Content warning: article discusses self-harm and may be triggering for some individuals.
Quarantining is difficult. We are not the same people we used to be before we started all of this. The act of keeping a physical social distance from our friends and family has affected our ability to distance ourselves emotionally from others. If we ask anyone walking by about what quarantining has been like for their mental health, many would reply that they have struggled.
There are also some of us who have started relapsing on some unhealthy habits that were kept hidden away deep inside our drawers. One of mine is cutting. Cutting is one of those things that tend to creep back on a person when they feel like everything is going fine. But little do we know that the monotone "fine" is not exactly a good sign.
I have never cut before in my life. I have heard stories from friends and people at care facilities who have struggled with self-harm. I am also a hemophobic, meaning I am scared of blood. But I happened to be even more scared of the quarantine and the unanimous situation we all find ourselves in at the moment.
I never wanted to cut. I thought that maybe one day, things would get better and brighter. But that mentality became a long-standing wish once I found myself in quarantine. As an extrovert who has clinical depression, it is crippling to not have a social life and be with people. Being able to spend time with people in person is like water to the flowers. Every time I get to bond with people over a meal or a hangout helps the petals of the flowers in my garden form. I still reminisce greatly on the days when I was able to enjoy the fresh air, without feeling a mask over my face or how nice it felt to be at a friend's place, binge-watching movies together without having to social distance six feet apart.
To those who have also self-harmed during quarantine, you are not alone.
I may not know you or be there to hear you out, but I know exactly how you must feel. Although we have different reasons for self-harming, we have the same purpose for doing so — to wash away the pain. We hope to feel refreshed and alive again. We hope that this will take away the pain we feel inside.
But it doesn't.
It only makes things more out of control. Every time we self-harm/cut, we are also cutting off a piece of ourselves. Whether we like ourselves or not, that is not the issue here. As we physically engage in cutting, we also emotionally engage in cutting off a piece of identity that we may have had since birth. Whether it is a birthday party that helped us get over the fear of swimming and therefore, made us an athlete, or an art fair, that helped us realize our talent in painting, we strip ourselves of those bits and pieces that helped make us who we are.
So to anyone who has self-harmed themselves during quarantine, you matter.
If you or someone you know needs help with substance abuse or mental health issues, call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.