My lower lip is a ragged, bloody mess. When I’m stressed out or worried or upset, I bite at it. I used to bite my cuticles too, but have stopped that in recent years. What I’m about to write about is something that not even my best friend of nineteen and a half years knows.
I used to be a cutter. Not in quite the same way as I’ve seen become more evident in the last few years- rarely did I cut myself with glass or razor blades. In fact I only have one scar from a razor blade, and it’s not the one on my wrist. That one used to draw curious looks and questioning glances, but that scar, the only one I possess that truly looks like something self inflicted, really is from an accident. The scar on my wrist that has almost completely faded is from falling out of a tree when I was a teenager.
I’ve never tried to kill myself. I’ve only thought about it twice in my life, and the first time startled me so much that it was what made me seek help for depression. The second time was last Sunday. I thought to myself that I was so tired of living, so tired of always being hurt, so tired of people treating me as if I didn’t have feelings. Even then I didn’t really think “I need to kill myself”, as I had two and a half years ago. I just thought “I’m so tired of living, I hate my life”.
I’ve always thought of suicide as giving up, as letting whatever was getting me down win. And I’ve always thought that nothing is worth ending my own life over. Nothing is worth making other people hurt because I was gone. I’ve seen the mess suicide leaves behind- I knew two people that did it. My personal feeling is that nothing is ever that bad. I believe that God doesn’t push us past what we can handle, and I think being pushed to the breaking point and then getting past it and moving on shows us how strong we really are. So don’t worry gentle readers, I’m not going to kill myself. I’m not really even thinking about it anymore.
But my lower lip reminds me of a coping mechanism I thought I was over- the cutting. As I said before, I never really cut myself, but I believe that what I did do was similar enough that I can classify it that way. I used to inflict physical pain on myself to keep from feeling emotional pain. I’m dangerous with a pair of tweezers, and I’m not allowed to have cuticle trimmers anymore. In a fit of depressive obsession when I was about 20, I “trimmed” all of my cuticles to the point that they were raw and bleeding. I used to pick at the edges of my fingernails with tweezers, which, if anyone has picked a bad hangnail they know, you can rip the hell out of your fingertips. I was too much of a coward to use a knife, or a razor blade or a piece of glass, but I used to “take bites” out of my feet, my hands, and a few times even my breasts with a pair of fingernail or toenail clippers. I used to stick pins in my fingers but I think a lot of kids did that- that never drew blood or anything. I used to give myself “rug burn” with an old toothbrush. And I used to “draw” on myself with match-heads. I had a series of scars in the shape of a tree once.
Most of the marks have faded, but I still don’t wear shorts or capris very often. The emotional marks have faded along with the physical ones, but every once in a while I remember what it was like to try to make the physical hurt more than the emotional, but it never worked. And I’d like to thin I’ve grown out of that kind of thinking. This thing with my friends still hurts, but now it’s more of a dull ache than the shrieking, piercing agony that it was for the first week or so. I’m sure it’ll leave a scar on my heart, but I know that it, like the others, will fade in time.

4 thoughts on “Coping

  1. Mick

    You must let the wounds scar, and the scars fade. Your memory of them will fade as well, and hopefully the weight you give the matter at hand now will seem less important later on.
    I hope you feel better!

  2. Tara

    I don’t really have a lot to say except “I understand” and “I’m sorry.”
    I’m still here, and so are you. Hang in there.

  3. Almost Lucid (Brad)

    That’s really hard to hear you say, but I’m glad you did. I understand wanting to rid yourself of the emotional pain any way you can. I sounds like you’ve decided that things like cutting and suicide are not the answer. Good decision.
    Hopefully things like writing and talking with friends can help you cope, and replace the very un-cool ways of the past.

  4. Curator

    Scars of the past, everyone is in that boat. It’s all a part of Life. We all know the score I suppose.
    But it doesn’t mean we have to like it…
    Keep your chin up.

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