And it starts…

Copyright Emma

I started cutting when I was twelve. It wasn’t bad, I just used staples, it left cat scratches on my arms. The first time I did it you couldn’t see skin on my lower arm, my parents never even noticed (of course I wore a sweatshirt). I don’t even remember why I started, I barely knew what cutting was!

In 7th grade it got worse. I switched to my pocket knife, though it still wasn’t as bad, I added three extremely deep cuts on my upper arm, I scared myself and stopped for a few days, then started right where I left off. The three bled a lot, the rest of them barely did.

In 8th grade I hit a low point. Not only was I cutting to the point where I should have gotten stiches because the skin was actually seperated a few centimeters but I was also smoking pot regularly, smoking two packs of cigarettes a week, and drinking before and after school. My parents never noticed. One day our cleaning lady went through my room and found an old journal entry I ripped out about me wanting to kill myself and cutting, she showed it to my parents and they checked my body. I go to a therapist now and she’s really cool. I still, smoke cigarettes and pot and drink and cut but it’s not as bad as it was.

None of the scars on my legs have faded, most of them are still red, the ones on my arms are like… bubbled up and the doctor said they wouldn’t go away either.

I’m on Zoloft but I usually don’t take it and my parents never notice. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones.

I just hate seeing people cut and end up like me, it’s so sad to look at the pictures on here and see how bad people are. I just want to hug them all, and say they’re not alone. I’m sure they know that because cutting is a fucking addiction. That’s my story. I hope it helped someone. Be safe.


Copyright, Emma

I self harm and have done now for a year. I decided that maybe it was time to get help so I told a teacher what I was doing because I trusted her. I thought this was for the best but all she said was she doesn’t really know much about it and that she could only be there to listen to me. She told the deputy head and he said that I should go and see the school nurse.

The first time I went to see her I had the teacher I trusted with me and the school nurse said to come back next week, so I did. She came and found me one day and we talked for ages. She suggested I talked to my mum about it but I know deep down I can’t because she will think I’m weird and treat me like I’m some psycho, which I’m not.

Well, I want to stop seeing the school nurse now because I don’t like her and I don’t think she’s helping. I told my friends and they seem to understand but I told them not to treat me differently.

Now I’m scared that because I’ve told someone they will tell my family which I don’t want. Now I have nightmares about what people would think of me if they knew. Every time I look at my arms I get a sudden urge to cut them and if I look at where I have already cut them I feel guilty and cut some more. I don’t really know how to stop and I thought telling someone would help me but it hasn’t.

Just remember, if you are self harming tell someone and they should just be able to help you. Although I was the unfortunate one and don’t think talking to someone helped me.


Copyright, Emma

I started cutting my stomach and ribs when I was thirteen, I still do now. I want to stop but then I give in, thinking, I’m just one of the weaker-willed people in the world. I cut myself where people won’t see deliberately, and then find myself wondering why no-one cares. I do it because as soon as I feel a blade drawn across my skin, leaving ribbons of red trailing after, all the tension leaves my body. I forget the way people tease me, I forget their faces looming in front of me, grinning, whilst insulting me, and I forget the nights by myself crying myself to sleep. Like I said, it all goes. The way I see it, it’s everyone else with the problem, not me.

My Self Injury

Copyright, Emma, original location

I’d once watched a documentary on Self Harm with my Mother, and although it was interesting, I don’t think I really understood why the people on it were intentionally cutting themselves. The programme followed the lives of about 4 self-harmers who talked about their feelings, their actions, and what provoked them to start in the first place. Mum and I watched it until the end. It was shocking.

The next time I heard about SI was a teenage magazine. A girl had turned to cutting her arm to deal with the pain she felt at breaking up with her boyfriend. She had eventually become addicted to cutting and used it to deal with her emotions from that day. She would not accept the help she was offered to stop.

I didn’t question what these people did, but accepted it. It was something that effected other people — not me. I never thought 6 months after reading the magazine, I too would be cutting.

I was 15 and living with my Mum and step dad. I was very unhappy as my step dad disliked me greatly. My brother had already moved away to live with my dad when he was about 11. There I was, tightly curled up on my bed one evening quietly crying the unhappy emotions that I’d never been able to express any other way. They seemed to have built up inside me fit to bursting point. Crying suddenly wasn’t enough. I remember looking at my bare arm and having a sudden, uncontrollable impulse to cut it. It was an alien emotion and I didn’t dare follow it.

The next day I found myself in a similar predicament. It didn’t take much to spark off the impulse again, and without 2nd thought, I was suddenly sitting on the bathroom floor with a small pair of scissors clutched in my hand. I wondered what I must have looked like, sitting there, the scissors blade to my arm. It felt weird, but good. I took all my emotional anger and hurting and made it into a physical wound. It was a release. The cut was tiny and didn’t show more than a thin red line. It felt great to have all this weight lifted from me, and while waiting outside school for the bus to take me home the next day, I secretly planned to do it again.

I was always home alone for a few hours after school so it wasn’t hard. Soon I had a little line of neat cuts running up my arm. It was nearly time for school to end for the summer, and it was now that I moved about 80 miles away to live with my Dad. We didn’t have a house and lived in our caravan, or in our uncle’s flat. Away from my scissors, I moved on to knives. My life was getting messed about and it was now that I needed the cutting more than ever. The impulses I felt were part of me now and I didn’t question them. I began my long fall into bulimia.

We started renting a house just after I had started my new school. A school is a great supply source for the cutter. My worst cuts are the ones I did at school, and although it shames me to admit it, I stole various blade tools from the school to aid my SI. It wasn’t as though I didn’t have knives at home — I did — but it was difficult not to take any blade that took my fancy. It was great to have a new tool and I liked to experiment with different types. I burnt my arm with the ends of cigarettes, and hit myself now and then. As for the cuts I did at school, well, no one saw me. I was a “special exception” at school because of my depressive problems. It worked to my advantage because I got away without doing homework, and got to sit in an office by myself during some lessons. It was in this office that I found those brilliant scissors.

Being found out

One day, after being in the office, I had blood stains all over my shirt sleeve. I didn’t dare put that shirt in the wash and so hid it, along with a random butcher’s knife, in my bottom drawer. A situation cropped up in which my dad was collecting some clothes together for me while I was visiting my Mum and he found the shirt. “Oh shit” I think, “he knows (he’ll think I’m crazy!)” But no — my dad mistook it for a failed suicide attempt and let it drop, after telling me “Lets have no more of it, OK?” Whether he genuinely thought there would be no more of it, or that was his odd way of dealing with the situation I will never know.

My hair began falling out. I’d run my fingers through it and have a clump of hair left in my hand. This lasted about a month or two, after which I began pulling out my hair instead. It gave a similar effect to cutting, but not as severe. It was more just a simple stress reliever.

That brings us up to date. I have been cutting for over a year now. My arm is very scarred, but I am hoping most of that mess will fade after a while, and the raised scars will heal a bit. I have learnt how to cut in a way that does not go deep, and produces a safe amount of blood. This month marks a year since I developed an eating disorder, and 9 months since I began pulling out my hair.

I don’t cut as often as I did, and am hoping I will have stopped completely by the end of the year.

Emma, 16
1st July 1999


Copyright, Emma

I’ve read most of these stories. I think from what I’ve read you’re from America (I’m from England) and that you’ve all got personal shrinks, I don’t. Thats because no one around me really cares about what I think. Sure I’ve got friends, lots in fact, but every time I try and talk to them about it I can see that their heart skips a beat, like I’ve broken it or something; of course I know all about that, the same thing happens every time someone asks me what the marks are on my arm and how did I get them, then I have to say “oh, those, I did them to myself” the usual answer is “why?”, what are they expecting the answer to that question to be anyway?

Well, since your sitting there and reading this, I’ll tell you. I hate myself, every fibre in my body. And I hate my mum. She is the base of all the pain in my life, sure she puts food on table, occasionally decides to look after me when I’m feeling ill but deep down, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t love me. She loves my brothers, I know that, and every now and again she splashes out and buys me some clothes, but really all they are are little bundles of guilt wrapped in fake love. It makes me wanna puke just thinking about it.

She takes all her anger out on me, every chore that there is to be done can be given to Emma, I am the black sheep of the family after all. Really all I want is for someone to actually care. No one does. I first started cutting myself when I was 11, I always do it on my left arm because I’ve got more strength in my right arm. Every now and again a friend would find out, and help me to stop (all it really was was backing me into a corner) so, sooner of later I would eventually start again, what they see as helping me, I see as torture.

I don’t do too well at school, it’s always my friend’s work and not mine, how am I expected to learn when my jumper continuously rubs against my arm. I live in a world of my own. I have to pretend to be happy and act like I’m having fun, occasionally I actually am but it takes a lot to get my mind off scissors, and when you have to self-harm you have to self-harm.

If somebody could help me then maybe I would actually stop, but who wants to help the little depressed girl sitting in the corner of her room? No one.


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