Battle Scars: One Woman’s Struggle with Cutting

See the scars on my arms and legs. These are my battle scars. They are not from an ordinary battle. No, they are from the biggest battle of all ages; the battle of the mind. Each of these scars represents a difficult time in my life. It was a time in which I could not express my overwhelming emotions in a constructive manner. It was also a time when I felt that it would be better to turn the anger and frustration on myself than to share these emotions with other people.

No one should have to suffer this kind of pain. Nor should they be worried about the consequences if they did express these emotions aloud. I used self-mutilation as a means of coping with my strong emotions. The emotions were too powerful for me to express openly with others. The only way I could see to express these emotions was to cause pain to myself. Why do people feel that the only way to deal with their pain is by some self-injurious act? Do we, as a society really feel that expressing our emotions is a sign of weakness and to be ashamed of? I guess people tend to feel uncomfortable around those who outwardly express their emotions. We may feel shame and embarrassment for them. We look down to avoid looking into their hurting eyes. If we stopped and took a look into those eyes, what would we see and what would we do?

The problem is that people don’t take the time to truly get to know another person. We are apathetic towards them. We don’t have time to be bothered with another’s heartbreaking pain. But you can’t always blame it on society. A lot of times people just don’t know that someone is hurting because they look perfectly fine. These people have learned to hide their pain from the rest of the world. This is when they start doing self-injurious acts to themselves.

From experience I know that if I didn’t release my emotions through cutting, I felt like I was going to explode. My forms of self-injury are cutting, excessive eating and excessive shopping. I am trying to deal with the cutting by writing. That has helped tremendously. I also have problems with the eating and shopping but I am trying to deal with them as well. A self-injurious act doesn’t always have to be things such as cutting or burning themselves. It could also be things such as excessive drinking and the overuse of recreational drugs.

All of these self-imposed punishments are coping skills developed at some point in their illness. They each involve a temporary relief from their pain. And that, of course, is what people are looking for. The solution to self-injurious acts is to find some other source to relieve the pain when needed. As I said before, I use my writing skills to deal with mine. For others, it could be something totally different.

As I look at my battle scars today, I feel regret. I will carry these scars for my entire life. Each time I look at them I will remember the heinous acts that I imposed on myself. If only I knew what I know now. It was only a temporary relief. The scars, however, are not temporary. The scars are not only on my skin however, but deep in my soul. Over time the scars within me will slowly disintegrate. They will never disappear but it will serve as a reminder how bad things were for me at the time of self-injury.

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