“Scars are stories, history written on the body.” Kathryn Harrison
Hello, I’m Wren, I’m a self harmer.
I hate telling people that- not because I’m ashamed or embarrassed, but because of the image of me that they’re getting in their head. I’m not like that, I’m not the stereotypical whiny kid who sits in the corner with emo make-up and scabby wrists.
I self harm because I don’t know how else to cope with certain things, I don’t know how to make my skin feel like mine again or how to deal with guilt or how to cope with a depressive episode. I self harm to try and get some control.
I’m safe, I’m clean and I’m sensible- I know none of those are excuses but at the end of the day it’s my body and my life. I don’t talk about self harm unless explicitly asked to by someone, I keep my equipment hidden and my scars to myself. I’m not going to accidently-on-purpose show you the bleeding battleground of my skin- I don’t want you to see.
I know people who are the opposite of me, who make a song and dance out of the fact that they self harm- I’m not going to slag them off, I’m just going to say that I personally can’t understand that approach.
My self harm isn’t a problem, it’s not an issue that I want fixed. I understand that from the point of view of everyone else on the planet it is- and I wouldn’t hesitate in telling a self harmer to quit… but this is my control, this is my personal thing. I don’t want people to know about it and they don’t.
Self injury isn’t an easy topic- at first it looks kind of straight forward but it’s really not. Writing this today is kind of interesting for me. I used to be the girl who couldn’t go an hour without seeing blood. I was late to every lesson because I stopped in the toilets to cut on my way. It was dirty and desperate and absolutely harrowing to look back on. I cut now about once every two months- and that’s only for the marks. If my thighs aren’t marked I can’t look at myself, I feel sick and like a stranger in my own skin. I don’t self harm for the pain any more- I self harm so that I can look in the mirror.
It sounds like an odd thing to do, I remember saying to my friend Joe that I wouldn’t still be self harming if there wasn’t a part of me that enjoyed it. It’s a complex subject- on the surface self harm is completely warped, it’s us going against our most basic, ingrained instinct; survival.
Surely actively harming ourselves goes against this?
Well, maybe not… I mean, people cut of limbs when they’re trapped; injure themselves in the short-term in order to survive in the long-term.
It think this is what really best describes self harm- a short-term injury in order to cope with long-term problems.
And really, self harm is just the same as alcoholism, smoking and drug abuse. They’re all designed to help us deal with emotions that we can’t deal with- and they all harm us. Self harm just seems to get to the point more.
So today is self-injury awareness day. Open your eyes, look at the people around you, around one in fifteen will be a self harmer. These are people who need help, who can’t cope.
If you’ve just started self harming or are thinking about it I’m going to give you one piece of advice: stop. Please, please stop now whilst it’s early, whilst you can. Don’t let it worm its way into your life and take hold. I’m not a doctor or a nurse or in any way qualified to give an opinion- but I am a self harmer, I am someone who’s been through the highs and lows of this habit and is still standing. Please listen to me and get help, if you’re thinking about self harming it means that something is really wrong, it means that you can’t cope. Don’t ever be scared to ask for help- sometimes you have to swallow your pride and do what’s best.
Thanks for reading, stay safe.
‘Til next time,