I Told You That You Are Not Alone!
I'm a Cutter
That's right, I'm a teenage cutter. I cut myself.
The cutting started my junior year of high school. It started small, as it usually does. I had never heard of self-mutilation. I didn't know that it was something that 1% of the population actually does! I had never met anyone who did this and my view on it at the time was..."God, how could someone even do that to themselves!"
Until I tried it.
I was on the phone with my best friend. She started talking about how sometimes she would scratch herself with a needle or razor. I think I said something like, "How can you do that? Doesn't it hurt?" Little did I know I would soon be answering these questions coming out of other people's mouths. She told me that it didn't hurt, so I tried it. I had a razor sitting on my desk... (looking back, I don't know why it was there in the first place)... and I lightly scratched my arm. There was no blood. I did it a few more times. I found that it caused my heart to pound, and it made me feel alive, but most importantly it made me feel in control. I had been considering suicide for about 4 years and I finally realized that if it got SO bad that I had to do something... I COULD!!!!
This made me feel better than I had felt in a long time. And that's where my cutting began.
Cutter with a Cutting Addiction
I started cutting regularly. What's regularly, you ask? In the beginning, it was around once a week. Then it gradually moved up to 2-3 times a week, to once a day, and eventually 4 - 5 times a day. It was like having a cutting addiction.
I stopped eating lunch in the cafeteria and started locking myself in the bathroom and cutting while I ate. Now that's an addiction to cutting! A few times, the blood seeped through to my jeans and if anyone asked, I always told them that I spilled ketchup or chocolate on me at lunch. I used to make cuts on my arms in 3's. This way, if anyone asked about the cuts or self-harm scars, I could say a cat scratched me. (Find out how to tell someone you self-injure) I would wear sweaters in the summer, one of the key signs or symptoms of self-injury, and I would never, ever, EVER put on a bathing suit. (I still can't today because of the scars).
Where did I cut? Anywhere that could be hidden by my gym uniform. (At this time, I had already started changing in the bathroom so that the other girls didn't see my cuts). This meant shoulders, upper arms, stomach, thighs, and ankles. I also tried to slice up my wrists, but this wasn't really a suicide attempt. I'm not sure what it was. I read somewhere that "Suicide is the exact opposite of self-mutilation. People who commit suicide want to die. People who self-mutilate just want to feel better." You can read more about suicide and self harm here.
Cutting Myself Deeply
Now that I was cutting more frequently, I was also cutting deeper. Some of the cuts would bleed for up to 3 days non-stop. I started to scare myself, my friends started to get scared, and my parents FREAKED. They started to accuse me of being on drugs, being crazy. Actually, they didn't know what to think.
This all landed me in a doctor's office with 3 prescriptions and therapy sessions three times a week, but this didn't change my behavior. I didn't want to change. Eventually, I landed myself in a mental hospital for 2 weeks. I still wasn't ready to change. I learned all of the self-injury alternatives. I was taking medication for my depression and seeing doctors, but none of it did me any good. You can't help someone feel better who doesn't want to get better.
"My parents said, 'forget it.'"
Eventually my parents got frustrated, and all of this was so expensive that they just said "forget it." In a way, that made me feel like I was really a lost cause, like there was NO hope.
I'm a Cutter. My Scars are Badges of Honor
Four years later, what has changed that made me want to seek help? Not much really. I have hundreds of scars on my body, especially on my upper thighs, but they are fading, and I haven't cut that badly for some time. Sometimes, the fact that they are going away scares me. I don't want to lose my scars. They kind of symbolize what I've gone through with this thing.
I never want to forget that I am a cutter. Right now, it doesn't seem likely that I will. Since I have come to college, I've cut several times. I don't let myself buy disposable razors anymore because they are too easy for me to take apart. So when I get desperate enough, I use push pins from my bulletin board, but last week I cracked. I used the double bladed razors that I shave my legs with. I didn't think I could take them apart. However, when you get desperate enough, you can do virtually anything.
Why did I crack? I don't know. I was very panicky and I just needed to assure myself that I was in control. It calms me down. I always do it in front of a mirror. The sight of my blood proves to me that I am still alive, and sometimes I question that. I really do. I needed the reminder. So I did it... I cut. Not really badly, but the worst I've done since coming to college this year.
So I am on Prozac now and I do see doctors, but sometimes I wonder if it's worth it. I'm not sure how it's all supposed to help. Granted, I've only been back on meds and with doctors for a month now, but I don't feel any different.
The most frustrating thing about this whole situation is that I don't know how to stop self-injuring. I don't know how to make this better. I mean it's me. You think that I could just say I'm not going to cut anymore. Yet, somehow it's much harder than that. You have to want to stop. And even though I know that I should, that doesn't mean I do.
How do you make yourself stop something you love doing??? How do you wave good-bye? Right now, I don't have an answer to that. I'm hoping that someday in the future I do. This isn't easy. In fact, stopping is probably the hardest thing I've ever done. Like I said, I'm not just a teenager cutting myself. I think I'm a cutter with a cutting addiction.