Cutting Words


Visit my journal of cutting thoughts


My cutting is a lot of different things to me. It is a release, a solace, a comfort and a torment. It is a long known friend and a familiar torturer, forever opposite and opposing.

I draw my razor slowly across the flesh, feeling it bite deep into the meat of my arm. For a second a white, gaping gash is visible, with some yellowish fat around it. Then it's cavern is filled with rich, red-black blood. It runs down my arm, trickling over the white lines of older scars and the thick pink keloids of the newer ones.

I've been cutting since I was twelve. I think I occasionally hurt myself as a young child too, but I don't really remember it well. Though I've been hitting myself and bitting and scratching myself when I got upset for a very long time, so I suppose that counts. I was very miserable as an adolescent, especially during junior high. I started cutting as a way to escape the pain, to numb myself and to bring myself back from the vague, dreamlike state I spent most of my time in.

I remember the first time I cut. I was laying in bed listening to my stepmother and father (arguing? laughing? something that upset me) and I started biting my arm, trying to draw blood.

The next day at school, during lunch, I was sitting by myself under the plum tree behind the library. I took out my little pocket swiss army knife and cut my left wrist on top of the arm. It felt fascinating, comforting. Like I was coming home to something I'd been missing for a very long time. It didn't hurt at all, and seemed to cut straight through the thick fog in my brain. . .


After that I cut often, sometimes every day. Part of me desperately hoped someone would notice, part of me dreaded the thought. No one did. I even did stupid things like cutting myself on the bus home from school, hoping no one would see. Or perhaps it was just that I didn't care, that my world was so upside-down that cutting myself to see the blood seemed very logical and right to me. My parents never commented. Besides, I generally wore long sleeves anyways.

I was strange before, I suppose. I don't really remember me much before that. Which is unsuprising, I suppose. I feel like I became stranger after I started cutting, though. I'd do things like have very specific rituals around my cutting. And wrap my wrists with strips of colored cloth to cover the cuts.

Yet, in a lot of ways, cutting is what kept me sane.

I'd sit in my room and want to die, not be able to stand much more of this. I didn't even really know what "this" was. Just that it was pain and unbearable amounts of it. The cutting soothed it, made it less real. I think if I hadn't had cutting I'd have gone mad or killed myself a long time ago.

Sometimes I'd go for as long as a month or more without cutting. I never considered it a bad thing, just one not to tell other people about. Like the voices in my head, or not being able to remember things. . .

Cutting gave me out in a world that had left me with no ways out. It was my escape, and sometimes my only friend in a world full on enemies. However much someone else could hurt me, at least I could control some of my own pain. And besides, I/we were taught pain was sacred, pain brought one closer to the divine, so of course it was a good thing.

Maybe this doesn't make sense to someone who hasn't had my life, or hasn't cut or hurt themselves like I do. But if pain is the only thing you've known, and you are taught to ignore physical pain. . . When physical pain is the only thing big enough to make the emotional pain go away. ..

I kept cutting, although I got better at hiding it. I didn't want people to see. . . Aside from a friend of mine who also cut, who seemed to understand, I didn't tell anyone, and tried to shrug it off if someone accidently saw a cut.

Once, in my junior year, my sleeve slipped down a bit when I was talking to my math teacher. She saw a (now that I reflect on it) rather nasty looking cut on my wrist, and had a horrified expression. But she never bothered me about it, and neither did any of my other teachers, even the ones who did seem to know. . .

Meanwhile, my life was starting to feel more and more bleak. It was as though a storm which had been building in me for many years was coming to a head. I only knew that life was beginning to seem more and more an unpleasent prospect, and one not neccesarily worth the pain.

That spring I was sinking into a deeper and deeper depression. I had some unpleasentness happen between me and one of the two people I thought I could trust, and was feeling lonely and alienated from my best friend.

And then I went to a neighboring city and was raped by a man I'd met the same day. I didn't really consider it rape, I didn't have anyone to turn to. . . Afterwards I went back to my friends place where I was staying and took a scalding shower and hid in her room for the rest of the day. After that I sat in this unreal hazy fog, numb and in desperate pain at the same time.

I cut a lot more after that. The black hole I had been trying to avoid before was nothing compared to this. Nothing mattered any more. I didn't think of running away or anything. I just didn't care what happened to me.

I left that summer to go to the local Upward Bound program planning to leave and live on the streets in another city rather far away (another friend was going to too) because I couldn't cope any more. Not with home, not with anything.

But I found that once I was at the Upward Bound program, it wasn't making me feel better like I'd thought it would. Even being around people who cared and were friends just made me feel more alone. I was cutting every night and thinking of suicidal daily and sometimes hourly.

I don't remember if I told one of the counselors there or if they simply asked and for once I didn't lie. But they found out about my cutting. They made me talk to them and start seeing a therapist. I felt like nothing would help and my world was collapsing into a super-nova of darkness around me.

I tried talking to people there, to my friends. It only made the pain inside worse. They were good about it when they found out I was suicidal, even letting me come back after I'd had to stay overnight in the local crisis unit.

But then the whole group went on a camping trip. Unfortunetly, it was to a place quite a bit of my abuse had happened at, though at the time only some of us remembered. It made things worse. We tried to walk out into the ocean where there was a deep undertow (in a very dissociative state). Someone stopped us. We then tried jumping off a cliff and had to be restrained. That was too much for them I guess. They took us too the local mental hospital and told us we couldn't come back.

It felt like an incredible betrayel. It didn't help. Then again, at that time I felt like nothing would help.

I was sent home from the hospital. I still blame them for that. They couldn't see the obvious, that the pain I was in was caused by the place I was at and the things that had been done to me.
I came in after a suicide attempt, and while I think I was obviously depressed I managed to socialize with other patiemts, interact with staff, not cry all the time... When they told me the father was coming to pick me up I started crying hysterically and couldn't stop for a hour and hid under the desk in my room. Calmed down completely and utterly the moment they said he was coming into the buidling...

It didn't last long. I ended up back in the hospital and in foster care, as my father refused to pick me up this time. I didn't care. All I wanted to do was hurt, bleed to show my pain was real. Or, preferably, die, to end that pain. But they were adamant in stopping my cutting and self-injury completely. That didn't help me. SI was all I'd known, all I had to stave off the terrible emptiness inside.

I was scared of being at the foster home, scared of tellin these people the crazy memories surging through my head. But I only cut once while I was there. . .

One morning I couldn't stand it and took a sharp razor blade (I might not be cutting but I still needed them around for the feelings of security they brought me) and sliced a large gash in my leg. Very large. It kept bleeding and bleeding. . . I bandaged it and went through my day in a kind of euphorically dizzy haze. But when I got home I saw the bleeding hadn't stopped. So, very reluctantly, I called my therapist, then told my foster mother, who took me to the ER.

It was actually not a bad experience, though the nurse was rude and unpleasent to me. My foster mother assured them she could take care of me and miraculously kept me from being sent IP again. She even said she wasn't angry with me and wouldn't be even if this happened again, but if it did she'd have to send me IP.

It took six stiches. It was fascinating for me as I'd never had them before. The doctor was very suprised I did not flinch when they put the needle in. I only watched in fascination.

After that I kept my promise. I didn't cut. I did hit my head on walls, bite myself, and scratch myself, sometimes with safety pins or such, but no cutting. Not until I left, and not for a while after that. Actually, not for slightly over a year. But then things got hard again. I had to leave my t, who'd been very helpful. I was starting my first semester of college and working. Life was hard and I felt alone.

So I started cutting again. And I haven't really stopped since then. It's been about four years since I started back up. I try to not cut, or to avoid it for as long as I can. But it doesn't last long oftentimes. Sometimes I don't cut for weeks and sometimes it's every day.

But one good thing about it is now I am in more control of it. I haven't cut badly enough to need stitches since that last time. I haven't made the same mistakes and been hospitalized for it, either, though that may be because I know how to work the system now. I now know more about how to cope with it.

I did try to get one of my last therapists to help me with it, but she turned out to be more than unhelpful, and after a year of therapy admitted she did not believe the abuse I had told her about or that I was multiple. That has seriously lessened my shaky trust in the psychiatric professions.

Since then I've seen other therapists, though no one for very long, though I'm still looking for one I can work with...

Nowadays I find myself more present, more here in general, which does make me more conscious when I cut, and sometimes lessens the cutting. And I suppose I've learned to be less concerned with it in some ways, though I tend to sometimes use high amounts of cutting as a barometer to how poorly I'm doing.