Cutting and Self-harm, My Story​

\*disclaimer\* I am not advocating that cutting is right or wrong. For some people, like myself for a good portion of my life, it is just a way that you have to live with when emotional pain becomes unbearable.

This is a reblog in a sense, but really this is an expanded version of a post from when I first started writing this blog in September. It’s a real subject and outside my posts about suicide, it is one of the most important subjects I will ever talk about in my journey here on my blog.

This subject means the world to me. When I look at the scars on my arm, it is a constant reminder of who I was, and how far I have come since I was a teenager. It’s a sensitive subject, but I would rather talk about then push it to the side.

So here is my story, of how cutting and self-harm a major part of my life…

Today I decided to touch a subject that most people hate talking about (or hearing about) which is the subject of cutting and self-harm. I believe that if people knew more about this subject of self-harm that people would be less likely to ridicule someone who has lived through something so traumatic they chose to cut on their skin.

Humans are more connected than ever before thanks to social media. With so many people connected, it opens a floodgate for people to be more open about their lives. Our little lives are just out there on display for all to see. And yes, I realize people don’t have to put their lives out there in the world, but I digress.

Some people just want to post their every thought and emotion on social media simply to make a real connection with the world. The result of people posting about their self-harm and cutting on social media can result in people posting harsh comments.

I have seen people bullied because someone was reaching out to talk about “cutting.” The comments that people leave are part of the problem, but the issue is deeper and darker. It saddens me because I understand, I have lived it, and people making horrible comments only makes it harder for people to get real help for this issue plaguing the mental illness community.

People at times hate what they don’t understand.

When the subject if cutting comes up on social media, people tend to attack it in vicious ways. Most are on one of two sides: the people that cut (I will call them us) and the people that criticize (I will call them, well them.) In this world, there is not much grey area, and people see us as attention seekers.

This is an untrue judgment, the posts we make might just be what gets us through a second, a minute, or day without the feeling of the emotional pain that comes along with self-harm. There is always a history of someone who chooses to self-harm, and most people don’t know that person’s history.

If you knew this history would you still judge us?

So that’s where this post is headed. I want people to know some of my own storied histories with cutting and self-harm. If you see the history of one us, you might understand what leads us down this path. It is not pretty, and it’s a subject in my past that I would rather not talk about here on my blog. But again, I have to write this blog post.

Emotions have always gotten the better of me. The depression side of my Bipolar One diagnosis means my emotions are heightened to the extremes. It is a cruel world and most people prefer not to hear about your problems. They have issues of their own and that’s understandable.

Since I was a teenager and into my twenties I always hid my self-harm. People saw the side I let them see, on the, outside I was an okay kid. I now call it one of the masks I wear in my life. I got good grades and interacted with people the best I could as a teenager. On the inside, I was much different.

Dealing with my problems was never my strong suit (it still isn’t.) I prefer to shut my problems inside, and never deal with them head-on. I have never been a people person, and I prefer to be shut inside writing or the confines of my bedroom to going out socializing with the world.

I had people I knew in school, and I guess you can call them friends. I could never talk about how I felt about cutting and self-harm. Most days life just passed me by. This made me different, an outsider. My problems compiled in my head. I never talked about how I felt. I allowed my pain to keep building until it left emotional scars, and those are the worst kind of scars.

Emotional pain can be an unbearable experience. The world disappears. You get lost in your mind and escape seems impossible. You feel tired. Alone. It is a dark place. You feel like you are holding on to the weight of the world. I would lay there for hours doing nothing but staring into space lost in my mind.

Every human being experiences emotional pain in their lives, but for me, my emotions were magnified by a thousand some nights. The emotional pain would go on for days, weeks, months, and yes, sometimes years. The toll it took on me, it always led me to bad solutions.

It is emotional pain led me to do things like cutting for some of my teenage years and into my early twenties. Physical pain, compared to the emotional pain, is easier to deal with because at least physical pain can be healed. That is why my solutions led me to cut on my arms.

My arms and a razor became my sanctuary. When I cut, the emotional pain was pushed out of mind for a short time. Physical scars heal over time, but emotional scars may never heal. I would hide outside my scars with hoodies that I never took off so that people couldn’t see what I was doing to myself.

The point I am trying to make is that life for some people like me, it can be very harsh. We are human just like everyone else. It has been many years since the last time that I turned to self-harm. I got to a point where I could manage my emotional pain at the level where I didn’t have the need to cut.

I have come a long way but the scars on my arms are still the reminders of a time where I couldn’t deal with life. It hurt. It cut deep. But ridiculing someone because they would rather have physical pain instead of emotional pain cuts just as deep.

There are so many people out there, especially at teenage level (when I started cutting) and I speak to them now. It will be okay. If you haven’t already get help. It would mean the world to me if you got help. If you would like to share your story with me please do. I will not share it with the world. If you need someone to talk to, I am always there for you. Cutting is not the end of the world.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Taylor Bryant

 

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44 Replies to “Cutting and Self-harm, My Story​”

  1. I recently wrote about how emotional pain is worse than physical pain. It makes sense to cause physical pain to mask the emotional. People need to understand that.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Wow, some of that felt like I was reading about my own life. Thank you for being open about it. I’m sure it will help someone hearing your words, knowing they aren’t alone. After my first bout of depression and self harm in high school, I always hoped the things I went through would be able to help someone else someday. Even if you make a difference in one life, sharing your story, as hard as it may be, is worth it, I believe.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I know how difficult it is, to hide the side of you that you felt that the rest of the outside world can’t accept, and i’d done that too when i was younger, and it’d become emotional burdensome to me, and i’d had my share of suicidal attempts in the past, and the thing is, unless you are in the lows of your life personally, you will NEVER know what an individual who’s driven to harm her/himself was feeling.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Thanks for sharing, I hear you and I echo you, that if anyone reading this who cuts, you aren’t alone and you can get help. Find someone safe. Lots of virtual love to you from me

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have a very interesting relationship with self-harm, cutting in particular. I would say I can be quite judgemental about it, but it’s from fear than more anything else. A lot of that fear comes from a really awful experience I had when I was thirteen. Interestingly it also touches on my group therapy experiences, which James has also talked about this week.

    When I was thirteen I met a girl about three years older than me in group therapy. Let’s call her Ella*. Ella was the ex-girlfriend of an older guy I had a crush on (also in therapy), and he still deeply cared about her. He wanted someone to be her friend and confidant, to look after her now she was no longer near him. I wanted to impress him and had a self-destructive maternal streak a mile wide so I decided that I would be that friend. I quickly became one of Ella’s closest friends, and soon she was kinda treating me like carer type thing. One of the more difficult things she would do (although I didn’t ever open up and say I had a problem with it) was ask me whether I would help her get out of some pretty full-on situations she got herself into, mostly to do with drugs. She also liked discussing everything with me. The main way she’d do this was calling me, particularly later in the evening.

    One night I got up fairly late to answer Ella’s call. Initially, she talked to me quite calmly. She had a brief argument with her mum through her bedroom door, and then there was a pause and the next thing I knew she was telling me about her slitting her wrists as I talked to her. She barricaded her door and told me how she hated her family and didn’t want to live if she had to live with them anymore. I can still remember telling her I was going to the bathroom and calling the ambulance. Then I called her ex and got him to telephone her mum.

    Ella survived, although I didn’t know that for about six months. She never contacted me or her ex again. I think I felt sorry for her at that time of my life, but although it sounds very cruel, all I feel now is fear and anger. I was a child! And that moment in so many ways was the end of my childhood. Every time I think of cutting, I think of that moment and how scared I was that it was my fault. That I had done something to make her cut, to make her attempt suicide. It gave me a severe phobia of self-harm for many years, in fact for about three or four years after I couldn’t look at the underside of anyone’s wrists, including my own.

    I have had other friends who self-harmed later in life. Sometimes I’ve been a good person to talk to it about, most of the time I feel like I haven’t. Basically, I wanted to say that sometimes when a person gets angry or doesn’t understand (which I am certainly guilty of a lot), it is sometimes because of their own trauma. It’s not that they don’t care, or think it’s attention seeking, it’s that they aren’t capable of being able to support you through that in that moment. My coping strategy with not being able to help myself is to make sure I can refer people to good resources, to things that will actually be able to help. Hopefully that way I am doing the best I can not only for myself but for the other person as well.

    *Name changed to protect privacy

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That was a powerful self-harm story. Thank you for sharing. I often look at my scars on my arms, some of them have faded but the deepest ones are still there, visible reminders of a different time in my life. Thank you for sharing as always.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I often am reminded of that experience when I look at scars on other people. I realise, in sharing my story, that I still have a lot of shame over that fear. It’s interesting how sharing can make us realise that we still have more to process over certain issues.

        Like

    2. I think this is so wise – you are protecting yourself, while still doing what you can to help, but also leaving it up to the person to get help as ultimately that choice will always rest with them no matter what anyway. I think attempting to help when you are being traumatically triggered probably has a high likelihood of making both you and them worse off in the long run. I’m sorry you had to go through that experience and it makes a lot of sense for you to have some anger over it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you. I really appreciate the understanding! I know that knowing the resources to help has helped people who have talked to me a couple of times in the past, and I think that was far more helpful than adding my trauma to what they were already experiencing.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you so much for posting! You are amazing and it’s refreshing to see people post true things about themselves. It’s very inspiring, and I’m positive it will keep inspiring more people. Keep up the great work and know you truly aren’t alone in this, even if some days it feels like it ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Self harm is so hard not to do sometimes. I openly tell people about how I bite the inside of my mouth instead of cutting. No one finds this weird. I destroy my mouth causing fat lips. I heal quickly and for some reason inside my mouth heals quicker than if I had cut myself.

    When I say I bite I mean I bite out huge hunks of flesh. The blood is oddly claiming. I also have done it for so long I don’t always know when I am doing it until I taste the blood.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I bite the inside of my mouth but never draw blood. I actually more chew the inside my lip. We all have our way of coping. I hope that someday in the near future you won’t need to any of it. Thank you for sharing.

      Like

      1. I’ve had a feel really emotional set backs once or twice the past 2-3 years but I think it’s a lot like drug addiction recovery in terms of self-harm. I never posted on social media about it, I hid it, but I agree that those who do are just crying for help, needing comfort like all of us. They are just going about it differently. I hate when people say it’s all for attention until one day that friend they talked about commits suicide. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve met a few with that mentality. I think it comes from one of two places: 1. fear of some resemblance of their pain 2. they’ve never struggled in their life

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I think you’re very brave being so open about this subject. In fact I was just looking at scars on my own leg when this blogged popped up in my email. So I read it. Thank you for your post. More people need to now the truth behind self harm. And not the “attention seeker” myth. When people ask about my scars (most of which are now tattooed over with meaningful symbols. I don’t want to forget my scars. They are a map of my journey. I tattoo over them with pictures of things that have roped me stop doing it. Quotes that have helped me keep living etc. So they’re still a reminder of my journey) but I have some scars on my leg. And when people see them and ask “what is that scar from?” I say one simple sentence. “These scars are from emotional pain”. Because they are. And so I describe them as such. X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can understand where you are coming from. I cut mostly on my arm and over time some of the smaller ones have faded but the deepest are still there especially on my right arm. They are reminders of where I have been and how far I have come with my journey. Thank you for sharing a small piece of your own journey with my blog.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I may have left my scars on my arms there if I hadn’t got children. When they were born I didn’t want them to see and ask questions. And as they got older maybe even copy. If you see what I mean? It would be hard to explain away that many scars to them. They are inquisitive and curious. So the tattoos are over the ones on my arms. The ones on my legs are still there and the children don’t see them as I don’t often have my legs out! Purely because they are so pale and look like milk bottles haha! I used to be ashamed of the scars. But now I’m not. If I had a scar from a physical illness I would not be ashamed. So I’m not ashamed of these scars either. I haven’t cut for a while now. But I never say “oh I never will again” because I can’t possibly know that. I have stopped for a year or more before and then done it again when I’ve been overwhelmed or low. Always here if you want a chat by the way 🙂 I have bipolar, borderline personality disorder and psychosis. So I understand to some degree. But could never understand fully because you are your own person and not a walking list of symptoms! So although we both have bipolar we are not the same. Anyway sorry. I am rambling 🙄 as usual! Tasks care x

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I am hoping the same. This issue is such a taboo one that most people keep hidden. And I think if people talk about it, we can maybe help find alternatives to self harm like seeking help.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I have not heard anyone talk about that, thank you! I would never have cut myself when I was you ger because one of the things I was afraid of was dying. I was afraid of everything. Constant fear.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for sharing this story. I think I speak for a lot of us when I say this story felt like you were telling our story and not just your own. You are doing something amazing with your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow great topic! I do feel torn however about people posting self-harm on social media (instagram for example), as I feel this really becomes a bit of ‘self-harm’ porn and a trigger for people who are vulnerable to it. It can be glorified, sexualised or just the exposure to the images makes me think about it more often, which I don’t find helpful. I think *talking* about it helps, but posting images I find isn’t helpful as I think it fuels their own addiction to it and other people’s addiction too.

    Liked by 1 person

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