I can still remember the first time I hurt myself: I was 15 and in the middle of a week of tests at school. It was January 2004 and I had just started seeing a therapist for my depression. I had so much stress those days and I couldn’t share them with anyone. I didn’t want anybody to know how I really felt.
I was showering when the idea suddenly popped into my head; I don’t know why, it was just there. I was kind of excited, nervous. I never thought about the results of my actions then. I just wanted to do it had no idea what I might do next. I wanted to feel less lonely, I wanted to feel alive and by seeing my blood I knew I was alive.
I cared and covered my wounds, but on the other hand I also wanted people to see them, see how much emotional pain I was in. My wounds were a way to tell them what I couldn’t say with my mouth or tears from my eyes. I didn’t mean to seek attention, and I bandaged myself properly.
When my parents found out we had a fight. They didn’t know what to do. At that moment I was just mad at them, couldn’t they see how I felt?! Now I understand their feelings; their only child was so depressed that she cut herself, and they didn’t know what they were ‘supposed’ to do. It must have been terrible for them.
Now 8 years have passed. I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), had an eating disorder for some time, more disorders, and I was in a psychiatric clinic for a year at my lowest point when I needed the most support. Now my fight is against BPD and self-injury. It’s a tough fight. At moments when I feel alone I still hurt myself but luckily I have friends around me. I am not ashamed of who I am and why should I be? My only wish for myself is to be able to cry again. Self injury has replaced crying for me, but sometimes I just want to cry, want to let it al go. Now I can’t. I can only cry by injuring myself but that’s not how I want it. I want people to see me, but on the other hand I don’t want to be seen. It would be a great step forward when I can cry again. I am just waiting and fighting for that moment. I have a wonderful boyfriend who accepts me as I am, with my scars and behaviour. I am not ashamed any more of my scars and the fact that I injure myself. To show this I had a tattoo of the orange ribbon of self-injury awareness, and I work with organisations in the Netherlands to raise awareness about self-injury and psychiatry.
Zelfbeschadiging.nl Dutch Society for Self-Injury
Zelfbeschadigingondercontrole.nl Online help for self-injury.