Lisa’s Story – Recovering Beautifully.
***Triggers – Self Harm***
My story isn’t your typical addiction story.
My story begins when I was thirteen years old, and I accidently got a scratch on my arm. At that moment, I remember feeling a sense of pain… But in a strange way, it also felt good.
I couldn’t tell you the first time I actually cut myself intentionally, it was just something I did, and it became a part of who I was. Cutting was something I relied on to always be there for me.
Cutting was my addiction.
I cut myself when I got upset, when I was hurt, sad, or angry. As a hormonal teenage girl— it was quite often. I was never suicidal. I never truly wanted to die or end my life.
There was just something about cutting that made me feel better. It was like I could control the pain that I felt—how much and how often I felt it—and somehow being in control, made all of my emotional pain go away.
It started off as only cutting my arms. I would wear long sleeved shirts and make the cuts small enough to cover with a Band-Aid. I would even avoid swimming in the summer months. As time went on, I realized I would have to come up with other areas of my body to cut.
I’d cut the inside of my legs, as it was easier to hide, or I’d cut higher up on my arm because I could hide the cuts with a t-shirt. As a cutter, you find ways to hide it.
I kept my cutting a secret from everyone for well over a decade. I hid the cuts and scars for years. If anyone happened to see the cuts or marks and asked me about them, I always had a reason for them. I always had an excuse; the cat scratched me, or the dog got me while we were playing, I got hurt at work, or they were from the lane ropes from swim practice. (If you have ever been on a swim team and put in or removed the lane ropes from the water, you know what I am talking about).
Of course there were the occasional few who knew—although they never really said anything. I hated having to hide, and it was a lot of work to cover up such a secret.
I started to realize this wasn’t okay and I wasn’t okay. Not that I ever really thought it was okay, but I never considered it to be something I was addicted to.
I realized it was a real addiction when I would try to not cut when I got really upset or angry—but it was too hard not to. I tried to quit, but the addiction was stronger than I was.
The years went by, and the cutting continued. I knew it wasn’t normal, but I didn’t know how to ask for help. I didn’t want to admit how weak, I was and how unworthy I felt. I spent many nights crying myself to sleep and praying to God for the strength to overcome this addiction.
One day, it went way farther than I ever anticipated or wanted it to go.
I was twenty-five years old when I cut myself for the last time. I was at my best friend Paul’s house—he was one of the few people that knew about my struggle. That night I was beyond upset, and sobbing. I had this overwhelming urge to cut—but had nothing with me to use.
Full of so many emotions and frustrations, I was frantically looking for something to use. I found what looked like an army knife and immediately set it on my skin and lightly ran it across my arm.
In that moment, I knew I had made a huge mistake. The amount of blood was overwhelming.
Paul was right there when it happened, but it happened so fast there was no way he could have stopped me. He wrapped my arm and instantly called 9-1-1.
I was taken by an ambulance to the emergency room. Most of that night was a blur, but I remember during the ride to the hospital, the EMT kept asking me questions, and all I could say was, “I am sorry! I didn’t mean to! I don’t want to die!”
They stitched up my arm at the hospital, and I spent the next twenty-four hours under strict suicide watch.
They sent me to be evaluated, and it was in that moment that I knew I would never cut myself again.
It took me years of denial, excuses, and suffering before I learned my worth. I cannot say I never get the feelings of wanting to cut, and I am sure I will always have these feelings from time to time, but I know I am stronger than my addiction.
The tiny scars and even more-so, the big scar on my arm is a constant reminder of what I overcame.
Since I’ve quit cutting, I have found happiness. It hasn’t always been easy, but I know God answered my prayers in His way and in His time. I am no longer ashamed of myself and no longer feel I have to hide who I am.
Although some people may judge me by my scars, as ugly as they are— I wear them proudly. They are a constant reminder of who I was, what I’ve been through and who I have become. He has blessed me with my husband and our two handsome, healthy boys, and they are the ones who help keep me strong.
*If you or somebody you know is struggling with self-harm, please reach out, talk to someone, and get help. Life is so much better when you are free from the chains of addiction. Click THIS link, if you would like more information about self-harm, and where to go for help*
I wrote a book about my own struggles with addiction – FIND IT HERE.
A Life After Addiction IS Possible… We Are PROOF ❤