Pieces of Me

Copyright, Deva, Original location

I cannot speak on behalf of anyone else, I can only tell of what I know. I know that if I hadn’t started to cut myself, I would probably be dead by now, or at least have tried. It’s that simple. I am, I suppose, what is called a delicate cutter. I never cut deep enough to need medical attention or scar a lot. It has more to do with the feeling connected to it. Or lack thereof. I tend to shut things down when I don’t like what I feel. It gets to a point where everything is tumbling under the surface and I can’t take it any longer. Pain gives me something to focus on, lets me ride out the bad stuff I feel. I don’t know much about emotion. I shut them down if I don’t like them. Sometimes I shut them down even if I do. I figure that if I keep them, I’ll get to like them, then it’ll hurt more when they go. So I don’t allow myself to feel much of anything.

My friend says I’m a control freak. I wouldn’t go that far. I do like to be in control though, that’s why I cut, I guess. I deal with things when I can handle it, so they don’t explode one day when I’m not looking. I guess I also like the idea of being in complete control over what happens my body. It’s the only thing I truly own, and I need to feel in control of that.

After I cut, everything shuts down. All the bad things in my head go away. I feel nothing but which I guess could be called pain, but I don’t register it as pain. Anyway it’s something I welcome, at least I’m feeling something. It washes over, cleaning off the dark things that cling to my mind. Calms, centres, helps, even if it’s only for a little while. I can keep going for a while longer, like wiping the slate clean. But things build up again, so I cut again. And so it continues.

For months no one knew and I wanted it that way. I still have never told anyone I know around me. Some on the net I’ve told, but only those I trust a lot. A friend found out a month or two ago. I had no room left on my arm, so I had sliced the back of my wrist. A few people noticed, but I said that I’d scratched myself on a bookcase. One person even said it looked cool. One friend wouldn’t let it go, asking how far the cuts went, how did I do it, did I clean it. I found out later that another friend had realised that I could have done it to myself, apparently when you cut yourself on a bookcase, all the cuts go the same direction. Anyway, the first friend pulled up my sleeve one day after school, against my wishes and struggling, and saw the rest of my cuts on my arm. She asked had I done it to myself. I said ‘maybe’. Unfortunately, typical me. Keep everyone from getting close, so they don’t get close enough to see the cracks. I was still hoping she’d go away, not see, not know, but it was too late.

Over the next few days she made my life a misery. Every meeting had the same tone ‘get help, get help.’ She had completely ignored the fact that I was helping myself, but I couldn’t do that if I was dead, so I was just trying to keep going while I sorted everything out in my head. She had caught the tail end of a very bad part of my life and she had gone off the deep end. I tried to explain, but I guess it was too difficult for her to hear. A few days after she saw my arm, she went and talked to one of our teachers, a career guidance counselor. She has since said that it was because she needed to tell someone. It didn’t seem to matter what I wanted. In fact, I didn’t mind her telling him too much. I thought it would get her to leave me alone and he was a really nice teacher and I got on well with him. So she asked me to talk with him and I did. He basically confirmed what I had figured out myself. Try to get through my exams as they were important, then deal with things when I had less pressure. I am simplifying things here of course. It didn’t directly help at all, other than having someone else confirm that my plans were okay and I was doing the best under the circumstances. One incredibly good thing did happen with that incident though.

I had another meeting scheduled with my teacher for a week later and my friend was coming too. I was determined not to cut until then, just to show them I could not cut if I wanted to, that it wasn’t some sort of compulsive disorder or whatever. A week was a long time for me then, considering I was cutting every day or two. The night before the meeting I had a really big shock. My dad sat me down and said he needed to talk to me. This was scary because he never usually talks to me. He said that he had found bloody tissues and a razor with no blades under my pillow and he had noticed I’d been wearing long sleeves. He made me take off my shirt and he checked my arms. I was so scared in case he’d see the just healed cuts all over them, but he didn’t. I managed to convince him that I had had a nosebleed and needed the razors to cut some photographs and that nothing was wrong. I know that if I had not had that meeting to stop for, I would have had cuts all over my arms and I would have had to have a big, awkward, unwanted talk with my father, and that was the last thing I wanted or needed. So for that reason alone I am so thankful to my friend for getting so uptight and telling the teacher. And also that he was so great about it. If not I would be in a completely different situation now. That alone is enough reason to forgive my friends completely irritating and irrational behaviour for the days before and her endless attempts to ‘reason’ with me.

She’s since calmed down, thank god, but insists that I tell her when I cut. Which I do, most of the time. The other friend, who first realized I could have hurt myself, has been brilliant. The first thing she said was if I ever even thought of bringing the blade to my wrists, just call her and she’d come right over. Even though she lives 15 miles away. It was what I really needed to hear. Especially after days of ‘why?’ from the other friend. I still haven’t told anyone. One friend pulled up my sleeve and then told the other. Funny thing is, had I felt that I had to tell someone it would have been the second friend. I guess I felt that she would have understood better. And I was right. Even if the circumstances were different.

So I still cut. I managed to get through 3 weeks of exams without cutting, which is the longest I’d ever gone since I started last year. And for the moment I’m okay. Unfortunately some of the last lot of cuts have scared a bit, but they’ll fade. I don’t feel like cutting now, but I’ve felt like this before. It’s getting longer between each time. I hope one day I won’t cut anymore. Because it’ll mean the bad stuff that builds up inside will be gone and maybe I’ll be happy.

25th August 1998

Last week I fell. Went a bit mad, lost count at 50 cuts. All on my stomach, no one can see. They’re not too bad, not deep or anything, barely scratches. Still…

November 2002

That was the last time I ever cut. I am strong enough to take this world now, whatever it throws at me. My mother’s death will always be an open wound inside me, but now I don’t need to reflect that pain on the outside. I hope anyone reading these pages can find the strength that is inside them and find their way out of the darkness. It is beautiful in the sun.

I hurt myself today to see if I still feel, focus on the pain, it’s the only thing that’s real.


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