“It's just a phase.” “You are just doing it for attention.” “I don’t want to be seen with you if you do that.” These are daily phrases said to a suffering self-harmer. Some people may do it for attention but others, like me, do it because they are hurting, and they need to feel something other than the internal pain they are going through. It is an addiction, and this addiction is a hard one to kick. Self-harm is just as addicting to oneself as drugs or alcohol could be. It’s an out, a way to feel something else. The awareness for this is so slim, there are groups but it is a low-key addiction no one wants to talk about it because it makes them uncomfortable. So, do drugs and alcohol not make you uncomfortable then?
Self-harm is a really touchy topic for almost everyone, just as drugs and alcohol addiction is as well. I am a former self-harmer, but I still suffer every day with thoughts. It started when I was about 12 years old, middle school was really hard for me. I think it was for a lot of people. I was bullied and shunned by my grade. I made two friends, that’s it, and I thought I could trust them with coming out as bisexual (at the time). I told them I had a girlfriend as well and they seemed OK with it. The next day everyone was pointing, whispering and laughing at me. I instantly knew why--my friends who I thought I could trust told the whole school. I pushed through the rest of the day with a blank expression and a feeling of numbness.
I got home and I talked to my online friends because that who were really my true friends who I could trust and told them what happened at school. A little while later a new notification came up on my Gmail chat it was my two school friends and a sister of one of them, I told them I found it messed up that they would do that to me, next thing I knew they were blowing up my chat with hateful words such as, “fatty” or “dyke” or “emo kid.” The slurs got worse but I will not mention the words on here, they spammed me for a good hour, and my mom wasn’t home from work.
I have read about self-harm and a lot of my online friends did it. I never thought of it once until I was put into that group chat, after that rough day I couldn’t take the hurtful words, and the “go kill yourself”s from people who I thought were my friends. Only one of my friends in the group chat actually felt something was wrong and told them to stop and tried to get them to stop but they wouldn’t.
I started cutting. At first it was a key, the first day. It wasn’t doing it for me but I loved the tangy sting I got from the key. The next day my one friend asked if I was OK, I said I was fine and she said she tried to stop them. Me being the stupid middle schooler I was, I felt I could trust her with saying what I did last night. She was shocked and she felt like crap but the other two did not care, because when she slipped it to them by accident, once again the school knew. By the end of the day I was called down to Ms. Smith’s office, she was the counselor at the school. I started having weekly meetings and I was put into a group with others that suffered from bullying.
I continued cutting throughout middle school, moving up to a box cutter, and some days I would go to the bathroom at school just to hurt myself. It messed my grades up and it messed me up. My mom at the time drank a lot, and it made me upset because she would treat me like crap when she was drunk and one night I cut myself pretty deep because she was yelling at me for something. I couldn’t stop the bleeding, so naturally, I started to freak out. I walked out of my room and said to my mom, "See what you make me do?” My mom got pissed, and she literally almost punched me in the face that night and I was begging for her not to do it, she didn’t, I told her I may need to go to the hospital, and she said that she wasn’t taking me to the hospital. She put feminine pads on my arm to stop the bleeding, as embarrassing that is and then called my dad after she sent me to my room.
That night was one of the things that got me to stop. The other thing that got me to stop was my new girlfriend, my first one, and I broke up, and through my ex I met another girl, who was actually my ex’s ex. Brandi was her name, and at the time, she was suffering from almost the same problems as me. We sort of clicked right away, and she was the one who showed me love and showed me what a true friend is, and I was starting to be happy.
What really made it better was when my mom told me we had to move and I had to change schools, a new beginning for me. When the thoughts came back and I was still with Brandi, she forced me to get help, and I did. Because of her, because of her love and concern, I went to the doctor and I got medication. Not only did that help, my girlfriend took my mind off of everything and I didn’t cut for a while.
At my new school, Connetquot High School, I found a great group of friends who helped my through everything, who suffered like I did and were there for me, and now although I still suffer from thoughts of hurting myself, I am one of those people who will talk to anyone just to get them to feel better. Because of this, I have become a happier person, and although me and my girlfriend had a falling out after a while, we ended up dating again, and we are still together to this day.
It's an addiction, just like drugs or alcohol can be. You will always have those thoughts in the back of your mind. I will forever have these scars but it just shows I have been through a hell of a lot, and I came out the bigger person, and the happier person. For those of you still suffering, just know it will get better, and there are ways to kick your addiction.
I know of a person who drew all over themselves, and honestly it is so much better than hurting yourself. I have tried the butterfly project too, where you draw a butterfly on where you want to hurt yourself and the way it helps is that if you cut or anything, you will kill the butterfly. I have helped many people stop, even if it was just for a little while, and I have saved many people from killing themselves.
Self-harm needs to be turned into self-love. Life sucks, we all know that but you got to show life who is the boss. Overcome it, get help. For those of you who know someone struggling with self-harm don’t tell them shit like, “You are doing it for attention” or “I can’t hang out with you anymore.” Be a friend, help them through it, because it is an addiction and you just can’t quit cold turkey. You miss that high of the drug or the happy feeling of being drunk. For self-harmers and former self-harmers, they miss feeling something. Love yourself, and love others.
Bullying is not the answer, depression is a disease, and self-harm is an addiction. Stay strong. Life may be hard at times, but it is beautiful.