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.