Around the Cauldron

From a Cutters perspective

I’ve tried to keep this blog very pagan-path oriented, but there’s something that keeps replaying in my mind that I feel I need to get out there.

I’ve made no secret to anyone that for ten years I was a cutter. It was a horrible point in my life where my body chemistry was changing as I was growing, and for years not one realised that clinical depression was the driving force behind it.

Cutting can be a touchy subject for some, but it’s my past. I’m not ashamed of my past. I will never be ashamed of the things that I have done, as in the end they made me stronger.

What got me thinking about this is a number of things. Once every two-three months my hormones go into over drive near my flow, and I want to pick up the blade again. Like last week. Secondly, I watched a video on YouTube of someone who had her 11 y/o pupil come up to her with her wrist attacked, and “it broke my heart.”

So I guess I want to make this post aimed at those who know someone who is cutting, who Is going through it right now, and you don’t know why.

First of all, everyone’s situation and reasoning for doing it is completely different. And if it’s you who is feeling the urge, don’t let anyone ever tell you that your reasons for wanting to is not valid. Our reasons, everyone single one of us, is valid. Because it’s real to us, it’s what we’re experiencing, and it’s what helps us gain control.

There’s a big word that will come up a lot -control. This gives us a sense of control. When you look at the statistics, most people who begin start in their teens. Between the pressure of home life, of school, of being expected to know I what you’re going to do for the rest of your life by 15 not to mention other individual factors…it’s a lot to deal with. When you can’t drink, smoke, whore yourself about after a binge at the pub, there are only so many things you can do as a teenager/tween that you feel in control of.

Something else I really want to put out there is for the parents – unless you physically or mentally abuse your child, it’s not your fault. Yelling at them for cutting, for slicing up their body, grounding them for it (again, not my experience) doesn’t help. What we need is patience understanding, and a shoulder to cry on. We need to be told it’s ok, the feelings won’t last. Just don’t tell us to grow out of it, to stop doing it, or push us into therapy. That won’t work. Nor is the “I don’t know where I went wrong” mentality. Like I said, unless you physically or mentally abused your child, you probably didn’t do anything wrong. I’ve spoken to kids who came from loving parents with a great upbringing who still went down this path.

What I have found from experience, and from friends and forums, is that we will seek help when we’re ready. And if it’s you, and you’re at high school and you don’t feel that you can talk to your teachers, or your parents, tell someone you can trust. It may sound awful, but having a good friend know what you’re doing can save you. They may not get it, they certainly won’t understand it, but it is good to have that one other person who doesn’t judge, but can help you before you go too far. Distracting you, getting you to laugh, to take your mind off things, it can all be a big help. Parents, most of us make pacts with ourselves that we will never use cutting as a way out. We respect it too much, as it becomes our friend and life line. We grow dependent on it.

But the wonderful thing is, it won’t be forever. It’s not that we “grow out of it,” it’s that we will one day get to a point where we will make the decision to stop. It will be the beginning of a long and hard journey, but when we’re there, we need your support. It took me four years between saying “I’m going to stop” to then making that final cut (five years, two months, eleven days and counting!) But we will do it when we’re ready.

For those reading who cut, you may feel alone, but you’re not. Your situation is individual and unique to you, but you’re not alone. We are the ones who understand the pull of the blade, the feeling of opening, the sting and the rush. We understand that it may be the one thing in your life that you feel you have control over, because I was once there, too, and others are walking that path right beside you. When you reach the end, you’ll be surprised at how strong you will have become. Ten years ago when I was 19 and at the height of my self injury, driving all over town for someone who sold my type of tool because my toys were blunt, I would have laughed at you if you had I said I would have stopped by 25, married and writing physics tutorials at uni for fellow students. LAUGHED AT YOU!!!!

But here I am. If I can do it, so can you, when you’re ready.

We’re all on an individual journey, but those of us who have been there can help. All you have to do is ask.
And on the subject of university, I’ve decided that after this semester is over, I’ll be getting a new tattoo (much to my husbands annoyance and despise) on my right wrist, over my old scars. I’m not saying what it is, but the symbolism behind it is very powerful for me. Even just with its placement over my scars shows that they are my past, and my future ahead looks amazing.

Kids, hang in there. Honour the tool and don’t go too deep. It’s easier to pull off ones that look like cat scratches, they don’t take as long to heal, and they don’t often leave scars. Always have band aids and tissues near you just in case, and always clean your wounds. Talk to someone when you’re ready to talk, and know that you won’t feel like this forever.

Parents, be patient.

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