I could begin this post by apologising for how long it has been since I last posted one, but I feel that is getting tiresome. So instead I have come to the conclusion that this blog will be a once in a while thing, nothing too regular. I don’t want it to be that I force topics to write about and end up prattling on about things that I don’t even really have an opinion on. So you, my oh so dedicated 22 followers will just have to learn to live with me as a guest appearance every now and then on your reader list.
This post is one I have debated writing for a really long time. It is more personal than I would usually go and for that reason will not be posting the link on my personal twitter account as I do not wish my family to read it for fear it may upset them.
For this reason I will make a disclaimer now that if you are in anyway related to me and reading this PLEASE STOP NOW, or if like the cat you are desperately curious continue at your own risk and please do not ever tell me that you read this.
I am going to tread carefully while writing. I think with post regarding self harm there is a huge danger of falling into the cliche category. Not to devalue anyones personal suffering, please know that that is not at all the intention of this post, quite the opposite in fact. But this is not a post referring to my current behaviour, a cry for help or a cuts for Bieber promotion. I decided not to post this a few months ago and then realised that if any one person could read this an come to the realisation that their feelings are valid then I have done a hugely worth while thing. I am not out to change the world, I don’t think I am in anyway wise or qualified in these matters. I have limited experience and incomplete knowledge of the inner working of the human mind. But if I can make life just that little bit easier for one person then I have done all I set out to do.
I am now 18 years of age. I have never really gone through any real tragedy in my life, I live with both my parents who are still together. I have an older sister who I am really close with. I now have a secure group of friends, I am healthy, reasonably intelligent, I live in a nice house with some cats and I order online clothes more often than I should. But I wasn’t happy. At the age of 13-17 I was miserable and the worst part was I had absolutely no reason to be. Sure I didn’t have that many friends, but when looking back on my behaviour I don’t really think I deserved them. I wasn’t hugely nice. I mean I didn’t punch anyone in the face and call their mum a slag, but I also didn’t do people favours, take an interest in their lives. I think I was probably a bit superior, for no real reason but I was.
I can’t really remember when I first hurt myself. I never created great gashes in my wrists, my life was never endangered by my behaviour, but my behaviour still wasn’t right. I think the fact that my behaviour wasn’t as severe as others was part of the problem. I am hugely lucky that my scars faded and I have no real physical reminders of them now, but the mildness of my behaviour caused me to hate myself more. I saw it as weak that I couldn’t take a knife to my skin so I cut more. I remember when I was about 15, which is probably when it was at its worst, each night I would get in to bed and decide what the worst thing I had done that day was, if I had eaten to much I was “greedy” if I was snappy with people I was a “Bitch” or if I did poorly on a test I was a “failure” I would then take a pin and cut this word into my stomach. The stomach seemed a safe bet, I didn’t really go swimming or wear revealing clothing so it was a safe bet that no one would see it; it was a private punishment, a way of reminding myself of my weaknesses. I often hear when people talk about their self abuse people ask about the pain and yeah it did hurt at the time. But it would be the next day when a cut would rub on my clothing and I was reminded in its sting of the control I had over my body and myself. Thats why I did it; for control.
Each cut would heal over in a couple of weeks, I was smart about it if I knew I was going to be sharing a room with someone or having to go swimming I would stop soon enough in advance for the cuts to heal over. This went on for years and I never got caught. Occasionally when I would get angry in public I would use my fingernails to cut into the back of my hand, these were less subtle and I got called out on it a couple of times, I used the old my cat scratched me excuse and I was never questioned. I don’t think its that people didn’t care, it was just that it never occurred to them that I would have reason to hurt myself. And if I’m honest I didn’t.
That’s what this post is about. That just because other people don’t understand your pain doesn’t make it invalid. I hate it when people say “Well people are starving in Africa” yes they are. I am not trying to equate my pain to that of those felt in worn torn countries or those who have just seen a loved one die. But just because what they are feeling is bad, should not take away from the pain you are feeling. Its sort of like saying that pain is a physical thing and that there are 100 pain coins in the world; your best friend moves to a distant country you get 2 pain coins, someones mum dies they get 20 pain coins, ohh wait there is a bus crash in america everybody hand in your pain coins so they can go to the grieving families. NO. One person feeling pain should not take away from another. Pain is relative, different people feel different things to different degrees, because we are DIFFERENT!
The same goes for happiness, it is all relative. Have you ever given a 3 year old a shiny balloon, the adorable little smile on its face would melt many a broody girl’s heart. Now give a sixteen year old the same shiny balloon, all you are getting in return is a sarcastic glare. Different things make different people happy. Take me for example give me some pic n mix, a onesie and the frozen soundtrack and I’m a happy girl. Give a child in a impoverish country a class of clean water and a blanket and their happiness would flatten mine in a second. Happiness is relative, pain is relative. Do not try and devalue what you or anyone else is feeling simply because someone else is feeling it to.
That is where I fell down. I had no reason to be unhappy, I was not as unhappy as others and I was ashamed to feel unhappy because of this. Realising this didn’t cure my unhappiness it simply made me feel more unhappy about feeling unhappy. It truly was a vicious circle. In the soppy romance films when the quarterback falls for the nerd and she looks up through her comically large glasses and asks why he loves her the line “you can’t help how you feel” is routinely given out. And for once in these movies they are talking sense. You can’t help how you feel, but it doesn’t only apply to love, you can be inexplicably happy or sad or panicked or cheeky. Don’t ever question the validity of your emotions.
I never told anyone how I felt or what I was doing to myself. I let it eat me up inside and consume me. My cuts weren’t as deep as ones on tumblr and my thoughts not as dark as the ones in films. I was ashamed to tell people, fearing I would seem attention seeking or selfish or ungrateful. I spent so much time judging other people and hated myself for it I was afraid others would do the same to me. I haven’t cut myself in just under a year now. I was hugely lucky. I don’t have any scars and I have a lot of sympathy for those people who are open about their cutting behaviour. But I have a huge deal of empathy for those who do in secret. It is fine to feel upset by your actions because no one should have to go through what you’re going through. But don’t ever think that what you are going through doesn’t count. Tell someone, tell anyone you trust or think you can trust. Don’t be afraid that you will be judged, that you don’t have it bad enough to deserve these feelings. Insecurity and fear are not elite emotions. Everyone feels them at some time or another and its just about making sure that when you do, you don’t face them alone.
I really hope that hasn’t come off braggy or preachy or cliche. It really is an issue that we should be focussed more on. It is monumentally important to help those who are open about their pain, it is just as important to look out for those who are ashamed to be.