My first experiences with self harm

For a while after I joined secondary school, I was doing ok. Despite always feeling as though I was ‘different’, that it was the rest of the class against ‘me’ I seemed to fit in better at a much bigger school with a lot more people in my class. That said, I was still a troublemaker, I think if my memory serves me correctly I earned 27 d-merits in my first year (whilst others gained a mere one or two!). I can’t actually remember what they were for, but I do remember causing trouble for people, and falling out with friends frequently.

It was in my second year of school (so around age 12) that I first saw self harm. I girl in my class, Emma, came to school with what looked like scratches on her hand. It soon was revealed that she had cut herself with scissors, she said because she was upset. To this day I still don’t understand what happened in my head to tell me it was a good idea, but I copied her, and started cutting my arms with scissors on a regular basis.

I know for a fact that this was for attention, as I used to make small cuts, stick plasters over them and roll my sleeves up. As time went on my attention seeking seem to develop, to become more devious and manipulative. By this time I had learnt the art of manipulation, to determine exactly the right time and place I needed to be somewhere in order to look ‘upset’ or ‘in need of help’. That way it looked as though I wasn’t deliberately seeking attention, merely in need of support. I can remember clearly sitting on a table outside the staffroom, pretending to do work, but rubbing under my eyes to make it look as though I had been crying, and would be asked if I was ok. Later on, this developed into taking the inside of a Vicks inhaler out and rubbing it under my eyes, or applying tea tree oil which made my eyes tear up. One day I even put blue eye shadow along my cheekbone to make it look as though I had a black eye.

Looking back now, I realise what people must have thought of this child, how obvious it must have looked to them what I was doing. I must have looked so stupid, so desperate, yet still I did not get the help I didn’t realise I needed.

At this time, my cuts were still tiny scratches on the surface, I had no idea how the harming would progress. I meddled with wicca and witchcraft, carving a pentagon into my arm, I believe this was all purely for effect. I became paranoid about the label ‘attention seeker’ and that complex stayed with me for many years.

As the years passed the cutting grew worse, I soon began to run out of skin. Still, they were only scratches but they did grow in number. I started cutting at my wrists too, and writing words but at this point they were not suicide attempts. When I think about carving words into myself, I still do not understand any motivation behind this, apart from attention. I remember carving names of various pets, or words such as ‘FAILURE’ ‘HATE’ and ‘BITCH’. Also, I cut, then took pictures of my cuts, a practice I have carried on as the years went past. There is no logic to it, but it seems to be a common practice.

Take care. x

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