Copyright Beth

My best friend had started cutting about four months before me. At the time, I thought she was stupid, couldn’t imagine that anything could be so bad as to make her want to damage herself. The cuts weren’t deep, but I was worried. I loved her more than anyone else, and when my other friend said she was simply attention seeking, I got so cross. Together, we worked though her bad patch. Or should I say, her first bad patch. Four months later, I too began to self harm. At first I scratched my arm with my nails. Scratched until the skin was raw and bleeding. Then, in a week, I started cutting myself with my pen knife. The cuts varied in size, some were thin and shallow, some were nearing one centimeter wide. The worst thing was — I didn’t know why I was cutting. Yes, I felt angry and upset, but most of the time I didn’t know why. Sometimes something that happened would trigger one of my bad moods off, and then I’d have to cut, to let out my feelings. But nothing major happened. Then, about a month in, my PE teacher noticed the scratch on one arm. She asked me to show her the other. When I refused, she made me wait in the office, where she later came and asked me again to show her my other arm. When I did so, revealing the fifty odd cuts, she asked me why. And I couldn’t answer. She told me later that she had spoken to my head of year, but to this date, no more has been said. I don’t think my parents know. I hope they don’t. My best friend does, and she says she worries about me. But she has also started again. Her life is so much more screwed up than mine. It breaks my heart to see her unhappy. I want to change everything for her. And she says she wants to change everything for me. At least we have each other. I couldn’t survive without her. Which is why my cutting gets so much worse when I’m away from her, or when I get jealous of other people being with her. I know she loves me. But I’m still cutting.

Crimson River

Copyright Beth

Healing seems like an unreachable dream on the edge of sanity in which I have long ago plunged head first off of. Plunged head long off into the murky water of insanity and all its impenetrable army of weapons. Weapons of anger which makes it seem as if you simply can not hold it in any longer, threatening to lash out at the outter shell of neutrality. Anger which rips at you inside leaving its ugly marks and wounds on your soul. A soul which then is treated to an unstoppable beating of sadness. Sadness that washes over you and through you, leaving you in pieces just screaming for it to stop on the inside while on the outside you give off a false appearance of normality. Sadness which is possibly the worst emotion of all because it rips deeper. Wounds that will never heal only scab over to a faint throbbing that will always be there when you close your eyes. Little insignificant events and people can make you forget but they will be there when your temporary happiness shows even the slightest sign of weakening. Weakening and then fading until you are overwhelmed with your depression. Thoughts of making it end cloud your mind. A cloud that you can no longer see through and when the people that love you and that you remember loving but can not seem to feel through the depression express their ever growing concerns you smile and tell them you are fine when all you want to do is end it. End it so that you never have to go through these unbearable emotions at even the slightest sign of trouble or unhappiness. Just when you begin to climb up the rocky side of the cliff almost reaching the top almost out of the water which soaks you and weighs you down your hands begin to slip and at one touch or one small statement from those around you, you fall back in feeling all air leaving your body to be suffocated by your own fears. Can’t sleep but can’t stand to be awake for another moment. Sleep brings the things you work your hardest to hide away in the very corners of your soul while you are awake and you must face them whether you are ready or not to face the horrors that have flashed before your eyes before. The memories that flood your mind and you feel what you felt then. The hands on your body the feelings you once felt things that you hoped to never relive come back to you in a matter of moments but the pain lasts much longer. You scream to those around you silently and plead for their help in the confines of your room but even with all of those your silent pleas go unnoticed. The marks go unseen under your the clothes that cover your body as a shield from the world. Looking down at each cut and at each burn they each represent something. Your inability to stop. Your weakness to the calls of pain. Just how much your past gets to you. The blade is sharp and the metal is hot. Make it run make it pop. Make it burn and make it bleed. Give me more and make it end. Slit my wrist feeling the life poor out of me in a crimson river. Is that so much to ask?


Copyright Beth

My name is Beth. I’m fourteen years old, and a freshman in high schol. I have been cutting for almost a year now… I started in january of 2003 I think… I can’t quite remember… Maybe earlier, who knows… I’m not totally sure why I started exactly… I do remember the first time I actually did it…

I had been thinking about it a lot before I actually tried it. I even wrote a short story about it, and I had never done it myself. (I now know, I was suprisingly accurate for not having actual experience). My dad and I got into a really stupid arugment. I don’t remember over what, but I was pissed off. I ran up to my room and decided that that night would be the night I tried cutting. I went into a sort of daze and started frantically searching for something sharp. I even remember which cd I was listening to. I believe I found a pair of scissors to be my only option. I cut every night for a while. With scissors it’s really more scratching than anything else, but I also started carving designs into my shoulder with a broken cd case. Back then it was as much as a release as it was revenge on my parents, and finally having a secret that they didn’t know about.

After I started cutting, I only told two people about it. One of my friends started telling me about how she had cut the night before, so I told her that I had too. Another one of my friends was curious as to why my arm hurt. At first I lied, but then she also confided in me that she had cut, so I told her as well. I started finding out that a lot of people I knew cut. I was surprised. I didn’t know it was such a huge deal. Eventually more people found out. Girls on swimteam and in my gym class would ask about scars. I lied most of the time, and I got pretty good at it. I also came up with techniques for hiding it. I didn’t really care if my friends knew, but I was petrified of the possibility of my parents finding out. I didn’t know what they’d do to me. I was scared that they’d lock me up or something.

Later that spring I ended up telling a teacher that I talked to a lot about my self injury and she was required to inform my parents. A youth leader at my friends church also found out, and one of my friends decided to tell our pastor. My parents got a lot of phone calls that week. When they found out they really didn’t know what to do. I found myself becoming extremely defensive and very quiet. I hated their prying. I hated the questions. Eventually I promised to stop, and people started to leave me alone. I actually did stop for a month or so. I wanted to stop. I didn’t like what I was doing… But eventually I started again, and it was worse than before. I didn’t (and still don’t) want to stop. I was still using scissors, but I also found nails, broken cds, sharp pieces of plastic, and eventually I stole a pocket knife from a church because I was so desparate for something I could cut deeper with. My parents found out that I hadn’t really stopped cutting when a friend of mine decided to rat me out. She found a notebook where I had written some things like “I hate me” in my own blood. She gave it to the same teacher I had talked to before. She again told my parents, but this time, it was off to counseling for me. I was started on anti-depressants. (Which, by the way, I hate.)

By this time I started using razors and such, and I was also carving things into my ankles. I also at this time started talking in depth with a guy that I met online. We talked a lot and I felt pretty close to him. He was cutting at the time (he’s stopped now) and I could just really relate to him. We were actually pretty close friends. I still kind of think of him as being a sort of brother. One night I decided that I was going to kill myself. I was talking to him online, but I was kind of in this trance. I basically told him what I was planning on doing and logged off. He called me right away though and tried to talk me out of it, but I refused. He had a friend who lived in my state, and they ended up calling the police. They came to my house, and obviously, freaked the heck out of my parents. That was about three months ago.

A month or two ago I decided that I just didn’t want to be here anymore. I took a razor to school and tried to slit my wrists in the bathroom. My friends found out and dragged me to the nurse. This of course didn’t help with the medication and counseling situation. I tried to do that a couple of times. I ended up getting grounded and I now see two counselors and a psyciatrist. I’m on a bunch of meds too.

I hate it. I hate everything. I just want people to leave me alone. I can’t answer their questions. I don’t know why I started, I don’t know why I love it so much. There’s so much hidden pain. So many old scars and wounds. I feel like I’m going to explode… That’s why I have to cut… I have to release a part of me, or I will explode… People just don’t understand that all this shit isn’t helping, that this isn’t what I need… I’m not even quite sure what I need myself, but I know this sure as hell isn’t helping…

I use kitchen knives now. I cut on my arms, wrists, ankles, legs… I do it whenever I’m home alone. Otherwise my parents are always checking on me. (They wouldn’t leave me home alone for a while.)

I write a lot to try and let out some of the pain. it just isn’t quite the same… I usually write about cutting anyway, then I just go do it.

I want to break down into a screaming, sobbing, swearing mess on the floor. I need someone to love me inspite of this ugly monster I’ve become. But I know it will never happen.


Copyright Beth

For a long time, I didn’t know that a lot of the things I do were self-destructive or self-harming. I had never been a cutter and I thought that my wishes to be hurt or really, really sick were just attention-getting thoughts. Not that I ever shared them with anyone, so I didn’t get attention for having them. But I guess it was drilled into me as a child by my grandmother that I wasn’t allowed to be sick. She always called me a hypochondriac if I had a cold and didn’t feel better by the second day. I never told my grandmother if I was hurt physically, I’m not entirely sure why. I did some pretty stupid things as a kid, so it was natural that I got hurt a time or two. Like when I tried jumping from a stack of boards into a garage of a house that was being built in my neighborhood. I “forgot” or didn’t realize that the garage had an overhang and I slammed my forehead into it at full jumping speed. Or the time I stepped on a nail, screamed “Oh Shit!”, then brought my other foot down onto another nail. I hobbled home with each foot tied up in a sock. But I never told my grandmother about it. So I guess I wasn’t really looking for attention. Those are silly examples, I realize, but it illustrates my point I hope that I am not and have never been a hypochondriac.

My grandparents adopted me when I was 9. They stopped being grandparents and became very strict and judgemental parents. I was terrified of my grandmother’s displeasure. She never hit me, but she had a tone of voice that could freeze me in my tracks and make me feel 1 inch tall. My grandfather didn’t make much of an impression on me as I was growing up. My grandmother was always the focus of attention.

I think that my grandmother is at the root of a lot of my self-destructiveness. I think I felt invalidated by her. She didn’t believe me when I was sick. She would tell me how I felt if I did tell her I didn’t feel well. “You are feeling better, I can tell” That’s what I would hear on the second day of a cold. By the third day, she would tell me I was a hypochondriac. When I was told at 16 that I had to have surgery on my sinuses, I was thrilled that a doctor had actually diagnosed something tangible, something that my grandmother couldn’t deny. I looked forward to the surgery because it was “real”. It meant that I was real, I suppose. Also when I was 16, I stopped eating. It lasted for a whole summer. It was horrible. The thought of food would make me physically sick to my stomach. To this day, I am not sure what sparked it, but it still happens. I’m in that kind of phase right now. I can’t eat, and if I do eat , I get sick to my stomach.

It didn’t matter what age I was, whether still a child, or after I was married, or even after I was divorced and diagnosed as bi-polar that was the response I got from her, no matter what was wrong. When I started having panic attacks, that was what I heard from her, when I was depressed she would tell me when I was depressed or feeling better. She would tell me to “snap out of it”. To this day, that phrase infuriates me, no matter who i hear it from. To this day, my grandmother tries to tell me how I feel.

The worst of my self-destructiveness started after my divorce. I used to wish I would get Toxic-Shock syndrome from tampons. I drank while taking different antidepressants, even though I knew it would make me feel worse emotionally. I smoked pot, again, even though I knew I would feel much worse afterwards. I constantly wished to be hit by cars, or get into car accidents. I never tried to make that happen, but I wished hard for it. I was sexually active, and though it was always “safe-sex” it was very harmful to my self-esteem at times.

Most of my self-destructiveness was in the form of thoughts until this year. This year, something changed. This year, I started cutting and burning and doing all kinds of things to induce physical pain. Sometimes it was to relieve emotional pain, to control the feelings inside, to bury them. Sometimes, it was to make me feel “real” when I was numb and empty.

When it first started, early in the year, I didn’t try to hide it. To me it was a symbol that there was something going very wrong in my life, even if I couldn’t identify what the “wrong” was. I felt I needed it to be seen so that my doctor or therapist would help me. The more I needed help, it seemed the less available it was. That help still isn’t available, no one seems to know how to help me. My psychiatrist told me flat out that he couldn’t help me and that I should call my therapist. The two attempts of suicide that I made were cries for help when help didn’t seem available. “If there’s no help, then let me go”. I still get that way sometimes simply out of desperation.

I started hearing from my family that I “wear it as a badge”. Again, like I am a hypochondriac. I started hiding it from everyone but my therapist. It scares me terribly, but when the urge hits me, it’s so hard to keep myself from doing it. At first, I had no control of it at all. If the thought entered my head, I had to cut or burn or whatever. I’ve been gradually gaining some control over it, but only when the urges start slow. I can fight them when the thoughts come one at a time, I can put off doing what I want to do. Eventually, the urges fade and it’s like they were never there, until the next time. It’s when the thoughts/urges come on out of nowhere, fast and furious, that I have a hard time controlling my actions. It’s like I dont have time to prepare myself. I dont even want to “not want to”, if that makes any sense.

I’ve asked my therapist many times over the years, “How do I make myself want to stop wanting to be self-destructive”? As of yet, I haven’t gotten a good answer for this question . The best my therapist has come up with is that “Cutting just isn’t an option for you”. That doesn’t help me at all. Mainly because when the desire to hurt is there, it seems to be the only option. It’s like saying “Just say no”. Easier said than done.


Permanent location: