Posts Tagged ‘ Self-Injury ’

In Retrospect

A few days ago, I wrote a post for Band Back Together about my struggle with self-injury. It was hard to write, more difficult than I’d expected it to be and for several reasons at that. One of the reasons: Remembering the beginning. Remembering the reasons, remembering how confused and scared I was. Most of all, remembering my mother’s role in it all.

I started hurting myself when I was 10 years old. My injuring increased in severity and frequency over the years and at 13 I threw in an eating disorder for good measure. When I was 16, I put myself into therapy and at the first appointment we were going over my history and when I mentioned the age I started cutting, my mother turned to the therapist and said “Yeah, I knew she was doing that.”

She knew.

She knew that her 5th grader was cutting herself with x-acto knives and she didn’t. say. a. word. Not one word. Not to me, not to a doctor, not even to my dad. She washed the blood stains out of my clothes and silently watch me kill myself. Years later when I finally attempted suicide, putting myself into a coma, Mom didn’t visit. Not one time in the weeks I was in intensive care. Not so much as a phone call or a card sent with my father. No word for a month.

My mother let me stick with my self-destructive mission and didn’t bat an eye when it nearly killed me. My mother belittled me and insulted me for everything from my grades to my weight. My mother told me one day while driving me to a doctor’s appointment, “Sometimes I just want to drive this car off the road and kill both of us…put us both out of our misery.” She threatened to commit me to a state mental health institution. She forced medications on me and played the victim in therapy sessions. My mother was too self-centered to put on her big girl panties and deal with the problem in front of her. Her 10 year old child was screaming out for help and she ignored her.

She ignored me and I can never forgive her.

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1096 days.

For nine years, cutting was the only way I had to ease the pain. Every stress, every feeling was etched into my forearm. A jagged, visceral reminder of the devastation in my heart. It was an elaborate metaphor. The injury was like a vent, the blood, my feelings, spilling out from it. I had no real way to express myself without injuring, as emotions were somewhat scorned in my family. I was expected to be happy and a high-achiever and anything else was a failure, so I was forced to cry in secret and bleed my tears. For nine years, this was my method. Everyday, for every reason, I spilled my blood in desperation. For nine years I could not stop. It was as ingrained in my heart as breathing, but at 19 I knew I couldn’t continue. I had more damaged skin than intact, and had been on several treks to the emergency room. I knew my life was in danger, that one slip and I’d bleed to death on my bathroom floor. On September 9, 2007, I resolved to stop once and for all. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to give up. How many nights I spent crying, my nails bitten to the nubs, my heart screaming out, but I didn’t give up. I fought on and those fretful nights clicked on and on, adding up to weeks, months. Now, three years later, I’m still going strong. I’ve learned REAL coping skills and no longer need to hurt myself. I’ve learned that it’s okay to be sad or angry, that having a negative emotion is not a failure. I’ve got an amazing support system, a literal bag of tricks, and everyday is a little easier.

Self-injury is extremely difficult to overcome, but it CAN be done! No one deserves the pain of self-injury, and there are places and people who can help any of you who may be suffering. I’m passionate about self-injury awareness, and am always available to talk to anyone who needs it. Tweet @ me, I’ll reply. Another amazing resource, one that helped me so much is S.A.F.E. Alternatives.

Nobody should ever suffer in silence. Everyday I beat self-injury.

So can you.

Does Spring Cleaning Have an Autumn Equivalent?

I admit it — I struggle with clutter. Highly organized clutter, but still clutter. Over my 22 years, I’ve adopted many strategies to deal with my anxiety, ranging from severely self-destructive (self-injury) to potentially severely self-destructive (hoarding tendency). To combat my tendency to hoard things, every 3 months I “Deep Clean”. Every room, every drawer, every closet is sorted and unneeded things discarded.
Today’s the day.
Wish me luck as I attempt to avoid being on A&E.