The First Time

I don’t much remember the first time. My brain didn’t store it to the ‘file and archive’ memory banks. Probably because i didn’t think it would be anything significant at the time. I didn’t think i’d be doing it again.

It didn’t leave much of an impression. There wasn’t much blood or pain and afterwards i’m sure I wondered why i’d even bothered.

But I do remember the fourth or fifth time.

I’d used the blade from a pencil sharpener, one of those metal ones. Unscrewing it with my compass when i found that wouldn’t do the job i’d wanted it to.

Further up on my arm this time, not round my wrist where people could see it, but further up under the sleeve of my school shirt.
They were never deep or long, just enough to sting and draw blood. Unfortunately I cut deeper than I had intended this time and the blood soaked through my sleeve.

I can’t forget the remarks from some, including my closest friends and boyfriend of the time. Did I really want attention that much? What was wrong with me? Attention seeker, stupid, sick.

And I can’t forget the kindness of someone else, a true friend. She took me to the toilets and gently cleaned it up, pressing tissue to my arm until it stopped bleeding. Not once did she question me and she’s never mentioned it since.

Sadly, the taunts and jibes didn’t stop me. It just made things worse.

34 thoughts on “The First Time

  1. hamlet says:

    A good friend indeed. Knowing when to not say anything is a precious gift.


  2. Buttons says:

    i don’t think i ever thanked her, i wasn’t sure how to


  3. Paul says:

    Some feelings between friends are strong enough not to need stating, I think.

    What sort of age were you when this was at it’s worse?


  4. Buttons says:

    i think i was about 14. It was never terrible, but recently with my panic attacks, i’d found myself scratching (just with fingernails) so it brought it all back a bit


  5. My first girlfriend would cut herself, and I remember it scaring the shit out of me. Didn’t know what to do, and didn’t have any clue how to find out about it (oh, the days before the internet…) I was a bit older than you and your friend, and had a billion questions I wanted to ask but didn’t. That was a good pal you had there!


  6. Buttons says:

    i don’t think i would have minded questions, it was the assuming that bothered me


  7. pete says:

    Buttons, no more scratching, please, no more scratching. It’s so sad 😦


  8. Buttons says:

    oh dear, sorry pete..more happy posts coming!


  9. Sunshine says:

    Dear Buttons i am sorry that you have gone through such a hard time in your life. I hope that you were able to seek some sort of councelling. Sharing things like this with close friends that you trust is really important and apart of the healing process so i ope you have managed to do that as well.
    Remeber that even though you dont know bloggers really well that a lot of people are here to listen and support you. Sometimes it is easier to chat to someone you dont know and get it all off your chest.
    From my experience, going through some really touch times. I was really pleased that i had closed family to support me and God to call on.
    You know where i am if you wanna chat.
    Kind Regards
    (sorry, i had to edit this sunny)


  10. Sunshine says:

    No probs. I understand keeping your name quiet. I should of realised.


  11. Dax says:

    Oh, Poor thing! Hope you’ve stopped…


  12. Tabi says:

    A couple of my friends would cut themselves. One had been sexually assaulted by a boy we considered a friend, the other had just lost her Dad. I could understand why they did what they did because it was a release. Can you understand why you do it? If you could, would that be a way to stop doing it?


  13. Buttons says:

    thank you Sunshine. i like to think i can talk about things openly here, just muddling through things in my past. i know i’ve not had a hard life, but it’s my life and i’m not good enough to make up fiction!
    Dax i have. i’ve not done this properyl since i was about 16
    tabi, like i say to Dax i haven’t done it in years. the scratching recently was as a distraction to a panic attack i was having, but those have been getting less too. i’ve certainly had no serious trauma in my life


  14. Sunshine says:

    Oh Hun it doesnt sound like fiction at all but something very painful and confussing that you have had to go through. Dont do too much muddling on your own hun. Sometimes it is good to dig it up and have a great big cry… that and a huge tub of Hagan Daz.


  15. Dax says:

    Well done, Buttons.


  16. hoverFrog says:

    I’m glad to hear that you’ve stopped. Have you spoken with any fellow cutters about this? One springs to mind from that place where you blogged before. Is this even something that you talk about in real life? I must confess to being curious about it in a disturbingly morbid way. I’m sorry about that.


  17. Buttons says:

    froggy, i’ve never spoken to anyone about it. it’s ok to be facinated, i’ll answer questions if i can!


  18. Sketches says:

    I could never understand people doing such things inspite of having everything.

    Thanks for making me understand Buttons.


  19. Buttons says:

    sketches. i do have everything, you’re right but that doesn’t always mean that it’s a happy person inside
    this was my way of dealing with the feelings of unhappiness, just some other pain to concentrate on

    please ask any questions if you have any


  20. panda_eyed says:

    I’m sorry, I still don’t really understand, but I’d like to try. I know you say that for you, it isn’t a cry for attention, but I do think that for many cutters, it is.
    You say the pain is another thing to concentrate on. Why pain? Why would you want to hurt yourself more?


  21. Anonymous says:

    Because sometimes physical pain is easier to cope with than mental turmoil. It’s a distraction from everything going on in your head, a short sharp shock that clarifies and consolidates the terrible swirling confusion you feel. It’s also a bugger to try to explain to anyone who’s never been there.

    Sorry for jumping in, Buttons!


  22. Buttons says:

    that’s ok Anon! you explain it better then i think i could!

    i used to do it in private and in places i could cover up, i think a lot of self harmers do Panda. In this way it wasn’t about attention becasue i actually didn’t want anyone to see.
    Perhaps for some people it is, they want someone to notice and help… but not in a horrible ‘look at me’ way. just a cry for help


  23. Anonymous says:

    I agree. It’s rarely, if ever, about attention. You’d be surprised how many of us aren’t wearing long sleeves for fun.

    As a side point: could we avoid the word “cutter”? It’s a very emotive word and I don’t think I’m the only person to prefer “self-harmer” or something of that ilk.


  24. Sketches says:

    The way i understand is that different people have different ways to deal with unhappiness, for eg. some people withdraw within themselves.
    Causing pain to one self is just another way to distract or to react to unhappiness, is that correct ???

    But does it help Buttons ?


  25. Buttons says:

    i think you got it Sketches. perhaps a bit like people with eating disorders who like that they can control their weight in that way, it’s good to know that there’s some pain you can control even if it’s not the pain inside

    and yeah i guess it does help otherwise people wouldn’t do it


  26. avssblondie says:

    I think it’s a way of getting rid of any pain and anger inside yourself, well that’s certainly what it was for me when I did it. I don’t now but then I had to see someone because what I was doing was wrong. There has to be a reason why you did this and only you know what it was. When you scratch now it’s a way of you diverting the panic away from the panic attacks….it’s understandable, I had a friend who did the same. There’s no shame in it and it makes sense but always try to deal with whats behind it babe x


  27. Sarah says:

    I think this was very well written, Buttons. Even though you’ve been thinking about it recently, it feels good to know how much you’ve overcome since then. 🙂


  28. holllyberrry says:

    oh buttons, i’m sorry. i’m happy to hear that you’re curbing it and I think talking about it probably helps. my friend was molested by a brother when she was a child and she started cutting as a teen. she said it puts her in a trance-like state so that she doesn’t have to ‘go there’. a distraction. her cuts were always in hidden, safe places…not for attention. she sees a counselor and makes art to cope.

    best of luck finding other ways to feel better.

    you need a big hug.


  29. Buttons says:

    thanks blondie. you’re exactly right…it’s a diversion from the panic
    Sarah, it was song long ago, i think i was depressed then but never knew it. It wasn’t until i got terribly down that i realised what was wrong
    Holly i get all my hugs from the boy. He helps me a whole lot 🙂


  30. Olivia says:

    i like what Paul said, and friends like that are often around for the rest of your life becuase you have been through something that binds you together.

    Are you still friends?


  31. Buttons says:

    Liv, we are 🙂


  32. Fab says:

    Just popped by to say hello. Its very sad over here. I hope that you are healed of your harming days. I am sure that it is a process that you have had to go through. But you are back on the otherside. Looking forward to a cheerful next entry.


  33. Catherine says:

    You are so brave for recalling these painful memories of yours. It’s been my experience that blogging is very therapeutic and generally brings out the best in us all. Here’s hoping you have many, many more good friends in your life, Sweetie. Glad we stumbled upon one another. 🙂


  34. Catherine says:

    You are so brave for recalling these painful memories of yours. It’s been my experience that blogging is very therapeutic and generally brings out the best in us all. Here’s hoping you have many, many more good friends in your life, Sweetie. Glad we stumbled upon one another. 🙂


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