A few days ago, a good friend of mine wrote a post about her own experiences with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, not for attention, but to help others. It took a lot of courage for her to write her post.
I’m writing this post for two reasons. One, if I stop hiding this like it’s a “dirty little secret”, my friends will know I have a problem. I’ll have to admit I have this problem every day and I’ll have to do something about it. Two, there may be someone else out there who needs help. I might be able to help someone else with this post.
I didn’t used to do this to myself. I used to throw things. I don’t know when or why this changed. Trust me, I’d rather be a thrower; it’s less shameful and comes with less stigma. I never understood why people cut on themselves until last month. I always thought cutters were either suicidal or attention hounds. Quite the opposite.
Cutters don’t cut out of self-hatred. They aren’t seeking attention. They aren’t trying to kill themselves. They’re trying to ease the pain inside. If anything, they’re ashamed of what they’ve done afterwards and they want to hide it from everyone.
So what drives one to cut on one’s self? I’m no professional. I can’t fully answer that question. I’ve only just started cutting and can only give my perspective.
Cutters tend to keep their emotions bottled up inside. I know I’m not the best at communication, but I am a great listener. There are just times when it feels like I have so much emotion bottled up, I’m about to overflow. I’m sure I have people to talk to, but I don’t know where to begin or how. If I open my mouth it will just come out as an unintelligible scream. So I just keep everything inside so I can appear somewhat functional in society.
Just like a pressure cooker, you have to let off steam sometime. This happened last month. I was pacing my house like a lioness trying to get away from the thoughts in my head. My inner critic just wouldn’t shut up that day. I couldn’t stop crying. My heart was racing. Before I knew it, I was in the kitchen with a knife in my hand. I had this detached feeling as I watched the blade on my arm, but the crying stopped. The emotional pain stopped. I calmed down.
Then I completely freaked about what I’d done. I knew I’d finally had that nervous breakdown. I was terrified. I wanted to hide it from everyone, especially my family. I was already wondering how I could hide my arm from my husband, but I knew I couldn’t. I had to tell him. He was going to freak; I knew he was going to freak…
He didn’t. He was calm and supportive and loving.
Since that day I’ve cut on myself only one other time. After that second time the urge has gotten much stronger and it’s much more difficult to not cut on myself.
Cutting on yourself is like an addiction.
For that brief moment, you’re detached from the pain inside. Everything is just “somewhere back there” and you don’t have to feel it. Yeah, you have the external pain, but even that isn’t so bad. You have this wash of relief all over you, almost like a rush of endorphins. You begin to crave the feeling of that moment.
I speculate this must be what drug addiction feels like. Thoughts go through your head, like, “Just one cut and I’ll stop.” But you can’t let yourself make that one cut because you know one will just lead to another… and another.
Cutting is just another form of self-harm.
Do you know someone who harms themselves? Probably. Self harm can show up in different forms:
- Interfering with healing of wounds
- Burning one’s self
- Substance Abuse
- Eating Disorders
Discovering someone you know is a cutter, or harms themselves in some other manner, can be a shock. Just remember, these people already judge themselves and deal with shame and fear of rejection on a daily basis. They need your support and understanding.
My name is Duch. It’s been 6 days.