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.