“‘See no scars.’ But it’s all lies. They only check wrists…not thighs.”

Today happens to be a very special day for me. Not because it’s St. Patrick’s Day although admittedly, its modern day traditions of wearing green, parades, etc do indeed hold a fascination for me.

But as most of the world celebrates the inclusion of Christianity in Ireland (and perhaps pinch a friend or two in jest who is not wearing green) I’m celebrating something else: It’s been one whole year since I last cut myself.

For those of you who have read many of my previous posts, you’ll know what I’m talking about. That said, there are lots of new members on this site since I last wrote about my past as a cutter. Hence, here’s a re-post of that article which I originally wrote last year in August.

But as always, it’s not just a copy & paste job. The article is revised with additional content. Hope you all find it informative especially for those who have never quite grasped the concept of cutting even after hearing about it:

One of the most hazardous symptoms of mental illnesses is self-harming.

And to narrow it down even further, the most common form of self-harm, especially in younger people, is cutting.

During my high school and college years, I knew a few people who were cutters. Many of them would disappear during lunch or in between classes for a few minutes. Some who cut themselves in visible areas, (palms, fingers, arms, etc) would be seen with a fresh wound or sometimes, even a band-aid.

It took some private conversations and plenty of research to figure out what they were doing. And yet, with all the talk and resource material, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why someone would intentionally do something so abhorrent to their own body.

Why would anyone intentionally inflict their bodies with scars and wounds, especially in the absence of any affinity towards an S&M lifestyle or other such sexual practices?

For many years, these thoughts would always be in mind. That is of course until the day I was diagnosed with depression and found the emotional pain so overwhelming at times that the only thing that seemed to alleviate it was physical pain.

I was now one of the people that I used to look at with constant bemusement and confusion. I finally understood what they were going through. For anyone who wonders why cutters do what they do, I always give the following example:

Imagine that you’re taking a walk and you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders. You’re in debt, your relationship with your significant other is turbulent, you’re sick and nothing in your life is headed in a positive direction.

Imagine that all these thoughts are eating you alive till suddenly, you foot hits a rock and it hurts like hell. The rock is so big that for the next few minutes or so, you forget all your vexation and can only focus on how bad your foot hurts.

That’s exactly what cutting felt like to me. My mind would be drowning in torrents of depression till I’d pick up a nail filer and cut myself.

It was like choosing between the lesser of two evils. The physical pain not only made me momentarily forget the neurological pain but it was also easier to treat by popping an aspirin in comparison to my prescription medication for depression which seemed to take forever to take effect.

I learned three things for a full year that I did it.

Firstly, it dawned on me that the trauma of a mental illness can indeed be so strong that it leaves you desperate to try anything to stop it, even hurt yourself more.

Secondly, cutting is just like a zillion other drugs. It can work initially until you become immune to it and have to do it more and more. Before you know it, all you’re left with is scars on your body and even more trauma than before, both physical as well as psychological.

Lastly, as ironic as it may seem, self-harm is also a form of self-medicating which is never a good idea. Some people drink. Some take street drugs. Others cut themselves.

All of these methods are utilized in order to have a “quick fix” for mental health issues. In reality, there is no quick fix. It takes a lot of time to get it under control and self-medicating just stunts any possible progress.

That’s why it’s always better to consult a professional before medicating yourself in any way.

Have you ever known someone to self-harm themselves? Have you ever been tempted to self-medicate yourself? Are you aware of cutters and why they do what they do? What are your opinions on them? Share your thoughts and experiences by commenting below on our secure servers.

Hi, I'm Neel! I'm a writer (fiction and poetry), a journalist and currently working in the advertising business. I'm also a mental health advocate, having been diagnosed with clinical depression a few years ago.
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