By an anonymous contributor
I am a former cutter. I am not crazy and I am not “emo.” The scars from my cuts are on parts of my body that no one can see but me. You might think that I come from an abusive or broken home but I do not. My parents are very wealthy and very involved in the small community where we live.
I started cutting when I was thirteen years old. My parents were fighting worse than ever because my dad had another affair. My mom’s obsession with herself became worse than ever. She bought herself some new boobs and instead of working out three days a week, it turned into five. Forty was a tough age for both of them, I guess. My mom came to me with her sadness and her anger and told me how much she wanted to leave him but “what would people think?” When I tried to talk to my mom about 13 year old problems she would reply something like “That’s nothing to be upset about. Try being me.”
The first time I cut was in my bathroom with a sharp kitchen knife. A little cut on my thigh and all the thoughts that were crowding my head were gone. The pain became my relief. My cuts became deeper as I needed to cut more and see more blood in order to get relief from my pain. I started to keep a knife in my bed so I get cut every night so I could sleep.
When I entered high school, on the outside everything looked perfect for me. I had all the right clothes, the right friends, and the perfect boyfriend. What people didn’t know by looking at me was my cutting had become an addiction. My parents still fought, my mother was still obsessed with her looks, and I learned even more to hide my feelings and my pain from them. When they asked “how was school?” I learned the only response they wanted was “Great! Everything is so wonderful!” because any other response was ignored.
Luckily, one day a friend discovered a fresh scar on my inner thigh when we were changing in the locker room. She looked at me knowingly and said “I used to cut too.” It was such a relief. That night after practice, she drove me home and told me her story. She gave me the name of her counselor. I knew I couldn’t tell my parents the truth so I told them I wanted to go to counseling in order to deal with school stress so I could stay on the A honor roll. They bought it, of course.
The first time I met my counselor I was so nervous. When she asked me if I had ever cut on myself I answered, looking down at my hands in a very quiet voice “yes.” I was so afraid of what she would think of me. She answered “you must have been having some really intense feelings to cut yourself like that.”
“What?” I thought “No judgments?” The relief I felt from her saying those words felt 10 times better than cutting. Over a period of a year with my counselor, she taught me about why people cut and the addiction of it all. Trust me, it wasn’t easy to change my habits but she was with me all the way. She taught me to deal with stress of school, friends, and my parents in a healthy way. She changed my life.
I understand why you cut. I want you to know there are other options. Tell someone you know – if you can’t tell your parent, tell a teacher or a school counselor. Trust me, your life can get better.