Go me.

2 Nov

Tw: self harm tw: general icky thoughts around that area

Hi guys, this is Jelly, and today is a date that you’re probably not interested in knowing about. It’s Saturday the 2nd of November, and it marks a week since I have self harmed. If we ignore that fact that a week is a truly pitiful milestone, I’d like to talk about how I even got to this point in some sort of attempt to help me stop.
The first time I self harmed was on an exchange trip in Germany, with a terrible, mind-rolling migraine, and I didn’t know the words for ‘please stop the car’, ‘i would ask for medication but it doesn’t work on me’, ”i am suffering the worst pain i have ever felt in my life’. I felt unreal, and bloated from my head outwards, and I held my arms with my fingernails and dug in to stop myself floating away. It didn’t even occur to me that this was not a good response. And thus was established a truly flawed leap of logic that kept me harming for a good year before I even realised that something might be off.

If I didn’t use blades, it couldn’t be self harm. Small brown scars and scabs appeared on my arms, on my back and shoulders, after a particularly bad migraine day, and it wasn’t self harm when I dug in and drew along and welts appeared, and no-one even asked so I didn’t have to think about it too much. I grew my nails long and thought of more excuses to hurt myself – stressed, tired, cold, unreal, in pain, angry – times when I thought I could be grounded by pain I could control instead of pain I couldn’t.

At one point I scratched and didn’t stop for half an hour, and it scabbed over two inches long and an inch wide, and it looked so exactly like a trackmark that someone came up to me and finally asked. It’s not blades, I said, and I drew on it with green sharpie and picked at it and thought of stupid excuses for people who asked as to why I would have what looked like a knife wound on my forearm. I looked at myself again, at this point, and maybe, side-on, I realised I might have a problem.

I saw a counselor, at school. I didn’t cry on our first meeting. She held my hands and said ‘you’re a bright girl. stop doing this. this, this is bad’. I managed to bullshit her (I even believed it myself) that it was only a response to my headaches. She made me promise that if I started using blades then I had to tell my parents. Easy. She didn’t see the huge loophole she had left there, and especially the huge loophole for me – I had never wanted to use blades. What I did want to do was control one thing in my life that had increasingly not been mine. Easy.

I told my friends, and they looked at me anxiously and held my arms and said ‘at least it’s not blades’. I know right! I thought slightly hysterically. Aren’t I great for not doing that! They helped, however. I slept a little more and talked more and ate more.

Eventually my headaches got better. My self harm did not. I didn’t use blades – I scratched (two more fake knife wounds), ‘accidental’ hot water spills, walking deliberately through brambles, provoking my sister so she would hurt me and I wouldn’t have to do it myself, bites that I liked to pretend were from someone who loved me very much, eventually copper wire and shopping tags and cigarette burns (which, surprisingly, didn’t hurt very badly). This summer was not a good summer for me, in that respect. Things were thick and heavy and there were silences. It was very easy to reach over to my arms in the middle of a long day or in a rushing sort of pressure in my head and scratch – no-one notices, I have found, even in the middle of a conversation. I bit my lips. I looked for blood. I was very proud when some things scarred white on tan or pink on white.

This should not continue. It will not continue. For the first time, I have made a concerted effort to stop. I am worth this much, I think – as a contrast to a year of thinking I was worth nothing at all – and sometimes I stop and sometimes not. I am in the process of appreciating small things about my self; my music taste, my clothes, my hair, my flute playing, my ability in school, my sense of humour, the way I love people. My family is stressful but soon I will choose my own family. My body is no-one else’s concern. I am ‘sweet’, ‘kind’, ‘patient’, ‘amazing’, ‘cool’, and a ‘good listener’, and you know what, I am also able to buck the fuck up and stop worrying about what other people think of me.

I am afraid that this has been hugely melodramatic. It is only a week, after all. But I just want a written record that I am able to not be sad. I can do this small thing. Thank you to people who have heard me moan for hours, to Lilipop who listened and sent me links, to Cat in Aberdeen who received a coil of copper wire in the post and a promise that I am better, to my big sister, because I am super duper great, and I am worth everything in the world.

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4 Responses to “Go me.”

  1. thecuriousalouette November 2, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

    Go you indeed!

  2. jemima2013 November 3, 2013 at 12:20 am #

    well done you! Life is made up of small steps, not leaps, and you are making such important ones

  3. Helen November 4, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    You are amazing. A week is such a big step! I love your writing and am behind you all the way. Never forget how much potential you have.

  4. sarah November 4, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    A week is a long time – I hope you’re celebrating! I’m celebrating for you, with a cup of great coffee and thanks in my heart for your always honest, brave and inspiring words. Probably you don’t realise how many people read you and get to feel different. You’re making a difference – so go you! You are an amazing person. Thank you!

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