SELF-INJURY -A GLANCE INTO MY 10 YEAR ADDICTION OF CUTTING
“I hate you, I never loved you and I never wanted you and that’s why I want to kill myself,” are the words I heard moments before I watched my mother bust a glass into pieces on the edge of the table, just before picking up one of the jagged pieces and begin cutting her wrist. All of this happened just hours after my father cut both of his wrists open with a butcher knife attempting to take his own
A few weeks later I couldn’t stop thinking about what I witnessed that day and I wanted to know what it felt like when my parents cut themselves. I decided to find out by making a few small cuts on my arms. To my surprise it didn’t hurt when I cut myself… it actually made me feel better. I didn’t know there was anything wrong with cutting my own skin until people started noticing the cuts on my arms and began questioning me. I continued cutting myself because I quickly found that the physical pain took away the emotional pain I felt. Cutting became my way of coping with any type of negative emotion I felt. I was eventually moved from group home to group home because they didn’t deal with kids like me in foster care.
Getting moved from group home to group home didn’t stop me from cutting, so I was eventually placed in a residential treatment center that was also a group home for kids in foster care. This was the worst possible move for me because at this facility that the staff were friends with my trafficker, so I continued being trafficked while in foster care. When I began being trafficked in foster care the cutting intensified. Unfortunately for me, because I cut myself the staff at the treatment center used that to cover up how they punished me. I began having my bones broken and it was disguised as I did it to myself. After all, who would believe me if I said I didn’t do it?
When I left that facility, everyone thought I had stopped cutting myself, but the reality was I had only learned how to cut in places my clothes would cover. I continued cutting myself, but mostly kept it a secret. Almost 10 years later I was still living with so many secrets of the abuse I had endured. I was cutting myself daily to the point where I should have sought medical care for the cuts more often than I did.
One Sunday morning our pastor preached a sermon about how we are empty and we try to fill our lives with so many things but we can never be truly satisfied without Jesus. When he was talking about the things we try to fill out lives with he talked about addictions and how an addiction isn’t just drugs and alcohol, it’s anything we can’t go without. In that moment I realized that cutting was an addiction for me and it was literally controlling my life.
I didn’t want anyone to know I was still cutting myself because as far as anyone knew I had stopped years ago when I left foster care. I was afraid of what people would think of me, but mostly I was afraid of not being in control of my own pain.
I met with my pastor and told him about my addiction and asked him for advice. He asked me why I cut myself and I told him that I had been hurt by so many people my whole life and cutting myself is the only pain I could control. My pastor encouraged me and pointed me in the right direction. I ended up giving my life to the Lord and began the process of trying to stop cutting myself. It took me 9 months to completely break the addiction of cutting myself.
For a long time, I was ashamed of all of the scars I am left with and thought about trying to get laser therapy or a make some of them part of tattoo or something, but in time I’ve become okay with having scars. My scars are a reminder to me of my strength and what I’ve overcome. My scars are also a sign of hope for others because it’s proof that we can overcome the addiction of hurting ourselves.
If someone you know self-injures the best thing you can do for them is to be there for them and show them you care. Please do NOT judge them or expect them to just stop overnight. Self-injury is an extremely addictive coping mechanism and it’s a process to stop.
If you are someone who self-injures, please know that you are not alone and you can overcome this addiction. If you’re in a crisis and need to talk you can text HOME to 741741 to speak with someone at the Crisis Help Line.