Self-Mutilation

As a child, I always knew I was a bit off. I’m the youngest of 3 children and the only girl. I constantly felt like the odd man out, not only in the family but also in my peers. When I was in 3rd grade my best friend from before I could remember told me that she didn’t want to be my friend anymore and I didn’t take it too well. I remember sitting under the jungle gym at recess hiding my face because I was crying. As I got older I had several experiences like this but I soon learned that sitting under the jungle gym was no longer acceptable and neither was crying in public. I never really held the same friends for more than a couple of months. And they all usually ended very badly because as this kept happening I would get meaner and meaner to the people that would leave me. Mind you, I was still in grade school. I didn’t know why I would say these hurtful things to the people that I wanted to be my friends, but looking back it was because I wanted them to hurt as much as they were hurting me. By the age of 11, I found a sadistic relief in self harm. I didn’t do it for attention. I did it because it was real. I could put this metaphysical pain into something physical. It was in front of my eyes and for some reason that brought a sense of relief. In my troubled mind it was as if I could forget the emotional pain now that I had a reason to feel physical pain. This progressed for years. I became a nastier and more volatile child. By high school I was drinking all the time. My scars were like a scrap book of my painful experiences and I was terrified of anyone finding them. This was something that plagued my everyday living because I had scars all over my body. They all varied from new scabs to dark purple scars to ghostly gray lines that were starting to fade.

It scared me what they were starting to fade. It felt like if they faded it meant the pain I had felt was not real. Invalid, like a bad dream. Just after I turned 17 I had a really bad wave of depression and I did a lot of damage to the side of my thigh. This one was not easy to cover up. It was bad and a lot of the cuts were so deep that they opened up wider than any others. This scared me even more than the other scars fading. I wrapped it up as I usually did. The next day I didn’t even think twice I went to my best friend and showed her my leg. She had known that I self mutilated for years, even though I never talked about it. She didn’t say anything. She grabbed my hand and walked me to the school counselor’s office. I cried the entire way. I was astonished because I hadn’t cried in years. I could never bring myself to cry and now, I was crying like a little baby girl.

I’d been in similar situations before where the school counselor brings up my scars or tries to get me to talk to her about my self- mutilation but it was always to no avail. This time was different though. I walked in there with the intentions of getting help. I was there because I couldn’t do it anymore. I didn’t want to. I wanted to stop hurting. That day I felt more relief than any blade had ever given me. It took a lot of work to crawl out of that depression and anxiety and fear and self loathing. It took time and effort, but now almost 4 years later I can say that the urge to self harm hasn’t crossed my mind in a very, very long time. I have accepted the pain that I felt as a child and my fading scars don’t faze me. Even the last ones that I ever made are now just ghostly white lines that become fainter and fainter with each passing day. I’m okay with this now. My scars don’t define me. I define my scars and they’re meanings are no longer significant to who I am today.

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