I laid on my bed as I took a deep breath. Closing my eyes, I slid the blade across my arm. Zero days. Blood didn’t seep out from the cut like how I wanted to. I did it again. The cuts started to build up.
One. Two. Three. Four. Five.
I didn’t stop until I had blood dripping down my arm. Releasing a shaky breath, I finally felt the pain I was keeping in that day.
I kept my pain in and always had a smile on my face.
“It hurts.” I would hear a voice say.
I knew it was my subconscious, but I listened to it. I stopped smiling. I went about the day holding in my pain and my tears. I replaced it with a bubbly smile in front of everyone around me.
No one saw the pain from the other side. People would tell me I was the life of the party. The would call me things like their personal cheerleader. They always said my smile brightened up their day. Little did they know that their cheerleader, their jolly bubbly friend wasn’t cheering inside at all.
It was almost Christmas and I was going to visit my dad in the hospital. I had to perform at a band concert, so I told my mother to pick me up. My sister text me and told me she was on the way.
“She also wants to talk to you,” my sister said in a message.
I looked down at my iPod filled with anxiety about text. Thoughts ran through my mind. I didn’t know whether to feel happy or guilty. I hoped my mom wasn’t going to yell at me on the way home. I was too happy to have my mood destroyed.
Later my mom came just as my sister said. I climbed into the car and told my mom about the concert. I was happy and I was proud of myself. I was a little middle schooler who had big dreams. I was happy about life. My mom was trying to be happy with me but it looked like she was heartbroken.
We arrived home and my mom told me to go shower and get ready for school the next day. I didn’t argue back, I wanted to sleep since I had stayed up late the night before. I took a quick shower and began doing some homework. My mom came in from the outdoor kitchen and called me to our living room.
Cautiously stepping out of my room, I walked towards the couch. My mom grabbed her phone and sat down after me. My mother took notice of my confused look as her eyes connected with mine. She took a deep breath.
“Sweetie, your dad is gone,” she said.
She looked at me as I began to cry. I felt like I was hit by a speeding truck. My heart was crushed into a million of pieces.
I was only a young naive 7th grader that was emotionally wrecked. My father passed.
My piano teacher began forcing things onto me when I was still hurting.
My boyfriend told me he liked another girl and I broke up with him.
I couldn’t take it. I needed an escape from my pain. I laid in bed with my small pencil sharpener knowing it had a sharp blade in it. I was hoping this would end my pain. I lightly touched my arm with the blade. Accepting the cold blade, I ran it against my arm. Sharp pain was numbed and it felt comfortable after the first small cut.
I kept going. I felt more alive with every cut.
One cut added up to five.
Then my counselor found out. He tried to show me different ways to cope with my pain. I tried to listen, but every time I did cutting went through my mind. He offered me a book to go through and look for some other methods.
Music therapy felt interesting. It worked for some time. But after a few days of not seeing my counselor, I started again.
I was in the practice room of the band hall. Dark thoughts ran through my mind.
Cut. Just do it. You’re pain will heal. All this will end don’t worry.
Within a time limit, I only managed to only make three cuts but this numbed the pain slightly. Within an hour the counselor called me in the office.
This was it, my method of pain release was revealed to my mother and she showed her disappointment in my cutting habit. Instead of talking it out with me, she began calling me crazy, mental and stupid. This just made the pain worse. This hurt so bad, I tried to distract myself with stories I came up with in my head. I tried to force my mind to think about happy stories that did not resemble the pain going on inside of me.
While my eighth grade year started with a stint of five months of no cuts on my arms, It was only because I could only wear shorts and t-shirts all the time and could not cut or everyone would know. I was forced to stay clean.
It was painful to go through months of hot weather and bottle up all my pain inside. I tried writing in a journal but my sister decided to go through it and I felt so uncomfortable with her knowing what I wrote. I tried to ignore it, but my anger bottled up and I held it inside. I wanted so bad to cut myself to relieve the pain because I thought this was still the answer but I couldn’t.
Winter rolled through and my mother began pushing me to do things I knew I couldn’t. My sister began using me as her maid. She made me do her chores and get her food. My piano teacher was telling me to practice more when I barely got any sleep. I was stressed out.
My resolution cut my self again. No one could see it past my long sleeves. I took a razor blade and slit my arm. When I felt the blade across my arm, it was like a happy reunion with a loved one. The only problem was my loved one was a shiny metal blade. My addiction to self inflicted pain was back. The pouring of blood calmed me down. The pain brought me back to reality. My dark thoughts cleared and a bloody rainbow shown through. I felt alive once again.
The cutting became part of me, it became part of my daily routine. The slicing of a blade on my arm and blood running down felt so natural to me that if I didn’t do it I felt like part of me was missing. While I thought I was hiding it, others knew. My band director came into my english classroom and took me away. I didn’t know what was going on, so I followed obediently. The next thing I know I was staring into the face of a concerned school principal.
“Are you self-harming?” she said.
This is not a question I wanted to answer but I nodded my head yes and looked down. The waterworks then began as my only outlet at this point was to cry. I know what was coming next.
“Show me your arm.” my principal said.
My band director looked at my arm with calm eyes. I could feel their sorrow. They both knew I was unstable. The dried blood popped out against my tan skin.
The word “FAT” was carved on my arm. This was what my family called me so why not carve this permanently on my arm.
After long conversations with my principal and police officers I was escorted to my new home in a mental hospital. I didn’t stay long. I didn’t plan to. I had dinner and spoke with some of the patients there. They made me feel like I was loved. The nurse took my jacket so my cuts were exposed.
One girl noticing Fat carved in my arm said. “You are not fat.”
All the patients told me I was too pretty to cut. I didn’t eat much and the girls took notice. They all agreed and said I wasn’t fat. My self esteem boosted with every “You’re not Fat” I heard. Bed time came and I still needed to see my doctor. I couldn’t sleep. Since I was never admitted, I was never given a bed nor a room. I slept in the chairs in the lobby area for the patients. At five in the morning a nurse came to let me see my doctor. He was an old man, and he had amazing stories. I listened. He ask me if I wanted to be here. Knowing my plan, I simply said no.
“Why?” he asked.
My response was simple but it was clearly a lie.
“I want to go home and try to build a better relationship with my mom,” I said.
My mom came to pick me up when the hospital was open for the public. My mom said nothing to me before she first yanked my arm out to check it for cuts and blood. My mom was on the verge of tears when she saw no new scars and she grabbed me and gave me a big hug. My sisters grabbed the bag that held my belongings and we walked out the front door. My sisters stayed home from school to keep me company at home. My older sister put on a movie and we sat on my mom’s large bed and watched together. I felt content.
I felt something warm for the first time in two years. My wounds slowly began to heal. While those around me thought the cutting was over I just quit slicing my arm because sister began checking me there.
My new place of relief was my legs.
I carefully placed them where no one would see them. My pain was on and off. I didn’t want my mom to find out about my problem, so I did it in secret. My last and final pain was my freshman year of high school. My friends in high school helped me find my happiness again. They always tackled me in hugs and shower me in small compliments. I always brought my journal to school and wrote in it when I needed to. I wrote my feelings. The journal helped with my recovery. I wrote what I felt on the inside.
My anger, my sorrow even my happiness. I wrote it all down. The journal kept my pain. I felt free. I may not be the same, but I finally found my happiness.
If you are self-harming below are some places where you can seek help.
Teen Help Line
(972) 233-TEEN (8336)
Crisis Text Line
Texas Youth Hotline
To Write Love on her arms