My journey with self-harm started when I was 12 years old. I wasn’t really sure what I was doing at the time, I just knew that after I cut myself, I felt a lot better. In the beginning I only cut once in a while. I would self-harm on specific occasions like failing a test or getting into a fight with someone in my life. Self-harm was my best friend, my reliable companion. When I became overwhelmed or stressed, my faithful friend was there. My razor was the one constant in my life, the one thing I felt I could 100% rely on. When no one else was there, my razor was.
My once in a while habit slowly turned into an everyday ritual. Every night before going to bed I would self-harm. It became a part of my evening routine and was something I would look forward to each night. It was a release for me, after a long day of pretending to be happy. Soon my nightly ritual turned into multiple times a day. I carried my razor around with me at all times as a comfort, as a just in case. If things ever got to be “too much,” not to worry, I had my friend with me. Although it became noticeable and I began to have scars, I didn’t care because my razor would never judge me. But since I started to notice people’s eyes drawn to my arms with disapproving looks, I began to find other parts of my body to hurt. I realized I could cut on my legs and stomach and no one would know. I also vowed to always wear long sleeves, no matter the weather. I promised myself I would cover up my body in order to protect myself from those that wanted me to stop.
Cutting was a symptom of a much bigger problem. I was cutting to cope with my mental health issues. When I was able to get help for my mental illness and began to talk in therapy, the urges became less and less. When the urges started to go away, I felt scared. How could I end my relationship with self-harm after nearly a decade? I felt as though I was losing a part of me, a part of my identity. I felt as though I was betraying my razor somehow. Self-harm helped me through so much, how could I just let it go? Letting go of my friend was difficult and probably the hardest thing I have ever done, but life on the other side is a much better picture.
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