by Curmud

I self-harmed for years, cutting mostly, but there were very few scars that people could

My GP knows because of smears done by the brilliant surgery nurse, but he never treated me directly for it.

I kept it hidden. It wasn’t meant to be seen. It wasn’t ‘a cry for help’ or ‘attention-seeking’. I never sought treatment directly, no-one ever saw. A UTI needs just a urine sample, no examination. The burning pain and infection were just deserved punishment.

It wasn’t about communicating anything.

It was about shame. Shame, that should not have belonged to me, but that I nevertheless was swamped by.

I knew it wasn’t my fault, what happened to me. In my head somewhere I knew. In my body, I did not know. My body belonged to that girl, the bad one, the shameful one.

My genitals and breasts were symbols of the abuse, symbols of the puberty that led to more abuse than I had previously known. Yes, it happened earlier, but puberty allows pregnancy and the abuse took on a different significance. More hiding, more pain, more secrets…more shame.

So, these symbols of abuse, when distress had me slumped on the floor, a silently weeping ball of snot, almost inhaling the carpet in the desperate search for cleansing breath, those symbols had to go, to be obliterated.

The symbols of my shame.

The compulsion was like a choice to survive, a twisted choice, but the emotional dysregulation had to be contained or I would have lost my mind. I had to if I was going to survive. At least, that’s what it felt like.

My gender has never been in question, no issues there, as perhaps might sometimes be. I am asexual, but am not bothered by that. It’s just not something that I think about. I’m not ready to think about it.

I no longer cut. It took a therapeutic relationship that helped me understand my shame and realise that it wasn’t mine, to stop it. We never talked about the cutting. I never told her either.