I've told you my story, in dribs and drabs - here and there. A post on a bad Christmas, a few comments about my parents. But I've never done my story with regards to self harm, never taken you through my life as a cutter.
When I was 10 I stuck my finger in an automatic pencil sharpener, you know the ones - teachers have them on their desks. The day before this my Dad had taken me to Girl's Brigade in his huge red Volvo estate... he gave me 20p for sweets and just before I got out of the car he called "Pull that dress down, you look like a slut" Then he gave me one of 'his' winks and drove out of the car park.
I may have only been 10 but I knew what a slut was, and I knew I didn't want to be one. So at school the next day I put my finger in the sharpener. I can't remember what I felt, or what I thought it would acheive... I was just angry at myself.
It was a good few years more before I turned to pain to escape again.
Saturday 11th December 2004. I was fifteen years old. In the morning I had gone to my band practise and on the way home I stopped in on Dad (in the pub), when I got there he was mid-flow in a story about how he had screwed his girlfriend the night before. All his friends urged him to shut up - they were nice to me - they said I shouldn't hear things like this. But he said "Relax, no-one's ever gonna fuck her anyway". I smiled graciously and took a seat in the corner - I never had a bad word to say about Dad, I was his princess. (But that's another story)
I walked home from the pub to help my Mum and my two younger sisters put up our Christmas tree, it was the same one we used every year; a 4ft artifical one - Woolie's finest, plonked on top of a mahogany corner table to make it 6ft. I always put the tinsel on because no-one else could reach far enough up the tree.
In the evening we watched some TV, my Mum and sisters went to bed early so it was just me sitting in the lounge next to a multi-coloured lit Christmas tree. I was hit by these unbelieveable wave of sadness. I didn't want to go to bed because I didn't want to wake up in the morning. I cursed myself for feeling like this, for doubting the healthiness of Dad's and my relationship. I found a safety pin and I started to scratch. Side to side, faster and faster across my left wrist. I liked how it burned, I liked how the blood was coming out - I had done it all by myself, for myself.
This carried on for a fair few months, I would sit in my top bunk listening to Manic Street Preachers with my little safety pin. Always in the same place, always with the same pin. It used to hurt a lot when my wrists rubbed on my grey wool school jumper - but I liked that, a little reminder of the pain when I was away from my pin.
We soon moved into a bigger house and I had my own bedroom... this is when I switched to packs of ten razor blades. I fell in love. The harm was quick and afterwards I could watch the blood seep through the fat and spill onto my skin. Pretty soon I ran out of room on my wrist, so I let loose... I cut anywhere and everywhere on both arms, I took my blades to school in my purse and used the school toilets to get some release. I branched out into buying first aid supplies... menolin patches, micropore tape and steri strips - I rarely went to get stitches but when I did I was in and out of A&E like a rocket. Dealing with the consequences during my weekly trips to a CAMHS psychiatrist.
When I moved to Uni I continued to hurt myself but less often than before. I had William with me so I couldn't always find blades... I used whatever was next readily available to me, from sandwich ties (with the wire in the middle) to tweezers. Anything to ease off the pressure for a while, give me chance to breathe and get some control - punish myself for whatever affliction is assaulting my self confidence.
I don't know how to end this story, because it hasn't reached its end yet. I haven't touched on ODs, scars or therapy, I haven't told you about my life since 2004... this story is simply the beginning (I fear) of my journey with 'Deliberate Self Harm' - I continue to wrap myself in that cold, sharp security blanket... albeit less often than I once did.