A Long Hard Road

Copyright Jennifer

My name is Jennifer and I am from Clinton, NC. I am twenty-two years old and I have been self-injuring since I was fourteen. I was raped that year on Halloween night and the culprit was never caught. I withdrew myself into a hole away from everyone and everything. I cut daily to remind myself of what I went through even though I knew it wasn’t my fault. I used razor blades most of the time, but occasionally I would burn myself with cigarettes, or pierce something on my body as a substitute. I was hospitalised three times for cutting so deep that I needed stitches. Needless to say, neither visit helped. I hit an artery once but I was lucky enough to seek attention before it was too late. I have been fortunate lately and I haven’t cut in about a month, but I know it is only a matter of time before I do. I am looking for people I can talk to about these experiences and share with. You can e-mail me at My Yahoo Messenger name is the same and my AIM name is jennismilesatu.


Copyright Jennifer

I’m twenty years old and I had a problem just like some people. I cut, overdosed and drank cleanser before. It’s not a good way to harm yourself. I did it because I was upset, hurt, felt like no one cared about me. My parents wouldn’t ever listen to me and I had no one to talk to. I was like that for a year before I sought help but even then I didn’t trust my doctor. I kept on cutting. It’s been about two years since I started and I sometimes wish I never had but yet it was my choice of mind at the time and there’s nothing I can do about it now. Sometimes when I get upset and feel like no one cares and doesn’t love me I want to. I have my boyfriend to thank that I don’t cut as bad as I used to. I used to also cut because of a guy. It wasn’t worth it now that I think back on it but now I have one guy’s initials cut into my leg with cut marks on my legs, wrist and arms. If any of you ever need someone to talk to that you can trust, you can e-mail me anytime and I’ll listen and talk to you. Remember, you’re not alone. I gave in one time since I’ve been living with my boyfriend and it’s hard I know. Well, my email is, just remember I can be your friend and be there for you and help you through it.


Copyright Jennifer

I started cutting myself nearly 3 years ago when I was thirteen. I don’t remember why but all I know is that I continued to cut. It started with small cuts that didn’t bleed much and didn’t leave scars and then my cuts got deeper due to the stronger the feelings were in my head. 3 years later I now have about a hundred scars some worse than others. I have seen deliberate self-harm nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists and so on but nothing seems to work I still continue to have the crap in my head so I continue to cut but I think there is a part of me that doesn’t want to stop. I do wish I could rewind a few years and have found a different way of coping but cutting has helped me and will continue to, cutting has kept me alive in times where I made the decision to cut rather than commit suicide.

My Trip to the E.R.

Copyright, Jennifer, original location

Ok. Here is the story of what happened to me when I needed stitches. Remember, there could be triggers in it. There are, in fact, a lot of things in here that could be triggers. Make sure you are safe, okay?

It was a Tuesday night. I had just started school. I was in an okay mood. I mean, I wasn’t exactly happy, but for once, I wasn’t sad, either. But around 9:00 p.m., I got that old familiar urge. The one I couldn’t control. So I grabbed my gauze, tape, scissors, my Little White Box (where my blades are), and my robe.

I went in the bathroom and ran a bath tub. I almost always cut in the bath tub. I got in, and carefully shaved my legs. Then I proceeded to shave all the hair from my left forearm. I knew that I was gonna go deep, and I’d probably have to use Butterfly Stitches to hold it shut.

I took out one of my razor blades, and began to trace lines on my arm. I made eight or nine that were really small, I mean, they bled, but not much. Then I made one cut, about three centimeters long, and made it deep. Real deep. I could see the fat under the skin. I moved up my arm three centimeters, and made another one. Then I connected the two. So it was nine centimeters. I kept slashing into it, over and over. Once you get past the skin, it doesn’t hurt anymore. I went deeper and deeper.

I made one last slash, and watched in fascination as blood spurted from a small artery. I could actually see the end of the artery. It was small, and round. Kinda like a skinny spaghetti noodle. And it pulsed. Every time my heart beat, more blood would spurt out. I mean, the whole cut was bleeding. But this artery, you could actually see how the blood from it was brighter than the rest. And you could see it, like a small fountain, rising above the rest of the blood which just kind of ran out.

I lay there in the tub until the water was red. Blood red. I drained the water, and took a shower. I didn’t want to be bloody. I grabbed an old rag, and put it over the cut. I got out, dried off, the whole while balancing the rag over the cut. I got the gauze and tape ready. I got the hydrogen peroxide. I rinsed the cut five or six times with hydrogen peroxide. I got the anti-biotic first aid cream, and squeezed a ton of it into the cut.

It was then that I realized just how bad the damage I’d inflicted on myself was. The edges of the cut were a good inch apart. The fat was gaping as well. You could clearly see the muscle underneath. There was a small cut that actually went into the muscle. There was of course the cut artery. And the scariest thing: It didn’t hurt. Not at all. I mean, no pain. No burning.

I stared at it until my arm was covered in blood, and there was a small puddle on the floor. Then I dried it off. I wiped the blood away. I put a little piece of gauze in the cut, to keep it from running over. Very slowly and carefully, I used thin strips of tape, each one about two inches long, to pull it closed. And still, it bled. But by then it was 11:00. I did not want to wake my grandma up. And besides, what would I tell her? I had made a vow that I would not cut again. Both to her and to my counselor.

But here I was, bleeding all over. Great, huh? So I wrapped a whole roll of gauze around it, tight. Then I cleaned up the mess. I threw all the stuff into a plastic bag and put it in the wood stove to be burned. I went into my room, and I wrapped an ace bandage around the gauze. I fell asleep at around 3:00 a.m. I was awake again at six. I lay there until 6:45 when my grandma came to wake me up.

As soon as she left again, I got out of bed. I had a hard time standing, I was really weak. I think it was from all the blood I lost. The whole ace bandage had gotten completely soaked during the three hours I slept. I went in the bathroom, with another roll of gauze, more tape, and a new ace wrap. I very carefully unwrapped it. I mean, I was wearing my new pajama pants, and I didn’t want to start spurting blood all over them.

As soon as I pulled the tape off the cut, it opened. And I mean, opened. The edges were far apart. The muscle glared up at me, like a horrible monster. The fat at the edges was yellowish white and lumpy. I almost threw up. And it started bleeding again, from the artery and five or six veins. I taped it shut as best I could. But the edges were still about a quarter of an inch apart. I wrapped it with the gauze and the ace wrap. I threw away the old ones. Then I went back into my room and got dressed. In long sleeves, of course.

That day at school, it was hard to get up the stairs, because I was so weak. I had to change the dressing on my arm twice. I did this in the restroom. After school was out, I had physical therapy. I had to quit early though, because I was so weak. When they asked me what was wrong, I said I thought I was just over tired. We left. At the door, I said to my grandfather: “Grampa, do you know, is the walk-in clinic still open?” He said, “I don’t know. Why? What’s wrong now?” I said, “I got a cut and it needs stitches.” “Where? Can I see it?” “No, gramps, you can’t. It’s bandaged.” “How’d it happen?” Silence on my part. “Huh?” More silence. “Okay, if you say you need to stop, we’ll stop.”

So we drove over to the hospital. We went to the registration desk. The clerk looks up and goes “How may I help you?” I say, “I cut my arm; it needs stitches.” “Okay, I need to see it.” “Um… right here?” “Yup.” “Ah… can we do it somewhere else?” “No.” “Okay.” Sigh. So, I unwrapped it and took off the tape. It gaped open for all to see. She looked at it, looked at the other scars on my arm, and goes, “That’s gonna need stitches.” Well, duh! “Yeah, that’s why I’m here.” “You’re gonna have to go to the E.R. Come on, I’ll take you over there.” Oh great. “How’d it happen?” Shrug, by me. “Did you cut it yourself?” “Yeah.” “How?” “I dunno.” “When?” “Last night.” “Last night?” “Yeah.” “Um… did you do it on purpose?” “Yeah.” “What did you use?” “A razor blade.” “Okay.”

We walked in silence through the hallway until we came to the emergency room. “They’ll just check you in, okay?” “Okay.” I signed a paper, had my blood pressure taken. Then the nurse told me to wait in the waiting room. After fifteen or twenty minutes, I saw a lady come in the room. “Jennifer?” she asked. I stood up. My grandpa got up to follow me. “Hi, I’m Lisa Marie.” “Hi.” My grandpa says, “Do I need to come with?” Lisa Marie looks at me; I shake my head; no, no, no. She says, “No.” We walk back into an examining room. She says, “I’m a social worker. Do you wanna tell me what happened?” As if I had a choice!

But I told her. Because I didn’t have a choice. Besides, she already knew. I just wanted to say one thing, and get her to understand it: I cut to stay alive, not so I can die. After she picked apart my mind for about a half an hour, she said, “Well, I think the doctor’s ready to see you.” Oh, great, I thought. Now I’m gonna get chewed out. She leaves.

A few minutes later, the doctor comes in. He introduces himself, shakes my hand. “Hi, Jennifer. Well, first lets talk about your cut itself. Then we’ll talk about how it got there.” Oh, yippee. “Okay, it’s a nasty cut. It’s been 20 hours since it happened. It’s really not very safe to sew it up. But we have no option.” Gee, that’s just grand. “The reason it’s not really safe is that after eight hours, the risk of a cut getting infected sky rockets.” Real reassuring. “But we can’t just leave this open. So you’re gonna have to watch it really really close for infection. Okay?” “Yeah.” “Okay… now, the nurse is going to come take care of you until someone can sew it up. It won’t be me; it’s going to be a medical student.” Okay, that’s just grand. “Alright.” I say. He leaves.

A nurse comes in. He washes the cut, a lot. Then he takes me to a different room, one with operating lights on the ceiling. He has me lay down on a bed. Then he says, “Hey, don’t look so blue. You’re not the only one in the world who has done a stupid thing. We all do stupid things. Nobody here is gonna make fun of you, be mean or arrogant, or anything else. Okay?” “Okay.” I say. “We treat a lot of people who have self inflicted injuries. Our job is to treat the injury. And to treat you. To the best of our abilities.” “Oh… okay.” He has me put my arm on top of a plastic sheet about two feet by two feet. The student comes in. I hear and see him talk to the other doctor about how to anesthetize the cut. He gives me the first shot, and then the rest are all where it’s already numb. It barely hurts at all. One good thing. Then he starts sewing. And talking. And I talk to him. He is very gentle. And he is very nice, and understanding. He even shows me the scar from where he sliced open his palm on purpose when he was about 10. I guess even doctors do that kind of stuff.

After a little over an hour, he is done. I watched the whole thing. It was truly fascinating. Then he left, and the social worker came back in. We talked for a little bit more, and she gave me an 800 number to a help hotline. If you need to, you can call this hotline. The number is 1-800-362-8255. It’s got at least one person there, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year. After they told my grandpa what happened, and I convinced them that I really, really didn’t want to die, they let me go home. But they also said I would have to be admitted if it ever happened again.

My experience was actually very good. The hospital I go to is very good about all psychological aspects, as well as with physical things. They get a lot of awards and stuff. The doctors there were all good to me. Sure, some of the nurses looked at me like I was slimy or something, but they tried to hide it from me. Everyone was very gentle, and considerate. I did not regret going. And after getting 31 stitches, I have to say, I am ready to stop. I don’t want to even think about how scary life is gonna be without cutting, but I know I have to stop. This can’t keep happening. It just can’t. That’s all.

I hope this has helped you to see that not all E.R. visits end on a bad note. There are places to go where you do> get good care, and they are good to you as a person, too. And just remember: Cutting may not be good for you, but it does not mean you are a bad person. Okay?


Copyright, Jennifer

I grew up in a nice, small town, in a big, white house, in a pink bedroom with lace curtains. I was well cared for, shown affection often, and loved deeply. I had everything I could ever need and many of the things that I always wanted. I had every opportunity to succeed. I graduated with honors, received scholarships, and went off to a good university.

College, it seemed, was just the place for me. I quickly found myself changing for the better. What started as an effort to distract myself from my severe homesickness soon became my life. I jumped into everything set before me and I found happiness in college. It wasn’t long before my family started referring to me as a butterfly. I had matured and changed, and everyone loved the new me.

As my first college years passed, things only improved. I continued to move up the ladder, eventually taking on a relatively high peer leadership position. I now find myself responsible for much, and I like to think that in general I am a success. My future is bright and it just keeps getting brighter.

But no one can know that I am a cutter. It would ruin everything.

I think the thing that bothers me the most, is that I have no reason. I have no reason to be depressed, no reason to want to be dead, and certainly no reason to cut myself. I’ve lived a great life, filled with happiness and normalcy. But one not so remarkable day, I picked up a razor and cut myself. And I liked it. So I did it again. And again. And again. It made me feel better, but I didn’t know why.

It was about 2 months before I realized that this was not normal or good for me. For a while I felt like a freak and wondered what was wrong with me. It was not long after that that I found there was a name for me, a self-injurer, and not much after that when I discovered I wasn’t alone.

I was comforted when I could look up websites and learn about and talk with other cutters. I have managed to fell accepted by some on message boards, but I am still too afraid to tell anyone who doesn’t know me through the web. I thank god for the internet, because it has been my only access to therapy for the last 2 years.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I know that I can never tell anyone about this. It would ruin my life. It would destroy everything I have worked to accomplish in college. I have no doubt that I would be fired from my job and would never be looked at the same in the field I hope to continue my life in.

And it is just so tiring to keep secrets. Since I began to get increasingly depressed a few years ago, people have noticed. It didn’t take too many questions before I realized that I needed to shape up or I’d be caught. I have spent the last 18 months acting in public and cutting in private to relieve the stress of pretending.

It’s a vicious cycle; I cut to keep myself alive but nothing makes me want to die more, and I feel like there is no way out.


Copyright, Jennifer

The first time I ever cut was when I was in high school. My life was screwed up and I had no friends. I was the type that nobody would like because I could tell the truth. I finally realized that people do not like that so I ended up never telling anyone anything. It sucked hardcore. The fact that I bottled everything up was one thing but I began to express my feelings on myself through self injury. I have never had to take any pills, and never been hosptialized even though I should have been. Now I am a 20 year old anorexic because people caught on and I told them I could stop. Now I’m living another lie but this one is not as obvious. so if there is anyone out there that is ashamed, they should get help, you will never get over it on your own.


Copyright, Jennifer

I am 15 years old and my self injury started when I was 13. It all started one day when I had an argument with my mum now I know this sounds stupid but I was just so angry. I don’t even know what made me get a knife and cut myself all I know is that it calmed me down and I felt better for it. I cleaned my arm and put on a jumper and never told anyone. It was a few weeks after that before I done it again. I can’t remember exactly what made me do it this time but again it helped. So I kept it a secret from then and from that day I would cut and hide it. Make up excuses like oh the rabbit or cat scratched me. Then when things got worse for me and I started to hit and burn people got suspicious. That’s when it all came out. I was now 14 and had kept it a secret for a full year and a half. The school were concerned and contacted my parents. They came to the school and I was asked to show my arms. I refused at first them my mum left the room and I showed my head teacher. She was nice about it though. They got me in touch with a therapist and I stayed off school for a while. When I got back to school things all got too much for me and I started cutting really bad again and I took pills in school. Once when I took quite a serious overdose I collapsed and was took to A&E. At A&E they saw how bad both arms, legs and stomach were covered in bruises burns and cuts and I got admitted to a mental institution. I was scared at first and didnt like it but now that I am out I am a bit better. I am now on anti depressents which do seem to help a little. I am now reintrigating back to school but also attending an adolescent unit part of the week. I am self harming less and less now and trying to forget the abuse and torture I went through in the past but still find it to hard to talk with people about. I want to warn people out there suffering abuse stop it before it leads to you ruining your life.


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