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It gets better...

Posted on November 08 2013

It gets better...
The first time I cut myself, it was a complete rush. It was like coming up for air after being under water for a really long time. It was like breathing for the first time. It was scary, yet thrilling at the same time. It hurt, but in a good way. The pain and the blood from the cut stole my attention away from what had made me cut myself in the first place. All of my energy was focused on that pain and I no longer could think about all of the bad surrounding me. It was like the escape you get when you sleep, except I was still awake. It was like the high you get when you use drugs, except I didn’t have to use drugs. Cutting seemed perfect to me. After that first cut, there really wasn’t any turning back. I didn’t have to go to sleep to escape the world, which was great because I could still go on with my day. I didn’t have to use drugs to get that high feeling. I found a coping skill that worked for me. I found a way to deal with all of the negative emotions and feelings that nobody wants to even admit to having. You kind of would have thought I had found gold or something with how important it was to me to have found cutting.

          Before long though, cutting became more than just this thing I could do when I didn’t want to deal with anything bad in my life. Cutting became an addiction. It became a problem more than a solution. I was cutting myself every single day. I was hiding what I was doing and that itself became an obsession. All of a sudden staying the night at a friend’s house became a sort of chore because I had to be so cautious and careful at not letting anyone find out what I was doing. The cuts were increasing, the scars were getting worse and covering more and more of my body as every day passed. Before I knew it summer was there and I found myself having to wear long sleeves in 90 degree weather and then lie and make excuses as to why I was doing so. But still, cutting owned me. My depression became this place where I was made. I was trying everything to hide the depression and get rid of it that I was too busy to realize that I was feeding into it. It was like a cycle. I did something because I was depressed and then I became depressed because of something I did. It controlled me and consumed me. In these years that were suppose to be the best years of my life and these years that were suppose to shape me into who I was to become, I was losing who I really was. What started out as a simple, semi-harmless act, turned into a huge part of me that I couldn’t control.

          After a year had passed since the first cut, and I finally realized that it was un-healthy what I was doing, I decided that I did need help. It wasn’t even until my sister had entered counseling for un-related issues, that I realized that there was help out there. I had gotten up the courage one afternoon, in the heat of a fight between my sister and my parents, to ask my parents to put me in counseling. Of course, my parents had no idea of the cutting, or the depression, or any of the other problems I was facing. My parents at that time thought I was perfectly healthy and “normal.” So naturally they automatically said no without even considering that I could actually need counseling. Maybe I should have tried harder. Maybe I should have told them why I needed counseling, argued my case perhaps, but I was never close enough to my parents to be comfortable doing so. My father told me to ask my mother, and my mother simply said, “Why, so you can be like your sister?” That was the end of it for me.

          So, I continued on cutting myself when things were bad, and I continued hiding it. I didn’t think about asking for help again until I had entered High School. At that point I had been cutting myself for two years. In between the first time I cut myself, and the point in which I decided to ask for help again, a few important life events had occurred, which all the more added fuel to the fire so to speak. So when I decided to ask for help, it was very much needed.

          Just two months after starting High School, I decided that things had gotten bad enough. Instead of asking my parents directly for help and risking rejection again, I decided a better approach might be someone who was an outside source. So on a Friday afternoon, I found myself in the guidance office at my school. Not really knowing where to begin, I simply told her that I thought I needed help. After a few minutes of contemplating what I was really getting myself into, I shared with her that I had been cutting myself. Immediately it was a huge weight off of my shoulders, just to know that someone else knew, besides one friend whom I had told a year before who also was a cutter. The guidance counselor gave me the chance to tell my parents on my own over the weekend, telling me that if I couldn’t tell them myself she would need to tell them the following Monday when I came back to school. I considered trying to tell my parents myself, I spent all of Friday night and all of Saturday looking for the perfect opportunity to do so. But by Sunday I knew that it wasn’t going to happen, I simple couldn’t do so. So by the time Monday came around, I was pretty much a wreck in anticipation of my parents finding out. After going through half the day without being called to the guidance office, I was almost hopeful that maybe the guidance counselor had forgotten. But when the guidance counselor called me to her office to talk about the weekend, I thought I just might die right then. So the guidance counselor called my father and asked him to come in, since my mother was at work and couldn’t. I much would have preferred my mother to have been the one to come in, since she’s much more compassionate and understanding, but it wasn’t up to me anymore. When my father came in and the guidance counselor told him of what I had been doing to myself, the reaction wasn’t exactly what I had hoped for. My father simply said that I had been watching too much television and asked if this is what all of my friends did. I didn’t admit it or show it then, but I have to say his reaction couldn’t have hurt me any more than it did. My father had to work that afternoon, so luckily I didn’t have to deal with him at home that night. That night happened to be trick-or-treating though, so I spent as much of the night out with friends as I could, trying to avoid having to go home and face my mother. But eventually I did have to make my way home. I found my mother just sitting in her bedroom, eyes red from crying. She wanted to know why I was cutting myself, but I didn’t really have an answer for her. She also wanted to see my arms, but I wasn’t ready to show her. I hid in my room for the rest of the night, not really sure of any of the events that were to follow.

          I think that was really the beginning. At times it felt like the beginning of the end. But, here I am, six and a half years later, still in counseling, still on medication, a few hospitalizations later, but out of college now, and more importantly- still alive. I still battle with the self-injury and the depression, but it finally isn’t an every day thing anymore. I have a lot of scars from all of the cutting I did to myself, but I can finally wear short-sleeves without worrying about hiding new cuts day after day after day. And after all I’ve been through with my parents, I’m more close to them now than ever. They’re starting to understand things better and I have to give them credit- if it weren’t for them and all of their support, I’m not sure I would have made it this far. Sometimes I do still wake up and feel like my whole world is crumbling beneath me, but I know now that I’ll be okay, and no matter what, I’ll make it through whatever life throws my way. I have faith that things will continue to get better, and one day- I know I’ll be able to throw away the razors for good.

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