This is by no means an attempt to explain the dynamics of self-harming. I don't understand it myself, but I'll share how I experienced it.
There have been many times in my life when the sensation of angry ants crawling just below the surface of my skin threatened to drive me mad. It felt as though they were gnawing at my skin, ready to devour my flesh. The feeling that I was being eaten from the inside out is the best way I can describe it. There seemed to be no relief . . . just an endless assault by invisible enemies declaring war from within my own body.
As these horrible feelings intensified, the stronger the urge to hurt myself became. It was as if the wounds I inflicted on my body were actually enabling the creatures dwelling beneath my skin to escape, leaving me temporarily relieved.
I have taken razorblades, broken beer bottles, and even lighters to my arms, desperately trying to rid myself of the sensation. In hindsight, I believe these were feelings, emotions which I chose to suppress, memories that can only be pushed so far back into one’s mind, before they push back, with a vengeance.
My self-harming has never been an attempt at suicide, and it wasn't attention seeking. It was just a means of relieving the constant emotional torment.
These actions were at their height during my time at Kingfisher, but there was an occasion when I literally hacked at myself with a razorblade whilst aimlessly wandering through a busy shopping centre in
London. The result was over 200 hundred stitches, ironically these
actions only served to fuel my self-hatred, which in turn, made me want to do
something similar in order to ease the new pain.
It was a vicious cycle, which at the time seemed impossible to break.
Whenever the blood flowed from inside me, I felt a great sense of relief, and there were many times when watching it actually made me feel content, like I had accomplished something.
There was never any great battle within me to stop doing it, in fact, I often looked forward to the feeling of “self gratification” in hurting myself; it was the only thing that appeared to ease my pain.
As I grew older, the need to do these things was alleviated, until finally, thankfully, it became nothing more than another bad instalment of my complex past.
I’ve often heard people expressing anger at those who “self harm”. I personally think these views aren’t altogether justified. Very few things are black and white, and when it comes to admonishing someone for these actions, in my experience, it only serves to escalate the problem. It's very much like scratching an unbearable itch.
In the present, I try to hide my many scars by wearing long sleeves whenever possible, and I have numerous tattoos to cover the more drastic damage. Having said that, on the many occasions that I’ve been asked how they came to be, I have always been honest, and I feel no shame in telling others that the scars were self-inflicted.