Cutting is a method of self-harm that affects many teens. Yet, it's something that most people know nothing about. This is the account of a fictional girl, with some very real thoughts.
You bleed just to know you're alive.
That quote fits me so well. That's, after all, why I bleed. I cut myself. Yes, I am a self-harmer. On bad days, I take a razor blade and make myself bleed. It releases the pain of the day, and allows me to smile, even just for a moment. No one else knows that I cut, but that doesn't mean I haven't heard people talk about cutting.
Apparently, people like me are 'crazy'.
Let's set the record straight. People who cut are usually dealing with trauma, not mental issues. It's true that things like OCD, substance abuse, depression and eating disorders are common among cutters, but they don't cause people to cut. People cut for a lot of different reasons. Being crazy isn't one of them. Trust me.
The reasons, according to the experts, why people cut are actually really similar. People start to cut for emotional reasons. You know, to express deep distress, cope with painful memories . . . I really didn't need an expert to tell me that. Something ironic about cutting is that some people do it for control. After losing control in their lives, probably due to another kind of trauma, like rape, people cut because they can control it. However, this is the ironic part, you don't control cutting. Cutting controls you.
It's an addiction, like anything else. You get cravings, because you physically have to do it. You suffer from withdrawals, because you haven't cut in so long. The worst part is when you're sitting in class, and you need to cut. You can't concentrate on the lesson, because your mind is buried deep in your bag, thinking of your scissors, of the blade hidden in your pencil sharpener. Your mind spins and your hands shake and you want to cry, but you can't because the people will ask questions.
Questions are the bane of every cutter's existence. Trust me on this. Cutters will go to extreme lengths to hide their self-harm. Cuts on the wrists means long sleeves. Cuts on the legs, shorts when swimming. Some ways of hiding cuts are, from an unbiased view, are as suspicious as the act itself. But, trust me; the last thing a cutter wants is to flaunt what she's done.
Okay, yes, I say 'she'. Partly because I'm a girl, and partly because most cutters are girls. Not all, of course. Males cut too. In fact, the number of guys who cut are on the rise. All self-harm numbers are on the rise, according to these experts. I'd say that it's pretty impressive that they got these numbers in the first place. Like I said, we go to any lengths to hide it.
Experts, yeah, they have their opinion on this too. Now, I mock these experts, but they're actually right on a lot of stuff. I hide my scars because I'm a little ashamed. I don't want people to know what I'm doing to myself. Because, to me my scars, my fresh cuts, tell me that I'm weak. After all, look at what I had to resort too! And, you know, I have my own deep 'emotional' reasons to cut. I'm not saying that cutting is a good thing. I'm just saying that it's a survival method. People say things about you; call you fat, call you stupid. And, that hurts emotionally. But, go home; cut your wrists, or legs or stomach or wherever and that's physical pain. That's more demanding. It takes over everything and drowns out the words so that your emotions don't hurt anymore.
Cutting, however, is a temporary solution. Lately, I've been feeling hesitation whenever I hold my razor. I touch my half-faded, half-healed scars and think they feel disgusting. I've made my disgusting self even worse. Sadly, those bad feelings just make me cut more. It's an evil vicious cycle. One I had to get stuck in. I knew that a part of me wanted to stop, but I was too far gone, already too addicted. I needed the pain to function, to get through the day.
But I was getting to the point where I wanted out of this never-ending sadness. I wanted to be free to be happy without feeling fake, to do whatever I wanted without worrying if my shirt covered what it needed to. I was at the point where I honestly wanted someone to see my scars, see what I had done to myself, just so I didn't have to be alone. I didn't have to go through everything alone. I wanted someone to see the mask I'd put on myself.
I knew that I'd hidden it well. I knew no one would see on their own. I would just have to own up to it, confess my sins on my own courage. But, who to tell? My parents? No. Their extreme pressure and cruelty had driven me to cut in the first place. I had no adult to turn too. The school would have to report it if they knew. So, I called my best friend.
I knew this conversation could go many different ways. She could flip out. She could disown me as a friend. She could tell people who shouldn't be told. She could hang up. She could just not care. Out of all the possibilities running through my mind, not once did I think she would understand. I didn't think she would even try.
"Hello," she answered on the first ring.
"It's me," I said. And grabbed all my courage. "I cut."
"My wrists. With razors."
She did something I never expected. She cried. "I love you," she exclaimed. "You're my best friend. Please, don't hurt yourself. I'll always be here. We can find something else to do instead."
"Eight months," I replied.
"Almost every day." I couldn't go more than 24 hours without needing to cut.
"Do you want to stop?"
"I think so." I wanted too, but I didn't think I could. I didn't think I was that strong.
"What can I do?" she asked.
"Just be here," I didn't know what I wanted from her, and I didn't want to be selfish. But I needed her.
"Not going anywhere."
I asked my own question. "Are you mad?"
"No," she answered.
That was the phone call. I should have known that she'd be there to support me. And I should have known that she wouldn't make me talk about things I didn't want too.
It's been four weeks since I told her. I've cut a total of 12 times. I discovered that if I bake the need to cut fades a little bit. My addiction will always be there, always be with me. I'm never going to be 100% better, and I'm going to slip sometimes. But you know what, I survived, I have the scars to prove it.
I can smile again, for real, and I'm damn proud of it.
The signs are always there when teens are cutting. Cutting is an act of self-harm, and most cutters are not suicidal. Yet, most cutters have poor self-esteem, and always feel alone. It's important that no one feels this way, because, though you may not know it, someone you are close too, or someone you see every day, could be a cutter. I'm just saying, wouldn't you like to be able to help if you got the chance?