The first day of the 30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge asks
How long have you been self harming? Discuss why you started.
The first time I self-harmed I was in my bedroom in the hours after a particularly difficult day at school. I was thirteen years old and at the time I was being bullied, made to feel humiliated for having a crush on a girl at school and struggling to manage my school work with the demands of my sister (and I’s) developing mental illness(es).
Unsure of how to cope with my internal pain, I decided to cut my leg with the pointy end of a protractor I was using to complete my maths homework. Although it drew a little blood, the damage was relatively insignificant, especially in relation to the emotional release I received from the action; which was insurmountable.
From then on my quest to physicalise my emotional pain became a regular fixture in my life. After bad days I would secrete myself in my bedroom and assault myself with an ever-increasing array of implements. I stayed with the protractor for a while before moving to small scissors, large scissors and then knives. I experimented with hitting myself, then burning myself with a cigarette lighter, but always returned to cutting as nothing else came close to giving me the emotional release I desired.
Even now – twenty-two years later (blimey, has it really been that long!) – cutting is the means of self-harm I return to most frequently, despite becoming more creative and experimental in the intervening years.