I self-mutilated from sixth grade to my last year of college. I’m not proud of it. In sixth grade, I borrowed a book on self harm, and that’s when I started. At first I did it because I thought it was cool, but then it became my way of dealing with anxiety.
My first memory of self harm was when I did a summer intensive at my old ballet school. I did it because I was stressed by remembering combinations, dealing with bossy classmates, and feeling left out. I felt inadequate to the girls who were able to execute splits and perfect pirouettes without stumbling. An English ballet teacher came to me and told me to stop because no dancer is able to reach perfection. I should have listened.
In middle school, I was the de facto leader of a science group project. When my group and I presented the project, it didn’t go as successful as I thought. I went outside with a scissor and started to cut. In hindsight, it wasn’t my fault my other classmates didn’t bring their materials. It was their responsibility and I should have worked with what I had.
In high school, I scratched and cut to deal with my obsessions. I obsessed over farting, picking my nose, having a crush on the ‘wrong’ guy, grades, homosexuality, etc. I had so many fears I had no idea what to do with them. So I cut because I thought feeling pain was better than feeling anxiety. I felt crazy and suicidal because anxiety was taking over my life. Fortunately, I told my high school counselor what I felt l and he recommended me to therapy. After attending therapy, my anxiety was easier to control.
College was a high time for self harm. I had an emotionally abusive relationship that drained me. I cut because of the stress of the cheating and lying. It was a difficult, and my self harm landed me in the hospital. It took individual and group therapy to get me through the aftermath of the breakup, but I became stronger from it and eventually stopped cutting.
I’m a recovering self mutilator. When I’m stressed out, I think of cutting but I don’t it. I do other productive things such as listening to music, reading, playing with my dogs, or talking on the phone. It’s not worth the temporary high.