I used to be so diligent about my friend’s cutting in high school. The first time I saw her thighs all sliced up, I was taken aback. I had never even heard of cutting. (This was back in the day when SI was not a problem until the high school years. Not at all like today. Yes, I’m old)
It wasn’t until I was around 23 that I first burned myself on purpose. I was in the midst of a major depressive episode. It was one of my first ones and I didn’t know what to do. I had a therapist that wasn’t helping me much. I was on a new med every other week and I was unemployed. I was also dependent on my dad to feed me and pay rent. I lived with my bipolar, inconsiderate cousin who was never home. I slept 15 hours a day and then would stay up for 3 days in a row. I haven’t felt loneliness like that in ages.
My best friend of 10 years decided to write me an email that told me that she could no longer see me anymore. Out of the blue, a relationship with someone I basically loved, was now over. She was my first crush and closest confidant. I was extremely abandoned and decided I needed to carve a word describing my pain into my arm. I knew I couldn’t take the bleeding or razors so I decided burning would be a better idea. I found a titanium letter opened with a nice sharp point and a lighter. I carved “Alone” into my arm in about 30 minutes. It hurt so much! I immediately covered it with Hello Kitty band-aids and hid it. I didn’t do so well with hiding it because my therapist saw it the next session. I wanted so badly for her to help me but she just seemed displeased. This made things worse.
The next time I did it was when another friend decided to end it all. I carved “Nobody” into my arm this time, bigger and deeper. After that, I carved “Why” into my thigh and a broken heart over my heart.
I was on the fast track to addiction and I didn’t even know it. After doing more research on SI and BPD, I found out how physically addictive it can become and I wanted no part of it. I decided never to do it again.
Well, that lasted about 2 years. Last year, I dabbled again but very lightly. Just a few lines on my wrist that faded eventually.
Fast forward to present times. I’m in therapy and I’ve given my letter opener to my therapist. She didn’t ask for it, I volunteered it. Unluckily, I found another tool; Tweezers and cuticle scissors. I need them for cosmetic reasons so taking them away isn’t going to work.
Lately, I’ve torn up my arm. Every day, multiple times a day, I crave the rush. It used to be because I was triggered by something painful. Abandoned by someone, forced to move out, yelled at by mom, etc. These are all things that would have sent me over the edge. Now it doesn’t take much at all. A slight attitude in someone’s voice, a remark, canceled plans, loneliness. I yearn for those endorphins like a junkie needs crack.
It feels like a mini orgasm. My eyes roll back into my head and I feel awake and alert but only for two seconds. The burning is escalating because I need more to feel the pain. I’m becoming addicted and I don’t know how to stop on my own.I also look at my arm and the pale, unharmed skin underneath it and I need more. I want my whole arm to be covered in these horribly beautiful scars. Only other people who SI can even begin to identify with that.
I know all of the coping skills. I’ve read all of the books and articles. I’ve drawn the butterfly and I’ve held the ice in my hand. I’ve snapped the rubber band and I’ve written in my journal. It’s not working. I need that rush. If this doesn’t get better soon, I’m afraid I may need a sort of “SI intervention”. The only problem is, I’ll have to intervene on my own. My family doesn’t seem interested. They’ve seen the scars and haven’t said a word. My best friend has asked me to try to stop, for him, but I know I can’t.
It’s going to take my own willpower and perseverance. It’s also going to take a whole new mindset. I cannot stop this when all I want to do is die. This is keeping me alive at the moment. It is serving a great purpose. I am alive but scarred. Beautifully.