Have you ever felt like crying just isn’t enough? Or have you just felt numb for a long period of time? For I know what it is like to feel like this. I am a former cutter. People are surprised to find out. Here is a guy who has everything great, who had hurt himself. I believe at any moment your life can change.
I started cutting when I was in the middle of seventh grade, before I moved to Cleveland. My life in Atlanta was Hell on Earth. I remember I was upset about the other kids constantly being malicious towards me. I was helping my mom with dinner one night and I was cutting the freshly prepared chicken. By some bizarre fate the knife slipped from my hand and dropped to cut my calf. I stopped immediately to attend to the wound in the bathroom. Staring at the dark red blood pouring out of the back of my leg, I then realized how good it felt. Here I was hurt but then enjoying everything that came from what just had happened.
I wanted to keep doing this, a new thrill. I continued cutting myself for a year straight on the back of my legs. That way nobody could see the marks I had made. What was meant to be only for a breakdown became a daily habit. I knew if I kept doing this that I would eventually die. Then came the moment that would change me.
One Sunday my family and I went to mass. I remember so distinctly what the priest said in his homily it is eerie. “The more we hurt ourselves whether it be physically, mentally or emotionally, is the more we hurt Christ.” I took it as a sign from God himself saying I needed to stop my habit. When I got home my life was changed.
I finally came forward to some of my friends and told them what I had being doing. Their first responses like any good friend was, “Dude, if you ever feel like you are going to do that again, call any of us and we will be there for you in heartbeat.” For me the positive thing was that I found God. Though I have known several people to find that it takes another experience for their lives to change, some have to experience a death from this in order to stop (usually somebody else’s death).
Now in college I have had my slips. I have told my fraternity brothers that if I seem really down to be worried about me. I know regardless they would not let me touch a knife if I was upset. Am I still addicted to cutting? The answer is yes, but am I much of an addict now than I was before? No. I have learned that at any moment your life can change by one experience.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.