On the Edge of a Blade
This post is specific to my experience with cutting and self mutilation. If you are sensitive, judgmental or recovering cutter you may not want to continue reading.
I can’t remember the first time. Nor can I remember a time when I didn’t have scars.
All I know is it starts with a feeling. A crushing weight, somewhere between sadness so intense you can’t breathe let alone cry and rage so strong that your body shakes with the violence. Somewhere between the two is this perfect emotional helplessness.
Everything rushes passed in a haze yet time seems to slow down to a crawl. The concept of time is irrelevant. It is ongoing and eternal. A deep dark hungry abyss with no end. All you can do is fall through it.
Then there is the cold. Freezing from the inside. No matter what you do you cannot get warm. It doesn’t matter the temperature outside. It doesn’t matter how many layers you wear.
It is cold.
You would think that there is a thought pattern to it. But there is nothing. It is like your rational mind has take a vacation leaving you with nothing but a hurricane of emotions which feel as though they are tearing away at your very soul.
Everything is primal. You want to scream and cry and fight but there is nothing there.
No voice. No tears. No energy.
You are betrayed by your body, by your brain, and left to rot with whatever demon hunts you. You are stuck playing cat and mouse with yourself and there is no escape.
It is all of this, but not. It is so much more complex yet somehow more simple.
I guess the first cut can be understood by an alcoholic as the first taste of the alcohol or by a druggy as the first hit. That moment when everything starts to calm down. When you are finally given release and you can start to breathe again.
It is in the tearing of the skin by the blade. The way the skin parts so easily. At first, there is a moment when the skin lies open and all that is there is white flesh. Then the blood pools in. It is hot and red and oh so cleansing. The red little beads that leave a little trail and fall to the ground are like the tears you are unable to shed. The physical pain in more bearable than the emotional pain.
Each cut is like a breath of clean fresh air deep into your starved lungs. Each cut is a measure of peace. A moment of calm in the middle of a storm.
When it is done there is nothing left. Just emptiness. Everything that was clawing inside and ripping your very being apart has bled out on the floor. There is nothing left to be felt. Just pure emptiness.
The aftermath is easy to deal with. Blood is easy to clean. The stinging of the cuts keeping the emotional whirlpool from sucking you to the depths again. Keeping you numb. Empty.
As the cuts start to heal and you watch the skin knit itself back together, you feel a measure of relief. Slowly everything is healing. It might not be as perfect as it was before, but it is over.
Until the next time the storm threatens to swallow you whole again.
I know that it is different for different people, but that is what cutting was for me.