Posted on February 11, 2007

Trigger warning: self-harm

In the interests of being completely honest on this blog about what I’m going through, I have to admit that I sort of gave in to the overwhelming urge to cut last night. I’m not proud of my weakness. I thought I could fight it off.

I tried to tell people yesterday about how much I hurt. By late last night I was having panic attacks. Horrible, reality-distorting panic attacks when I thought about the near future. I tried to tell my husband, but admittedly it was 1:00 in the morning and he was tired. I had no one to call.

I deliberately chose something that was sharp enough to hurt but neither sharp enough nor big enough to draw blood. I pressed and dragged it slowly over sensitive skin until the pain made me nauseous. This was not about suicidal ideations. I do not want to die. I simply needed a physical release for the pain ready to burst out of me. That’s why I was careful in my choice. It’s not ideal. Ideal would be never to have had to do it in the first place. But not doing it would have meant being driven to take handfuls of pills or drive my head through a wall.

I scratched up my arm to save my life, really. I know that is twisted and warped but that is what depression does to me. It was the lesser of two or more evils. Even as I did it I thought about b’tselem Elokim, being created in the image of G-d. I thought about that and felt badly, but I didn’t know what else to do. Prayer was not helping last night.

Today it hurts. It’s red but there’s still no blood. It didn’t cut deep enough to even ooze. The pain remains a release today. I don’t have to do it again. G-d willing, not ever.


  1. Rivka

    Thank you Remson. There is a darker side to cutting, aside from the fact that it can be life-threatening even when you don’t mean it to be. I noticed–and I know I’m not the only one–this last time that it was like a drug.

    A few minutes after one long gouge, the pain came back and then I dragged the hooked object over my skin again and even though it hurt and made me sick it was like a drink to an alcoholic. I was calmed, drinking in the pain. It was a true release. It took a dozen times or more to finally stop. One was deep enough that I may have a permanent scar.

    My counselor suggested holding an ice cube instead. It still hurts but causes no lasting effects. And you can’t accidentally die from it. I would have to be limited to one ice cube.

    She asked if the gouging/cutting worked and I said, oh yes, and she was frustrated because she hoped I wouldn’t get the release from it.

    It’s a little scary to think of its effects as being like a drug.

  2. Remson Wood

    Dearest Rivka,
    You are so beautifully articulate…you have described so eloquently the dilema I have faced. As a teenager I turned to cutting. Recently I was in such anguish I wanted to cease to exist when one of my sisters pulled me aside and told me to cut rather than kill myself…she, like you, cuts herself rather than kills herself when her depression descends. Thank you so much for sharing your inner most struggles. Your writing is a gift. I simply wish you didn’t have to suffer such turmoil in order to do so.

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