I Really Want to Self-Harm But Here’s Why I Don’t

(Yes, this get s trigger warning.)

My History with Self-Harm

I used to self-harm, sometimes known as self-injury, self-mutilation or nonsuicidal self-injury. It started when I was 13. I remember the first time. I remember thinking that the point on a compass (used for geometry glass) was very, very sharp. And then I remember thinking what a bad daughter I was. And then I remember using the very sharp compass point over and over on my flesh until I had dug a line extending about two inches on my ankle. After that, it happened again and again. I remember thinking I deserved it. And when I got older, it became more apparent that I was using that behavior as a way of dealing with pain that I couldn’t control. At 13, I didn’t get this, but at 17, I did. At 17, I was aware of the acute, painful, depressed (although I didn’t know it was depression), suicidal feelings I was having but I had no way of dealing with them so out would come the Exacto knife (I had graduated to actual blades when I was quite young). But things got better when I graduated from high school and got away from my very sick family. Over time, I stopped self-harming without really trying. I knew I didn’t want to do it so eliminating the behavior was simple once the pain lessened.

The Pain of Depression Returned, and So Did the Self-Harm

Unfortunately, the pain came back a couple of years later. When I was 19 or so, the depression really hit, like being bludgeoned with a 2x4 with nails hammered into the end of it. The pain, in all its infinite darkness, had returned. And so did the self-harming behaviors. Self-harm was being driven by the pain.


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