You feel the emotions rising quickly inside of you. You’re not sure what triggered you this time. It could have been a picture, a fight, a thought, it could have been anything. That doesn’t matter at this point though. It’s already started. Can you stop it? This isn’t just you being upset—this is something more. You’re what they call a self-injurer. Throughout the myths, throughout the names, this is you. To some, you’re nothing more than an Emo, attention seeking looser. You recognize the feelings right away. “Oh s***! Just stay calm,” you think to yourself. Your breath starts to quicken and your heart is racing. You can’t stop this, it’s too late now. It will only escalate from here. The only thing you can focus on is the pain and how much you don’t want to end up hurting yourself again. “Don’t do it! Don’t f*** up! You don’t want to be a freak! Yes, you’re a freak! Who hurts themselves? Nobody will understand!” runs through your head. “Crap,” you just made it worse. The tears start streaming down your face and there’s more pain inside of you than you can contain. You can’t self injure though. “You mustn’t do it or you will be an even bigger freak,” You have to do something quickly before you do end up hurting yourself. You grab the first thing you can, it’s your blanket. “Hold on tight, honey, you’re in for a ride,” you grip on to the blanket as your body begins to shake. “Just wait it out, just wait it out, my love,” the shaking begins to get worse. The only part of your body that you can control now is your hands. All of your energy is going into them. “Don’t let them move, you can’t give in,” the only release from the pain inside is the feeling of your nails digging through the blankets and into your hands, but that’s not enough. Your chest feels like it’s going to burst, you can’t think clearly anymore, you still don’t have control. You keep moving, trying to find a position that will release the pain, so long as you’re not hitting, biting, or cutting yourself, it’s ok, you can do this. You curl up in a ball hoping to rock the pain away. As you wrap your arms around yourself, a jolt is sent through your body. You just touched your arm. It’s most commonly where you self injure. “This won’t work! You’ve only made things worse now! Don’t touch yourself! Just don’t do it!” you can’t take it anymore. Eventually after ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty, forty minutes of this thrashing about things are coming back down. You can breathe again. You try to regain your composure—wipe the tears off of your face, release your grip from whatever you ended up grasping onto during this. You are drained in all possible ways. You melt into your bed—you just need to get some energy back. As you gain an ounce of energy, you survey the room around you. It’s a mess. “Look what you did! Look at it! Normal people don’t do this! What were you thinking? Why can’t you learn to control yourself? No wander he hates you! Everything he said about you was true!” you begin to cry again, not a cry of distress though; it’s a cry of shame, of loneliness, of all the things in your past that you can’t change. “Who cares that you didn’t self injure this time? Who cares? Who’s going to share this victory with you? You can’t tell anyone about this battle! You’re in this alone!” it doesn’t even feel like a victory though, inside, you’ve lost, not because of this one time, but because of all the times in the past. You don’t want to be like this anymore. You never did. The crying becomes harder and harder in disgust at yourself. You’re numb now. All you can feel is the pressure building up inside of you quicker than before. You’re too tired to give much of a fight this go round though. You begin to lose control of your body again. You’re spread out on your bed, stomach down, trying to get release. You have no idea how you got into this position, but who cares? “Scream into the pillow,” it doesn’t do anything. Nothing works. You have to muffle your cries quick before anyone hears. You see your arm laying out in front of you, and, before you know it, you’re biting yourself. “Congratulations! You just self injured, you’re a failure!” you lose control completely and begin hitting yourself. You’re battering your own body and you don’t care. You could do this all night, the pain is comfort, it’s the only release you have from this hell. As long as you do this, you’re safe. Nobody can hurt you—you’re hurting yourself. You finally have control. The pressure inside begins to go down and your heart beat goes back to normal. Your adrenaline is slipping away quickly. You melt into a blob on your bed sobbing, sobbing for who you are, sobbing for what you do to yourself. Eventually, you drift off to sleep—a deep, deep sleep. Hours later you wake up groggy and feeling gross. You feel the dryness of tears wept hours ago on your face and you look down. “Look what you did to yourself! You’re all black and blue,” it hurts to move, your body is sore. If not from the battering you did to yourself, then from the general physical strain that it put on you. If you’re lucky, you can go back to sleep and dreamed that this never happened. If not, you had best think fast. Nobody knows what happened and nobody wants to know, so you better cover up those bruises before you leave. You’re lucky, this time you didn’t hit your head. You can’t cover bruises on your face very well. You slowly crawl out of bed, stiff and in pain. You walk to the bathroom and survey the damage done while getting ready. “Look at the swollen bruise on your wrist! That’s going to be hard to cover,” it’s too big and sore to cover with a bracelet this time. The others you can cover with long sleeves, but any sign is bad. This one bruise could expose them all. Your only choice is to make up a story, “I fell,” the easiest, simplest excuse ever. Looking into the mirror to repeat it to yourself until you almost begin to believe it too. “Practice your smile now! You wouldn’t want anyone to catch on now, would you? Go back to your room and pack your backpack. Oh, s***! You didn’t get your work done! Oh, well! What can you do now? Grades are the least of your worries; it’s just another area of life where you fail!” So many things are affected when you self injure. You tread slowly to the bus stop still in pain and exhaustion from the night before. There’s one of your friends. “Time to put on your smile, and here’s a tip: if you bring up your bruise first and laugh at how clumsy you are, nobody will get suspicious, and you can come home and go through that same cycle, every night, all alone just to avoid the pain and humiliation that would come if others knew of your struggle,” you’re not Emo, you’re not suicidal, you’re simply a sixteen year old girl. You like cupcakes, dancing in the rain, and laughing, but self injury is not something that people are ready to accept. They don’t want to think that it too could be them. The only thing separating them from you is the fact that for now they know how control their emotions instead of trying to understand what they feel. They will look at you in disgust or pity because if the reject something strong enough and with enough hatred, then they feel safe, safe from being you.
A Look Inside Self Injury
January 4, 2011