Self Harm & Me

**TW**

I want to talk about my relationship with self harm.  Cutting is something I’ve done since I was 14, as the years have gone by it has progressed more to burning myself with cigarettes than cutting.  Self Harm was a big issue for me for many years, other than a small blip the other night, I hadn’t harmed in a few years.  I am lucky that most of my scars are not too visible now.  Apart from the large burn which has left a nasty scar, due to the size of it I tell people I burnt myself on the oven which is easily believed.  I once had someone see the faint scars and think they were scars from injecting drugs!


Having read information about Borderline Personality Disorder I now know that harming yourself is a very common feature.  But why did I do it?

I remember the very first time I self harmed, I was 14 and struggling to cope with the sexual abuse that had started.  I felt powerless and out of control.  I was laying in my bed feeling like I wanted to scream to the world what was happening, I felt like I could actually explode.  I looked at my bedside table where I had a couple of candles burning.  I held my finger over the flame, as the heat burnt into my skin, the pain intensified.  For a moment I couldn’t focus on anything else, it felt like a release I’d never felt before.  I remember blowing the candle out and hurrying into the kitchen to find a sharp knife.  I hid under my quilt and took the knife to my wrist.  It felt so good, I didn’t even feel the pain,  just remember the release as I broke skin and saw blood. 

It became a coping mechanism for me.  Whenever I felt overwhelmed or unable to cope I would cut.  I’ll always remember my mum bandaging a bloody wrist one time, looking me in the eyes and saying, “think of your future, how will you explain these scars to your children”. 

I can’t really recall when I stopped cutting regularly.  Somehow it stopped becoming a regular thing and got less often.  I only really do it in extreme situations now.  Occasionally when I feel suicidal and am planning my death, I realise that I would destroy my children as they would never get over it, the frustration and anger I feel that I cannot end my life will result in me self harming.  It is definitely less often now but I do believe it is something that will always be with me. 

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