When I was a teenager, my struggle with depression began. Out of it self mutilation was birthed. This was not a learned behavior, I hadn’t seen it anywhere, but one day, I grabbed a blade from my brother’s box cutter and started to cut myself. I’d cut then cry myself to sleep. Sometimes, I’d rub hydrocortisone on them (I’m not sure why) when I was done. As a result of those times in my life, I have 15 cuts on my left arm and a few on my left leg. I was surprised when I found out a few years later that I wasn’t the only one doing it, but millions of people. How did I know to do this? Again, I’d never seen it, read it, or heard of it. It felt like a natural response to the pain I was feeling at the time. I’d cut, bleed, cry, then feel ‘better’… only to do it again. I was so numb to what was going on at the time. It hurt, but obviously not enough to make me stop because I felt, in a sense, that I was bleeding out the pain and hurt that was inside me. As I got older, I’d wear long sleeved shirts, even in the summertime, to hide the scars and to avoid the looks. When the next wave of self mutilation came, I ventured into the world of tattoos and piercings. As a result of that, I have 3 tattoos which I wish I didn’t have, including 2 which are very telling of my mindset at the time.
Even now, over 10 years later, I get self conscious. People ask what happened and I cringe as I begin to tell them that I cut myself. And I still have to fight the urge to respond to pain in a wrong way. I have to examine my motives. Before the Lord saved me, one of my many piercings included my nose. Shortly after the Lord saved me, I removed the nose ring along with my other piercings. In February of this year, I got my nose repierced. It was a decision that took a very long time to make. I’d been thinking about it for over a year before I finally got it done.
With all that said, I cannot lie and say that the temptation has been fully removed from me; it hasn’t, but God, in His perfect grace, has given me the ‘tools’ to fight that temptation with. I’m no longer a slave to self mutilation… for it was ‘for freedom Christ set us free’ (Galatians 5:1)
I’m not sure why I decided to blog about this today, but maybe it will help someone.