I have a confession. Not a lot of people know this. I
was am a self harmer. I cut myself. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that on here before, but if I haven’t it may come as a surprise to some of you. Or maybe you thought “I knew it!” Well it’s out in the open now anyway.
I started when I was a teenager, around 14/15 I think. Around the time when I was stressed to the max with school and life. My friends (as girls tend to do) swung from nice to bitchy most of the time. My best friend had ditched me in form 1 and i was left to hang out with myself for the rest of the year until I made new friends. I was the reject. The guy I liked at school didn’t want to go out with me. My “boyfriend” that I really really liked had dumped me the year before and I still hadn’t gotten over him – more about this later. I had started a part time job after school at a supermarket. I started stealing things. Not major things, but the odd chocolate bar, moisturiser etc when I was working. Until they started investigating that someone was stealing…No I didn’t get caught but another staff member did – she was stealing money and cigarettes etc. Police came and she lost her job. Then they installed cameras and I was too freaked out that I would get caught so I stopped. I felt really guilty, and down.
I don’t know what made me think of doing it. One day I was in the bathroom, and we used to have a big cupboard in there that was filled up with heaps of shit – toilet paper, pads & tampons, moisturisers, bath salts, most of which had been gifts to my mum etc that she hadn’t used yet. I always used to be curious about what was in there, so one day I went through some of the stuff. I found a hair dressing kit with scissors and stuff. And a little black pouch. Ohhh I shouldn’t have looked inside that pouch. Inside was a set of razor blades. I think there were 5. And oh how shiny they looked. I remember taking one out and turning it over and over in my hands watching the blade glint in the light. Then I heard my parents come inside so I put it away again.
The blades haunted me. I thought about them every day, for a week or so. I would go to the bathroom just to make sure they were still there. I washed them all under boiling water. Even though they looked clean, I wanted to make them extra clean although i didn’t know why. Then one day, not quite sure how it actually happened or what caused me to finally do it, but I found myself sitting on my bed with the blade in my hand. Without much thought or delay, I pressed the blade into my upper arm.
wow. What a feeling. It was almost indescribable. The relief I felt was amazing. It didn’t even hurt. The feelings of guilt and hurt poured out as the blood did. I sat there for a few minutes watching it before reaching for a tissue. As I cleaned up, I realised what I had just done and i started shaking. How could something so wrong like that, feel SO right?
I wasn’t suicidal. People always assume that if you are a self harmer that you are suicidal. It’s not always like that. For some like me, it’s a pain release. The pressure and feelings build up so much that I just can’t take it anymore and I need a release. Anything to stop how I’m feeling. and the relief I get from it helps so much.
People don’t understand. People that haven’t self harmed. They just can’t know what it is like to get that relief. Now, I’m NOT suggesting for people to start self harming, far from it. I don’t want to do it either. i don’t want to be that person with scars on her arms for others to see and think “she’s crazy”. But sometimes it feels like my only option. It’s my coping mechanism. When things get too much, it’s what I do.
You know what the funny thing was? Well it’s not really funny….but I found out that at the same time as I was cutting, so was my best friend. She came to school one day with a bandage on her arm. I asked her about it and said did she do it herself. She said yes. Hers was a BIG slice on her outer upper arm. Mine were on the inside so no one could see. I think she wanted someone to see so they would stop her. We both went to the guidance councilor. She was a bitch to put it nicely. She actually made me feel worse…I was going to her for reasons to stop the cutting, yet after each session I would go home that night and cut again. So I stopped going. I don’t know if she helped my friend or not, but I didn’t really talk to her much about it after that and I never saw any other cuts or scars on her. She still has a big scar on her arm from the one she did.
So after this, the blade continued to flirt with me for a couple of years on and off, usually at times of major stress etc. Then when I met my now husband in 7th form and he found out about it, he went ballistic at me and told me he never wanted me to do that again. I stopped because i didn’t want to lose him. Then the next year I had finished school and moved out of my parents to Auckland where allll the bad stuff happened. (I think that will be another post too).
This time, I had no blade. I left those at my parents (who have since renovated their bathroom and thrown out all the stuff in the cupboard including that little black pouch). So what was I to do? Anything i could. I used a knife once on my wrist, my bf caught me and stopped me. He actually almost hit me he was that pissed off. I used a letter opener at work a few times. I would sneak it into my sleeve and go to the bathroom. When I didn’t have anything around I would just use my fingernails and scratch my arm.
So by now you’re probably thinking I have scars all over. I don’t. Besides one on my arm that is so faded now that if I want to see it I have to find the right light. Most of the time when I cut, I didn’t leave scars. That wasn’t my intention. It was just a release. I didn’t want people knowing what I was doing.
Since all that crap in Auckland, I was pretty good. I went a few years without doing anything. I thought I would never do it again. Then we got married and tried to have a baby. That was stressful and the month before I ended up getting pregnant I had a bit of a breakdown and scratched up my arm at work. I literally spent all day going over and over the same spot. This should have been a bit of a precursor to what would come after I had the baby (and really, I probably should have gone – hey I’m not in the right place to have a baby now, let’s stop trying to get pregnant! ) After I had H I was so low for a long time. Bloody post natal depression. PND. The horrible black hole of motherhood no one warns you about. That sleep deprivation, it really is a form of torture. I did it a few times. Then I stopped.
Fast forward to November 2012-May 2013. My affair with J. My marriage breakdown. and alll the shit that stemmed from this. This was probably the only time in my life I have REALLY been suicidal when I did it. I didn’t care anymore. I just wanted out. Out of my broken life. Ohhh I was so close to doing it. I was such a mess. I was standing in the kitchen sobbing, trying to ring J but he wasn’t answering his phone, I was shaking, everything physically hurt, my heart felt like it was trying to beat out of my chest but someone was squeezing it as tightly as they could. I had the knife all sharpened. I could picture the scene clearly, lying on the floor and bleeding out, big pool of blood spreading over the floor. To be honest, to this day I don’t know what stopped me in the end. I don’t know what stopped me from leaving my husband in the end either. Maybe my brain subconsciously is trying to help me and said NO you can’t do this I won’t let you. I don’t know. All that I know is that I’m alive, and still married to my husband and we are working things out.
Why am I choosing now to reveal all this?
Well here’s the next part of the confession. I scratched my wrist last night. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know what to tell you. But the relief is great. I feel clear headed again. The only problem is, it’s hard to stop at just once. I can almost guarantee that won’t be the last. And No, I’m not suicidal. My husband doesn’t know and I’m not going to tell him. Trust me, it’s better this way.
So there you have it. Hi, I’m H and I’m a self-harmer.