Today is an important day as it marks the World Suicide Prevention Day. I have already talked about suicide today, you can find the blog post here. There is more than one aspect to this day, and self-harm is a part of this subject. I have written about this subject in the past, and the following is a chapter in my memoir entitled Cutting and Self Harm, My Story. The blog post is long so fair warning.
Cutting and Self-Harm, My Story
I am not advocating that cutting and self-harm is right or wrong. For some, it is just a way of life for a time in our lives before we get help. Sometimes you get to a point where the emotional pain gets to be too much.
This subject means the world to me. The scars on my arms and legs are a constant reminder of who I was, and how far in the last ten years I have come. It’s a sensitive subject, but I would rather talk about it then push it to the side.
Today I decided to touch a subject that most people hate talking about (or hearing about), and that subject is cutting and self-harm (I will, for the most part, call it self-harm from here on out.) I saw some interesting posts today on social media that prompted me writing this chapter in my blog.
I always believe that if people knew more about this subject, people would be less likely to ridicule someone who has lived through something so traumatic that 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, but I digress.
Some people want to post their every thought and emotion on social media merely to make a connection. At times the result of people posting these types of stuff on social media is that people can be harsh. I have seen people bullied because they need to talk about “self-harm.” The comments that people leave are part of the problem, but the issue is more profound and darker. It saddens me because I understand, I have lived it, and people making horrible comments only makes it harder for people to eventually get help.
People at times hate what they don’t understand. When the subject if self-harm 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. 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 day. There is always a history for someone who cuts, and most people don’t know that person’s past. If you knew this history would you still judge us?
So that’s where this chapter is headed. I want people to know some of my own experiences with 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 that is in the past I would rather not talk about here, but at the same time, it has to be discussed.
Emotions have always gotten the better of me. Being bipolar, my feelings 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. That is how it was for me since I was a teenager and into my twenties. People saw the side I let them see, on the outside, I was an okay kid. I got decent grades and interacted with people the best I could. 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 issues inside, and never deal with them head-on. I have never been a people person, and I prefer to be locked inside writing than out socializing with the world. In school, I had people I knew, and I guess you can call them friends. I could never talk about how I felt about self-harming in high school. 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 injuries.
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 the weight of the world. I would lay there for hours doing nothing but staring into space lost in my mind. Social media was my way of escaping. People experience emotional pain in their lives, but for me, my emotions were magnified by a thousand some nights. The emotional distress would go on for days, weeks, months, and yes, sometimes years. The toll it took on me, it always led me to the wrong solutions— self-harm.
It was emotional pain led me to do things like cutting for some of my teenage years and 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 self-harm. 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 recover. I would hide 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, life can be very harsh. We are human just like everyone else. It has been many years since the last time that I cut. I got to a point where I could manage my emotional pain at a level where I didn’t have the need to self-harm.
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 it can destroy that person even more.
There are so many people out there, especially at the 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.
Always Keep Fighting