Survival and Recovery
I thought for a while about sharing this but I feel that it's something that may help others or just be of interest to them. This week it is exactly 10 years of survival for me, 10 years since my abuse began and cutting has been a way for me to reclaim my body, to be able to feel it as my own again. I know that anyone looking at my age will quickly realize that if I am 17 now then I was only 7 when it started. I was too young to realize what was happening and I would sit alone in my room feeling dirty, ashamed and afraid but without knowing why. Several years later I realized what had happened to me and it only made the feelings of disgust worse and I began to hate myself. Without really being conscious of it I would scratch at my arms until I drew blood and find a small measure of relief in that and this continued until the day that I bought some razor blades. I kept them under my bed 'just in case' I ever felt I had to use them, until a time when I was hurting so bad that I began to try and block out my emotions, leaving me feeling numb inside. That feeling of numbness is actually worse than everything else that I had been feeling. I'm not sure of exactly what happened after that, the next thing I remember was sitting on my bed with an old sheet under my leg, cutting a line on my inner thigh. I watched the blood slowly trickle down my leg and I felt the pain from the wound but it was a good kind of pain, it told me that I still had some measure of control over my body. A line was no good though, it could have been caused by anything, I wanted something beautiful that was created by me and could not be mistaken for anything else. Not terribly original but I cut a trapezium with a star in the middle, something that was unmistakably mine.
Did it hurt? Of course it did. Was it a stupid thing to do? Undoubtedly. But it gave me a small piece of my body back and made me feel like I had some control over what was happening. It is about 7 years since I cut that design in my thigh and watched the blood as it flowed down my leg, it was my no means a shallow cut and I lost a lot of blood, I felt slightly faint for a while afterwards but I still cleaned it and covered it with a bandage before lying down to get some sleep. I disposed of everything that I had used and slept a lot better than I had in years. Next morning it was very painful but I took care to clean it well and not allow it to get infected. It took about a month for the scab to disappear and I was left with a red scar which faded to white over the next few years. Now it has faded so much that it can't be seen unless I point it out. It was the first of many cuts that I consider part of my recovery and although I know this is supposed to be about one time only I will briefly touch on the other cuts because this couldn't really be considered in any way complete without taking it to its conclusion.
Every cut that I have made (except for two) has been in a discreet location e.g. inner thigh, upper arm and each of them has been some sort of design, not just a line. I heal very well so the scars are fading now, some have almost completely disappeared now and I have mixed feelings about that. Each of the scars to me represents a step on the path of recovery and now that I feel comfortable in my own body and have learned to love myself again I like the scars as a reminder of the past and of the fact that no matter how weak I sometimes feel I have been strong enough to survive. On the other hand, I like the fact that they are fading as it means that everything associated with that time is staying in the past where for the most part it belongs.
I haven't cut in any way for over 3 years now, and I am proud of that as any kind of modification I make to my body now is something well thought out and planned in advance. I doubt that if I had a blade in my hand again I would be able to have enough control to stick with something that I had planned and I would just cut what I feel. However, sometime in the future, as a final and permanent mark of my recovery I am considering getting something done professionally, it will be a lasting and beautiful scar to represent all of the others that had been done before it. Now I just need to be sure of exactly what I want so that I can face the future in a body that is completely my own.
As a final point, I suppose I should really say what appears to me to be fairly obvious. Doing anything like this is dangerous as there is a high risk of something going wrong. Seeing a professional is almost always the best option as the result could remain with you for the rest of your life. However I am in no position to say you should never do something yourself. For me this was highly personal and certainly was not done in anything close to a safe and sterile environment. Just be aware of the risks.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 18 March 2005