Self-harm: I’ve been there

I used to feel really tense when Mum and Dad argued. The mood in the house was so heavy and I knew if I said anything it would get worse. So I’d just stay really quiet but I could feel this huge lump welling up inside me. One day I just stuck a razor blade into my finger. It felt good. I knew kids at school who’d done it and it didn’t seem that weird to put a knife into my arm and watch the blood come out.

When I look back, I realise I was dealing with a whole lot of stuff as well as my parents fighting. I’d just broken up with a boyfriend who was the first guy I’d had sex with. I really loved him, and I trusted him, so when he ditched me it hit me hard. I guess that moment of shock when I cut myself distracted me from what I was really feeling. I thought it was making me feel better, so I decided to keep doing it.

Cutting became a solution to everything that hurt me. It was kind of like I was stopping things from getting under my skin by physically cutting them out. I didn’t really notice any pain; I felt sort of high. From cutting three times a day I began to do it whenever I was alone. I guess I also got a secret thrill from it.

One day I had to go to the doctor for something else and she saw my arms. She asked me if I was hurting myself so I lied and told her I’d tried it but those were old marks. Well of course she was a doctor so she knew they weren’t. She gave me the Kids Help Line number and said that I should call them whenever I felt like self-harming. She also referred me to a psychologist.

The first time I went to the psychologist, I turned back and didn’t go in. But she called me and talked me into coming in.

It was actually a relief to tell someone about it. To be honest, I was getting sick of having to hide my arms all the time.

The psychologist wasn’t judgemental: she just listened, but as I talked to her, I realised I had to stop.

It took another three months before I did. I threw everything I’d used for cutting away, but obviously I still have the scars. Sometimes I hate them and other times I don’t mind them: they remind me I survived and that’s pretty good.