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I Stopped Cutting Myself: A Story of Self-Harm and Recovery

Halfway through my freshmen year, ev­erything seemed to fall apart. The worse I felt about myself, the worse the cutting got. The boy I was dating had just dumped me, and that’s when I lost control.

The first cuts were small and clean, using a staple or a pair of scissors. When that wasn’t enough, I introduced my­self to the razor.

Cutting became a nightly ritual for me. I’d pull out my ra­zor, slice myself open, and watch myself bleed as I listened to mu­sic and talked to my friends. It felt exhilarating to talk to them while participating in my own sick hobby.

When I was called to dinner, I would bandage up and throw on a pair of dark sweat­pants so the blood wouldn’t show through. The sting of the cut would push me into reality. It evaporated the numbness I felt inside and helped me feel real and alive. Cutting helped me sit at the dinner table and interact with others. It helped me smile and pretend that I was okay. It gave me hope.

The more I cut, the more tol­erance I had for it, so I had to cut deeper and more often.

At that point, I had a collection of what I referred to as tools, each tool for a different cut. I had three, five, and single blades. The three and five were mostly for use at home, but the single was my travel blade. It was more discrete because it was small­er, and I could do a quick cut in the bathroom stall. If I were re­ally desperate, I would cut right in class. When you have an ad­diction like cutting, it becomes more than a coping method; it becomes a lifestyle, a skill. Cutting was my skill and I had it down to a science.

Most people think that cut­ting is a cry for help, but not for me. I hid my cutting because I did not want to stop. Cutting was my hobby; it was my friend; it was my life. My good friends knew what I was doing but they knew that they couldn’t help me, so they convinced me to tell my therapist. I don’t remember telling her or talking about it; I just remember her face when I showed the cuts to her. I re­member rolling my eyes at her, thinking they weren’t that bad.

Looking back now, it gives me goose bumps to think about what I did to myself. I was cut up from both hips to both knees. She looked at me and told me that they were bad, and because of my illness, I was proud.

Then came the part that still kills me today. The look on my mom and aunt’s faces when they came in and we told them. This wasn’t the first cutting inci­dent, but it was the worst. My therapist even asked them not to look, because they would be crushed. She explained to all of us that I would need to be put in a rehabilitation center if I didn’t end the cutting.

Finding a Coping Method

It was time to create a coping meth­od. We tried ice, rubber bands, poking, and writing, and noth­ing worked. But instead of go­ing back to cutting, I thought of my family. In a time when I had no self worth and no self-esteem, I would remember how much they loved me, and even though my self-destructive be­havior had no impact on me, it hurt them. That is when I quit.

Every day for me is a fight. Even as I write this, I crave my razor. It is a constant fight for me. It always is and it always will be.

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