At six years old, I told my dad that I felt as if I was always standing on the outside looking in at everyone through a window. I saw and felt differently. My views were “distorted” that’s when we realized that I was depressed. At seven my parents split up, I was so upset that I smashed my head against a wall, that’s when I first realized that pain helped to take away intense emotion. Later I would cut, burn, smash, and starve myself. At age 12 my mom found scars and scratches on my arms I told her a bunch of random accidents had occurred over the years and that seemed good enough for her.
I think that she knew that day that I used self injury to help with depression but mum who is always trying to keep up the illusion that we are a perfect family pushed the idea to the back of her mind. When I was in grade 8 the school had called both my parents after they discovered my bleeding wrists (I had scratched open a scab). The social worker suggested that I go to the hospital, that made my depression worse as I met others there who taught me to hide behind a mask, showed me different ways to hurt myself, and how to take care of my cuts without drawing unwanted attention.
After I was released from the hospital a couple of months later, I slipped into a deep depression that I let control me and burn every part of my life. I lost relationships with my parents, my brother and little sister, I stopped eating and I refused to leave my bed, a week later I was admitted to the London Psychiatric Hospital. I stayed there a month, I missed my graduation ceremony from elementary school, and spent my summer there. I was released a week before high school was supposed to begin. Going to high school without any friends lead me to develop a case of anxiety. Every time I entered my high school I would have panic attacks and I even passed out a couple of times. So I started skipping, I would miss months of school, when I did go I faced what seemed to be endless amounts of people who would call me names. Some would even throw pieces of glass or plastic at me. I had one person who took off his shoe laces and told me if I wanted to hang myself that he would gladly supply the rope. This lead to even more isolation and even a couple suicide attempts.
I left my school only to return next fall to the same damnation. I returned to the hospital several more times only to learn new and interesting ways to hurt myself. Meanwhile my relationship with my family members worsened. My little sister ran away one night when she found me cutting. She returned a week later scared, confused, and hurt. My big brother grew frustrated because he couldn’t find a way to talk to protect me from myself. My Mother, Father, and Grandparents didn’t understand and grew scared to even talk to me. So one night I locked myself in my room when no one was home and used an artist knife in Hand, ran it across my skin. After the relief had left I grew confused and sad that my coping strategy that had worked so well for almost six years was starting to diminish. I felt so afraid, so alone and upset that I decided that I didn’t want to face this pain any more, I pointed the knife to my vein and tore into my skin. I threw the knife down and watched the blood pour out of my wrist. Satisfied and scared I heard the phone ring next to me. I picked it up, it was my mum I was crying and she asked what was wrong. I calmed myself and replied “goodbye mum I love you” and hung the phone up.
Ten minutes later an ambulance arrived at my door. My mum was with them, ran upstairs and unlocked the door to my room, as they ran into my room and put my limp body on a stretcher I passed out from blood loss. I awoke to my mum, grandma at my bedside, they were scared and crying. I looked down to my arm. 29 stitches and 4 internal stitches had been placed in me. I cried because I didn’t want it like this, I wanted to end the pain, but I began to understand how much my behaviour hurt my family and myself.
It’s 5 months since that day, I’ve learned some new coping strategies, but I still cut, I still burn and I am still suffering from an eating disorder. But I have my cutting and depression and anxiety under control. I’m taking medication to stabilize myself. I still struggle with friends and supports but I’m getting along okay for now, one day at a time. I still feel isolated and I still feel depression but when that happens I usually settle into my comfy bed and watch the Nightmare Before Christmas or other Tim Burton creations. That usually calms me down and makes me laugh. Sometimes I sing to the songs in the Nightmare Before Christmas, it makes me smile.
Shelbie, 16 years