Avoiding Crisis

there was never a cat, it was always me

with 2 comments

TRIGGER WARNING – The following writing contains what might be triggering material for self-injurers. 

Embarrassed, ashamed, I was only 9. I said his sister looked like a druggie – she was dressed in black with leather and spikes.  I didn’t know about punk back then.  I was stupid.  I was young.  I didn’t want to cry.  I didn’t want them to see me cry and think that I was a baby.  I held it in, all of it.  It was eating away at me.  I was going to explode.  I bit my nails.  Jagged edges.  I dug them into the back of my hands.  Ahhh.  Relief.  I dug deeper and deeper.  I pulled and I teared at my skin. 

I kept my hands under the lunch table.  No one could see.  No one knew what I was doing. I felt so much better.  I didn’t have to cry anymore.  I kept cutting until it was time to return to the classroom.  I covered my hands with my long sleeves.  At dinner that night my mom asked what happened to my hands.  A cat scratched me, I said.  A friend’s cat that she had brought it to school for show ‘n tell.  There was no cat.  She believed me.  Of course she did.  

I was in junior high school.   There were lots of parties.  Things didn’t always go as I wanted.  No one asked me to dance.  I was never invited to the after party.  I felt excluded and alone.  The necklace I wore would slide nicely across the back of my neck.  If I pulled harder on it I’d feel the pain of the chain burning and ripping into my skin.  My hair was long enough.  No one would know.  I could act cool and calm.  No one would know how I really felt.  

After softball practice one day the coach called me into her office.  I don’t remember what I had done.  I remember that I was being told something that I didn’t lke, something that made me feel anxious.  I cried.  I wanted to scream, I wanted to tear my hair out and hit the wall with my fist.  I leaned against a cold brick wall.  I remember not being able to breathe, to move, to talk.  I cocked my head forward, bringing my chin all the way to my chest.  BAM!  I slammed my head into the wall.  I felt so much better.  I did it again. And again.  The coach stood there not knowing what to do.  The conversation was over.  We never talked about what I did, or at least I don’t remember talking about it.  The next day I found out that I had apparently tried to kill myself that afternoon.  It was news to me. 

Teenage girls are mean.  They are bitchy and catty and cruel to one another.  I’m sure I had a fight with a friend who I thought turned others against me.  I’m sure I was depresesd and felt alone.  In high school, every morning I’d go to the gym lockers to put away my clothes for field hockey practice.  One morning was different. Something wasn’t right.   A small mirror that was secured in a plastic pocket pouch sat on the the bench next to me.  I dropped it.  Stepped on it.  Took out a sliver of glass that had been created and began.  Ah, the relief.  I had found my drug and there was no turning back now. 

I walked into my dorm room, closed the door behind me and locked it.  I took the phone off the hook.  I sat down on my futon.  Searching for something to make me feel better, to make the panic go away.  I picked up a pair of scissors.  You know the kinds with the plastic orange handles.  Staring off in the distance, I slid the blade across my upper arm.  The relief was so intense.  I did it again and again and again.  30, maybe 40 times, on one arm.  It was time to go to class.  I walked out of the room.  No one knew my secret.  I was just like everyone else.  Class ended.  I was alone once again.  I went back to my room.  I locked the door.  I took the phone off the hook.  When I was done I lay still on my floor, the scissors besides me, the blades covered in dried blood.  I was finally at peace.  The panic would return, I knew that.  But at least now I knew exactly what to do. 

Today is Self Injury Awareness Day. 

Time to start talking and stop judging.  


Written by nicolemarie

March 1, 2007 at 10:36 am

2 Responses

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  1. Oh do I know the feeling.
    The cat… and somehow the cat story always worked.
    Thanks for the post.


    March 1, 2007 at 8:15 pm

  2. Nicole,

    I’m very proud of you for talking about this issue. If there is another “Nicole” out there thinking they are alone, finding this will help them understand they aren’t. Damn cats!!!


    March 1, 2007 at 9:51 pm

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