Again, one of the things I’ve hinted at but never actually said anywhere online. I’ve strongly hinted at it in many, many instances, but today is Bell Let’s Talk, so I wanted to open up a little bit about myself. This is my story.
I started self-harming when I was thirteen years old.
I was the tall one that the boys made fun of. My nickname was CN Tower, and I fucking hated it with a passion. One day I fell over in gym class and people laughed and started singing “CN Tower’s falling down” over and over. Once, I made myself sick in order to miss school because of the ridicule I had received the prior day.
No one ever asked me to dance at dances. No one ever asked how I was feeling. No one ever invited me to hang out. My best friend was moving schools and my family was going through financial problems. I couldn’t afford new clothes. I had girls in my class and in upper year class come up to me daily and tell me I needed to stop wearing the same two outfits to school.
One day, I grew fed up with people teasing me about my long hair and I cut it to my shoulders. No one even noticed at school the next day except my teacher.
That night, I went home and I cried. I had dealt with bullying and rejection my entire life and I had felt sad before, but this was a new feeling: numbness. I had a sharp, metal nail file next to my bed, and I picked it up.
I’m sorry, but this story is about to become graphic.
I pushed the metal tip into the skin on my upper left arm and tugged down, hard. Suddenly, all I was was a flash of red and it honestly stopped me. I threw the file down, appalled at what I had done. I didn’t know what “cutting” was at the time; the only mental illness we had ever talked about in health class was anorexia and bulimia. This was new to me, and I had no idea what it was.
I never felt any pain initially when I would cut. My adrenaline would run so high that all I would feel was relief. I can’t describe it well, but it was like there was this pressure building up under my skin, ready to burst, and I released it.
I continued to cut from that day forward. My arms were too visible and I was asked too many questions when I would cut there, so I started cutting my hips. In the summer, I would cut my ankles.
At first, I used my old nail file but after about a year it grew rusty, and I started using scissors. Then, knives. Eventually, it got to the point where I would use anything I could get my hands on (as you’ll see later).
It got worse. I began to be ridiculed in high school for my strangeness and for my cutting. When girls noticed, they spread rumours. When boys noticed, they called me an attention whore. So I made it my job to keep people from noticing.
I started jumping from bad relationship to bad relationship, bouncing from abusers to cheaters to liars to everyone in between. I needed “love”, and I was desperately looking for it anywhere I could find it. These relationships always ended badly, which never helped my situation.
Once, I cut myself on my hip so badly I needed stitches, which I never got. It healed terribly, and it’s a big ugly reminder ever time I look in the mirror that THAT was the point I should have gone for help.
My most toxic relationship ended in October of 2013 when the guy I had been seeing on and off for two years cheated on his girlfriend with me without my knowledge. Suddenly, she and all her friends were telling me to kill myself, and the boy just abandoned me. So I decided to take her advice and I swallowed about 16 Advil with some vodka, which I threw up an hour later.
I was cutting every single day at that point, mostly on my wrists. I was self medicating with anything I could find. I was trying to kill myself slowly, so I could feel something before I went.
Once, I left lecture to lock myself in the bathroom. I grabbed the wooden doorstopper and began to rack at my wrist. My skin was splintered and bloody by the time I finished, and seeing the mess I had made only made me feel worse about myself. I thought I was a coward, I thought I was weak.
Some friends of mine heard me crying in my room one day and walked in on me cutting. They forced me to get help, even when I didn’t want to. I told my parents that same week and my don convinced me to go the the university therapist. I was diagnosed in March of 2014 with PTSD, social anxiety and dysthymia.
It has been 1 year, 2 months and 1 week to the day since the last time I self-harmed.
I want to get a few things clear about self-harm at this point: don’t romanticize it. It fucking sucks. You hate yourself for doing it because you know that while this may not feel like it’s hurting you, you know it’s hurting everyone who loves you.
Don’t think it solves anything; it may feel like a solution but it’s a temporary one. It’s like putting Band-Aid on a bullet wound, it does nothing. It gets worse when not looked after. It’s living in hell for weeks at a time.
I wrote some reasons as to why I thought I was self-harming as part of my therapy once: “1. Feeling something is better than feeling nothing 2. It’s a distraction from the other pain 3. I want to look on the outside the way I feel on the inside 4. I want a reminder 5. I’m trying to cut away the pieces of myself that I hate” (I wrote those November 4, 2014 – two weeks before the last time I cut).
The last thing I’d like to say is that while I don’t self-harm anymore, there are days that I miss it, and I don’t think that will ever go away. I hated myself for five years, five long and terrible years that I wanted to die. These were the years I should have spent discovering myself as a person and developing mentally and physically, but instead, I spent them hating myself and hiding away from the world. I’m never going to get that time back.
Never, EVER believe that hurting yourself is a solution. You’re killing those who love you.
If you’ve read through this entire thing, thank you. I’m sorry if you feel like you need to judge me after this, but I don’t care; I’ve spent too much of my life giving a fuck about what other people think.