I just do it to survive, I’m not a ritual self-injurer. It’s only a preventative measure. Usually when I SI I’m very close to attempting to kill myself. I cause a smaller act of violence on my body to disperse the escalating emotions which will lead to suicide. I know the more intense my emotions are the more damage I do to my body. So in a sense hurting myself controls my emotions. It doesn’t happen very often anymore. I feel like I have control now, but occassionally they come up again and I’m overwhelmed by the strength of it and cave in again to hurting myself.
It hasn’t always been the case in the past. When I was going through a period of intense depression in my teens, I used SI for mostly aesthetic reasons. I would feel numb and dissociated, and it bothered me that I couldn’t feel the pain emotionally or physically anymore. So I place reminders on my body to never forget that emotional pain that I couldn’t connect with. In a way it comforted me, it was a safe place. It sent a silent message to the world about myself that I knew that not many would understand. I had nurtured a secret world of suffering that no one, not even my family, had known. This world was a result of me refusing to let go of the wrongs I had seen in my own life, to others, and on this earth. These injuries were part of this world I nutured. I was secretly hoping that someone would be brave enough to wander in and try to understand me. But of course no one did because I had kept it to myself and I just kept on hurting myself, punishing myself for having any hope that someone would understand. Othertimes I would do it to threaten myself with the prospect of death. All those instances were just for seeing the blood and the damage, not the actual pain. If there was no mark on my body, not matter how painful it may have been, I would’ve seen that as worthless. I wanted to see the damage on my body.
Obviously I’m way too jaded to be that romantic with depression and SI. I’m over it. I’m just trying to stay under the radar, just to survive as long as possible, and help others around me.
Person [female, age 20, began to SI at age 11, college student]