I did alot of research about SI after I started doing it. One of the articles I read said that self-injury usually starts at a young age. I’d say I’m living proof that statement is wrong. I was 29 when I started. What happened? Life hit me….and it hit me hard. I’d been living with a terrible secret since I was 17, something that I’ve thought about everyday since then. It seemed like nothing good was happening in my life, and some how I related it to this secret I held on to for so long. I’m a very religious person, and I felt that God was punishing me….and because I serve Him, I felt the need to take this punishment off of His hands and begin punishing myself. It started out very small, then before I knew it, I needed to do it. So it was no longer a punishment to myself, it became an enjoyment for me. The very idea that I’m about to get rid of this pain….like a drug. It went from these horrible scars on my arms and legs to….”hey, look at my awesome badges”. They started to look good to me. I then progressed to burning. Then all combined with hitting and banging. Then it actually went to tattoos in places that would normally be painful….but I liked the pain and unfortunately I used the tattoo artist as my own personal crutch and he didn’t know it. Of course I didn’t tell anyone. My boyfriend was rubbing my arm one day and he saw my scars. He asked me what happened, I said it was an accident. A few days later, he saw the scars on my legs, asked me what happened and I lied again. One day, I decided it was time to tell someone….so I confided in my best friend in this entire world. I told her everything. It didn’t take her long after I finished talking to leave. I thought about keeping it to myself from that moment on…but then one of my other friends told me that her significant other used to do it. I was then able to tell her about what I did and she didn’t leave. She gave me the same help she gave to her significant other and made me promise I’d never do it again. Because she knows how stubborn I can be lol and that I’d never make a promise and break it, I haven’t done it since then. I won’t say I don’t have serious thoughts about it sometimes when times get rough, but I use these scars I have as a reminder that I’m stronger than this…..that I can beat this….and that it will never get the best of me again. Oh and no I don’t regret the actual tattoos….at some point I actually had the sense to get tattoos that actually meant something.
Person [female, age 31, began to SI at age 29, self-employed]