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A Life Without Self-Harm?

Copyright, Anonymous

At the point at which I am now at with my harming, I can somehow step back and see where I was, and where others seem to be. As I have read through other peoples’ sites, one thing seems to have constantly come into view. All these people say that they want to stop harming, but I do not believe this. I am not trying to be awful about it, and I would love for all those people to truly mean it, but I feel that they are where I was.

It’s like I have got out of this hole that all self-harmers are in, and I am looking down on all those people who say they want to stop. I can’t quite explain what I mean, but it’s almost like I have woken up from a dream. Ok I am still cutting, but only very rarly and it doesn’t have any effect for me, it’s just that it’s the only thing I have for coping with things.

It’s almost like self-harm traps you, and puts you in this cage, and fills your mind with all this self-hatred, all these bad things that makes you have no hope of ever stopping what you are doing. It sends you on this vicious cycle that you can’t get off. You start to convince yourself that after each time you have cut, it will be your last, but it never is. Saying it is one thing, but meaning it and doing something about it is a completely different thing. And to be honest, I think it’s easier to convince yourself that you want to stop than those around you. Because you can convince yourself and not expect yourself to do anything about it, but other people will expect you to do something about it and show that you mean what you say.

I was not prepared by any means when I first wanted to or should I say tried to stop harming. I didn’t want to stop, not if I’m honest with myself, and therefore I felt like people were trying to take part of me away and I didn’t want that, so I harmed more in order to keep hold of myself. And it’s taken just over a year of me constantly trying to convince myself that I do want to stop, before I actually meant it. During that year I have discovered just how hard it is going to be, and therefore I know that it is an almost impossible task to stop when you truly don’t want to.

I think that one of the main reasons that people find it so hard to stop is that self-harm has such an overwhemling hold on you. But also I think that it is hard to continue to try so hard when you are being tested all the time. And when you haven’t got your guard up as much as normal, and you let the feeling take over and you cut again, it really does damage that want to stop. Inevitably people resort back to harming as it is easier to do it than to try and stop.

It certainly isn’t easy to stop. There is a constant battle going on in your head. Part of you saying that you don’t need or want to harm, and the other part saying that you need to have that part of you back. And it is part of you, that’s what’s so awful about it all, that cutting becomes part of you. You feel like you aren’t a whole person if you don’t have your harming. So this extra hold that it has over you is one of the hardest things to break free from.

The one sure thing is that it is entirely up to you when you stop. No one can force you stop, as much as they may try. And how you stop is up to you as well. Whether it be gradually reducing your harming until you no longer do it, or to stop just like that is up to you. I found, and still find it hard to imagine what it would be like if I didn’t cut. I mean, I haven’t always done it, but then I can’t imagine what I was like before as that is the past, and I’m a different person now. So with that in mind, I guess the only thing left for me to do is to try and make my life what I want it to be like. And that is hard as I don’t see myself with a life if I don’t have cutting in it.

Through it all though, I know that though I can’t see myself without cutting, it doesn’t mean I can’t exist without it. And that goes for everyone else as well. I think that if you have something to work towards, yet take things day by day, you can all get through this. I know that sounds like a contradiction to think about the future yet take each day as it comes, but I think that if you focus too much on the future you’ll find it becomes too hard to try and stop harming; the thought of going for so long without harming may well be too much to take.

There is a future without harming for all of you. It’s just waiting for you to reach out and grab it. There are people there to help point you in the right direction, and once on the right track, it will be worth while staying on it.

I Need it. I Want it. I Love it…

Copyright, Anonymous

I remember the first time I took a razor to my wrist and slashed the blade horizontally across my skin. I was in the sixth grade then. Now I am a junior, still very young, and still very plagued with this scarring obsession. I started because I was infuriated with the world and people around me. After the first mark, and seeing the blood, flooding at the edges, I became so calm. So eerily calm and happy that it frightened me.

From then on, everytime I felt upset, angry, confused, frustrated, sad, ashamed, guilty, lonely, ugly, fat, stupid, happy even, I cut. I cut during the day, I cut during the night. I cut when I was at school, a birthday party, shopping mall. I was a cutter, and I loved it. I’ve attempted suicide 3 times in my short life so far, once, almost successfully. But when I cut, I do not cut to end my life, I cut because it helps me get through pain and sadness, as well as anger. When I am angry, I become violently angry. My motto to myself is, “If I can’t make you bleed, then I will make myself bleed.” In other words, if I can’t hurt or cut the people making me upset, then I will hurt myself. Which is ultimately better if you think about it.

In the beginning, I would cut once a week, or even just once every few weeks. But as I got older, and as the pressures of highschool became more intense for me, the mutilation I subjected myself to became worse. Severely worse.

I know what you’re thinking. “She probably amputated her leg or something.” No, I can honestly say I never amputated anything, even though once in the ninth grade I started cutting off my earlobe, but decided not to finish because I wouldn’t know how to tell my mom what had happened. But starting in the ninth grade, I felt as though my life was on the edge, and my sanity was on the line. For the next two years my mind had engrossed itself in a sort of apathetic state. I didn’t feel happy, or afraid, timid or weak, sad or confused. No, I wasn’t sad, I was depressed and so utterly alone and isolated from the ‘course of human events.’

I didn’t care about anything. I didn’t care about my friends, or my family, or my work at school (although for some odd reason I managed to pull A’s and B’s in all honors courses). And the way I made up for that enormous void in my life, was through cutting. Soon, the cutting became more intense, more deep and bloody. The entire day, my mind was preoccupied with worries about “what could I use in this room?” Everyday, my schedule went as follows: I woke up in the morning for school; I took a shower (cut myself with razor blades); Went to school (cut myself with the spiral wires from my notebooks); Went home, did homework (gave myself numerous papercuts); Went on the computer for a couple hours (and in the meantime, slashed at my body with a screwdriver); And finally, before going to bed, I’d take out my most favorite, my most beloved toy: A glass Shard from a broken mirror. This was my prized possession, mostly because it cut so effortlessly. I would slash back and forth anywhere on my body that I found particularly numb that day, and seconds after the first incision, it poured out like a stream into a lake.

I have so many scars. Many deep, many still healing. I love all my scars. They are like battle wounds to me, and I’m proud of them. When I feel sad and there is no way for me to cut, I just hold my wrist, or lie on my arm where the scars are, because they comfort me. I love them. They’re my children.

The cuts all range in size from a pin-puncture wound, to a small chunk of my thigh, to a 13 inch laceration from my wrist to the middle of my upper arm, to a deep slash in my hip. That one was fun. That night, I felt so overwhelmed and I just needed to see blood. So, I went into my bathroom with my glass chard, raised my left arm over my head, and quickly but deeply, slashed my hip. The feeling was so heated and stinging, but not content with my work; not yet anyways. So I slashed again, and again, over and over again. Then, I felt something wet drip down my leg and onto my feet. I looked down. I was standing in a puddle of blood, and I didn’t know it. I looked at the gash I made. It was gaping open, as if something right out of a horror film. The blood was piling to the rim of my flesh, then ever so slowly running outward, then dripping fast down my leg to the floor. I felt relieved. I felt calm and happy. I loved it. But all at once I got scared. It was still bleeding, and I didn’t know what to do or how to make it stop. Everytime I moved it bled even more. Finally, as a last resort, I took piles and piles of toilet paper and pressed hard against the cut. After applying pressure for about 10 minutes, it started to slow down. So I wrapped it with a face cloth, secured by masking tape I found in the cabitnet, then I took more toilet paper and cleaned up the mess on the floor. That night was the best feeling ever. It was orgasmic.

I love the color, of blood. Every time I cut it filled my mind with images. I needed to see more and more of it. So I would keep cutting. It poured out so fast, and the pain felt so incredibly good. The pain was pleasuring to me. I love it so much. The pain felt so good, that I would sometimes cry from the feelings of happiness I would receive from it.

I don’t exactly know why I was so obsessed with mutilation. Maybe it was because I was really depressed; or maybe it was because I felt so empty and my life was so full of void and unhappiness, that the feeling I get from cutting myself made up for that empty feeling. I don’t know. But I was addicted. I never had to be hospitalized for any of the cuts that I made, even though sometimes I think I should have been. If you saw me now, without bracelets or pants or a shirt on, you would see the scars. I can’t wear a bikini. I can’t wear shorts or a tank top or a t-shirt even, without applying coverup on the scars for 20 minutes. On my wrists, I wear bracelets. Big, thick bracelets that cover my arms. I am not a ‘punk’ kind of girl, nor am I ‘gothic’ or into ‘hardcore rock’ music. But people see me wearing my arms all the way up with bracelets, and call me a poser, because I don’t like heavy metal or punk, and yet I still wear the bracelets. Little do they know.

I am just an ordinary girl. I have never been raped, or abandoned. I don’t know why I feel the way I do. I just don’t know anything anymore. I’ve thought about the genetics aspect. Two of my aunts were placed in institutions for mental diseases, and my grandfather and father have both suffered from bipolar disorder and severe depression. I try to tell myself that it will all pass, like it did with my dad when he was sick. But I just don’t think that is going to happen. I see no future for me. And so I continue to slash at my wrist and my body, and will continue to cover it up with coverup and bracelets.

It’s been 3 weeks since my last cut. I have been feeling more adequate and secure with myself. I am almost happy. But I know it’s all coming back. I’m in school again, and I know the same inadequate, isolated feelings will come back, and I will cut myself to make up for it. Cutting, in the long view, has stopped my from doing things that I want to do. I can’t wear ‘sexy’ clothes without putting coverup all over my body. I can’t take my karate classes anymore because the outfits do not fully cover my wrists, and people have questioned me about it. My mom and sister, along with a few of my friends have noticed it. My mom just yells at me, and tells me that “this kind of violence is not allowed in my house” and other bull like that. I have to wear bracelets, and I hate them with a passion now. I have to be carefull not to raise my hand fully, or rest my head on my hand at school for fear of someone noticing the scars. I am ashamed of my problem, but with all the obstacles in my way, I still will not stop. I want to cut. I need to cut. I love to cut.

A Letter to Self-Injury

Anonymous, original location

October 2, 1998

Dear Cutting,

You have helped me tremendously over the past two years. In the beginning, the very first time, I used you for attention. As much as I don’t like to admit it, that’s what I did. It was negative attention and I found that I was uncomfortable by that attention. I felt I deserved your darkness, cutting. And when I was angry, I cut to calm down and I felt that it was the only real way to express the terrible rage I felt toward my parents, my mom’s boyfriends, and most of all myself. I cut when I was sad and broken, which was behind my anger. And it got to the point where I cut when I was content. I’ve never been truly “happy.” I cut to feel clean again, though I can’t quite remember what made me feel dirty. You became my addiction after two or three months. Cutting made me feel strong and in control. I couldn’t make my dad stop drinking, I couldn’t make my mom stop throwing up or admit what she did in Cambridge, I couldn’t change the past. I never could and never will. But I did cut. I cut a lot. I had my own ritual and every time I followed my ritual I felt stronger at first, and then ashamed. So incredibly ashamed. When I tried to cry, no tears came. So I cried bloody tears. It made me feel crazy and to this day I understand most of the reasons but not all of them. I won’t forget the sad, disgusted, angry looks of therapists, parents, friends, and hospital staff. I haven’t used you in a long time but I never thought of writing you a letter. Now I am saying goodbye, cutting. Goodbye to the security, the false control, the shame; and thank you for keeping me alive during the most difficult times.

Sincerely, Anonymous

Living with Self-Injury

Copyright, Anonymous

I am a 19 year-old female, born to exceptional parents and with a childhood that, save an unspeakable incident or two, was sufficiently perfect. I went to a school for gifted children in kindergarten, I skipped the first grade, I taught myself how to read at the age of two, and I was, according to family, friends, and teachers, an exceptional child. I graduated from high school at the top 10% of my class and was the youngest graduate of the first graduating class at 16 years of age. I went to a private university, where I co-founded a now-growing Christian, student-run ministry. I was a double major in Communications and Musical Theater.

Although everything seemed to be fine on the outside, I was beginning to fumble on the inside. My attitude had been changing for some time, my values and morals. Beneath that confident air that I exhumed, I was insecure, frightened, paranoid, hypochondriatic, depressed, innocent. I knew nothing of anything, even though I was a “brain”. I made friends quickly, but I was very insecure about losing them. Still, I was full of energy, tough as nails like my daddy had taught me to be.

Somewhere along the line, however, I started faling apart. My grades were dropping fast, I was in a troubled relationship with someone who, just four or five months ago disappeared without a trace, someone who I still love with every part of me, I started to drink, and I began to lose my friends, my perspective, my life. I found an escape initially in drinking. However, when I realized that I was losing control of that, I stopped, or rather I was forced to stop.

Then one day, feeling rather numb and not very rational, I walked into the campus store, bought razor blades and steriled gauze, and went to my room, where I began to cut the left inside of my forearm. It was a release, I felt somewhat calm, more in touch with reality. I also felt free. I had finally found a way to punish myself without having to completely lose control… or so I thought. All of my turmoil in college culminated with a suicide attempt, overdosing on Wellbutrin, an anti-depressant that had been provided by my school therapist without prescription. I spent one night in ICU. I spent two days at the mental health center. Then I withdrew from school and went home.

I sit in front of this computer tonight, an SI’er for four or five months, doing everything from cutting to burning to biting. Self-Injury, or self mutlation as many people know it, can come in many forms. Although the most common is cutting, burning is common as well. People resort to SI for many reasons: to feel alive, to disassociate from reality, to punish themselves, to feel pain, to physicalize their emotional pain. It is mostly used as a coping mechanish, a stress manager of sorts. Although some of us who SI have attempted suicide, SI behaviour has nothing to do with suicide.Seldom are people with SI suicidal. It is merely a person’s way to cope. Some people smoke, some drink, some cut…


Copyright, Anonymous

I am a 22 y/o female from the Caribbean. My problems were initiated since my childhood, case being: I was molested from the ages of 6–10 by a friend of the family. After this age, these incidents were completely blocked from my memory until I reached the age of 15. Depression overtook me at this time.

As a result of what happened, I was of the impression that all men were evil and I should stay away. Because of this, I thought I would make myself look ugly by eating and getting fat. But at 13 years old, I lost the weight and any relationship I got myself into, I ended up hurting them. At 15–16 years old, I kept on losing weight until I started to become pale and skinny. I was terribly depressed and was put on anti-depressants. All I knew, was that I always felt a pain deep inside of me.

So that’s when I started cutting myself and drinking alot. I would spend most of my time sleeping so I just wouldn’t feel the pain and on the days that I had no choice but to be awake, I would take a razor and pierce my skin just. It gave me a comfort I think; that there was a pain worse than what I was feeling in my heart and this was a pain that I could control (depending on how deep I cut).

But the more I cut, the pain in my heart grew so I was forced to cut more. Twice, I attepted suicide. One of the times, I remember taking a box (20) caffeine tabs while also drinking. The next morning, my body was completely numb and started turning blue. I was hospitalised for a few days. This is where I met a young nurse who took personal interest in me. She was awed by the way I spent every moment of the day crying. I did this because, at the hospital, I was out of control of my actions. Food was being forced, I couldn’t sleep and my self injury was exposed.

She spent an entire night talking to me and eventually got the truth out of me about my childhood, which brought on tons of horrid memories that I had been blocking for years. She made me tell my mom, but I knew it would not make things better. Not that my mom doesn’t care for me. She loves me very much, but she is not the type of person to deal with things like that. It was easier for her to pretend she didnt hear. She cried when she found out, and I know she wanted to help, but I understand the way she is, and I knew she couldn’t do much.

After a few weeks, I pretended that I was fine, just so she wouldn’t feel badly; it didn’t make any sense for both of us to be going through the pain. She had more than enough to deal with, since my dad was not an easy person to live with at all! Also, to show that I could control things, I stopped eating. Then, when people started becoming suspicious, I tried vomiting. I started becoming obsessed with it. And started cutting out pictures of skinny girls from magazines and sticking them up, just so I would be motivated.

I have been in this condition for 7 years now. I have been on different medications and been hospitalized many times. I may not be as obsessed, but I am still depressed alot, I vomit most of the times (not always), and ocassionally I still cut myself. I have scars on my arms and I know they will never go away. I am not proud of them and I know it is wrong. I hope that one day I will start changing, but this have become a way of life for me. I see things to an extreme. If someone tells me I look fatter, I feel like hurting myself because I think that I’m unworthy of being alive and happy for putting on as much as one pound.

I’ve spoken to doctors about this, but I honestly don’t think that you can really understand this, till you’ve lived it. I think that other people think that we don’t understand how unhealthy it is to do this. My doctors and family try giving me advice on healtly low-fat foods. They try giving me exercise tips and stuff like that.

They’ve got it all wrong. We know all this. Maybe even more so, because we feel the effects and the pain our body feels. They don’t realize that the reason we do this is so that we can feel the pain; we want to punish ourselves! Maybe, if we didn’t know the damage it causes, we wouldn’t do it. Most of you people have it all wrong like that. We don’t do this because we’re selfish, we don’t care, we have nothing better to do or we just want attention or think it’s the “hip” thing to do. It is a disease. I know there are the silly ones out there who think it is cool and it’s fun. I don’t understand for the life of me, why anyone would choose to be like this! It’s ruined my life in many ways. I have nasty scars on my arms that I’ll have to see for the rest of my life. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, wondering why my heart is beating so fast and if I’ll make it to the morning. This is not fun!

It’s so hard to explain. I hate it, but if I don’t do these things, I get breakdowns and start feeling ugly and insecure. I hate that I need this, but I have tried. And I’m still hoping that one day I will see things normally.

To Have Felt Pleasure in Pain

Copyright, Anonymous

I cannot recount the thousands of things that have influenced my depression with one measly pen and sheet of paper. However I can tell what has progressed through me within the last 6 months time. Also I can relate exactly what I have been diagnosed with by the psychologists I have allowed myself to visit.

My first therapist was Anna, who I had a strained doctor-patient relationship with for the simple fact that my paranoia got the best of me and I was afraid that she hated me. Then, at one of our sessions, she told me that because I wore big pants, all black, and had every color of the rainbow hair, I was asking for trouble. This statement went against every moral fiber within my body, so I stopped seeing her indefinately. I stopped therapy all together for a year, and things with me greatly fluctuated, my moods especially.

This past fall my mom thought it best that I started seeing someone new, so that was when I met my current psychotherapist, Evan. For some reason I could get along with him better. Maybe it was because he was male (I always seem to trust men more; maybe because my paranoia had lessened, I’m unsure).

Around the same time I became friends with a guy named Tom. He was also depressed, had sexual identity issues, didn’t believe in organized religion, and fought the taunting at school daily. We had a lot in common, so we became fast friends. Things went downhill, slowly but surely. I had been slashing myself with razors, pins, glass, anything sharp, for quite sometime. And with Tom, my monthly cutting progressed, mostly due to the fact that he did it too, so that gave me the false security that it was normal. I have so many scars, most of them simple lines, but I also have the word hate, a heart with an X through it, and several upside down crosses all over my body.

The blood and pain made me happy. It sounds pretty scary, but this is not a rare occurrence among people who suffer from depression. Most of them also find a certain peace in self-mutilation.

I had been snowballing for near ten years when one day, following a fight with my parents, I went into my bedroom in a rage. I took my oldest, most reliable razor blade and proceeded to slice my wrists. I moved to the bathroom, locked the door and attempted to finish. My mother discovered me. That ended that and I didn’t bleed too badly, not enough to actually die. My parents were very saddened by it all, and it was planned that I would be in lock-up.

After my ‘brush with death’ I decided to take my life back. I’m working up to it, but all of these new emotions are alien to me. I’ve always suppressed every feeling other than sadness. And now I feel alive; it’s scary but I think I can manage. Retaking your life after depression is a lot like going through chemical rehabilitation; you have to take it one day at a time.

So far I have ended my mutilating relationship with Tom, and successfully stayed ‘clean’ so to speak, since January. I have begun doing things on my own, and relaying my emotions to those whom I’m close to. Like I said, It isn’t much, but I’m taking it one day at a time.

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