Copyright, Lou

It all started about five months ago. I had been ultra stressed with work from school. It seemed like everyday a teacher was assigning another project to do or paper to write. It just got to be way too much for me.

I had heard of cutters and how people cut to rid themselves of inner, emotional pain. I knew it was a bad choice, but I wanted to try it anyways. So one day, I took a thin needle out of my bulletin board in my bedroom and started poking and scratching my upper left arm. Nothing too serious. Just thinking about what I was doing put me at a long-awaited ease.

Inevitably, things started to get worse, although at the time I didn’t really think of it like that. I started scratching harder and harder and more and more. My upper arm started to look completely raw. Since I don’t have too many long-sleeved shirts, I just told anyone who asked, like my sister, that my friend’s cat did it, or one of those other common cover-ups.

Eventually this “problem” fizzled out. I wasn’t stressed anymore and life was easier. I knew I had to stop anyways because the mutilating became a daily ritual for me and I wasn’t just using a needle. Like I said, I knew what I was doing was bad. I pretty much stopped because I wasn’t really stressed anymore, so I didn’t feel the need to do it.


Copyright, Lou

You never think it’s going to be you. I mean, I grew up in a sheltered area but even at my school I’ve known a few people who cut themselves. I never could understand why; why would anyone want to mutilate themselves like that? People used to make such a fuss about it — “did you see x, she cut her wrists, is she suicidal?” Nobody really understood, I don’t think.

I remember the first time so clearly. It was exam time, and where I come from exams are a bigger deal than in America. The stress was awful. Well, I was on my own in this one exam, physics, because I’d missed it the first time. I knew I’d messed it up, and I wanted to change some answers, but I had so much time left and I couldn’t think what to write. It was lonely in there, a big hall. No invigilator; they trusted me not to cheat. And I had this compass in my pencilcase, and I scratched my arm with it.

It felt like jumping in a bath when you’re dirty and tired. Like having a drink when you’re thirsty. Like inhaling really deeply, filling up your lungs. It felt so great. I was in total shock, I didn’t understand what I’d just done. There was no blood, just a tiny raised line. The skin had torn a little but there was no blood. No blood.

The exam finished, I handed my paper in at the office. I went back home and my parents were just… blah. So hyper-critical. Preaching at me that I’d fail all my exams and be a total disgrace to them. I didn’t even have to think about it that time, I just went upstairs and used the compass again.

There was a little blood that time. God, I was so calm. I felt like my world was turned upside down, but I just got some bandages to reduce the friction and started revising for the next day.

By the end of the exams I was completely dependant on it. I didn’t understand; in some ways it made me feel worse than before, made me feel crazy. What would people say if they knew?


That was over a year ago. I tried to stop, a few times, but unsuccessfully. I’m trying to stop now, but the physical burning I get won’t go away until I cut. There’s lots of blood now; I use scissors, razors, a pencil-sharpener blade. Never knives; they just scare me. Which is ironic, really. Sometimes I use a compass because it hurts more.

Not many people know. Two teachers who are lovely but don’t know what to say, and a friend who just thinks I’m mental but is relatively sympathetic. The problem is, nobody does understand. People see it as something like sex in a public place; they just look away, and see it as an attention stunt.

That’s what my mum said. She found out at the start of last summer, I told her because I thought she should know from me before someone else told her. They were threatening to, they were worried. She went absolutely mental! She called me a freak, a disgrace, a misfit, a mistake. She’s never forgiven me. Dad… Well, I don’t know. He lives at home but I don’t see much of him. There’s not a lot of affection in our house, and I need it. I’m so clingy!

I failed to commit suicide once. I’m just hoping it doesn’t happen again.


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