Pain Makes It Better

I have suffered from depression since my early teens and at one point I did attempt to commit suicide, which my parents were unaware of. A wonderful friend helped me tough this period, although I don't know why because at the time we had only just met. I hid my depression from my parents even though the school urged them to put me in counseling. I was so glad they refused to do so at the time. Unfortunately as a got older the feelings didn't go away and I reached a point where I was in so much emotional pain that I was forcing it down inside of myself rather than dealing with it. Eventually, it dawned on me that physical pain helped make the emotional pain go away. I started out burning myself with a lighter, but that wasn't anything special and eventually I started cutting. I remember at work one night one of the managers saw my arm with cuts and slashes from my elbow to my wrist and questioned me on it. I told her I was playing with my cat and things got too rough. She nodded and suggested some good kitty toys that would keep Pixie from scratching up my arm next time we played. I was more careful after that to keep my cuts to a minimun when I knew she would be working with me, but I kept cutting and since I wore a hoodie year-round no one really noticed. Not even my friends and teachers. I even took to pushing the sleeves of my hoodies up when I was too warm and still nothing was said. I had a boyfriend that knew, but he never told. He would just sigh and shake his head and hold me when I would cut until I cried. Oe other person knew, but he lived thousands of miles away from me and had been where I was at so he knew what I was dealing with. He would talk to me and share his own experiences, and even tried to get me to stop, but I couldn't give up the only freedom I knew. But as these things do, it all boiled over one morning when I walked into a classroom to help out some younger students as a favor to one of my old teachers. The girl I was helping saw my arm and blew me in to the teacher after  had left for my own classes. The next time I went into help out I was pulled into the teacher's office where she confronted me about the whole situation. I finally caved and showed her my arm, cut up and scarred from elbow to wrist. She asked me what I had been using to cut myself and how long it hand been going on and a bunch of other questions. I remember breaking down and begging her not to say anything to anyone that I had to deal with this on my own. I didn't want my parents to know. She told me she would stay quiet for now, but that she wanted to see me make a real effort to quit and that I needed to get rid of the knife I was using. So I did some reseach on stopping SI and showed it to her and showed her the trick about snapping yourself with a rubberband when you wanted to cut and wore rubberband bracelets on my wrist; whenever I was having a bad day i made sure that my wrist was a little red and she would see it and that I didn't have any fresh cuts on my arm (they were elsewhere). it was working for a bit, but finally she caught on that I wasn't really trying too hard and she pulled me back into her office. I finally agreed to give her the knife and get it away from myself. I ddn't see her over the weekend and spent both days with my lime green plastic Xacto knife and a set of fresh blades. On Monday morming I took it with me to school and made one last cut before heading to her classroom. That last one was deep and bled a lot. When it scabbed over I would rip the scab off until when i finally healed I had a slightly raised scar on my inner forearm as a reminder. It's still there, although no longer raised, just a white line across my arm. The school tried to bust me for having a weapon on campus, but with the intervention of the teacher and school counselor, they powers that be were convinced I had done it for my own safety and not to cause trouble. I remember being called to the counselor's office that afternoon and my mom was there, crying her eyes out and I was finally put in therapy. Sending a teenager who deosn't want to be in therapy to therpay doesn't work well. I lied to my therapist, told my parents I hated her and she sucked and didn't want to go. It was a battle that I eventually lost smply because I was unwilling to give up talking to my friends on the computer. They kept me sane when I was miserable and ready to fly off the handle at any little thing. They were the ones who truly helped me. Healing the physical and emotional scars from SI take a long time and sometimes (seven years later) I still want to cut. But I don't. I confronted those demons and have struggled to keep them in check. When I was senior in high school and still healing I chose to go public with my actions. This was a lrage school, but most everyone knew who I was at least because I was not popular exactly, but I was known and respected among most of my peers for refusing to compromise who I was, even when I was harrassed for my choices. As part of a computer class I made a PowerPoint presentation on SI that I worked closely with the teacher on to keep the material both appropriate for the age group I was targetting and relevant to the facts at hand. I chose to make my presentation the very last of the class and when  booted it up and the screen appeared there was silence. I started off slow, but strong explaining what S was and wasn't and how it affected so many people. I showed some less graphic images that were intended not as a trigger, ut as a warning. I found pictures of my own injuries that I passed around the class. I spoke of the feelings behind my SI and my inability to reach out and deal with the pain in a healthier manner. I stood before my classmates and peers and told them all my battle with SI. And when it was done I left the room before I could humilate myself by breaking down in the rush of tears that were building behind my eyes. One person came out a few mintues later to check on me. She admitted that she was afraid I had come out and started cutting myself again. For her to admit that and to have still come out and faced me down was amazing to me. I don't know what happened to her after I graduated that year, but I hope that wherever she is, she is happy and if she doesn't remember reaching out to the broken girl in her Computer Apps class that's OK. I just want her to know she made a difference.

pansylou pansylou
Mar 9, 2009