Inside my chest – there’s static. It started when I was small, so small I can’t remember a time I felt still. There’s static in my chest and noise in my head. The kind of noise that reminds me of a Devourment song, but instead of Mike Majewski screaming at me through my iPod, it’s my subconscious screaming at my insides.
12 years ago, I found the thing that made the static stop.
5th grade saw the beginning of my war against self-injury. I started burning myself with my curling iron and scraping the skin from my arms with a craft scissors. The injuring became more frequent over the years, the wounds more and more severe. By the time I was 17, I was cutting everyday. I had a make-up case stocked with scalpels and bandages and would cut dozens of times a day. I couldn’t imagine my life without cutting, couldn’t imagine the next 45 minutes without it. I spent the next two years plastering myself with my pain. The injuring, an elaborate metaphor, the vent through which my fear and anxiety, my blood, flowed. I spent the next two years breaking, and eventually attempting suicide.
Six months after I was released from the hospital, I looked in the mirror and saw the mess I’d made. That day was the day I QUIT cutting.
God, it hurt.
But the hours clicked on, adding up to days and weeks…months. My life changed on September 9th, 2007, the day I’d stopped hurting myself and it changed again on November 24th, 2007, the day I learned I was pregnant. I had an even bigger reason to heal. I used my pregnancy as a catalyst, everyday inspiring a change in my heart, finding a healthy way to ease the anxiety. I was inspired, but there were still bad days. I remember one such day, somewhere around my seventh month, sitting in the bathroom trying to break the straight razor out of a gillette shaver and the glint of metal struck me, lain against the backdrop of my growing belly. I stopped. I didn’t get the razor out. I threw it against the way and screamed. My child was NOT going to grow up with a self-injuring train-wreck for a mother!
I couldn’t let that happen. I’d eliminate myself before I’d let that happen.
It has been 3 years and 21 days since that September night. My daughter was born healthy and beautiful in July ’08 and every day she continues to inspire me. I kept the promise I made to her, I have not injured myself. It’s hard sometimes, I can admit that I’ve had some close calls, but I’ve kept that promise.
I think self-injury is a lot like alcoholism – always recovering, never recovered. But with the support of my amazing family and my miracle-worker therapist, I will continue to beat this thing. The hours clicked into days, then weeks, months, years. Let’s make it decades.
I WILL make it decades.