This one is not a happy one folks. I am stating here now that if mention of self harm, suicide or manipulation are triggers for you please step away from this post. Head over to the NaBloPoMo soup and find something else to read. Come back tomorrow. Here there be dragons.
Any one still with me I suggest you go get yourself a cup of tea or coffee, maybe a bar of chocolate. Let's begin shall we?
I am a recovering self harmer. I don't say former because I don't believe it is something you ever truly get away from. We describe people who have been alcoholics as dry drunks. They are still a drunk, just one who does not drink now. The psychology is still there though. It's a tightrope and everyone knows that there is the possibility of falling off hanging over them all the time. I think this is the same for anyone recovering from any addictive thing they have been using as a coping mechanism. So I am recovering. I've been recovering for 7 years and 9 months now. In another 4 years I will have been clean as long as I was harming.
I remember the first time I did it. I was 12 years old and was visiting my father for the weekend. It was the Friday night and I was out with my friends. We were at the local park with tons of other kids from our age up to late teens and we were drinking. Yup I was one of those kids. Once every 2 weeks I was a little bit of a lout. Though a painfully polite one ^_^ There was a phone box by the park and one of the panes of glass had been broken and I was knocking bits of glass out of it not caring if they scratched my hand. Not much but that is where it started.
I progressed onto hitting things, walls mostly. I think for about 3 or 4 years the side of my right hand was almost always bruised. I would hit the side of my fist off things. I rarely punched the walls straight on. Too scared of breaking something. Less for the pain and more for having to explain it to anyone.
I was about 15 the fist time I cut myself. I was at a party and the guy I was interested in was there with his girlfriend. He was a manipulative guy and had been stringing me along for a while. She was a self harmer, though I didn't know it at the time. She hurt herself at the party and it was like a light bulb went off in my head. I remember thinking to myself "Will this make me feel better? Well it can't make me feel worse, let's give it a go." There was broken glass all around and I snagged myself a piece, went and sat on the wall and dug it into my wrist a few times. They were barely scratches that hardly bled but the feeling was of relief. Endorphins are released when you're in pain and that little rush is quite impressive. For the next week or so I wrapped pretty colours hair scarves around my wrist and called it fashion. It was the 90's I could get away with it ^_^ I watched them heal and felt peace.
This would continue for the next 3 years. Maybe once a fortnight to once a week. Generally on my ankles as it was easiest to hide. When I went away to university I gave myself my first permanent scar. It's on my left arm and is still visible. I harmed all the way through uni but much less than I had done. Usually only when drunk and things got on top of me. I started to fit into my skin better and the people I'd surrounded myself with were much better for me.
When I left uni I didn't want to move back in with either of my parents but I didn't want to live on my own. My ex (the one from earlier in the story) had a room going in the house share he was in so I moved in. Big mistake. I struggled with everything. Money, him and his manipulative ways, being lonely. It was like I was 15 again. Scared, confused and finding that the only way I could cope was to carve lines into my skin or make bruises blossom. It all got too much in the end and on October 24th 2003 I took an overdose. Before you say it yes, suicide is a selfish act. But I stand by my opinion that it is the only selfish act that is truly allowable. I don't see why anyone should continue to put up with a day to day struggle just so they don't upset other people. I had spent years with the idea of suicide floating at the edges of my consciousness. The only reason I hadn't was that I knew it would devastate my parents. I had finally got to a point where my misery outweighed my sense of duty. I failed (obviously, I'm not a ghost here!) and had to get on with life.
At that point I started self harming much more. It got me through the days and allowed me to function like a reasonable person. I said you could have me perfect and dead or scarred and alive. Cutting stopped working. It didn't make me feel better. One fateful night, a set of whispered words that broke my heart, and a total inability to cope with the things I was feeling lead me to heating up a meat fork and pressing it into my skin 4 times. The pain was ridiculously intense. As far as I am concerned burning is the most painful thing ever. But there came that feeling of peace again. Deep burns take weeks to heal, even longer if you are a scab picker like I am. They itched and pulled and were a constant reminder of how I felt.
For the next 3 years or so I would cut, bruise and burn myself on a regular basis. At least once a week, usually more often. Finally I moved out of this place and was once again surrounded by better people. But I still had my moments. On my 24th birthday I cut myself so deeply I scared myself. I did some research and I believe I got down to the subcutaneous fat layer. I went to see a Dr about it and they wanted to refer me for therapy. Considering all the people I've known on Medication for depression and things I would love to know how they got prescribed. I have never been prescribed medication, only therapy. However in all cases I haven't actually gotten this therapy. You see in this country therapy for self harm is geared towards adolescents. So the only person they could refer me to could only work hours that were not suitable for a fully grown woman working a full time job. So I bumbled along for another month or so.
Then on the 16th of February 2006 I burnt myself 3 times. There are 3 tiny little scars at the base of my left thumb. This was the last time I have intentionally harmed myself to date. I pressed that blade onto my skin and I felt nothing. I didn't feel any better. What was the point of doing this if it didn't make me feel better?
These days I scratch the itch with piercings and tattoos and other things. Sadly I can't always afford that and then it can get difficult. I know when it's been too long. I get snappy. I cry for no reason. It's like being outside of my body. I can see I'm being a bitch but there is nothing I can do about it. I can see that there is no reason to be in tears. I'm working on not doing this anymore but it's a work in progress.
This subject is still very taboo. To most people the idea of causing yourself pain is so nonsensical and so they judge. I think this, and other mental health issues, should be spoken about more. If people don't feel embarrassed or like they are going to be judged then they may seek help and guidance.