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  • AsphodelGray

    Bad Habits

    • Hi.


      My name is AsphodelGray...okay, really, it's not, but that's the name that I'm using currently. I recently picked up a very bad habit: Snapping elastic bands on my wrist as a form of punishment. Now, be warned: this is a longish story. If you don't want to read it, escape while you still can.


      It started in seventh grade...yeah, I'm pretty young. I'm not still in seventh grade, but the memories are still fresh.


      The kids there were either one of two categories. There were those that thought I was annoying, and too-smart -the bullies- and there were the ones that said 'hi' to me in the halls on an outlier chance, and then proceeded to ignore me or talk about me behind my back...if at all. Those were 'The Ordinaries' as I've dubbed them. Ordinary, idealized, and the opposite of me in every way.


      Sadly, the teachers didn't treat me any kinder. Once, when I had severely sprained my foot and needed to use crutches, a teacher openly mocked them in front of my entire class. Now, I'm not here to whine about all of my life problems, but this was one of the major turning points towards self-hatred. I was okay with students mocking me, as they didn't do it too openly, but a teacher? That made me question if maybe they were right.


      After that, whenever I even raised my hand in his class, he would make this huge deal out of limiting how many words I could answer with, and not being a 'dictionary girl'. The students then followed. Eventually, I started to view common behaviors as 'bad' and 'wrong' or 'stupid'. These behaviors included, but are not limited to, 

      -raising my hand

      -answering a question wrong

      -talking. at all. to anyone.

      -saying something too quietly

      -getting anything less than perfect on a test

      -being teased, or bullied

      -not having a pencil in class, or losing my glasses


      The list goes on and on. Eventually, it got to the point where I felt the need to physically punish myself for these things.


      That's when I started snapping. I took a hair-pony, and placed it around my wrist. It started out as just one or two a day, but eventually...two became five. Five became ten, twenty...at a few points, my entire inside of my arm was red and raw. I must have snapped over fifty times that day.


      Summer came. I stopped using the snapping...at least, I stopped snapping for those same reasons. I needed to snap. So I gave myself reasons to. 


      The self hatred got to the point where I thought, just once, 'I don't deserve to live; I'm worthless'. That one thought scared me so much that I snapped myself ten times, and knocked it away. I began using the snaps as a tool to stop the self hate...and, for a while, it worked. The scarier thought were 'controlled'.


      At least, I thought it had. During an 'episode' of mine, I snapped over sixty, seventy times. I lost track, and didn't count. I just kept snapping...I wanted to hurt. I forced myself to look at my arm, and realized that I'd done that to myself; I'd made my arm red, and raw, and sore...

      I'd realized that I was hurting myself.

      I'd started self-harming.

      And some, sick, twisted part of me...


      ...some sick, twisted, horrible part of me wanted to do it again. 


      It thought that I deserved it for messing up so many times; It thought that I deserved it; It thought that the snapping would be the only way I'd feel better.


      It became a bully, a voice in my head that said 'I hate you', 'you're awful', 'you're a failure; no one likes you' on a daily basis.


      And I listened. I listened to that awful voice every day...and I still do.


      That voice isn't just a bully; It isn't just hatred...


      The voice, 'It'

      ...is me.

      I hate myself. Some moments, I'll be fine, the next...the voice is back. Awful thoughts entering my head for no reason, other than some 'mistake'. 


      I've struggled, and I've been tempted, oh so tempted, to just give in. I've found myself reaching for my wrist, pulling at the bands, and playing with them. I can't take them off. I've tried. Every time that I do, I itch my wrists, my breathing changes, my skin gets itchy, my fingers twitch, and I think I begin to have a panic-attack.


      That's not okay.


      I haven't told my parents yet. I've told my two sisters, and they listened pretty well...they kind of just tried to ignore it after I'd told them. Tried to make it go away by not acknowledging it.


      I wish that worked.


      It's only been a month that I haven't self-harmed. A month since my Midsummer's-night revelation. I still have attacks of self-hate. I still find myself unable to remove the bands. I still find myself at war with resistance, and just giving in to the urge, the temptation...it's like I'm on withdraw from an addiction.


      In a way, I am.


      I'm scared to give in to the urge to snap, because I'm scared that one day it won't be enough.


      I'm scared that I'll go too far- would I ever do something permanent? Would I someday accidentally kill myself through these other methods?

      I'm scared of my parents seeing me differently- would they treat me like a problem, not a person? Would they feel like it's their fault?

      I'm scared of how my peers will treat me- would it be worse than before?

      I'm scared of not being able to turn to anyone, and afraid of the reactions of those I might turn to.

      I'm afraid.


      And it's okay. I'm facing a big, scary problem. I hope that, if you're reading this, and you self harm for the same reasons I do- punishment, habit, a need to regain control...that you know that it's okay to be scared. Self harm is a really scary, really addictive, bad habit. It's one that, sadly, a lot of people have. The feeling of powerlessness, the need to feel punishment, the feeling like you have to hurt yourself...these are all really, really bad. 


      And they don't just go away.


      If you feel like there isn't hope, feel like you're in this by yourself, or want help...talk to someone. Whether it be via internet, through a loved one, or a one-sided conversation with a loyal stuffed animal or pillow, you should talk to them.


      Maybe you can be scared together, and find a way to try and solve the problem, 

      because ...you aren't alone.

      These compulsions?

      Lots of people have them, and are struggling to get rid of them.

      These feelings?

      Anyone can have them, and have to face them.

      We aren't alone. We have a huge battle in front of us. We've all played with fire, and are paying the consequences through the massive mountain we have to climb to overcome it, to overcome this addiction.

      Even if we go into remission, it can always come back. The urge might still be there ten, twenty years from now...

      ...but we can fight it,

         and we can win.

      Maybe, we can fight the war together.

      Maybe we can beat the Bad Habits.

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    This is such a beautifully composed post... 

    Thank you for sharing. I don't want to say I enjoyed reading your story, but I was captured by it. I can relate to some pieces of it, most prominently the method of self-harm. I moved on to cutting after a while but I used thick rubber bands to snap onto my wrists at one point in my life and they really did leave some terrible bruises. Self-harm is an addiction, which you addressed in your story when you mentioned how you craved to hurt yourself again, even after you realized what you were really doing. I'm not completely sure how my bad habit began but I can say that the reason that I continue it is because I like the way the wounds look against my skin. Thank you again for sharing, and good luck breaking your habit. :)

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