With everything going on with my marriage at that time I was cutting regularly. We started counseling and I couldn’t bring myself to say anything. It was a lot of talk therapy that did help my husband and I move past what had happened but it did nothing for my anxiety.
Any time I experienced stress or confusion or uncertainty the desire to cut was there. I did pretty good suppressing it but shoving down deep is not a fix. It’s a giant time bomb.
I was still experiencing panic attacks and severe anxiety. I had no idea what was going on. I was afraid that I was going crazy. At times I wanted to slam my head onto a hard surface over and over. The anxiety was there… what if I did that? I’d be crazy! Other times I just wanted to get into my car and drive away and disappear. I’d be crazy! Stuff it down, suck it up, pull up the boot straps, survive the day, hang in there until the weekend. These are some of things I told myself to keep the outside smiling while the inside was falling apart.
This was my normal. I was afraid to tell anyone. What if they took my kids? What if they didn’t believe me? What if I really was crazy? What if they couldn’t help?
I started doing wild things and taking risks. After all, I was crazy right?
I tried running away from it. Hiding it. Ignoring it. Denying it.
Now this is the story all about how
My life got flipped, turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute just sit right there
Will Smith’s words seemed an appropriate introduction to my story. I can’t point to an event in my life that flipped my world over. My life growing up was just like any other child’s life. But some time in my teen years I started to feel like I was going crazy. Yes, I know… what teen doesn’t feel out of control. So I don’t know how much to attribute to the hormones and how much to attribute to my mental illness. I hated crowds, new situations, being singled out, feeling out of control. There was black and there was white. I didn’t want 20 friends, I wanted 1 or 2. I didn’t know what a panic attack was, I just knew I felt out of control like I was going to go crazy, my pulse was racing, my chest hurt, I couldn’t stop crying.
It was in high school that I couldn’t hold it in any more. I needed a way to let it out. I discovered cutting. At first it was small – like paper cuts on all of my fingers. It took the edge off and put physical pain to the emotional/mental pain I was experiencing.
In college the pressure and stress grew. I was in an unhealthy relationship with a boy. My relationship with my parents was strained. College was too full of stressors. I started cutting my arms, legs, stomach, and chest. Never deep cuts – I was too afraid of being “found out”. Instead the cuts were like deep paper cuts. Enough to draw a bead of blood. Thousands of cuts until my legs were bright red or my arms were numb with pain. The pain was so satisfying because it was a release. If I was stressed the next day I could just press against the cuts and feel the physical pain again.
I met my husband when I was ending things with the unhealthy guy. I had just cut my arms again but this time I didn’t want to keep it hidden. I showed my not-yet-hubby my arms. He was horrified that I would hurt myself and vowed to help me as best as he could.
It was years before I cut again. I’m sure many of you that know my marriage history can figure out when the cutting started again. This time I kept it hidden from him too.