The Other Scars

TRIGGER WARNING!  Today is Self-Harm Awareness Day, so that’s what we’ll be writing about. I’ve already done a blog post about cutting  (“The Evolution of My Self-Mutilation” ) but there are lots of other forms of self-injury. There are times when it simply isn’t appropriate or possible to carve into my flesh. In those instances, I have to find an adequate replacement for my self-harm.

SI Awareness ribbon

Here’s some of my alternatives for those times when I can’t cut: Sometimes I scratch myself repeatedly until I draw blood and have holes in my body.  Sometimes I bite; for example I’ll chew off all my cuticles or the skin around my fingertips, leaving them ragged and bloody. Sometimes I will take tweezers and pluck body hair, from my legs or arms or my nose or wherever, over and over again, until tears are streaming down my cheeks and I have bright red spots all over the plucked areas.

Self harm comes in many forms. I have perfectly round little scars on my body from cigarette burns.  My first memories of  burning myself in this manner are from my teenage years.  Burning is a favorite form of torture for me.  I always extinguish candles with my fingertips, and I often play with the flame, mesmerized by both the glow and the heat, the pain as it kisses my flesh. More times than I can count have I intentionally burned myself with hot wax.  I’ve poured it on most areas of my body at different times.  It’s an intense pain that fades rapidly, leaving me with a physical rush or high.

Sometimes, when I get mad at myself, I will slap myself in the face over and over again. One of the K’s even punches me. Boy, when Husband sees that he gets very upset. He keeps an eye on me so that I don’t self-injure. But I sneak around. I hide. I’m good at hiding. I self-harm in more socially acceptable ways as well-tattoos, body piercings, ceremonial branding.

Also considered self-harm is my love of taking risks. I often put myself in dangerous situations, be it driving much too fast or walking alone down a dark street. When I was single, I’d go out with guys I’d just met in a bar or online and didn’t really know; I can remember a number of these dates being quite frightening. Promiscuous sex is also considered self-harming, as it’s risky behavior, but I don’t think I was ever really a major slut. We dated a ton of guys, but I didn’t sleep with them unless there was some sort of connection or bond, and that didn’t happen very often. However, compared to my friends, I have to admit that I’ve had the most sexual partners. We’re embarrassed by that fact.

By far the easiest way for us to self-harm is good old-fashioned starvation.  I quit eating breakfast in 4th grade, and by high school I’d given up lunch as well.  No one knew how little I was eating.  This behavior continues to this day.  Our last blog post talks about our eating disorder. Exercising to the point of exhaustion is also a part of both eating disorders and self-injury.

Sleep deprivation is another favorite form of self-harm for us.  Sometimes we forgo sleep for 2 or 3 days, other times we are manic and might stay up for even longer than that.  We’ll deny ourselves the luxury of sleep for as long as possible, often until we physically collapse.

Last but not least,  is our practice of self-medication.  Some of us drink too much, too often. Some of us use marijuana or other drugs. All of us take loads of pills everyday. We have been having a love-affair with benzo’s for many years now. It’s hard to admit, but I am an addict.

I’m sure there are plenty of other methods of self-injury which I engage in, but at this time I’m feeling triggered just from thinking and writing about all of this stuff. I sincerely hope that this blog post hasn’t given anyone new ideas for self-injury, and I’m sorry if we’ve caused anyone to have urges. That was not our intention. We just wanted to write openly and honestly about our personal experiences with self-harm.  To everyone reading, take care of yourselves.