Those who have physically been in my presence for at least an hour have probably heard me say “I have an addictive personality”. It’s usually in response to someone offering me something that’s not good for me and I make the statement to support the reason that I have turned down their offer.
I’ve known for years that I have an addictive personality so it may sound strange that I didn’t know until recently that I had a serious addiction to abuse and self harm. I think I just blocked that part out of my mind because the acceptance meant having to face the fact that I was to blame for a lot of my own issues.
I want to say that my addiction to self harm began when I was about 12 years old but if I think about it properly, I’ve enjoyed hurting myself since I was a young child. I could’ve even been as young as 6 years old when I first started trying to burn my fingerprints off on the fire in my living room and stick needles through my fingers. I actually feel sick writing this because that is so young but I’m just going to keep it one hundred percent real.
As a little girl I had been exposed to some serious things that a person in general, let alone a child, should never ever be exposed to. Those things forced me to suffer in silence and keep a lot of things in until I went from crying silently in private every time something traumatic happened to sitting in bed trying to force tears out because I was so scared or hurt but I was all dried out. At 6 years old I had run out of tears and had become numb. It was so unhealthy. I knew that it wasn’t good for me to keep my emotions in because they were hurting me so deeply inside but I couldn’t cry anymore so I thought that if I inflicted pain on myself physically then I could make myself cry and let my emotions out.
That’s where it all truly began.
So from then it was just those things I’ve mentioned and other silly little things like heavily slamming my fingers into a draw or whacking the side of my face on my wooden bed frame to cause a painful bruise.
I had seen pain in two ways in my life: one way where someone would use violence to let their anger/pain out and another way where the person on the receiving end of the violence would cry afterwards and have a bruise and then eventually they got better. So by being violent to myself, I felt like I was able to cause and cure my own pain. That’s where my addiction to being in control of my emotions came into fruition. I vowed to never let another person control what hurt me or what healed me.
When I was 12, I went through puberty in an intense way. I started my period, and they are still absolutely excruciating and crippling to this day, and then I also went from wearing a vest for 9 year olds to having DD cup breasts, on my little UK size 4/6 frame, over the space of a school summer holiday. That’s 6 weeks in England by the way. It traumatised me because it drew a lot of attention to me; male attention in abundance or girls hating on me for getting the male attention for having big boobs so labelling me a “slut”.
I watched a lot of shows with young pre-teens like myself as characters at that age and none of them had big boobs. They all had that iron flat stick figures and never had an issue with the third button of their school blouse popping off because their clothes size didn’t fit their bust size. So when a friend who still had baby fat when everyone else was stick thin invited me to join her in a phase of bulimia I thought why not. We would carry toothbrushes to school or I’d take mine to her house after school and we would binge eat food and then stick the brush down our throats and be sick. Looking back on it now it did nothing to reduce my breast size or even my overall weight. All it did was hurt my throat, leaving me with scratches that would make me feel like my vocal chords were being torn to shreds.
So for those who ask me why I’m so slim today, at 23, or tell me that being a UK size 4/6 means that I’m anorexic or have an eating disorder, that’s not the case. My few months of making myself sick at the age of 12 for self harm purposes didn’t alter my weight gain, or lack there of, at all- nor does is substantiate to me having an eating disorder. I love my figure, I just couldn’t handle my rapid breast enlargement at such a young age.
Due to my quick puberty, the male attention that I’d receive from boys and grown men became overwhelming. Males were thinking that they could make aggressive advances at me, touch me without permission or tell me all of the inappropriate things that they wished to do to me.
I was uncomfortable. I was confused. I was scared.
With that came a time that scarred me for life. That point of my life made a huge impact on the deterioration of my mental health. I became sick (which wasn’t diagnosed at the time but I now know it was when my fibromyalgia started), I found comfort in the wrong people, I became rebellious and all I knew was that I wanted to be dead.
My pursuit to slow suicide began then.
I started to cut myself with razor blades and squeeze the blood out until my wound was excruciatingly sore. I started to take cocktails of painkillers, and any other medication I could find, to feel numb. I began drinking so much alcohol that I can honestly say that I’m almost certain that my bloodstream between the ages of 13 and 16 was constantly intoxicated.
I wrote suicide notes in poet form and then showed them to people as if I had just created something completely unrelated to my own emotions for art purposes. It wasn’t art, it was pain and it was dangerous. The partying and not coming home when I was supposed to began then too. I was living it up like it was my last days because I hoped it would be. I got involved in silly fights with bricks and glass bottles, and would walk the streets at 4am in a mini dress (no coat) and high heels on my own hoping someone would kidnap and kill me and every night that I dosed myself up on tablets and alcohol I prayed that I didn’t wake to see the morning.
I was in pain and those closest to me at the time new that. Well, it was one person really who knew everything because I kept it well hidden from the rest of my loved ones. I just disguised it as being a fun teenage phase that would soon pan out.
That one person saw how vulnerable I was in that state and supported the fuckery. At the time I thought that I was being cared for but I was just being guided further towards self-destruction. It makes me want to cry because I would never do that to someone, or allow them to hurt themselves in that way, if I knew that I had a strong enough impact to stop them from doing that to themselves. Anything I was asked for, I gave. Anything that I was advised to do to hurt myself, I did. Then I was made to look stupid for doing it, which drove me to doing it further. The cycle repeated after that for many years.
At the age of 16 I had started smoking cigarettes heavily and whenever anyone asked me why I smoked I would say “slow suicide”. People thought that I was being funny or an asshole but I wasn’t, I was being deadly serious. However, at that age, I also decided to stop drinking alcohol. I got a wake up call one night where I got really drunk and to this very day I cannot remember what happened, luckily I was in my own home so I know that nothing dangerous could’ve happened to me, and the feeling of not knowing scared me into not being a drinker anymore.
I went through another traumatic period at the same age going into being 17 when friends around me started to go in and out of jail whilst others died. More than wanting to hurt myself anymore, I wanted to disappear quietly into thin air. My support system, or so I thought, at that point had moved away so I felt like I was all alone; even though now I realise that I had my loving family and few friends around me trying to give me love and support and I was just throwing it right back in their faces.
I’m sorry for hurting you. I’m sorry for letting you see me hurt myself and not allow you to help me. I’m sorry.
The cutting had stopped. The alcohol had stopped. All of the physical shit had stopped. It was just the medication left.
My addiction to tablets has only stopped recently, I want to say that when I became a vegan in 2015 that’s when it stopped completely. However, it had definitely reduced majorly by the time I was 19 (4 years ago); for example I went from taking approximately 34 tablets a day (in pain or not) to only taking 8-12 painkillers on the days that I was actually in pain. Which is still bad considering that having fibromyalgia causes me to be in pain most days but it was an improvement.
When I turned vegan I stopped taking painkillers almost all together. I now only take painkillers on the first day of my period when I’m too weak to hold my head above the toilet all day to vomit whilst shaking in pain, which is probably 7-8 months out of 12, and I only take 2-4 tablets on those days.
I’m proud of my growth.
My mind is much clearer now and it has been for the past 2 years. Now that I’ve stopped hurting myself I’m able to look at life from a brand new perspective. I made a lot of changes including following my dreams, getting rid of the person (and people) who liked to see me hurt/hurting myself and setting more boundaries.
I still want to be in control of my emotions but not in the same way. I want to be able to control what I allow get to me but if it’s uncontrollable then I will allow myself to feel, or not to feel, whatever it is naturally.
I will no longer hurt myself. I will no longer hurt myself. I will no longer hurt myself. I will no longer hurt myself. I will no longer hurt myself.
Whether this post will help someone or not, I really don’t know. Those weren’t my intentions either. I just wanted to share my addiction story so that I could accept it fully. However, if you take anything from this it’s that hurting yourself will not heal you. It will only make the damage greater when it has to be repaired. It will be more work for yourself when you try to overcome it in the long run if you’re lucky enough to get the chance, or will kill you and you won’t be able to see that life does get better eventually.
I want to dedicate this post to my friends Paige and Shannon who passed away due to suicide. I was given a chance, when they weren’t, to continue living and to see that life gets better if you keep trying. God only knows why he gave me this chance but clearly my purpose here hasn’t been fulfilled so I will try to be my best self and live my best life here on earth so that I can accomplish what I’m destined for before I meet my angels again.
Thank you for reading and if there is anything that you would like to talk about or say, feel free to leave a comment or message me on my social media.
Lots of love, Liss.