Silent Addiction

May 8, 2012
By , vancouver, WA
A problem that’s slowly arising is depression and self mutilation. Depression becomes a silent addiction and it takes over the life of the victim without them realizing it, by the end of the week all they’re worried about is hiding the blood stained scars and hiding the razor for next time. What they aren’t realizing is that from the first cut you get hooked with adrenaline and with the second you’re hooked with a lingering feeling that won’t go away. Cutting is a problem that many can’t realize, the most common myths are that people who hurt themselves do it for attention, or they do it because they want to kill themselves. Oh lord these are simple myths but they kill, yes they kill.

Focusing on the first myth, that people who self injure want attention there are many reasons and proof that this isn’t true. We need to realize how much pain someone has to be in to bring a razor to their beautiful skin and want the pain to end. One of the reasons why people do this is because it’s a way for them to cope with tough feelings, a way to feel in control, or to simply feel alive. Can we really understand a cutter? If I wasn’t a survivor of this addiction I wouldn’t understand myself but I know where these people come from, I know the pain, the fear and that’s why I want to bring awareness upon this topic. This isn’t someone seeking attention; it’s someone’s silent cry for help.

The second myth that people do this because they want to die isn’t entirely true and it goes back to the reasoning behind the first myth. This is someone who is struggling and can’t control their feelings; it’s someone asking for help in their own ways. This doesn’t necessarily mean that this person wants to die; it just means that they found a way, an unhealthy way to cope with all of the stress that they are under.

If a cutter tells you their secret, shows you the scars, the first thing to do isn’t to run away and hide away from that person. It takes guts for someone to do that, especially with scars because after someone brings pain upon themselves many are ashamed of it and it’s an ugly reminder of the reality all around. Bringing myself as an example I know that when I used to do this to myself and this was a problem that started from seventh grade and lasted until my freshman year of high school, I was ashamed to show anyone my scars. I still have faint scars all over my body that remind me of what I went through to become the person I am now, it’s a painful reminder of who I was and what I went through. When someone found out in sixth grade I was referred to a counselor and she forced me to show her and to tell her why I did it, at that time I didn’t understand and with her forcing herself on me made we want to go and make more because I was simply uncomfortable. It hurt especially the way she reacted which made me hate her; I still hate her because she manipulated me and because she forced me to do something that I didn’t want to.

The point of that memory is to educate people that if someone tells you of their scars, don’t force them to talk, give them time and tell them that you are there. Let yourself be available for those people and love them unconditionally. Don’t show anger, disgust or any negative feelings because it will simply push the victim away. Don’t force them to talk about why they do it but focus on the underlying problem, the reason why they do it and ways to cope with those feelings.

In conclusion this is a problem that has been around for so long yet no one really understands or wants to accept that it is happening right now, to the people all around us. This becomes an addiction that people can’t stop, as time goes on one cut isn’t enough, then two cuts won’t be enough and it continues to worsen unless something is done about it. How many of us actually know our friends, how many of us care what is going on in their lives, how many of us know what our friends are going through and offer a listening ear to them? Most of us don’t and that’s the sad part. We need to learn how to help those in need and offer love and to simply be a friend who will listen. If someone is cutting and wants help, be there by their side from beginning to the end, this journey isn’t meant to be traveled alone.

There is a butterfly project that a young girl came up with that many know about, if you or someone you know self harms this is what you do. Draw a butterfly anywhere on your body or their body and give it a name, you can’t wash it off on purpose or erase it, it lives as long as you or that person doesn’t self harm, you can draw as many as you want on your arms but if the victim self harm’s then all of the butterflies die and you have to start over. It’s another reminder that people do care.

The reason why I wanted to bring light upon this painful subject is because this was who I was and I never got help. I have scars to show my battle wounds and this is what happened to me. High school was a relief from the cutting, it didn’t stop but it subsided. I became isolated, many called it “shy”, a “loner”, “depressed”. But they didn’t know how bad those words truly hurt. Depression took over my life and there were times when I didn’t want to go on. I pushed myself to constantly strive for my little sister. I couldn’t leave her all alone. Some of my friends found out about the self-mutilation and they left me, dropped me like a bomb saying that I was “too hard to handle.” When they had problems they came to me, yet when I needed someone to talk to everyone turned away. I stopped believing that I was any worth at all and it hurt me physically and emotionally. My depression got worse, I knew I needed help but I stopped trusting people, my problems didn’t matter. I was the girl who always sat in the back of the room doing her work and not paying much attention to the world around her. Many labeled me a freak and hated me for being different. I was scarred and I didn’t know what to do so I turned to the only relief I knew, cutting. It “helped” me for a while, letting me forget the pain of the world. For me it became an addiction that I couldn’t stop. I knew I needed help but my voice didn’t matter, I didn’t matter. I was physically alive, but I was dead inside.

My point of this story was that this is what I went through, this is my journey. Walking through the halls absorbed in my own music, who is walking all around me suffering, whispering silent pleas that I don’t hear. I want to raise awareness for depression, suicide and self injury. There are many people out there, who hide in the shadows, or even who act happy and smile yet beneath that mask lies a person no one knows, the true identity of the show that they put on. I want to tell people of my experience so they can open their minds and hearts to their friends. Life isn’t always about us, it’s not always about finding the perfect hairstyle to please the guy you like, and it’s not looking like a Barbie doll for a façade. We are a community, whether we like it or not, all these people around us make us greater and stronger. If we continue to be self absorbed and focused only on ourselves and on a random Monday morning we get news that the quiet kid from math hung himself, who are we to blame but ourselves. This is the reality of the students at my high school, this is something that many are struggling with, this isn’t another awareness over drug abuse, alcohol abuse, texting and driving, it’s something that hits closer to home because it can affect anyone.

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