Cutting too deep: one girl’s story of self harm

Cutting too deep: one girl's story of self harm

Zoe Vital, Staff Writer

She faded in and out of consciousness as her mother cradled her small shaking body in a blanket. The faint sound of sirens could be heard in the background. She hoped they wouldn’t get to her house in time; she didn’t want to be saved. While her skin became cold a small pool of blood formed on floor beneath her.

For the first time she had cut too deep.

“I look back at it now and realize that should have been the scariest moment of my life. I almost died,” she said, “but in the moment I didn’t care at all.”

It all started in sixth grade with thin scratches, many only an inch or two long, that she could easily blame on her cat. These scratches never really bled but were noticeable enough that she felt the need to keep them tucked away under her sleeves.

The scratches were the result of a nervous habit she developed to cope with stress; it was so normal to her after a while it became a subconscious act. She would turn to hurting herself for everything, from the stress of her grades dropping to her compromised body image.

This makes sense; according to TeensHealth self harm is a way for people to release the stress and frustration from other things in their life. On the surface, self harm looks like a problem that starts and ends there. However, experts agree that it is actually a symptom of greater problems in their lives.

Once the scratching no longer calmed her down, she turned to a more a serious form of self harm: cutting her arms. She was so desperate to release the pain she used the same razor she used to shave her legs.

“I remember the first time I ever actually cut myself. I had a really bad day and was freaking out and I needed a release,” she said, “so I smashed a shaving razor and used the blade to cut my arm. It became an addiction after that.”

Every time she cut herself  endorphins and other “feel good” chemicals were released by her brain into her body. This reaction triggered her brain to think cutting was good and would make her happy, and thus it became an addiction. This is how all habits and addictions are formed.

Like any addiction it started to spiral out of control, and like any addiction she refused to admit it was a problem.

“I only saw cutting as a way to cope with all the bad in my life. I never thought of it as causing more problems,” she said.

Cutting took over her life, she lied to avoid showing her cuts and she cut to cover up the pain of each lie. Each cut was not just a lie or a way to cope it was another step closer to the end, each cut like another sentence on her suicide note.

One day lying wasn’t enough and her mother noticed three small cuts on her lower wrist when she was asleep. The bracelets that once clung to tightly to her cut up little wrists fell off as if they were asking to be noticed; this began her mother’s first attempt at trying to help.

“I remember waking up to my mother crying and asking me why,” she said. “She really wanted to help me but I refused. To be honest, cutting only got worse after that.”

As she continued to cut, each time it got deeper and deeper. She was playing operation with her own body, one wrong move and it could all be over.

“At one point I was infatuated with the pain. I would cut for fun; it was a game. The more cuts I could make made the game more fun,” she said.

Her mother struggled desperately to help her but she refused countless times. The problem slowly evolved until it was too late.

She sat in her bedroom with the blade to her wrist, pushing the blade deeper and deeper until the pain turned to numbness. She was cutting too deep and she knew it but she didn’t care to stop.

“The entire thing was a blessing in disguise,” she said.

Fifteen stitches later she was getting what she needed: help. She was put into a treatment facility where she received one-on-one care and came to terms with her problem. In treatment she discovered she loved to paint and is using it as her way to cope.

Looking down at her wrist, she sees finely raised white lines covering her arm. Each marking has a different meaning. The scars are her story, they are no longer a sign of her weakness that she keeps hidden under her sleeves but battle scars she wears proudly as a veteran of a war she once had with herself.