When I was twelve years old, I grabbed a pair of scissors from my parent’s desk and made a small cut.
One became five.
One time became many more after that.
I’ve lost count of how many scars I have now.
I was seventeen years old when I finally told my parents. I remember my mom burst into tears and my dad hugged me real tight. I’m almost twenty-four years old, and despite everything, I still haven’t kicked the habit. Sometimes it’s not cutting anymore, sometimes all it takes to suffice is a small bite or scratching until my skin flares up.
It is only after I saw some serious therapy that I realized the different ways this horrid habit has reared its ugly head, and it felt so weird that someone took interest in my case the way this person did. I went to see them for something else entirely, but they heard me utter self-harm and brought attention to things I never thought about before.
No one asked me the right questions.
No one really talked to me about it. Why?
In the past, whenever I mentioned it to my friends or co-workers, oftentimes I would get the usual spheal; “Is there anything I can do to help?” “Why do you do this to yourself?” “You’re stronger than this, you just need to calm down. Find some other way to deal with it.” The last one, in particular, makes me furious.
Like this was something I chose to do because I felt like it. Like this wasn’t something I haven’t been fighting and hating myself over for nearly ten years over.
The act of cutting I imagine is like shooting up heroin. There’s pain, there’s the rush of endorphins, and in the end, it leaves a mark behind to remind you of the horrible thing you did to yourself. Taunting you, reminding you of the ‘good’ feelings you hand and tempting you to do it again.
I wrote previously that my biggest issue with the ‘Emo’ label was the writing off and dismissal of mental health problems such as self-harm addiction. I call it an addiction because that’s what it is, an addictive and destructive coping mechanism that can sometimes lead to deadly consequences.
All it takes is one wrong cut, one dirty edge to end it all. Permenantly.
With self-harm especially, I’ve witnessed some of my peers use self-harm as a way to raise up their ‘edge factor’ and make them more ‘relatable’ to the rest of the outcast community. It became fashionable, expected, normal. A whole load of fucking bullshit for me.
It was because of this attitude that I still have a hard time talking about it with peers, my parents, my partner, etc. Because I’ve been trained and groomed to expect a confused, pitying, lackluster or dismissive response from anyone that I tell.
But this one therapist who took interest in my story and made me believe that my plight was something to worry about, to talk about and acknowledge instead of trying to suppress and ignore it. Or cover it up.
I wish every day that I didn’t have scars on my arms and legs, that the beautiful rose tattoo I have on my arm wasn’t covering some of those scars and was there because I wanted a piece of art and a piece of home on my body. But they are there, and there is a long road ahead.
And you can’t walk this one alone anymore.
Dial that crisis hotline. Talk to your therapist. Confide in your family and loved ones. Do whatever it takes to get them to realize you have a problem that you need help with and give them a method to help you even if you don’t know for sure what they can do.
Scars don’t make you beautiful.
Living with them makes you extraordinary.
CRISIS TEXT LINE: Text HOME to the following numbers for 24/7 Crisis Support