being interrogated, I didn’t care anymore. I told them the complete truth, right in front of my parents. I told them about how I had attempted suicide two times previous. Once in seventh grade by taking half a bottle of Tylenol, and once in ninth grade when I dug into my wrist with a safety pin. I also told about how I had been into self-harm on and off since the sixth grade. Now I regret causing my parents the pain of realisation, but I know that then I couldn’t have cared less. Needless to say, I was admitted into the institution. I stayed there for two weeks under the careful eyes of many nurses with other teens. We weren’t allowed toothpaste in our rooms, we weren’t allowed to shave, and everything was harm proof. It was hell for me, but I learnt many tricks: how to lie and make them believe that you’re being 100% honest, how to say only what they want to hear, and how to create a heavier shell to hide ones true thoughts and feelings.
I was put on two different medications. An anti-depressant, and an anti-psychotic (aids in my sleep and keeps me from having flashbacks to when I was molested). As I said, I was there for two weeks, then released, because I had everyone fooled that I was completely better. How wrong they were. I think that it could have possibly made me worse. Within two weeks of being released, I had fifty-seven new cuts.
Since then, I have continued to take my anti-depressant and anti-psychotic. I still cut from time to time, though some periods are more intense than others, such as a series of cuts each day for a week or two, while other times I may go almost a month without causing myself any harm. Right now, I have no cuts, yet many scars. But I know that my days of self-harm are nowhere near being over.
I still have yet to go to trial against the man who molested me, but we (my family) hope that it will be the next term. (There are only two, two-week terms per year. My trial has been ‘postponed’ at least five times.) I know that getting through the trial will be but one step of a full-recovery. Both from the emotional pain and the self-harm that stems from it.
Accepting myself and both my good and bad traits is another step, but I know that I’m not prepared to take it. It’s much easier for me to blame myself for everything bad that happens than to say that it couldn’t be helped. I know that I can’t believe that because I’m a person that likes to have control, and I don’t like to admit that I couldn’t control something, so I’d much rather blame myself. But, with diligence and determination, I will get there someday.
I hope to be able to relieve myself of the thoughts of self-loathing, self-ridicule, and other things that I do to bring myself down. Sometimes I still feel that if I had never told anyone that I had been molested, that maybe, just maybe, things wouldn’t be as bad as they are now. But deep down I know that it isn’t true, and slowly I’m trying to coax myself into believing that. And I’m trying to relieve myself of the guilt of three of my friends cutting. I feel that it was my fault for them falling into the same world of addiction and depression that I am a part of, and I hope that I may stop blaming myself. But I also have to face the realisation that I’ll probably never completely forgive myself, but I can only hope… and if I fall into cutting again, I’ll just have to continue writing my story; I just might have to scratch out some failures and write something new.