I want to write about something I’ve never really discussed with anyone before, but is something really important, and we should talk about it more. Self harm.
I first self harmed when I was around 12 years old. I took apart one of my dads new razors and used the blade to slice at my arms. It’s a bit like the addictive pain you get from tattoos, except these cuts are made to hurt. They’re made too make you feel, to make you know youre real, and to distract you from the mental pain inside of you. For every bad word the bullies said to you, you make a cut. Until you run out of room. Then you move to other places no one will see. Your thighs, your stomach, anywhere you can hide. Self harm is not attention seeking. No one sets out to maim and harm themselves for attention like this. Eventually, it becomes addictive, and you’ve done it for so long, you don’t know how to stop, or even if you want to stop because this is your coping mechanism for everything. Even writing this I can feel those urges and the small moments of time where it made me feel something other than fat, smelly, slutty, pathetic etc. There are still times I yearn for those moments of relief, but I am stronger than them now.
In school I wore long sleeve tops under my shirts so no one could see the marks. I still bear all the scars to this day, and I know one day I will have to explain them to my son.
I have one scar that is quite big. I ended up having to go to hospital before one of my GCSEs to get it patched up. I had cut so deep you could see all of the fat cells in my arm. I told my mum I had done it on a nail sticking out on the bus when I was trying to pick my school bag up. The hospital obviously saw through this and knew the wound was older, so I was forced to come clean. I had thought I could get away with it. My journey to recovery still didnt start for another few years, but I was logged into the system at this point for a history of self harm.
I have self harmed once in the last 10 years, and as much as i wanted to continue, I proved I can resist this and i am stronger than I think. Having Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder, I have an addictive personality, so to be able to resist the temptation to slip into old ways is remarkable, and I don’t give myself enough credit for it.
My battle with self harm will continue for the rest of my life, but I know I can survive without it, so I will keep taking my meds and seeing my counsellor, and hopefully leave self harm in the past.