\*disclaimer\* I am not advocating that cutting is right or wrong. For some people, like myself for a good portion of my life, it is just a way that you have to live with when emotional pain becomes unbearable.
This is a reblog in a sense, but really this is an expanded version of a post from when I first started writing this blog in September. It’s a real subject and outside my posts about suicide, it is one of the most important subjects I will ever talk about in my journey here on my blog.
This subject means the world to me. When I look at the scars on my arm, it is a constant reminder of who I was, and how far I have come since I was a teenager. It’s a sensitive subject, but I would rather talk about then push it to the side.
So here is my story, of how cutting and self-harm a major part of my life…
Today I decided to touch a subject that most people hate talking about (or hearing about) which is the subject of cutting and self-harm. I believe that if people knew more about this subject of self-harm that people would be less likely to ridicule someone who has lived through something so traumatic they chose to cut on their skin.
Humans are more connected than ever before thanks to social media. With so many people connected, it opens a floodgate for people to be more open about their lives. Our little lives are just out there on display for all to see. And yes, I realize people don’t have to put their lives out there in the world, but I digress.
Some people just want to post their every thought and emotion on social media simply to make a real connection with the world. The result of people posting about their self-harm and cutting on social media can result in people posting harsh comments.
I have seen people bullied because someone was reaching out to talk about “cutting.” The comments that people leave are part of the problem, but the issue is deeper and darker. It saddens me because I understand, I have lived it, and people making horrible comments only makes it harder for people to get real help for this issue plaguing the mental illness community.
People at times hate what they don’t understand.
When the subject if cutting comes up on social media, people tend to attack it in vicious ways. Most are on one of two sides: the people that cut (I will call them us) and the people that criticize (I will call them, well them.) In this world, there is not much grey area, and people see us as attention seekers.
This is an untrue judgment, the posts we make might just be what gets us through a second, a minute, or day without the feeling of the emotional pain that comes along with self-harm. There is always a history of someone who chooses to self-harm, and most people don’t know that person’s history.
If you knew this history would you still judge us?
So that’s where this post is headed. I want people to know some of my own storied histories with cutting and self-harm. If you see the history of one us, you might understand what leads us down this path. It is not pretty, and it’s a subject in my past that I would rather not talk about here on my blog. But again, I have to write this blog post.
Emotions have always gotten the better of me. The depression side of my Bipolar One diagnosis means my emotions are heightened to the extremes. It is a cruel world and most people prefer not to hear about your problems. They have issues of their own and that’s understandable.
Since I was a teenager and into my twenties I always hid my self-harm. People saw the side I let them see, on the, outside I was an okay kid. I now call it one of the masks I wear in my life. I got good grades and interacted with people the best I could as a teenager. On the inside, I was much different.
Dealing with my problems was never my strong suit (it still isn’t.) I prefer to shut my problems inside, and never deal with them head-on. I have never been a people person, and I prefer to be shut inside writing or the confines of my bedroom to going out socializing with the world.
I had people I knew in school, and I guess you can call them friends. I could never talk about how I felt about cutting and self-harm. Most days life just passed me by. This made me different, an outsider. My problems compiled in my head. I never talked about how I felt. I allowed my pain to keep building until it left emotional scars, and those are the worst kind of scars.
Emotional pain can be an unbearable experience. The world disappears. You get lost in your mind and escape seems impossible. You feel tired. Alone. It is a dark place. You feel like you are holding on to the weight of the world. I would lay there for hours doing nothing but staring into space lost in my mind.
Every human being experiences emotional pain in their lives, but for me, my emotions were magnified by a thousand some nights. The emotional pain would go on for days, weeks, months, and yes, sometimes years. The toll it took on me, it always led me to bad solutions.
It is emotional pain led me to do things like cutting for some of my teenage years and into my early twenties. Physical pain, compared to the emotional pain, is easier to deal with because at least physical pain can be healed. That is why my solutions led me to cut on my arms.
My arms and a razor became my sanctuary. When I cut, the emotional pain was pushed out of mind for a short time. Physical scars heal over time, but emotional scars may never heal. I would hide outside my scars with hoodies that I never took off so that people couldn’t see what I was doing to myself.
The point I am trying to make is that life for some people like me, it can be very harsh. We are human just like everyone else. It has been many years since the last time that I turned to self-harm. I got to a point where I could manage my emotional pain at the level where I didn’t have the need to cut.
I have come a long way but the scars on my arms are still the reminders of a time where I couldn’t deal with life. It hurt. It cut deep. But ridiculing someone because they would rather have physical pain instead of emotional pain cuts just as deep.
There are so many people out there, especially at teenage level (when I started cutting) and I speak to them now. It will be okay. If you haven’t already get help. It would mean the world to me if you got help. If you would like to share your story with me please do. I will not share it with the world. If you need someone to talk to, I am always there for you. Cutting is not the end of the world.
Photo Credit: Taylor Bryant