It began with a bracelet that had lost its end and had a spiky point sticking out. I was in the back of a car on a road trip home from Christmas break. I just wanted to cry but my parents were in the car with me. So I dug that sharp point into my tender skin. It was not super sharp, so I had to apply lots of pressure. But it still stung and bleed.
That was the only time I cut my wrists but it was not the last time I cut. I hid away a variety of blades in my room along with bandages. Over the years after that I carved words into my thighs and hips. My greatest insecurities were marked on me. But there was no regret. Self harm makes a person feel in control and sends adrenaline pulsing through them. That is why it was so hard to put it behind me. Because it becomes an addiction which did what every drug does: makes one feel alive.
Some people are repulsed and cannot understand why someone would want to bleed. So let me tell you, the most common reason is to let out the overwhelming emotion of anxiety. But for me it was to feel something. Depression nullifies emotion. Cutting exhilarates. It was not for attention as many believe. For it is something that I was ashamed of. I told no one for a long time. When I did tell people I would tell them in a short reprise and then fall into it again and pretend to be okay. It was something that made me change in stalls during gym class and wear extra long t-shirts if I was going to a sleepover. It was something that when my boyfriend put his hand on my hip when my shirt had ridden up little; I jumped so much that our heads collided. Yes that was my reaction despite the scars being more than a year old and him knowing about them my reflexes were still guilty and ashamed. It is not just a mistake that has no effects.
According to the Canadian Health Statistics self harm hospitalization has increased 110 percent in females and 35 percent in males. The United States statistics (which are similar to Canada’s) 1 in 5 females and 1 in 7 males take part in some kind of self harm and 90 percent of those who do self harm are nineteen or younger. About 50 percent of self harmers begin at fourteen and battle it into their twenties.
Two million cases are reported each year in the United States and the amount of reported incidents are only the tip of the iceberg.
Why do I share this now? Well, I went through this battle alone and I wish it on no one. So please be honest with your friends whether you have self harmed or just talking about self harm and letting them know you would be there for them and not just saying that. Go the extra mile for those around you to prove that they can trust you. Have intentional conversation with a friend if you are worried about them.