Copyright, Stella

It started a little over a year ago. That night it seemed that everything had gone wrong. I was mad at my parents and my sister, I had put off my big homework assignment that was due the next day. I sat on the stairs waiting for my mom to get home so I could complain at her. I don’t know why, but I had this urge to hurt myself. At that time my thumbnail was quite long and I repeatedly scraped it along my wrist until it was red. After I had been on the stairs for a while I became tired and went to my bed. I lay there for what seemed like forever. I rubbed my hand over the bumpy part of my wrist I had hurt. The wound was painful, but I felt a strange comfort in it. That was the beginning of my cutting and depression.

The next time I attempted to injure myself was about a week later. I was sitting out at soccer practice with an upset stomach when, again, I got the urge to hurt myself. Again I used my thumbnail to dig into my skin.

Around this time my mother and sister had both been diagnosed with ADD, and she suspected that I had it too. I was given a form to fill out. One of the questions asked if I had ever intentionally hurt myself. The form said that all information would be kept confidential so I answered yes. When I saw the shrink with my mother the first thing she did was tell my mom about my answer. But even worse, my mom didn’t believe me! After I explained what I did and showed her the scars on my wrist she said to me, “You know, some people actually cut themselves with knives.” This only threw me further into my depressive state.

I progressivly got worse, cutting myself more often, this time with safety pins, nail clippers, and scissors. I also cut off skin on my hands and feet and pulled constantly at my nails. I began to cut paper and small plastic objects (pen caps, etc.) into small pieces that littered my bedroom floor. All of these things helped me relieve my stress or helped me cope with a bad day. I dont know how it helped but it always seemed to calm me down and make me feel better.

I was fairly open to my very close friends about my habits. Two of them had also had problems with self mutilation, so I felt comfortable discussing it with them. Others, however, were terrible to deal with. I constantly got questions like, “What’s that on your arm?”, “Are you depressed?”, and “Did you try to kill yourself?”. I was very selfconcious of my scars and always shrugged off the questions.

Despite all the questions I got from my peers, my family seemed oblivious. When my sister asked me about my wrist my dad stood up for me by saying that it was none of her business. I though that it was safe for me to wear short sleeved shirts around my dad from then on. Boy, was I wrong.

One day, after my dad got home from work, I was talking with him and suddenly he grabbed my arm and asked me about the scars, and new scabs on my wrist. I shook my head and burst into tears. I refused to talk to him for the rest of the day. He immediately set up an appointment with a shrink (different from the one I had seen before).

At first I was reluctant to share any information with her. I talked though stories of other people, telling her how some of my friends had cut themselves. Sometimes we talked about school, or my parents, but nothing really came out of it. She routinely asked me if had cut myself again, but I always lied and said no.

In Spetember my mom found out that I had been cutting myself again. she and my shrink set up an appointment with a doctor that could prescribe medication.

Let me explain, that before this I did not believe that I could have a psychological disease. I knew I could not be depressed, because there were times when I was happy. I had never seriously tried to kill myself. I was sure that to be depressed you had to be suicidal and unhappy all the time.

Dr. Hall explained depression in a way that actually made sense to me. He told me that I could be happy some of the time and still be depressed. He explained that depression in actually a chemical imbalance in the brain, and depression is not caused by something bad happening. That very day he diagnosed me with depresion and prescribed Celexa (Citalopram), an anti-depressant similar to prozac.

I began taking the medication at the beginning of this week. I am in no way healed. I still cut myself. I still pull off my skin and my nails. I still shred paper and plastic. This is the only way I know to deal with my problems. But I am being helped, and that’s what’s important. If you or anyone you know is hurting themselves please get help.


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