I have alluded to this many times in the course of this blog (in fact, I’ve probably outright stated it before), but I used to self-harm. For the peace of mind of Mrs. Satis, who sometimes reads these posts, I should state that I haven’t lifted a blade to hurt myself in over ten years; in fact, I stopped around when we met, and partly because of her. But there was a time in my life when cutting my skin was an enormous part of my identity, and I of course bear the scars (both physical and emotional) to this day.
I’m not ‘better’, and I doubt I ever will be.
There’s a wide range of reasons why people hurt themselves, and just as wide a variety of methods. From cutting to burning to starving oneself (Princess Diana once said she used to throw herself down stairs), self-harm can often be an outward reflection of the emotional pain someone is enduring every day. It’s often associated with suicide ideation, but I don’t think that’s quite fair; the people who hurt themselves (myself included) might often dream of and think of ending their lives, but the harm itself is born out of a burning desire not to die, but to feel alive. Although it might not look (or feel) like it, self-harm is usually topical and superficial, leaving little lasting harm. My deepest scars are not on my wrists; they’re on my upper arm, a fleshy place that was easy to cut deep without doing serious damage.