Copyright, Carolann

My personal story is, I would imagine, a long and complicated saga just like most people who have joined, even if many people don’t see it as such. We all have our stories behind us and some are here for worse reasons than others. Mine is no different. Please read what you want. I’m sure it will be long.

If you read about self harm in articles and books and things, it reads that many people who self harm have been abused as children and most of these people have had horrible or worse childhoods I think and just… My life wasn’t all that bad and sometimes I even feel guilty for my self harm (I tend to just call it cutting, but it is other things too). I feel guilty because it’s almost as if compared to other’s stories, there is no reason for me to do what I do, and that I should just appreciate what I have and be thankful I am not so unfortunate. But then I can still believe that it is a coping mechanism and it helps me to release my pain and anger and frustration. I think that everyone handles different situations differently and some people hurt more because of some things than maybe someone else would. That’s why I try not to feel guilty. I choose to do what I do and sometimes yes I feel it would be better if I didn’t but it wouldn’t change much and then the other side says why bother because maybe it would be easier to kill myself anyway. It’s a two-sided subject and there is a right and wrong answer, but sometimes you want the one that’s wrong.

OK, here’s my story.

I had a happy childhood. I lived in a nice house with nice neighbours and nice kids and my parents my two sisters and my cats. We were happy, but my parents soon grew out of their happiness and I guess just like everyone’s parents, they fought a lot of the time. They didn’t know how to compromise anymore and they didn’t know how to agree and they didn’t know how to perceive each other is how I think it seems. Their fighting had effects on all of us. But my problems were not just at home. In school I always had problems keeping friends. I don’t even remember having a friend for numerous years who I was close to. They all just didn’t want to be friends with me anymore. And worse off is that it normally ended up with the person not caring that they hurt me. And it’s not like I was the bossy one or the conceited one who pushed everyone around. I was an extremely shy and quiet little girl. I made friends and they stopped wanting to be my friend back. I always did well in school and since I am the oldest of my siblings, it was expected of me to do well and work toward my parents’ expectations. I helped around the house and I was nice to my sisters. They were proud of me. But the effects of the kids at school and the way I was just tormented by those who were my friend and then stopped wanting me around was just too much. The minute I finally felt like I belonged, the friends would stop talking to me and they would leave me alone and ignore me. They were people who knew they could push me around and that they didn’t need to give a damn about me. As of who I am now, I probably would have handled things differently because I know how to be angry now. Back then I had no clue how I could feel so sad, but I closed myself off to the world. I didn’t get angry because I didn’t feel I had the right to be angry. I felt that everything that had happened to cause me the sadness I felt, was my fault. Who knows. It started with all the hurt I felt and all the things that had hurt me in my life. But looking back on it now is the only way I can see what really happened because at the time, I had no idea that anything was wrong. Ever. It was probably in my 7th grade year that I really began to become depressive. At that point though I just thought that I was normal. I didn’t realise I seemed sad or withdrawn or anything. I just felt like I didn’t belong and that I had nowhere to be and that things were my fault and my life was bad. It really wasn’t but by 8th grade I was depressed and I had no idea. My friends from then have told me now that they honestly thought I was suicidal, when I could never have thought such horrible things back then. I didn’t know much about mental illnesses and no one saw it well enough to help me. When a boy started to like me at the end of 8th grade I pulled myself out of it. No guy wants to like a sad girl who will be no fun. They want to like a fun, outgoing person. So I thought I had really passed that part of my life and was happy. I realised later that I had just become a really good actress. Well that was a shortlived thing with some boy I don’t really remember and by 9th grade I was back where I started but I knew how to make people believe there was nothing wrong. I had new friends and I had come out of my shell a little bit. But I only learnt about the fact that I was depressed when I read about it in school. We had to write a paper on depression for health class and it was through that that I realised what had been up with me over the past few years. It didn’t seem possible for such a thing. I had a good family, I was smart, I was ‘happy’, I was normal. But then if I look back, I had no self-esteem, I had no self-confidence, I worried about everything and I was sad all the time. I didn’t believe in myself which is why I thought everything bad was my fault and things like that. I don’t remember too much of my 9th grade year, until the end of it. I started getting into more fights with my parents and my sister who is only a year younger than me, we fought constantly. She didn’t need to live in the real world. My mom let her do what she wanted, when she wanted, and she didn’t have to worry about life. I hate that about her. Toward the end of 9th grade, I was told to read a book called Pure. It was about a girl having a tough time in high school with her classmates, boys, and her family. She ended up slipping into self harm by writing the word HATE on her arm with a compass’s point. She became a cutter. It was a shocking book, but I was so intrigued by it. I thought I could never do something like that. Pain. Making yourself feel pain on purpose? Pain is a bad thing. That’s what you’re taught and that is what you know when your a kid and you scrape your knee. You don’t want to feel it again. I don’t remember much of the time between reading that book and when I began self harming. I just know it was June and I was sitting in my room of my old house and I had plans to go out with my friend Karen that night. She cancelled on me and I can’t believe I ended up being so upset over it that I cried, a lot. At the time I just felt hurt, now it’s embarrassing that I cried over something that stupid, but the only way I can explain such an action is that it wasn’t just that my friend had cancelled on me. Everything that I had been feeling for so long had just come down to this. This trigger had set me off and sent all the pain I had felt over the years flooding back. It was like an explosion. I hurt, I hated myself, I hated my family, I hated the people who had hurt me, I hated the way I acted and I just hated the world. I didn’t know what to do and I guess a flashback of that book and the girl who cut herself with a compass passed through my head because I opened my desk drawer and pulled out a compass and before I knew what I was doing I was digging it into my forearm. I didn’t feel physical pain. It calmed me. It stopped the explosion of my pain and my hurt. It was just that trigger that finally made me release my pain, even if it was on myself. The first line didn’t show up. It was just puffy and red, but I dug the compass in again and a small red line showed up. I stopped, I didn’t really bleed, but I kept looking at it the rest of the day. I don’t remember what I thought about it because I knew it was wrong, but it didn’t seem so horrible to me. I still do not really understand it at all. But I think I liked the red line the compass left on my skin. That’s the only thing I can think because I kept doing it.

I remember going to school with two cuts on my arm from a compass and it was June, so I had to wear short sleeves. Two people in my art class asked me about them and I hadn’t even thought to think of an excuse before then and I just said they were nothing and then when they asked again I blamed it on my cat. They looked nothing like cat scratches. I guess school ended. I really don’t remember too much. I know those cuts healed and I know I didn’t do it too often after that. It was summer and I had to wear short sleeves and a bathing suit and things like that. I know by January of my 10th grade year that I had the two on my forearm, one on each thigh, one on each knee. They were done with a mixture of the compass and a knife. Thinking about it right now I don’t remember the first cut on my body that was done with a razor blade. I remember getting my razor and pulling the blades out of it to cut myself but I don’t remember which cut it was that was my first, maybe the one on my knee. But by January I had told a friend of mine because I think I got scared and I think I was asked about it. I couldn’t really handle it anymore and I wrote her a note about it. I don’t remember what I wrote but I was told it sounded like a suicide note. My friends mocked me for it and wouldn’t talk to me for it so I made my worst cut on my ankle. I don’t remember it hurting but I haven’t done a cut that bad in a long time. I was numb. I felt numb to everything, every feeling every pain everything. That cut hurt for weeks. I had a new boyfriend at the time, but I wasn’t having fun and I don’t even remember what he looks like or what we did or anything much like that. I know he broke up with me the day before valentine’s day, partly because of that friend of mine and I got angry at her. But petty little things lead to more pain for me. They made an ‘i hate (insert my name)’ club on the internet talking about what shit I am. Those words broke me, they hurt me so bad because it was like for the first time, other people thought what I thought, and maybe I wasn’t wrong in my thinking that I am a horrible person. I planned to kill myself after that night. I almost did the night he broke up with me I was hurt so badly. But I waited till I think two weeks later, but chickened out and made plans to go out instead. At the end of February I ended up scratching up my arm. No blade, I just took the skin off my arm with my fingernails. It burned when I touched it. But the pain would climax and then calm, it felt good and I tried to see how much I could take of it. My parents were fighting horribly by now and it was then that I called a close friend of mine and told her that I had done what I did to my arm. She didn’t tell me what she thought. Between then and May I had only cut once on my ankle again, with a compass and it was in May that my world came crashing down. That girl went to our school guidance and told them about it, thinking they would help me. In two months she imagined me getting worse and worse until finally she told the school who brought me in and sent me home with my dad. My dad yelled at me, my mom cried, my friend told everyone she knew, and nothing was done to help me anyway. Needless to say, we stopped being friends after that. Only a month later was our accident, which was the breaking point of my family.

It was a normal day at school and it was a Wednesday because me and my sister were going to volunteer at the hospital that day. It was my sister’s first time volunteering and we came home from school and I suggested I drive. I was trying to get as much driving experience as I could and I had had my permit a few months and I thought, it’s not a hard drive, I can drive us there. It was seriously only a five minute drive from my house. Well, turning into the hospital, a left, I had plenty of time, but I didn’t hit the gas hard enough and I don’t think the other car saw us, but the car coming from the opposite direction hit the back passenger seat right where my sister was sitting. Our car spun around and I couldn’t even believe what had happened, I was hysterical and my sister was bleeding everywhere from cuts on her face from the broken window. We had never been in an accident and this was my fault. I didn’t even have my license. My mom went to the hospital with my sister, who broke her pelvis and lacerated her liver, which put her in the hospital for a week and after that she couldn’t walk. My mom abandoned me at this point. Or that’s how I felt. It was all about my sister and just because I wasn’t physically hurt meant to everyone that I was fine. My sister got flowers and cards and visitors, while I sat in my room blaming myself for the world. I can’t believe I didn’t cut. But I wasn’t addicted to it yet and this was right after my family found out so I was afraid to do it again. My sister could have died and my mom abandoned me just to care for my sister who was then dating a boy four years older than her. I could never have done that and I resent her for the things she could do and I couldn’t. We were treated differently and from the accident on my mom babied my sister. I was left to deal with it all on my own. And I didn’t exactly deal with it. All I kept being told was the fact that it was my fault and that if anything happens to the people in the other car it’s my fault and I could possibly be sued and things like that. Oh, and the fact that my sister will get a lot of money from insurance when she turns eighteen. My emotional pain means nothing in the real world. That’s the lesson I learnt from that accident. My parents stopped being one and started being two very separate people after that. I learnt that I could be angry and that all the pain was my fault, but because I learnt that I could be angry at what wasn’t my fault created tension with my parents. We fought together all the time and I would be the one who ended up in tears sitting in my room. My dad would just look at me and tell me I was feeling sorry for myself. He does that to this day if I get upset. That I’m feeling sorry for myself. I will never understand that phrase. But he would look at me crying and not care how much he was hurting me. I think that hurt me more. That he didn’t seem to care. No one really did. By 11th grade, my ankles had numerous scars on them from razors and glass and compasses and knives. My arm had one scar.

In the summer before 11th grade I fell in love with a boy. And I mean real love. I loved him so much and we dated for a little over a year. He helped me through a lot and he was my first in a lot of things and I still have a close relationship with him but it all just dwindled down to that. A close friendship and I don’t love him like that anymore. But he was there for me. He let me cry on his shoulder so to say and he helped me deal with everything that was going on in my life, I stopped being depressed. He was great and he was perfect and I hate how I fell out of love with him and hurt him the way I did. But what can be done about it now? Nothing. Through 11th grade I kept cutting. Not bad, not even once a month probably because I didn’t need to I don’t think. I know once I scratched my arm with my pencil after I bombed a test and I did that to punish myself for being stupid and failing myself. I was still cutting to cope and to calm myself and it was like a focusing point in my life to stop the chaos in my head. I had tried other things like writing or sports or things, but nothing worked. I would just get frustrated and fail. At the end of 11th grade, my parents decided, well my mom decided, she wanted a divorce. We were splitting up our family and neither my mom nor my dad could afford to keep the house I had grown up in. It was a beautiful house. My dad moved out in the summer and it was just my mom and my sisters, but when the house sold and we had to move in October I moved in with my dad. My parents divorced in my senior year of high school, right before I leave, my world just crashed down again. I had to move away from everything I knew as my life and start again, except alone. I was with the boy I loved and I was without my family and my home and my familiarity. The fighting with my parents and my sister kept getting worse and I would just hurt constantly knowing all that was going on. Plus my school district was building a new school and I would have to change schools halfway through my senior year and leave all the people I’ve grown up with at the other school. New school, new house, new family, new life. I wasn’t ready to do this yet and I just hurt constantly. This past summer with the divorce going on and the selling of my house was hard, but then I lost my best friends too. I had finally found a good group of close friends and I had a best friend who loved me like family. But we got into an argument at the beginning of the summer and we haven’t been friends since. It was a stupid argument. She was getting obsessed with this boy and I honestly felt like she didn’t care about me and we got into an argument over it. Well, she wanted an apology so I wrote her a letter and she never responded to the letter. When I asked her she said she wanted to and she wanted to see me and talk to me and be friends with me. But she got close to some other girls and I was the one pushed out of the loop. It hurts. She said she would never do that to me like every other friend of mine ever has, but she did and I couldn’t deal with it. I had no one and all I could resort to was work and cutting. I felt left out and alone and hurt. I didn’t belong again and I had nowhere to turn to. I hate feeling that way, like I have nowhere to belong to. My friend Lance tries to make me feel like I belong, but he doesn’t get it, just like no one gets it. No one ever understands what really happens in your life and they are not supposed to but I finally thought for once I had a friend and she bailed on me like she promised she wouldn’t. So I felt like I had lost everything in my life after that. It’s harder than I thought it would be to remember all that has been going on lately. I know that I found cutting more and more was not just for the calm I felt, but because I wanted to. That has been lately. As in November. I’ve added about twenty cuts in just the past two months when I only had maybe thirty or so before now. I’ve never felt the need to cut every day, but every so often I get an urge to cut and it’s been more and more lately, as in it used to be that my cuts would completely heal before I needed to cut again, but now I have a few open wounds on my body at a time. Every other day I want it. I don’t need it really anymore but I want it more and more. I found that a safety pin makes me bleed if I want blood and I used a knife to make three adjacent cuts on my hip, which are my worst ones yet and I’ve been cutting on my arm which I never really wanted to do because it is difficult to hide your arms in the summer when my family goes to cape may beach every year, where my grandparents live and I have to wear a bathing suit on the beach. But I just keep cutting. I like it more and more and I hate it the same way. I hate that I am an outsider. I hate that I don’t belong around anyone and when I feel that way it makes me more withdrawn and sad than before. Some people talk to me at school and I am ‘friends’ with a group of girls, but I still do not belong the way I wish they would think I could. At this point in my life I am just waiting till I leave for college next year. I am doing what I have to do in school and I am working and I am dealing with living with my dad and living without my mom and my sisters and living in a new place and I am cutting still and my cutting is not subsiding. It is getting worse. I am not one to believe in physical addiction because no matter how much I smoke, I don’t have to, but that’s the only way I can describe my cutting is that it’s an addiction. My life has not been getting better either, but worse. Last week my sister ended up in the hospital for overdosing on Tylenol because she was upset about her boyfriend and my mother lied to me about it and didn’t tell my dad until twenty-four hours later. Well, it pissed me off. All these years I’ve been dealing with all that I have and I’m a cutter and no one has known it and she overdoses on Tylenol and is getting help for something that doesn’t exist. My grandmother was telling me how it’s sad that she feels that way and I almost want to yell out that I am a cutter, but I don’t want to have to feel ashamed and embarrassed around my family all the time. My grandpa ended up in the hospital that week too and I guess they just figured why not take him to the same hospital as my sister so they don’t have to go back and forth. If he had been taken to our local hospital, I would have found out because I work there. I was never told by my mother, or my grandmother about it and I haven’t talked to them since. I refuse to see my sister or my mother and I refuse to talk to them. It kinda ruins my Christmas this year because of course my dad is having my sister over and I won’t be there because I want nothing to do with her. She gets to live in her own little world and not face reality while I worry about things every day. I almost slit my wrist the week before she tried to kill herself and no one noticed. I am still too scared to try to commit suicide because I know if I tried, either I would get scared and tell someone and end up like my sister in a clinic and things and I don’t want that or I would make sure I did it right and I am too scared to die and find out the unknown. They say if you kill yourself you go to hell and frankly I would rather not have eternal suffering. I am not a religious person but I am too scared that maybe they are right. I’m scared of the darkness it seems. But cutting is not suicide and it’s a coping mechanism. Sometimes I want to stop and sometimes I want to fall head first into the hole I’ve dug myself, but I keep moving forward. This is my story. I am still living my life and who knows what will get better or what will get worse for me. I have thought about getting help and I even told my grandmother that I would like a therapist but it will never happen because according to my dad I am just feeling sorry for myself and they will never do anything for me. I can take care of myself they think. But I have an illness I think. And I tried talking to people but nothing has changed. I guess we will see what happens.

Edit: I just forgot to mention the fact that I’ve gotten into bruising myself and burning myself and because of my depression I fell into anorexia and lost maybe fifteen pounds last year. I still tend to not eat if I try but it’s hard and I have yet to fall into being bulimic but I have gotten extremely close. It’s all a hard thing to deal with and I hate it sometimes and other times you love it. It’s hard to realise that this is an actual disease. Self harm. When everyone else just sees it as weakness and sadness and feeling sorry for yourself. It’s a difficult thing to deal with and the lucky ones are those who learn they do not need it. Sometimes I hope that will be me some day.


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