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As some of you know I’ve been a cutter for about fifteen years. It started in the months following my rape. I did it at first because I felt worthless and guilty. I thought myself unworthy of life and love. This of course started a downward spiral for me emotionally. Cutting lead to more feelings of deserved pain which lead to depression. And lead to a failed suicide attempt just over a year later. But suicide is not the point of this article so we’ll continue the story.

Anyway as the years progressed and my world grew darker cutting became the only way I could feel. Pain became my companion, my champion in everything. When I cut I had control, I had feelings. It became orgasmic a way I finally felt something in the void of numbness. My cuts became deeper, longer and more frequent. I shut everyone out of my world when it came to cutting. It was too personal to share and to personal to care what others thought.

My parents hospitalized me thinking I could be cured and in silence darkness grew still. Twice I’ve been placed in hospitals and treated for depression and cutting. There is no magic pill nor spell that will cure you. The only cure is the desire and effort to stop.

So something so personal some measure of control and my only feelings why struggle to stop? Ahh we’ve reached the point of this article which is the struggle to stop. What changed for me?

Sarah has been my life long partner since I was fifteen my lover, friends since before we could walk. She has been my strength, my friend and my hope throughout my life. She has always been more important to me than myself, placing her needs above mine except in this. My personal need to feel, to really and truly feel base emotions in a way as pure and simple. For me cutting replaced the innocence lost after my rape. In innocence we see the world in baser colors and view it with un-judging eyes filled with curiosity. The only base emotion left where innocence was stolen was pain. Pain is powerful and pure.

In September of 2011 days forever etched in my memory and upon my flesh. I’d had a particularly bad time of things and my cutting was at its all-time worst. The day Sarah came home and found me in a puddle of blood and unconscious on the floor. It wasn’t a suicide just cutting but the affects were near the same. I could’ve died there and then had she not found me.

I laid in the hospital a few days and I remember her coming to visit and the day came I was strong enough again to go home. She came to pick me up and drove me to our home and as I walked through the doors I saw her stuff packed. When I looked at her with the questioning eyes I will forever remember her tears, the desperation in her eyes and the way her hands trembled. She was broken and could take it no more.

I remember her words as if she spoke them this morning. “I love you but I can’t live life wondering if today is the day I’ll lose you to cutting forever.” It wasn’t so much her words but her eyes. For the first time I saw her pain, her confusion, her desperate plea. I saw she was broken, her strength gone.

I had always admired her strength and her spirit but that day in her eyes they were missing. I could see her helpless plea for me to stop. I remember how pain I thought my champion at that moment it turned on me. I learned that moment I didn’t control it, it controlled me.

I fell to my knees clutching her leg like a child wanting a ride on daddy’s leg. I remember the tears and so much pain. That moment, that look in her eyes changed me, changed my outlook and changed my champion.

It’s been a horrible struggle and I’ve messed up, I’ve made my share of mistakes. Will I ever stop trying? No. I am not sure this is something you can just stop because it’s an addiction. Like all addictions I am in for a lifelong battle to end my need for pain. But I will never stop trying. I never wish to see her eyes empty of strength or desperate as they were on that fateful day. They are burned into my soul and they serve as reminders why I struggle so.

My innocence is still gone and much was robbed from me. But I’ve come to understand my cutting and solitude robbed equal value from my life and the lives of those who love me. They’ve watch and waited in their own pain as they watched helplessly to end my suffering. I couldn’t have imagined the pain of being helpless while someone you love suffers inside until I saw it in her eyes.

Darkness is given power only when we allow it some. The temptation to fall to darkness is great especially when in pain. With each step backward we fall to darkness and in it solitude. At times the world misses the out reached hand, the plea for clemency in a world gone mad. At times we fail to reach out and ask for pardon. Whatever the reason the darkness envelopes us and once within its grasp the journey out is long and arduous.

Every step unsteady, every corner darkened and every mistake a reminder. I’ve fallen so far.

To quit you have to want to quit and even then the battle inside rages and the world around blinded too it by fake façade which we present. To quit you must find a reason to fight and to keep fighting. You must realize you ARE worth something and you deserve to feel, to love and to be loved. You must find reason to break your self imposed silence as see the the world once more as a child would.

Outside the world is great and wonderful and should you choose to let some of that in then perhaps inside shall match the out. Until then I struggle with terrible darkness and pain, and to see the world as it truly is bright and full. Perhaps upon a day darkness shall be parted and vision fully restored. Until such time I struggle.

For those struggling to quit and those yet to begin the struggle,

I pray for anyone suffering in silence that you find your reason to break the silence and begin your healing. It’s my sincere wish that you find reason enough to break through the numbness inside and let the world see your heart. Yes it can hurt but it’s rewards are worth the risk.

Here’s to your strength because you have more than you thought. Here’s to you because you are worth the efforts. Here’s to those who fight at your side and the strength they may yet lend you in your need. Here’s to the efforts and your struggle because at the end of the day you deserve to stop robbing from yourself the future ahead.

Last thought for you is remember you will make mistakes, have set backs and things will be hard. But remember those who care for you fight at your side even if their voices are muted they are cheering the loudest even when your ears are deaf. Listen to them with your heart and their whispers of hope and prayers for you will be heard as if booming voice.

~Michelle Styles October 18, 2013