Yesterday, I posted a picture of my butterfly tattoo. I love that tattoo. But, for me – after posting that picture, I just wondered if anyone noticed. If anyone noticed, the lines above the tattoo. If the naked eye, unlike mine, would notice the remnants of cuts. Whenever I look at my wrist, my eyes immediately go to my vein. The vein that is left with multiple scars from … cutting.
It isn’t something I am proud of. But, it is a time in my life I need to recognize. It helped shape me into the person I am today.
As I have written before, 2006 was a really tough year for me – physically and mentally. While dealing with those issues and low self esteem, I didn’t handle the stress very well. When upset with myself, I would lock myself in my room and escape through cutting.
For some reason, the act of cutting my wrists allowed me to release from the surroundings and the pain. I was able to release the guilt I felt over myself one motion at a time. With razor blade in hand, I would think of something I did wrong that day – ate too much, messed up on something at work, got in a fight with a friend – and I would cut for each bad thought. That was my punishment. Seeing the blood drip down my wrist was gratifying. I could go through these motions for however long at night – 15-30 minutes – whatever it took and be able to go to bed with a clear head.
Now the problem comes in trying to hide an activity like this. It obviously isn’t something you go around sharing with the world. So I would buy bracelets – lots and lots of bracelets. They were perfect. They covered my wrists and no one was the wiser. Down the road as the cuts got bigger, I would wear long sleeved shirts at all times or wear sweat bands.
This isn’t normal. This isn’t a healthy way to react/handle disappointment in myself. Thankfully after about six months, my friends sat me down, told me they knew and wanted to help. At this point, I was caught. There was no sneaking around it. I attempted to get into therapy, but the therapists I met with just didn’t get me. Also, I wasn’t a person that talked about my feelings (still hard for me to do that) so therapy wasn’t really for me.
I just really had to work on other ways to let out frustration and how to handle disappointment in myself.
These days I have a much better handle on it. I am still a person working on negative thoughts towards myself, which I have mentioned a lot. But, now I try to take a walk, talk to my wife, hit the gym or head out for a run. It is still a struggle. Do I have urges, for sure! But, for now, I take it one struggle at a time.
There are better options than cutting.
A couple years ago, I got the following tattoo.
It says “Ancora Imparo,” which means “I am still learning” in Italian. I put this on my wrist as a reminder. I am still learning about myself and how to overcome addictions, like cutting.
So if you are experiencing something similar to this, please reach out. There is no reason to go through this type of pain alone.