Monday, December 3, 2012

Cutting: One Mom's Tale

As a teen, I was bullied relentlessly. I was a fat kid that was poor, had messy hair, glasses and braces. People just loved to pick on me. In addition to all of that, I was in JROTC, I was a nerd, I read...A LOT. It wasn't easy.

I wasn't sure how to handle the pain of being bullied. My home life wasn't much better, because my mother was married to a monster of a man that was an alcoholic and took his unhappiness out on everyone around him. My mother worked to provide for my brother and I....well, it wasn't all rainbows and unicorns, that's for sure.

I was depressed. I knew this, my mom knew it, everyone knew it, but sadly, nothing could really be done because we couldn't afford it. I wrote dark poetry, listened to angry music (when I wasn't listening to Hanson) and played the part of pissed off teenager very well.

What people DIDN'T know was that I was cutting myself.

It started when I was in middle school. I wanted a tattoo, I was angry at the world and I thought that if I scratched something into my skin and put ink in it, I'd have a tattoo. That didn't work, but what I DID realize is that cutting myself made me feel better for a little while. It made the hurt go away, just briefly. So I kept doing it.

I mostly kept to my ankles, because I always had pants or socks on, so it wasn't that big of a deal. Then one day, something happened and, frankly, I'm not sure what, but I wanted to slit my wrists. I wanted to die. So I tried to do that.

Looking back,  using a safety pin probably wasn't the best of ideas, but it may have saved my life.

From that point on, I cut on my arms because it was more satisfying. I've never done drugs, but I imagine that cutting is like what a drug addict feels like when they take that much needed hit. When you are a cutter, you let it all build up inside and when you finally do make that first cut, you just let this sigh out.....a sigh of relief, a sigh that says "Yes, I really am still alive...I'm not as numb inside as I thought."

I hid my cuts as best as I could. If they were noticed, I blamed it on one of the cats. It worked and I hid it for a long time. Several years in fact. Then one night, I cut myself so bad that I couldn't hide it.

I'd just broken up with my ex, a different guy I had feelings for was playing with my emotions. I was a single mom of twins, I was struggling and I was feeling overwhelmed. I was trying to relax, so I lit some candles and started listening to music and that ultimately made me feel worse. I found a box cutter that I'd had hidden (at this point, I'm escalated from using a safety pin to using knives and razors). I held out my arm, pulled the blade across my skin and just felt relief.

Then I felt fear.

I'd cut myself deeper than usual and I was bleeding a lot. I didn't cut across my wrist, but I cut across a vein and I thought I hit it. I wrapped my arm in a towel and it bled through that. I called my friends Justin and Kymmi, in tears, because I was scared and ashamed. They came over and we talked. By the time they got to my house, the bleeding had pretty much stopped. I bandaged it up with their help and, after they left, I went to bed.

The next morning, I told my mom about it and confessed to her. Here I was a 23 year old mother of two, still living with my mom, crying on her shoulder. She started crying and begged me not to do it again. I told her I wouldn't and I lived by that. I gave her all my cutting material at that time. She, in turn, agreed to be there when I needed to talk. She even paid for me to get my nose pierced when I was feeling low one day. That helped a ton!

I haven't INTENTIONALLY cut myself since that day (with the exception of this one time I tried to prove to my husband that a fabric cutting thing wasn't sharp enough to cut through skin. I was wrong, but it didn't do any damage. lol). I found other ways to deal with my depression. If I feel the depression getting so strong again that I want to cut, I always look at my scar and remind myself that I have a reason to live. I have a purpose.

I'm almost 30 now and it's been at least 6 years since I cut (maybe a little more). I'm married to an amazing man and I realize that my kids are where they need to be...with me. They are the reason I wake up every morning and I don't turn to something like cutting anymore.

I still get depressed, but it's not near as bad as it use to be. A lot of it is tied to my weight and self esteem. But I have better control over my depression now and I know that, while I may be down right now, I'll get through that storm.

If you or someone you know is cutting or even thinking about suicide, please listen to them. Talk to them and let them know you are there for them. For more information on hotlines, please check out the USA National Suicide and Crisis Hotlines.

2 comments:

  1. <3 I'm sharing this one sweetie. Thank you for being brave enough to write it out!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for sharing. It really is like a drug. I still stare at my arms when I'm upset. And now I do have cats that keep scratching me and it freaks me out. I keep telling myself I didn't do it, its OK, there is nothing to hide. The scratched glare at me, I look down and see so many scars I never noticed before. I am so used to hiding, the light seems scary. But I know it's not. I know it's OK to be OK :)
    ~My Children Think I'm Perfect

    ReplyDelete

So....what did you think? And are you THAT Sarah Michelle?