About 15 years ago, during an abnormally bad phase, I cut myself for the first time. I have never been able to explain in a way that makes sense why I did it that first time. At that time I was feeling depressed, anxious, paranoid and was constantly hearing voices from nowhere. I felt hopeless and angry and it was welling up inside me like a tsunami. I needed release, an outlet to make the bad feelings go away. I needed to quiet the voices or I would explode.
I broke open a Bic razor and took the blade out. Anticipation was building inside me, but so were the voices.
The woman was the strongest of the voices, and she taunted me incessantly.
“Across the wrists”
She was loud in my head, but now the baby and grandma joined her like some disjointed chorus.
“Across the wrists and it will be done”
Emotions were building inside me and my eyes began to well up with tears. I tried to ignore the voices, but they broke through all of my defenses and continued to mock me like some evil preschool game. But the voices didn’t know or didn’t care what I was really thinking. I didn’t want to kill myself. I just wanted them to go away and take the emotions with them.
My mind was talking to me now. Somehow it broke through the cacophony of voices that were almost singing now. My mind was calm. It spoke without any emotion.
“Make it deep, you need to bleed”
I took off my shirt and straddled the toilet, looking at the tears in my eyes in the mirror across from me and put the blade to my shoulder and pressed hard. Then I ran it across the shoulder and immediately blood began to trickle out and run down my arm and pain shot through me like avalanche. I took my eyes off the mirror and stared at the blood running past the elbow down my forearm. All I could feel was pain as I stared at the blood, fascinated. Then my mind calmly said:
“Listen and feel”
Quiet. No voices. No anger. I felt numb. I actually chuckled a little as I relished the numbness. I didn’t feel or hear anything and fresh tears came to my eyes. I felt for the first time that I controlled my body and mind, not the voices, not the emotions.
With a clarity that I hadn’t experienced for a long time, I looked at my arm and said “Fuck. I’m bleeding all over the tiles on the floor”. I wasn’t prepared for this, it just happened. I grabbed my towel off of the holder and pressed it hard against the cut. Fresh pain shot through me, but now I welcomed it because it helped me to hang on to the numbness. I wasn’t prepared to deal with a huge cut on my arm. I couldn’t stop the bleeding. I realized this was not a Band-aid cut, this was a stitches cut. But I knew I couldn’t go to the emergency room, because they would consider this a suicide attempt and throw me in the hospital again. I had to handle this emergency by myself.
I kept the towel on the cut for about and hour and it started just seeping a little. This is the last time I was unprepared. I made a kit for myself eventually and kept it in a toiletries bag under the bathroom sink. I had everything I needed to cut: blades(I preferred the Shick double-sided thin blades), lots of bandages,alcohol and peroxide(we wouldn’t want to get an infection), and those little things that hold the cut together like stitches(I can’t remember the name of those).
After I realized the magic of this coping mechanism, I cut myself every time I had an episode, up until about 5 years ago. I now have scars covering both of my upper arms, hands and legs. I only cut where it couldn’t be seen when I wore clothing.
I wear the scars like a badge of honor now, not caring who sees them. It was some very tough years I made it through, my way. It may not be the way anyone else would choose, but it worked for me and it worked well. Between cutting and the pills, I survived those troublesome years. It was a kind of self-medication. Some people drink. I cut.
I am no longer in a bad phase and haven’t cut for a few years because I don’t hear those voices and use other coping skills to handle the overwhelming emotions. I’m a little older and a little wiser.