Warning: This posts contains some graphic content and may contain triggers. If you struggle with self-harm please exercise caution when reading.
I just looked at the clock on my computer screen to decide whether or not I have time to write this post. Whether or not now is the time or place. Whether or not I actually want to write this post. Whether or not I can contain the content of this subject to one post. All decided with a quick glance at the clock.
And struggle. And deep breaths. And try to go to that place where you feel things without feeling them. Slip that mask on. Be unaffected while writing this. It’s almost a personal challenge.
Okay, so if you have never heard of To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA), take 5 or 10 or 30 minutes and go check out what they are about. Their Mission Statement and Vision are amazing.
I can tell you right now that this will take more than one post. And I may need to write it while I drink a bottle of wine.
I was inspired to write this post when I read I’ll Hold the Hope by Daylee Hames on the TWLOHA website.
My self harm habit doesn’t come up very often. Those that are closest to me know about it, but we are long past the point of discussing it. Cutting. Cutting is my method of self harm. I am fortunate, perhaps, that I am so pale that my scars are not noticeable. Or maybe it is that I was smart enough to always use a very sharp blade. Either way, they are not noticeable unless I tan (which is pretty much a foreign concept), and even then they are not that noticeable.
When I first started cutting, it was a “fad.” I’m not comfortable using that term, but the “Emo-scene” or whatever was just getting started, and there seemed to be a lot of self-harming being done purely for “attention.” Not the “I need help and I don’t know how to ask for it” kind of attention, but the “I want people to pay attention to me and this is a good way to get that attention” kind of attention. Does that even make sense? God. I didn’t want to be lumped into that category, I didn’t want the attention. For me, cutting was a coping mechanism. I would cut on my legs and arms, but I would wear pants and long sleeve shirts when possible and keep them covered.
When people started to notice the healing cuts, they had opinions and a lot of questions. Opinions ranged from, “You just want attention,” to “You’re stupid, I can’t believe you’re doing that,” to “That’s CLEARLY NOT working for you” (to which I always wanted to scream “HOW THE FUCK DO YOU KNOW WHAT’S WORKING FOR ME OR NOT?!”). The question was usually just “Why?” and occasionally, “What does that do for you?”
-It’s taken me 35 minutes to write 471 words.-
“Why.” That’s a hard one because there is not a straightforward answer that is complete. The answer I’ve given most people that have been curious enough to ask is this: Cut to feel something, Cut to feel nothing. I can’t speak for anyone else who self harms. That is my simple answer. During my strongest times of depression I would alternate between periods of extreme numbness to everything and periods of overwhelming hysteria and emotion. A cut to me would be either the burst of feeling I needed to snap me out of feeling nothing, or the calm in the storm to bring me back to a level area.
That’s all for today. I apologize if it’s not coherent. I’ll try to take more time on the next post to make sure it makes sense.