The first time I cut, I was in high school. My aim wasn’t to die. I learned to cut in the opposite direction of my veins so I wouldn’t bleed out. They started as small cat scratches. I didn’t want anyone to see, and I figured I could blame it on my actual cat if they did. Sometimes I just wore a sweater or a bunch of bracelets. As my anxiety worsened, so did the cutting.
To this day, I don’t watch the news or world events. When I watch these things, it feels personal. As if all the bad things in the world are happening to me. I carry them in my chest like a dead heart, feeling the sorrow and the pain. I see the death over and over in my brain. Hear the screams of mothers and children. See the fires blazing in my mind. As a teenager, it didn’t occur to me that this wasn’t exactly normal. So the worse things I saw or experienced, the more I cut.
Cutting felt like a physical release from all the pain. Like the blood, running was actually all those feelings being poured out onto the floor. The cutting stopped in my late twenties, though sometimes the urge can still be there, at the edge of my consciousness.
I’m still unsure if there’s an actual medical condition for this. Not sure if it’s a by-product of my anxiety or OCD. It’s something I’ve never really mentioned or explored in truth.
Instead, I unplug from life sometimes. No television, cell phone, computer, tablet. No outside world. I simply stay alone sometimes and try to clear my head. I don’t ever watch current events. I only hear about the critical scale things from my husband. I don’t ever look up any news that could make me sad.
I’m tired of people romanticizing these things. Stop making them seem beautiful. They are real and painful, and scary. One wrong move, and I could’ve been gone forever. One time is all it takes. People seem to forget that death is never truly that far away.
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