To all of the 14 year-old girls out there with a razor in your hand: I’ve been where you are. I was 14 the first time I ever cut myself. It was my freshman year of high school and some girl had just told me that everyone hated me, and my existence was nothing but a detriment to everyone who knew me. I had heard about cutting from my best friend at the time, and nothing else was alleviating the tremendous pain I had been feeling so I became desperate. When I was finally home, I sharpened the end of a bobby pin and put it to my skin. I remember shaking, and crying, secretly hoping one of my brothers would walk in to stop me; but they didn’t. I took a deep breath and began to cut. That first cut on the floor of my bathroom began the 6 year relationship I would have with a blade.
Quickly,the blade became a best friend, but a toxic one. Any emotional pain I felt, would be temporarily masked by every cut I edged into my arms and thighs. Cutting became this addiction of mine and the blades became somewhat like a safety blanket. I had no idea that each and every cut brought me deeper and deeper into the darkness. Cutting when I was triggered turned into cutting because I was bored. Once a week, turned into two, then three until I was cutting three or four times a day. Every holiday ended with me in the bathroom using a towel to wipe blood off of my thighs and arms. Eventually cutting didn’t suffice anymore, so I began to burn myself too. When cutting and burning myself no longer helped me to forget the pain, I began to pull my hair out. Soon, my arms were filled with cuts, my thighs covered in burns, and my favorite head band covered bald spots that had begun to show. The worst part is that I thought this was all okay.
Anytime anything bad happened, my mind automatically thought of the blade. Every heartbreak, fight, or even a bad grade threw me into a downward spiral that always ended with more cuts on my body. When I ran out of room on my arms and thighs, my stomach began to fill up with what seemed like a thousand cat scratches, and when there was no room left on my stomach, my chest was the next best thing. There were times when my body was covered in hundreds of cuts. Cuts got deeper and deeper, and the words, “slut”, “fat”, and “bitch” were sliced into my flesh; the phrase “not good enough” is still visible on my thighs.
I tried to quit so many times. I promised myself time and time again that that cut would be the last, and that I would never go back to the blade; I relapsed though, many, many times. Cutting is an addiction, as is any form of self-harm,and quitting felt utterly impossible. Even if it may feel impossible though, it’s not. Trust me when I say that I know it’s hard, but it’s so worth it. I would give anything to go back to that day my freshman year of high school and stop myself from cutting. I get angry thinking about how I could’ve saved myself from years and years of dependency on the blade, and would love nothing more than to be living without constant reminders of the pain I have felt throughout my lifetime. I can’t stop myself from cutting for the first time—but you can.
No matter how much you may think it’ll help stop the pain, it doesn’t. The pain always comes back, and the triggers are always there; the only way to cease the pain and manage the triggers is by talking with someone about all of the healthy ways to deal with emotional distress. It took me 6 years to learn about all of these healthy coping mechanisms, but it doesn’t have to take that longfor you. You can save yourself from years of toxic dependency on the blade, and you can improve your mental health in a way that will work for years to come. You don’t have to cut that beautiful skin of yours, you don’t have to hurt yourself to replace the emotional pain with physical pain, and that blade is not the only way to feel alive when numbness consumes you. There are so many other ways to cope, and my only wish for you is that you put that blade down and truly listen to what I’m saying. Don’t be like me; don’t wait for 6 years to pass for you to realize that cutting is never the answer. Don’t wait 6 years to finally realize your worth as the incredibly strong individual you are.
To those young men and women out there who have already begun to self-harm: I’m so so sorry. I’m sorry the pain of this world became too much to bear, and I’m sorry you felt as if there was no other way to cope with the pain. I’m sorry no one was there for you in your time of need, and I’m sorry I didn’t write this sooner. The most important thing I need you to know is that you are thefarthest thing from alone. I know it can feel like the world is against you,but hurting yourself isn’t the answer, and you have resources at your disposal that can help you. It’s hard to quit, trust me, but being able to cope in a healthy way makes it all feel so worth it. I’d be lying if I said that my mind doesn’t still automatically go to self-harm as the answer anytime I’m triggered; that part takes time, but my mental health has already improved knowing that when I had the chance to cut, I didn’t.
I know the physical and emotional toll self-harm takes on you, and I know that sometimes it feels easier to cut than to face the pain of this world head on; I hope you have mercy on yourself, and that you forgive yourself because I know the amount of self-hatred it takes to throw someone over the edge and into the blade. Forgive yourself and have mercy on yourself because you are human. Try to begin to see yourself as I see you because your strength is unimaginable. Even if you see yourself as weak, know that you have an inner strength that is beyond compare to anyone who has not suffered as much as you have. Utilize that strength and try to realize your worth because you have the power to take control of your life back by choosing to put that blade down. Life is cruel and harsh, and sadly we don’t have the power to control what happens to us, but we do have the power to choose how we react to everything life throws our way. Love yourself enough to realize that.
I know it can be hard to take what I’m saying to heart especially if you’re engulfed in the pain, and self-harm seems to be the only ray of light. Coming from someone though, who looked at cutting as the light at the end of the very dark tunnel, believe me when I say that so long as the blade is in your life, you’ll never reach the end of the tunnel. You’ll never see the light of day because that blade is the darkness and that darkness doesn’t disappear if the only way you handle life’s obstacles is by harming yourself. Please try to put that blade down, and realize that you and your beautiful body deserves to be loved.