In my last post, I started the story about my journey with self harm. I explained a little bit about the life I had leading up to the day I chose to start that destructive lifestyle, and I ended with saying that my parents found out. I didn’t go any further, because I knew that the next part of the story deserved a post all on its own. So, as promised, here is the next part of my story.
A few days after I told my friend about my cutting, I went shopping with my mother. I wasn’t too concerned about it, though, because unlike most people who cut on their arms, I had been cutting on my stomach. I thought I was so incredibly clever. But after shopping for a little while, I started to try on some bras (sorry boys), and she wanted to see how they fit. We argued through the door a little, me trying to convince her for what felt like forever that it fit and she didn’t need to see. But, as mothers so often do, she won the argument and I opened the fitting room door. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look or horror on her face when she saw my stomach, covered in marks from where I had pressed the blade to my skin. I remember her staring, refusing to make eye contact, and whispering softly, “What have you done to yourself…?”
We didn’t talk about it. She instructed me to get dressed, we paid for our items, and we went home. We didn’t speak for hours. And after my dad got home, she pulled him into their room and they spent a few more hours by themselves discussing the situation before calling me in to their bedroom to speak to me about it. I don’t remember much from the conversation, but I do remember them saying things about how they were there for me and that they knew what lead me to do it. In the end, no counseling or therapy was suggested, and they weren’t even close to considering allowing me to go on any medication. I felt like after that they just expected me to move on and never do it again. In fact, I feel like EVERYBODY expected that from me. For some reason, people made the assumption that because I had only been cutting for a few weeks I could just let it go and it hadn’t yet turned into a full-blown addiction. But what nobody understood was that I was hooked from the very first moment that the smooth blade touched my skin. I knew from the very first cut that I was going to battle this for a very long time. And I did battle it. It was silent and lonely, but I battled very, very hard.
For the next several years, age 13 to age 17, I fought myself and my desires to cut. I spent many a night sitting with my youth pastor’s wife after a youth event, telling her I was finally giving up cutting. I would tell her I was finally done and then abstain for a couple of weeks or maybe even a couple of months, but as the high of being at such an emotional event wore off so would my desire to fight the need in me to cut. Eventually, something would happen that I would feel was too much to handle and I would cut again. It was a vicious cycle, one that lasted far too long and was far too dangerous to have lived in as long as I did.
I continued to cut on and off throughout my high school years and into college, when the climax of the story takes place. My next and final blog post in this series will tell the story of the first semester of college, my mental breakdown, and God’s faithfulness through every second of it. I look forward to sharing the joy of the end of this story with you all.