I first self harmed at 15, I tried it because at the time there was a trend of cutting words into your arms. It was seen as rebellious and cool, I did it once and forgot about it. That is, until I was 16 and being bullied, I turned to it again, but this time I did it because I felt so unbearably miserable inside and I wanted to make it seen, I wanted someone to see my pain and help me. It was just a couple of times and then I gave up because I didn’t have the courage to carry on, I was squeamish and hated pain.
I often wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t had those experiences, what if I had never tried it? But I did and for some reason it stuck with me and at 18 I began self harming again, but this time it wasn’t an experiment, it was serious. I had a trusty knife, always the same one, sharpest I could find and I started off cutting once a month, then once a week and eventually it became a night time ritual. It was my way of purging the hatred and depression inside of me, the pain no longer got to me and seeing myself bleed brought me relief. My favourite place to cut was my arms, it was easy and accessible, I wore long sleeved tops and jumpers for months before anyone found out what I was doing.
I eventually learned that my arms were too visible, I didn’t want people to see what I was doing, I didn’t want people seeing the ugliness. So I began cutting my thighs, and it’s still my go to spot. The thing with self harm is, it’s never enough. I started out cutting little scratches, not enough to bleed, and then it wasn’t enough so I cut deeper and deeper, I demanded more blood and more pain. I’d let my scars scab over and then cut them open again and again.
For me, self harm is a way to relieve myself of the feelings that threaten to kill me inside. I’ve gone weeks and eventually months without self harming but when my depression gets bad and I don’t know how to keep going, it’s the only way to purge myself. It’s the only way to let out my anger and hatred.
What upsets me and makes me really angry is people who trivialise self harm. This week I saw someone I know, who has never self harmed post on the internet, claiming that they self harm. It made me really angry because so many people today see self harm as a way to get attention, to gain sympathy and cause a stir. People who pretend to self harm for attention, make it harder for people who actually self harm to get help. I’ve seen pictures posted online, people who have self harmed and uploaded it to the internet for everyone to see. I’ve never openly displayed my self harm, even when it was cool to do, even when I wanted for someone to see it and help me, I still hid it. It probably seems hypocritical now, because I’m writing about it online but I’m doing it because I really believe that self harm gets pushed aside and ignored too much. I self harm because I feel such a dark feeling inside, a soul crushing heaviness that kills any happiness I feel. I don’t do it because it’s rebellious or cool, I don’t show everyone I meet my scars to get validation or attention. Self harm is serious, it’s a sign that someone is struggling so much, they choose to go against everything in their nature and hurt themselves. Human nature is to protect ourselves and ensure out species survives, when someone self harms, they go against all of this because they see no other way to rid themselves of the feelings inside.
People will walk past me in the street and they would never guess at the scars that hide beneath my clothes, scars that I have to look at for the rest of my life, scars I’ve tried to hide with tattoos. I’ll never forget the first time I showed my Fiancé. The first time I agreed to leave the lights on as I undressed, the feeling that he would look at my scarred skin and think I was ugly. Self harm isn’t something you do to gain popularity, it isn’t something to make a joke of and flaunt about. Self harm is serious and deserves to be seen as such.