The personal story of a 29 year old cutter

Copyright, Sherri

I began self harming when I was about 7. My mother was yelling at me. Saying the usual things, that I was stupid, and ugly, and basically I was just like my father (she divorced my father when I was two. He was an alchoholic, and drug abuser). Whenever I did something wrong, like the usual kid stuff, she would go on for hours about how stupid I was. I went in my room to escape the words, and I remember thinking, “Why don’t you just beat me till I’m dead? It would hurt less”. I then looked at my arm, and scratched it continually with my fingernails. The pain took my mind off why I really was hurting.

Eventually I came into my teen years. I was about 15, and I was contemplating suicide. I had always been thin, and people would always tell me I was pretty. When I was 15, I gained about 30 pounds. I had to go to a new high school. I felt fat, ugly, and friendless. I held a pair of scissors in my hand and the familiar screaming from my mother was going on and on. Something about the apartment not looking good enough for her, I had always believed that I was born, so that I could take care of my mother. When she would say these wretched things to me, I could easily say that I hated her. I held the pair of scissors in my hand, and I closed my eyes. As I let the anger well up inside of me, I slashed. I didn’t cut my wrists. I cut my left leg. I stared in disbelief. The fresh cut didn’t bleed immediately. It was white. Soon blood started pouring slowly from the laceration. I felt terrified. More of my fear was that my mother might find this cut, that was on my inner thigh, just above my knee. But something else took power over my feelings. As I watched the blood slowly making a trail down my leg, I felt a sense of satisfaction. I thought, “She can’t control this”. If I wore pants till the wound went away, she wouldn’t even know about it. She could make me eat the food she makes, she can make me clean my room. She can make me go to a school where I don’t have friends, but this isn’t something she could control.

The self harm took on other roles in my life. I was cutting school one day and stayed home to watch TV. I think I was watching Phil Donahue. On this particular show, there were about 3 females, who would starve themselves, and throw up, in order to lose weight. I thought to myself, I wish I could do that. I was 30 pounds overweight, and didn’t care about the side effects. If it caused death, it was even better for me. I threw up the first time. It was hard, it was right after I ate a snickers candy bar. Soon, I was throwing up after every meal. I was careful not to make a sound. I knew where to throw up, so that nobody could hear splashes. I would turn on the sink, just in case. I lost about 25 pounds in six months. I knew that if I didn’t take in any food at all, that the weight that I lost, would come back really fast. Therefore, I did eat some small meals that I didn’t think would hurt my goal of being thin again. So when I stopped throwing up, I ate very few meals, and would tell people that I was just not hungry. I also walked about two miles to school, and two miles back.

Eventually, the bulemia would come back, and go away, come back and go away. The cutting went away for several years. It came back when I was about 18. I felt once again that I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I hated life. I hated my job in retail. I didn’t think I would ever get away from my mother. She didn’t have a job because she was sick. She had Lupus. Which is a blood disease. She held me under the beliefe that if I left, there would be nobody to take care of her. She would end up homeless because she didn’t have a job, and I was the one paying the rent. I was once again stuck in a cell, with no way out.

I would like to say that when I was twenty I moved out and never had another episode. I would love to say that the eating disorder, and all mental illness went away. It would be a lie. I lived in a new town, I had a new job. I hated every cell in my body. I didn’t like being alive. All life was, was going to work, coming home, going to work. People who said they were my friends, well, they didn’t really know me at all. If they did, they wouldn’t talk to me. Or so I believed. The cutting continued. When I was about 25, my boyfriend at the time, made me go to the hospital, after I had taken about 25 paxil, and cut myself up pretty bad. I went to the doctors, I lied. I was forced to tell the emergency people why I was there. It was humilating. They had accepted me right away, put me in a room, and had a security guard watch me till they figured out what to do with me. They put me in a mental hospital, for people who were clinically depressed. They had diagnosed me as being bipolar. I had studied mental illness, and knew I had depression. I thought a couple of times I might be bipolar. I don’t know how much of his diagnoses was real, or how much of it was me telling him things in hopes he would think I was more than “depressed”. I wanted people to know I was crazy. After all, it would confirm for me, that people who think the way I do could be sane.

I was in and out of the hospital several times. Eventually I lost a lot of weight by bulemia, and anorexia. I was down to 107 lbs from over 160 lbs about 6 months before. I dumped the boyfriend, thinking that I didn’t have to hang on him anymore. I didn’t do anything but argue with him anyway. I then moved into a different apartment, and found a new job, where I felt they may need or appreciate me. I changed every aspect of my life that I thought was depressing me.

It worked for a while, I didn’t cut, I didn’t eat, I made new friends. But soon, everything was bothering me again. I don’t know how to look past my own flaws. I don’t know why I blame myself for everything that goes wrong in the world. I constantly beat myself up. I wish that there was a way that I could take some magic pill, and everything would be OK the next day. I wish that the things I learned in group therapy about changing the way I think, would stick in my head. But I have those depressed moments. I have those days, weeks months where I just don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t cut myself anymore. I can’t say that I never will. I only know that when I start thinking or fantasizing about it, it’s usually time to call someone and ask for help.


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