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If you saw my upper arms, you’d see they were covered in scars. “How did you do that?” or “What the hell have you done to your arms?” people ask. I did it to myself. They just return a confused look. If you’re a confused person now, then maybe reading here will help you become less confused. Maybe. If by any chance you’re someone who self harms, then hopefully you’ll find this interesting. But please be warned of potentially ‘triggering’ content.


A long story. The simple answer is that it’s something I do when I’m angry or upset or whatever. Everyone gets angry or upset sometimes, so I’m no different here, it’s just a different way of coping. Some people shout at people, some cry, some get drunk or take drugs, some hit other people, some kick the wall or generally take it out on some inanimate object. I stick razor blades into myself. What’s wrong with that? (Of course, just as drink/drugs can also be enjoyable, happy, pleasurable things — and indeed usually are — being cut can be a pleasurable enjoyable experience. But sadly those times are rare for me, and this is not what this section is about. Then again, people seem to be more freaked out about the idea of cutting or being cut for pleasure than the idea of doing it out of depression so maybe I should be writing about that instead? But I’m not.) What it comes down to is that I don’t consider myself any more depressed than the people around me, it’s just my way of coping.

So that’s why. But why? Like why did I come to cut in the first place?

I’m not entirely sure. From as far back as I can remember, I had these weird childhood ‘day-dreams’, sort of like I would think about things as I was in bed trying to get to sleep. I’m sure everyone had their own childhood day-dream things, but I’m not sure if they were the same as what I had. I would often imagine being captured or kidnapped by someone, and then they’d torture me; cut me, burn me, hit me, break my bones. I don’t know how they started, since they go back as far as I can remember. Whether I saw something at a very young age which left an impression on me, or whether I was born like it, I don’t know. But anyway. These continued as I grew older. Sometimes I would instead imagine having accidents, particularly being in a car crash, or being run over. As I entered adolesence, the ‘accident’ thoughts became more common, I remember at school there were about three people in my class with broken arms or legs at various times throughout one year, and I remember wishing that I could break an arm or a leg. Which I also thought was stupid, because clearly I wouldn’t really want that, just like I certainly wouldn’t really want to be kidnapped and tortured. As I grew older, I also thought how stupid it was, like I was still having these silly childhood fantasy thoughts.

Up until now, none of these thoughts had been as a result or being angry or upset. But a few occasions when I was 15 or 16, I remember hitting and scratching myself when I had been upset. I didn’t do much at all (and my nails were all blunt back then) I don’t consider that a time when I was ‘self harming’, but I suppose it was the first time I did self harm. Then, a month before my 17th birthday, I returned to these ‘childhood thoughts’. Like, I was almost 17, and still thinking them? Like, I clearly wouldn’t want to be kidnapped and tortured in real life. But I wanted it to be real then I thought, the reason I wouldn’t want it in real life was because I’d be scared, scared that they might kill me, or simply that they’d do something I didn’t want. Supposing I did it myself? That way, it would certainly be real. And I wouldn’t be scared at all, I’d only be doing what I wanted. I’d be the one in control, not someone else. So, week one I was sticking pins into my arm and finding how much it hurt. Week two, I remembered I had a pen knife, but it was very blunt. After sawing very hard on a bit of skin near my stomach, I got a tiny bit of blood out, and it was so satisfying, such a wonderful feeling. Week three, silly me, I remembered I had some razors. I remember the weird combined feeling of shock, and satisfaction, when I saw blood running down my right leg.

After that, I went in sort of cycles. Like, I’d do it regularly (as in, once a day, or every few days) for a period of a few weeks, or a couple of months. Then I’d just naturally stop for a period of weeks or a few months. I don’t know when it turned from something I just did, to being something I did when I was upset and angry. But gradually it did. From about a year ago (that is, summer of ‘98) it suddenly became something I was doing all the time for many months, up until about april or may of ‘99. When I stopped for a bit. Then I started again, and am still cutting frequently now. So I guess although the original ‘cycles’ I had were gone, in some sense they’re still there, but just not so regular and periodic. And longer too.

Weird Amongst Weird

The ‘stereotypical self harmer’ is a woman, and has suffered some sort of abuse / been raped. I’m not, and I haven’t. I’m also not suffering from depression, I don’t have multiple personalities, or any other personality disorders, I don’t have an eating disorder (well, I don’t let myself eat on rare occasions, but it’s just another form of self harming). So I guess I’m just weird. But there is hope. The sterotypical self harmer is in their early twenties, has been self-harming since they were a teenager, uses cutting with razor blades as their main form of self harm, cuts mainly on upper arms, wrists, thighs and ankles, and isn’t a goth. Well I fit all of those.

I’m not the Only One… Did I Know?

When I first cut I didn’t know anyone else did it. I kind of guessed that there must be some people who harmed themselves too, like I couldn’t be the only person on the planet doing it. But I didn’t know. sometime after (a few months.. a year? I don’t know) I was channel-hopping on the telly, and saw this program which had a five to ten minute section on teenagers who harmed themselves. It showed a girl with scars all down her arms. Just like the ones on my right upper arm. They were undergoing some therapy or something. And the program was all about teenagers with mental illnesses. That scared me.

A while after, a couple of friends said that they each knew someone who cut, but I didn’t know either of these people. Just over a year ago, I did an internet search, and found a whole load of websites on the matter. In the last year, I found that some people I knew hurt themselves too.

Coming out

Telling people you cut yourself in some ways might be seen as similar to coming out about being gay or bisexual. Being bi myself means that I can make some sort of comparison. And to be honest, it’s not really the same (for me, anyway).

With my friends back home, it wasn’t a problem. It was a new thing to me, I just told them (probably when pissed). I didn’t exactly have to come out as being bisexual either. When I came to university it was different. Neither was the sort of thing I felt I could casually drop into the conversation. But then I didn’t want to keep it to myself forever. But coming out as being bi is somewhat easier. There are all sorts of ways, and you don’t necessarily even have to do so as such; just talk about boys you fancy as well as girls you fancy instead of labelling yourself. But telling people you stick sharp things into yourself doesn’t quite work. And doing it in front of people doesn’t seem right either (where as I wouldn’t worry about snogging a boy when others were around). So I spent the first year keeping it to myself, and hoping no one would see my upper arms. Then right at the start of the second year, I was pissed at some party, and hiding in the corner I had scratched away at a cut I’d made on my forearm a few days earlier. There was a trickle of blood. And some friendly person found me, and I didn’t even have to explain. She knew, and said she knew others.

I haven’t had to tell anyone else as such. A few months later, I was brave enough to wear short-sleeved girl-tops whilst cross-dressing (it was a goth nightclub I was going to, you see) and I think I’ve done that on enough occasions for everyone to see now.


Mostly, I cut, and mostly with razor blades. Sometimes I use a knife. Sometimes I scratch with my nails, or hit myself. I used to burn myself, directly with matches, or using candles, but I haven’t done that for ages.


My right upper arm mostly. It’s very common that people self harm mostly on the opposite side to whether they’re left or right handed. So I’m left handed, which means I cut with my left hand, so it’s more convenient to cut the right side of my body. Obvious, really. Also, my right thighs, my right ankles. And also my upper left arm (because upper arms are easy, but my right one is so completely covered in scars). Sometimes I feel I’d just love to cut all the way down my forearms. But then I’m stuck with wearing jumpers. Oh, you mean where? In my room, usually, so no one can see. Though sometimes I need to at other times. I might rush off during a party, or at a nightclub, and go and hide in a toilet to cut. Being pissed doesn’t help. Being surrounded by lots of (scary) people doesn’t help. When I’m at home, it’s harder cos of parents. Is that why I do it less at home than at uni? Or do I get unhappy less often then? Hmmm.


Cutting is somewhat a ritual. But it’s not always the same feelings and thoughts. A lot of the time it’s angry cutting, just hitting my arm with a razor, maybe angry at others, or myself, or just angry about things that have happened. Sometimes, I’m not angry, just upset. Then I cut more slowly and not as harsh. Sometimes I just need to get away from everyone, or someone’s said something bad to me. Sometimes, I really have no idea, like it becomes a habit, or I just have a compulsion to do it, like I’m not upset, but I just have to do it. Sometimes I get into a weird frame of mind where I decide I really want to hurt myself, that I need punishing. I feel like I’m someone else, and I’m just going to hurt him really bad. And that makes me feel so good.

Sometimes I cut and think “ouch, this hurts”, and end up doing nothing more running the razor over my skin, making noting more than scratches. Then if I go ‘up a level’, all of a sudden I’m hitting myself hard with it, and suddenly it doesn’t hurt at all. It all depends on how upset and angry I am. And indeed sometimes, how drunk I am.

A lot of the time I feel bad if I don’t make at least one ‘deep’ cut. if I make lots of little cuts, I feel I haven’t done it properly, and only one ‘proper’ cut will make me feel satisfied. If I make lots of little cuts, then what a waste; I’ve just messed up a load of skin area for nothing. It’s not just the cuts themselves. I love the feel of the blood running down my arm, and then dripping off. The sight of red against pale white. The pain? Well usually I don’t do it for the pain, that just gets in the way of making nice big cuts. Though sometimes I feel I need to be hurt.


Double edged razor blades; cheap, small, easy to hide, very sharp. What more do you need? Well, rarely there’s my pen knife. And there used to be matches and my candles, which I still have. And of course, my nails. Which I keep trying to grow. Nail varnish helps of course, but they’re just too weak, and keep breaking.

Do I want to stop?

I don’t even want to stop, that’s how bad I am. Sometimes though, I wish that I wanted to stop. Sort of like ‘I want to want’. But I don’t. So you’ll find none of the suggested methods of how to stop self-harming here. (You can find that sort of stuff on many self-harm websites; and I’m not really in a position to give advice).

Well, that’s enough on me. If you have thoughts or opinions on what you’ve read here, please don’t hesitate to contact me at


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