I Cut for the First Time in Years

⚠️⚠️⚠️!!!TRIGGER WARNING!!!⚠️⚠️⚠️

NOTE: This post graphically discusses self-harm. If this is a trigger for you, please do not read further.

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Even though my husband and I had a great time on our recent trip, I felt depressed during our time away, and now it’s worse. He usually works from home, not to keep an eye on me, but to help me if I need it. On Tuesday and yesterday he was in Nashville for work. He came home last night.

In no way am I blaming my husband for not being here for me. I’ve been experiencing a lot of emotional pain lately for no reason at all — as in, it isn’t situational. I just feel so much pain. The only way I know to let go of this pain is by cutting. I’ve written this before, but in my mind, transferring the emotional pain into physical pain will heal it — physical pain heals, after all. Except it doesn’t work. I know this. I knew this.

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Screenshot provided by author

I tried so hard to resist yesterday, but this screenshot on my Instagram feed tipped me over the edge. I’m not blaming the image, either, because it’s meant to be uplifting, but the writing on a person’s forearm was, to me, a sign that I should cut. The image became a talisman that convinced me to self-harm. So I did.

I used a disposable razor to cut lines up and down my right inner forearm. Though I’m right-handed, I didn’t want to mess up my “warr;ior” tattoo on the inside of my left forearm, which is where I used to cut. Aesthetics are important, are they not? *eyeroll*

There was no blood at first, which wasn’t satisfying. To me, the blood is a sign that the emotional pain is being released. The only thing the razor scraped was dead skin, probably because I hadn’t showered in a week (yes, I’m back to that). I finally bled on the second try, and the tension I felt all day was released.

Today, here I am with Disney bandages (it was the nearest box of an assortment that I reached for) covering my inner arm. I’m scheduled to have a manicure and have no idea what to say to my nail tech, because there’s no way she won’t notice it. I know I don’t have to explain myself, but she knows about my bipolar.

My husband e-mailed my psychiatrist this morning, who replied:

“We’re still at a low dose of the lithium, but it is concerning to me that there is this degree of depression right now.”

He offered to see me sooner than my scheduled appointment, and made alternative suggestions to cutting like rubbing an ice cube on my arm, which, let’s face it, if you cut, you know this just doesn’t work in the same way (although it wouldn’t ruin my tattoo haha!). I realize, however, that it’s his job to make suggestions.

As I write this, I’m still in my pajamas and haven’t brushed my teeth. I have to get dressed today because, as I mentioned, I have a salon appointment. But I have no desire to get in the shower. I’m getting my hair colored bright red (hopefully it turns out!), so they’re going to wash my hair, anyway. And to be perfectly honest, I still feel like cutting and would rather do that than get in the shower.

I realize that my self-soothing behaviors leave plenty to be desired. My other, “safer,” way of self-soothing is eating chocolate. I tried doing that, too, yesterday, but it just wasn’t as satisfying as cutting.

Have you ever self-harmed?


Daily Prompt: Talisman

28 thoughts on “I Cut for the First Time in Years

  1. I wish I had something helpful to offer…but I’ve been sitting here with my fingers posed over the keys for many seconds, so apparently I don’t. Felt the need to send you an e-hug anyway. E-hugs are great because you don’t actually have to TOUCH anyone, especially some weird stranger that is commenting on your blog. Yeah – just wanted you to know you reached someone.

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  2. I hear such courage in your ability to express this. To stand here in front of us all and say, unflinchingly, “This is my reality. This is what I am experiencing.” My heart is filled with your words, your spirit, as you voice this struggle. Thank you for sharing such intimate words. We are all connected, and I needed this reminder of my deep connection to you and your words.

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  3. Oh Barb, cutting is not really releasing the anger, like you said, it is just transferring. Ask your therapist about EFT ( emotional freedom tapping technique). I’ve just started doing it, 4 days ago. It is amazing. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before to you. It releases so much.

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  4. This made the edges of my mouth curve towards the ground, I’m so sorry to hear that you feel this way about releasing your tensions. I have never experienced, or been close to anyone who has experienced this emotional trauma, but my heart goes out to you and I hope you find a suggestion that helps you fight your inner self 🙂

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  5. I feel you Barb. I self harm as well. I’ve been doing it since I was a young teen and still do it now (I’m going on 43). I can go for periods of time where I can do things to avoid it. But sometimes, it’s just too much and it happens. I, like you, also avoid areas with my tattoos—don’t want to wreck those–and am rolling my eyes as I type this. My philosophy borders on the ‘it’s better to hurt myself than hurt others’.

    Try not to be too hard on yourself. It happens sometimes. And talking about it might help stem the urge for another day. ❤

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  6. I’m sorry things ended up going down that road again for you. I went through a brief phase of cutting when I had my first episode of depression. I’ve never found anything else that gives that immediate an effect. I think what put a stop to it for me was stigma – a combination of self-stigma and stigma from others. I hope you’re able to find a way out of this depression soon. xo

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  7. i haven’t cut for a long time, and have recently been feeling the urge to do so again. thank you for being so frank, it helps me (and i’m sure many others) feel like we’re not in the closet with this. i hope your pain eases soon.

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  8. Reading this made me remember my first time cutting. I remember that battle that went through my head, as I stared at the clean razor I brought into the shower with me. I remember feeling that sharp sting, and the sigh of relief. My body had become numb. I remember from that day on, if I was sad, I turned to the razor. It wasn’t until one of my friends saw the cuts that had begun to scab up did I realize something was truly wrong with me. Her eyes filled with tears, and she begged me to stop. I threw out my razors that day. But every time I was sad, I found another way to hurt myself. I would feel so guilty after the relief wore off, because I knew that if my friend saw what I was doing, she would be heartbroken. It has since been almost four years since I cut myself. I tell you this with all the love in my heart, I know you can get there. I know you will find another way to release your pain, in a way that will make you feel worse after. I am diagnosed with bipolar, so I understand. If you ever need someone to talk to, I am here. You can find my contact information on my info page. Much love, darling.

    -Bessie

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  9. i can relate. i self harm a lot. i havent in a while now but the thoughts are always there. some of our insiders will still do it. i hope the nail tech was nice if she noticed. some people can be so judgemental. sending lots of hugs. sorry the pain is so bad right now. ❤ xoxo

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  10. Awww. I’m sorry!!! I guess the only thing I can say is that sometimes we stumble. We are not perfect. Our progress does not have to be erased just because we have a set back. I haven’t cut in years but I have a man that uses to. I had to relive it with him and was happy to do it. I have bipolar as well and if he could help me, I was going to help him dammit! He hid it for a long time and then there I was all manic and said “I walk in the sun. I have no shame and you need to as well”… Blind leading the blind. Lol. I took that man and loved him all up. I was there to clean up the blood, patch him up and lift his spirits. He tried and failed many times. I never made a big deal of it. I simply accepted it and we went on. It’s been a while now but I know it can happen again. If it does, it does. We will get him treatment and keep on moving. Yes it’s a serious thing but it doesn’t have to disolve progress because in progress we are amazing. Or, maybe I’m just way off. If so, I’m sorry. Lol. I so much want you to feel better! Thank you for the post. I read it to him and he hugged me.

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  11. Oh and talking about tattoos. I had a past suicide attempt where I tried to slice a wrist. Right after it healed, I tattoed my youngest sons name over the scar. Was my way of being proactive for my future. It works for me. So funny how we don’t want to ruin our tattoos. I have many but maybe (in my crazy mind) if I cover all my skin, it will protect me from myself. 😱😱😱

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