One warm summer night, after another hell-ish day as a freshmen in high school, I came home to take off my dreaded long sleeves. Usually, one of three black jackets I owned at the time, or my favorite long-sleeved shirt printed with an ode to some marathon my Dad had run many years before. My mother and two sisters had already moved out of this enormous house that my Dad and I lived in now, alone, together.
He was gone this night, at his new girlfriend’s house, and I must have been exceptionally upset. Sparing the most triggering details, I ended up calling him to drive me to the hospital where I received 47 staples between both of my forearms. This wasn’t the first or last time I hurt myself.
Now I am six years “clean,” minus one superficial relapse, and I am struggling for words of encouragement to someone going through what I went through. Number one: Take your pills, even if you feel good. Two: Talk about it. Find a way to put your shame to rest and speak about all the raw emotions that come and go. If you are tired of sweating it out, only to hide your truth, instead use your experience to grow and move forward, and wear short sleeves again.
Sure, they will pester you at first, but even the deepest, widest scars fade with time, and then you can shed the cloak of secrecy with confidence and empathy. That is the greatest thing I earned from my personal suffering: empathy. Having been through rough waters makes one want to be captain of a rescue boat.
To the 2 year old little girl, Allison, with brown eyes that love everyone and everything you are perfect never change.
3 year old Allison:
The dog bite and 120 plus stitches you will need in your face will only hurt for a little bit. It’s what comes later that will really hurt you.
4 year old Allison:
The daycare teachers and other kids at daycare will call you the ugly duckling. Don’t cry to much about it because at the end of the story the duck ends up being a swan. But that’s just a story and stories aren’t true. Right?
5 year old Allison:
Now is when you should try and run away from people. Here is when you change schools for the first time and you have to deal with the bullies again. Now is when you will have to talk to the state police about your aunt sexually harassing and sexually assaulting you for a couple of years. But that’s okay because that’s how you show people you love them. WRONG!!!! Now is when all the nightmares will start and you won’t sleep for the next couple of weeks and, sleeping the next couple of months without waking up screaming will be a miracle.
6,7,& 8 year old Allison:
These years will be different right? Wrong! These years the bullies get worse because they make new friends and become “Popular”. Don’t worry about what popular means you’ll find out within the next couple of years. But on the plus side you make a few new friends too. The downside to these friends one will steal your things when you have her spend the night, one will hate you most of the time, and the other is a boy that only has you for a friend.
9, 10, 11, & 12 year old Allison:
Those boys who always “pick on you” as the teachers call it only do it because they like you. Let me tell you how wrong that is. Those boys don’t like and probably never will. They are rude and can get away with murder because their dad is the big man at the school. You will be hurt emotionally, physically, and spiritually because of these boys and the fact that no one will help you because their daddy signs everyone’s paychecks. The teachers will say money is more important than you. You can’t get help.
You’ve made it this far through hell. Don’t look anyone in the eyes and don’t speak unless spoken too. You will break down in tears because now the boys are sexually harassing you and it brings back the nightmares. But still no help.
13 year old Allison:
You move schools to a place where no one knows your name. You will feel relief but only till a group of girls start to bully you. Those girls don’t matter though because later on they will become so of your closest friends. What really matters is that at the end of the year there will be a boy who takes his junk out in science class and measures it to see how manly he is. He will blame you on telling even though you didn’t. He will tell you that he is going to make small but deep cuts on you after he beats you so you will feel pain and slowly bleed out. The nightmares will come back but now you have him and his “manhood” threatening to kill you after your aunt takes advantage of you. You start to cut.
14, 15, & 16 year old Allison:
You’re in high school. The first day will go okay until you run into him in the hallway and you have a panic attack. You will have a panic attack at least once a day and will end up with a few new cuts for every panic attack. The nightmares will start again and for every sleepless night you add a couple of new cuts. Your wrist will be stained red for awhile but that’s okay because you realize how poetic black is and you wear it almost every day.
17 year old (Present day) Allison:
You have stopped cutting and hopefully for good this time. You never see him at school anymore but that’s because he is in a different building now. You’re a senior in high school, have panic attacks, social anxiety, and migraines often. You are falling apart and you shouldn’t be. You’ve been through so much that you will be up one night at 12 writing this warning because the nightmares wont stop and you haven’t been able to sleep all week because of them.
Thanks to all the crap that has happened I don’t feel. The only time I ever feel anything truly is when I physical hurt myself or when I have the nightmares. Other than those times I don’t know what’s wrong with me. It’s not normal for a 17 year old girl to not feel emotions. I talk to my mom about all of this all the time; she just doesn’t know how bad all this actually is.
Am I the only one who feels this way? Am I the only 17 year old who questions life, God, death, and emotions?
I am officially 1 year clean. I’m happy, no more depression or self harm :). I’m leaving my stories up so people who went through the same as me (especially you girls) can see that they are not alone. I would tell them to not wait it out, thinking its a phase. One day I came to the realization that cutting was getting me no where. It became useless, but this may not happen to everyone. Please get help even if you think it’s minor. A tsunami starts as a ripple.
There are some days where I feel like telling someone about my cutting. There we times where I am standing next to my parents or teacher and wanting to tell them but I chicken out. I think I am afraid of the consequences of how people might react or what will happen after I tell them.
Please, if you have any knowledge or experience of self harm, answer these questions:
How do I know if what I am doing is cutting or self harm?
How do I finally tell someone I am cutting?
How do I know if I am cutting for attention?
Thank you guys so much for the support. Last time I posted, I was ten days clean from cutting (if what I’m doing really is cutting). Sadly, I cannot boast this anymore. I am under 15, and going through a lot of the stress that comes with 8th grade and high school. Two days ago, I cut small lines in to my skin from the beginning of my hip to just below my ribs. I can tell you that I had one hell of a time not showing the cuts when changing during PE. Please answer my questions or give advice.
In seventh grade, I became a cutter. My parents had a horrible relationship they blamed on me. I was the scapegoat for their tumultuous relationship because something my youth pastor reported brought child protective services brought them to our door.
I was bullied at school. I had no one to talk to. Eventually I lost all my friends. I always focused on academics so I graduated top of my class. That belied the truth. I may have been a star academically, I had 40 bracelets that I refused to take off that hid my cuts. I cut until twelfth grade.
My fitness teacher caught me with fresh cuts on my leg. I told her I was getting help and being who I am I didn’t want to lie, so I confided in an elementary school teacher I was close to. I was unstable and talking slowly to a counselor. I was dealing with a lot – my dad was now a drug addict. My mom was suicidal and depressed.
My family was struggling. So was I
At the end of tenth grade, I unintentionally went to my very first party. I told my boyfriend where I’d be. I walked over to my friend’s house under the assumption we were having a Girl’s Night. Her brother was becoming a bartender and wanted to practice making us drinks. I hadn’t touched alcohol before.
I thought I was safe. We had parental supervision. I trusted the girls I was with, I was close to home, people knew where I was. I took all the proper safety precautions.
I started drinking right after I arrived. I had two or three glasses and was starting to feel pretty tipsy when I learned they were inviting boys over. I thought, Okay cool, more people to join the party. Because I trusted my friends, I trusted they knew who they were inviting over. A little while later they said that she had met the guys online.
That should have been a red flag, but I was already too drunk to care.
They boys arrived and we began playing drinking games. I ran out of alcohol so this nice boy offered me a beer. I took it grateful for the refill. I started feeling really fuzzy and out of it.
This is here my memory becomes spotty. He had drugged my beer. We went outside to have a campfire. I remember her mom coming outside. She told the boy who’d given me the beer to take me upstairs because I was going to pass out.
My memory goes black until I was suddenly in the bedroom. He was over top of me kissing me. I pushed him off and muttered that I had a boyfriend. He continued and I started to get angry. Feeling my consciousness slipping away, I started to get anxious.
My drunk and drugged self picked up my cell phone and dialed the last number I had texted, the number of my good guy friends. Suddenly the guy above me took my phone, said he would take care of me and hung up.
My lifeline was gone and I knew what was happening next.
I started to thrash, fighting to stay conscious. He was holding me down, telling me to shut up. My eyes were closing and I was panicking. I could feel him removing my clothing but I could no longer move. And everything went black. I was still fighting the drug and I woke up a few times in between.
I remember the pain. I remember screaming for him to stop when I’d become conscious for a few moments.
The next time I woke up, I was in a bathtub. It took a second to realize I was in the wrong place and that everyone else was sleeping. I was in a lot of pain where I shouldn’t have been. I noticed I was only wearing my shirt and shorts. No undergarments. I was still pretty out of it and stumbled to back to bed where I fell asleep until morning. Waking up when the sun broke through the curtain, I sat up. I was still in pain.
Moments later, what happened hit me. I just sat up staring at the wall until the other girls came upstairs.
I muttered “I was… raped.”
“No you weren’t,” they claimed. “You asked for it. You lead him on. His buddies were only trying to get him a kill. He only had two”
“Did he use a condom?” I asked, my heart breaking. I couldn’t believe they were denying it. At least ONE of them had to have heard my screams. He didn’t use a condom but he told them he had told them he pulled out before he came.
I didn’t care.
Tears streamed down my face as they denied I had been raped.
Still crying, I called my boyfriend and asked him to come and get me. When I got in his van, he knew something was wrong – I was withdrawn and quiet.
When we got to his house, we sat on his bed and he wanted to cuddle. I kept moving away. I didn’t want him to touch me. I felt disgusting. I began to cry again and I realized I couldn’t hide it.
I told him everything. He got up and took what looked like aspirin. I asked him if we could go to my house so I could shower. He said that he was afraid that I wouldn’t want to have sex with him.
On the way home, he pulled over to a parking lot and made me have sex with him – so that some guy wouldn’t be the last one inside of me.
I thought he loved me, and here he was forcing me to have sex with him.
I had given him my virginity only weeks before.
We finally got to my house. He kept swerving all over the road, freaking me out. When we got home, I immediately showered. I felt horrible and dirty. Thanks to him, I couldn’t even get medical help.
When I got out, he was asleep on my bed. I didn’t think anything of it. Over lunch, I told my best friend – who lived with me – a little bit of what happened. She hugged me and told me she was there for me.
Suddenly I realized my boyfriend still hadn’t gotten up which was extremely unusual. When I remembered all the pills he took, I ran to my room. Frantically, I tried to shake him awake but he wouldn’t get up. When he finally awoke, he couldn’t talk. He was slurring his words so badly. He couldn’t walk.
And I couldn’t hide it from my mom. I told her he may have take a lot of a pills. I called my neighbour, a paramedic, who I thought could help. He determined that my boyfriend had overdosed on anti-anxiety drugs. He told me to let him sleep it off, make sure he didn’t drive, as well as monitor his pulse and breathing.
He woke up six hours later and had to pee. He could walk a bit better. I was watching TV when I realized he’d been gone for a while. I decided to check on him. He said he was fine and would be out in two minutes. I sensed something was wrong. I knocked again. He asked for a sweater. I gave him one of my dad’s old ones. He pulled me into the bathroom.
Everything was covered in blood. He had slit his wrists and hands open multiple times. I grabbed a first aid kit. I was trained in this. I treated his injuries and told my mom he reopened some cuts from work. I told my best friend to watch him and tell me if he went into the bathroom while I called the paramedic back.
As I was talking to him, my best friend came and told me he was looking for me. He was angry as hell because he couldn’t find his keys, which I had hidden. He came outside looking for me. I hid, afraid he would hurt me. He finally went back inside and my best friend came out again. She reported that he’d locked himself in the bathroom and she could hear water running. I told the paramedic I had to go and called 911. The operator stayed on the line as he ran around outside looking for me with a razor blade before he retreated to the bathroom.
Police officers and an ambulance showed up. They went inside and dragged him out, covered in blood. I went with him to the hospital in the back of a police car. He was examined and his injuries treated. The next morning, the day before school was to start, he told my mom that he did it because of his crappy relationship with his parents.
She offered to let him stay with us.
Three months later he broke up with me. and then got back together with me, and then used me as a fuck buddy because he knew I was in love with him.
He’d always wanted was anal sex but I refused. One day at lunch, he said he wanted to hook up so we went to my house. No one was home. He wanted to do it doggy-style – and I said okay.
He went towards the wrong place. I yelled no so he covered my mouth. He shoved himself inside me and it was one of the worst pains I’ve ever experienced. I screamed under his hand, knowing no one could hear me. I cried and screamed and begged him to stop, but he wouldn’t. I was silent as I cleaned myself up and went back to school, and sat in my philosophy class.
I didn’t even realize he had anally raped me until months later.
I couldn’t believe it had happened a second time. Some of my friends knew about the rapes, including the girls at the party. They went around the high school, telling anyone who would listen that I wasn’t raped. I’d lied because I didn’t want to be accused of cheating.
This betrayal hurt more than anything. I knew what had happened and it wasn’t consensual. I talked to a school counselor once, but I didn’t feel like talking much about it – I’d been trying to forget about it. I’d been working with for two years trying to help a suicidal friend, who had incidentally, ended up in jail for shooting threats. She’d seen me at my worst. But I made her promise she wouldn’t ask me about the rape or talk about it unless I wanted to.
I promised that elementary school teacher that I would never cut again. He saved my life. He’f meet with me before I school when something had happened and just let me vent. He kept me alive. I will never have more gratitude for anyone.
All it takes is one person.
I eventually told him about the rapes and all of the shit I’d been through. He supported me through all of it. Despite the shitstorm, I graduated second in my high school class.
Now, I’m a year and almost five months clean. I’m in second year university. But the rapes still haunt me. I wake up crying. I have intense flashbacks and nightmares.
I don’t know what to do.
Now, I’m in a healthy, successful relationship. We live together. He knows about my struggles, but I feel like I shouldn’t put him through dealing with my emotions. I’m stuck. Every time I go to get counseling, I cancel last minute.
I don’t know what to do.
I feel like no one understands.
I am under 15, and I live with dermatillomania.
Because of my problem, I have trouble with self image and sometimes get very depressed. My parents don’t know. The Band has suggested that I confide in a friend who will help me. I have no such friend.
One of my friends is a science geek. I feel like a dork so I will never tell her.
My other friend is too girly. She doesn’t take anything seriously. Sometimes she asks about my scars, but I am too ashamed of them, so I say it is nothing. She forgets and continues to talk about herself. I don’t even want to be friends with her. I don’t want to tell her.
There is nowhere to go, no one to confide in. None of the school counselors would ever understand. I am alone. I feel so bad.
I purposely try to hurt my self so I can pick at the scabs later. A small 1 centimeter scratch turned into a half inch gouge just from continued picking and scratching. How do I dig myself out of this 1,000,000,000 foot hole without killing my self?