Why Did I Self Harm? The start of my dangerous journey into addiction

Addiction is a very complex and disturbing problem to have but when you think that self harm can be a form of addiction it just adds more confusion. I have often had people ask me why did I self harm. Why am I an addict?

I can only tell you what I felt and thought at the time. I can tell you what went on for me. Some of this may be disturbing to you and upsetting. That is not my goal of this post or this website.

My goals for this website are simple. I want other people that are going through the same thing to realize that they are not alone, they are not crazy. I want them to know that they can heal and they can find happiness no matter how far they have gone. There is hope. May you find it now.

Why did I self harm> The start of my journey into addiction

So Why Did I Self Harm? What brought it on?

This is not a simple story to tell. For as long as I can remember I have always had the belief that I am different, that something is wrong with me. I have felt like there is a hole in me and there has to be something to fill it.

There are some specific incidents that happened just before I started cutting myself but did this make me do it? Is this the reason? No, I don’t think so. I think the black hole that lives within me is the reason I started doing it. The events that happened in my teenage years just sparked my addiction off.

Perhaps I might not have been a self harmer, but I would have turned to addiction at some stage.

The Black Hole Inside of Me

So what is this black hole I speak about?

Well it feels like I am not enough. Yes I did say that correctly, the word is simply “enough”. I was not enough of anything in my mind. I thought one day everyone would know I was a fraud.

I wasn’t clever enough, I was stupid. If I did a test and I did well I didn’t congratulate myself and take the credit. Deep down I was convinced I must have cheated and everyone would find out.

I wasn’t pretty enough. I wasn’t nice enough.

I can’t explain this, but what I do know now and it is a common thing with addicts. We all feel this black hole.

I just wanted people to like me, to love me, but I believed I wasn’t lovable. I believed I didn’t deserve it.

I was self conscious and I was shy. You probably wouldn’t believe it if you saw me, but that is the truth. I hid it by being loud mouthed and out there. I tried to protect myself by making myself out to be someone else. I was soft hearted and sensitive but came across as tough.

Why did I self harm?

Gossip and Lies

Teenage years are rocky for all young adolescents. For me it was terrifying. It seemed I hit 13 years old and the black hole and my insecurities grew bigger. I wanted people to like me. I also started noticing boys and my peers started dating. I wanted to join in, but I was too scared.

I remember clearly there was one boy in particular that was popular and he had the most amazing personality. He clearly showed in interest in me but I was too scared. If he spoke to me I would literally turn and run. Interesting to note that many years down the line, on a drunken night out we bumped into each other in the parking lot of a popular pub and we kissed.

So back to what happened. I was too shy to even hold hands with a boy, but I wanted to. I wanted to do these normal things, but I just couldn’t. I felt like I wasn’t good enough. If I dated a boy he would find out what I was really like and he would hate me. Maybe he would tell everyone I was a fake? It was too much for me.




One day I came home from school and my parents sat me down and asked me about things that they had heard. Some other parents had told them about things they had heard about me. From what my parents told me it appeared I was a big slut, sleeping around and doing all sorts of inappropriate things with boys. Talk about being in shock.

I was 13 years old and it was humiliating. I went to school the next day with my eyes opened. I apparently had a reputation and I was the last to find out. I was hurt and ashamed.

I couldn’t understand. Who had made up these lies, who exactly had heard these lies? How had these lies gotten as far as my parents… and what was a blow job anyway?

This went on for months. I can’t even begin to explain how I felt.

He likes me, he really likes ME!

I turned 14 and things stayed much the same until we went away at the end of the year. While we were away at the end of the year I met a boy. He was a bit older than me and he was cute. Most importantly he couldn’t have heard about my reputation. He liked me and it was exciting. We held hands and later that day he kissed me. I loved that excited feeling in my stomach.

I had to go back to my family and he asked me to sneak out that night, would I? Hell yes, of course I would. This was the best thing that ever happened to me.

In case you are getting a nice gooey feeling about how my life was turning around finally, don’t. Because as fast as I was taken up into that great feeling I was brought crashing down to earth very quickly.

I snuck out that night and he raped me. He left me crying and bleeding in the middle of the night. I had my first kiss and lost my virginity in the same day.

I was crushed, hurt and humiliated.




To top it off I was busted sneaking out before I could tell anyone what had happened to me. I thought if I said anything then that they would think I was lying and just trying to get out of being in trouble. I kept it all to myself. I should have spoken to my parents because I was wrong. My parents are amazing and would have helped me. Instead I kept quiet and a while later I tried to talk to my little sister, she was twelve years old at the time and didn’t understand what I was trying to say.

We were very close and she was getting distressed. She knew I was trying to tell her something important but she didn’t get it. I left it because I didn’t want her upset.

I withdrew a lot and I was very angry.

Here we go again!

A few months later I was raped again. I won’t go into details about what happened because this is not just only my story and I don’t want to make anyone else feel guilty or like they are responsible. That is not the point of my story, this is about something else.

What happened is that this second rape was like a switch went off in me. I turned into a very angry and rebellious person. Yes I was always a little bit naughty, I won’t deny it.. but this is when I changed completely.

I could feel anger inside me all the time, just ready to explode out of me. It scared me. I started treating my mom really badly. For some reason I decided she was the one I was angry with and she bore the brunt of my anger and actions.

I am sorry mom. I love you with all my heart. I didn’t mean to do that, it was just the way it happened.

I Started Cutting Myself

At the same as I became a bubble of anger I started cutting myself. I remember the first time I did it. I was so confused and I didn’t know what I was doing. I had never heard of self harm and I didn’t know why I was doing it.

I found a blade at home and I held it against my skin and I pushed it in. At that moment I felt nothing. I felt free. It was like bliss. As long as I had that blade in my skin I didn’t feel hurt or angry or ashamed. It was like I was taken out of my own body and held in a safe little cocoon of nothingness.

I did it a few times and each time I cut I felt better, but then afterwards I would feel ashamed and confused.

Soon after I started with self harm my mom saw blood on my school shirt, she saw what I was doing and wanted to know why. I wanted to give in to my feelings and cry, tell her everything.

Ask her to please, please save me mommy. I didn’t though. I screamed at her and told her to leave me alone.

My mom was in a place where she was too scared to confront me about anything because she was too scared of my reaction. She felt I could have done anything and I think she was right, I was out of control. She knew something was wrong but didn’t know what or how to help me and of course I just pushed her away.

On the good side I did stop cutting, well on a regular basis that is. There were a few odd times over the years that I did cut myself again but it was not a regular thing.

That doesn’t mean the problem was just gone though. My addiction just changed it’s face which I will share about in future posts.

Over the years the rapes I went through and my relationships with men formed big problems in my life. This will become apparent the more I share with you.

So Buckle Up, I plan to take you on quite a dark ride on this website and this was the start…..

If you have anything you would like to share please leave a comment.

 

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28 comments

  1. Niki says:

    Hi Lynne,
    what a story and is really hard to read it without a earn on eyes… what a journey for you..
    But i very glad that you managed to put all the worries about past behind you and look bright on future.
    Keep moving forward and you know you have all Wa community to help you when you need a hug or kick…
    Lots of love and hugs.
    Niki

    • Lynne says:

      Thanks Niki. I must say it is truly an amazing experience being able to share all these things and possibly help someone else. Not always easy to write it down but it is liberating! Thanks for visiting and reading my story.

  2. Emily says:

    Lynne
    from the bottom of my heart, thank you for sharing your story. I am sorry you had to go through that as a teenager, a difficult time to begin with. As a teenager, I was anorexic. I was going to write, I suffered from anorexia. But no, I was anorexic. Which is a kind of self harm for some. I understand wanting to turn your emotional pain into physical pain, as the latter is easier in a sense.

    Wanting to find release. And self harm does that sometimes. It also allows you to control something. And sometimes you feel that is all you have. I later felt like self-harming twice since. Once when my husband cheated on me. And in another abusive relationship. Because the emotional and psychological pain was too much.

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Emily, yes I was thinking of mentioning that often eating disorders are considered self harm and very often self harmers also have an eating disorder. It is very closely linked.

      Thankfully I never had an eating disorder but I have sponsored some ladies with an eating disorder and it is truly a horrible thing to deal with, as is self harm.

      I’m so sorry to hear about your husband cheating on you. I’ve had boyfriends in the past cheat on me and plenty of abusive relationships… but thankfully my husband is an amazing man that treats me with respect and would never hurt me or be unfaithful! It must be very painful to go through 🙁

      I’ve got lots of interesting (and yes dark) posts that will be following these. My vision is to help people by being very real and honest on this website. Hopefully it will also give the families and loved ones of addicts a bit of an insight into what their loved ones are going through.

  3. Hindy Pearson says:

    Lynne, what can I say. You’re a very brave woman to bare your soul and share such intimate stories. I could never do that, but it’s through the sharing of these experiences that you reach others suffering similarly, and offer them a glimpse of a better way. I admire how far you’ve come, and now you are an inspiration to others.

    • Lynne says:

      Thanks Hindy, it really is a healing experience to share. Why should I be ashamed because of what others have done to me? There is so much shame for the victim and I think that is just so unfair and wrong. I was just a child.

  4. Robert says:

    Hi Lynne,

    You certainly had a baptism of fire in life. I sense a strong person has been forged from those flames however and the more of your story I read the more I’ve come to respect you.

    Childhood traumas are unique to every person and we all go through them as a rite of passage. I know I’ve had my own demons to face, different from yours, but the lessons seem similar… maybe the same?

    As a 4 year old I made a trivial mistake that scars my memory. I think it’s my earliest memory of life. I hated the feeling of doing something wrong out of ignorance and I obsessed with learning how everything worked, including people. It’s impossible and foolish and eventually I gave it up, but not before it gave me the gifts of curiosity, empathy and patience.

    Eventually it dawned on me that everything is supposed to be imperfect and unfair. I learned that peoples’ imperfections are what makes them real, human, and forgiveable. It was at that time I forgave myself for not being perfect and I was able to embrace it, not only that but everything that’s screwed up in life, with the world, everything. Actually, I thought, wouldn’t a perfect world be a bit… boring? So anyway, I don’t worry about it any more in favour of getting on with life instead.

    I wondered. In your own personal journey, having your own personal epiphanies, did you find similar answers or something else?

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Robert

      Thank you and you are spot on. The world would be a very boring place if everything was perfect wouldn’t it?

      It takes all different people to make life interesting.

      To answer your question yes I have had some incredible epiphanies. The biggest one being that for a very long time I was so angry and resentful that I am an addict. I mean how fair is that? What do I do that made me deserve this punishment?

      Well my view point has changed. I am grateful I am an addict. For starters yes a lot of my journey has been dark and bad, but damn I have had some good parties too! I have lived my life and experienced things most normal people haven’t.

      I have also been given an amazing opportunity to better myself on a regular basis. Each time I work through the 12 steps I see things within myself that I can change and make myself into a better person.

      I then see all these “normal people” and I can see that the thought of really going into themselves and evaluating themselves and consciously making changes for the better is just not something that features in their lives. I’m not saying that they are useless or bad people or anything like that. I’m just saying that I have an awareness that others don’t. I am able to grow as a person all the time and a lot of other people are just oblivious to this.

      Each thing, big and small, that I have been through in my life has made me into the person I am now. I do love myself now so I can’t live my life regretting things, I am grateful to be who I am.

      I have moved on from my past, I have learned from it and I have grown. I won’t shut the door on it, but I won’t dwell on it.

  5. Terry Ann says:

    Wonderful site!! It sure looks like you are helping a lot of people by the comments posted. You have certainly been through much. The site is pleasing to look at and you have fantastic categories in the menu. You have done a lot of research and it shows. Congratulations on everything you have achieved. Keep up the good work.

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Diana

      I am so sorry to hear about your granddaughter. You don’t say whether she is in recovery or still in active addiction? Remember there is always hope, she can recover. Please pass on my website details to her, she is welcome to contact me in private too if she wants to.

  6. jazzy323 says:

    Your site is very personable and this shows in the way that your write your articles…I feel the pain that you have experienced in your self harm. You will help a lot of people through this as I know a lot of friends who have self harmed and feel that there is no-one who understands their pain. its only when you open up like you have when you can heal

  7. Arief says:

    I think every teenager faces the same confusing stage of life.
    It will be easy for some but hard for others (like you). Thank you for sharing your story.

    I will need to pay attention to my daughter so she will feel complete without a black hole. I want to be there for her.

    May I ask, was it you that wouldn’t reach out to your parents and share things, or more like your parents weren’t available when you needed them?

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Arief

      My parents are wonderful! There were a few reasons I didn’t reach out to my parents, the main one being that I was convinced that because of the rumors they wouldn’t believe me. There is more to the story that I just can’t share because it involves other people and their lives. My story is mine to share, but I don’t feel I have the right to share things that affect others.

      Sometimes shit happens to good people, and this is what happened here. My parents are wonderful people and they were always available.

      I hope this story helps you understand your little girl better Arief and know how to be there for her, know what to look out for. This time in my life has gone and I have healed…. I share this in the hope that others will be saved the pain I went through.

      • Arief says:

        Ah.. The prejudice that we created and believed about others.

        I certainly experienced it. I shall remember this and not letting my daughter fall for it trickery.

        • Lynne says:

          Very true Arief. If you have any more questions please feel free to ask. I know that the emotions and turmoil young girls go through in their teenage years can be very intense, even without trauma and additional problems.

  8. Shaz says:

    I remember (perhaps like many others) thinking what got you started in your addiction when I first visited this website many months back. Today, I found out. I am sorry you went through this but looks like you are so much better off now! My question to you is this – are all addictions harmful in your opinion? While I am aware that the vast majority are indeed, how about something like being addicted to reading? Or music? Or football? And I do not mean giving up everything else in life for it – but say spending a good 15 hours on a daily basis doing something related to it. Is that addiction as well?

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Shaz

      That’s a great question and I think it really does depend on the situation and how it affects you and the people around you. If something starts taking over your life and it becomes a compulsion that you cannot control, and it is affecting other parts of your life negatively and those around you… well then I would say it is definitely an unhealthy behavior.

  9. Juhani says:

    Very shocked, sad and sorry to hear about what happened, Lynne. Not just the rapes, but also those rumours, which really harmed you in a different way. You are very brave for having lived with those kinds of memories and having OVERCOME them. *High five* I know it is something that never really goes away.

    This is the first time I’m sharing my story publicly, albeit anonymously. I hope it can be of help to someone:

    I was repeatedly molested at around the age of 4 or 5. The effects continue to this day. I’m in my 30s. I suppressed the memories until I was 11, when they came back in a dream. I was very confused… a kid doesn’t dream that kind of stuff. So I asked my mom if we’d known a guy like *insert description*. Her memory of him lines up with mine; and I knew these were memories, not dreams. I was ashamed and confused and didn’t tell my mom. Around this time I became aware that my dad was an alcoholic spousal abuser. My mom had enough to deal with.
    We moved when I was 14. I was very alone, alone at home, hiding in my room from my parents’ issues and alone at school with no friends.
    When I was 15, a guy (17) I thought I loved took advantage of me(no rape). I had no interest in physical stuff due to my history I guess, I just wanted to hold hands. The things he did made me feel like trash. I don’t blame him anymore, he was a boy and I was available. But in his ignorance he made me feel like I’d been defecated on. Sorry for the mental image. My encounters with him happened often. A self-destructive cycle in itself, which I couldn’t break out of since he was my addiction. So I cut. Like you I just did it, without any knowledge that it had a name or was a condition and that other people did it too. I swiped a serrated kitchen knife from my mom’s kitchen drawer and kept it in my dresser. It was more satisfying to saw than to use a smooth blade. When the emotional pain became too much I’d cut and feel better. FREE, like you said. Seeing the blood flow was freeing, there’s no other word for it. It’s like the physical pain negated the emotional pain. It’s like the overwhelming emotions flowed out with the blood. It was a drug.
    When a good friend told me the guy had tried his luck with her, it was over. I was a mess. I knew it was good the relationship was over, but it was like knowing I’d survived a train wreck. I didn’t enjoy the accident and now I needed to learn to live with this crippling sens of loss, like the loss of a limb. It had been a very unhealthy infatuation. So I developed an eating disorder along with the cutting. I over-ate, then I’d throw up. This illness was one of the worst things I’ve ever gone through. I didn’t end up in hospital, didn’t burn my throat with the acid, but it was mentally damaging. I was completely helpless. I could not go 5 minutes without chewing something.

    Ironically this all happened while I was a new saved Christian. Being a Christian didn’t make the problems go away. There’s no magical cure to make that kind of emotional distress go away.

    What made it go away, though? In short: I met my husband and his real love and support brought me out of the self destructive cycle. I started to see my own value. More than 10 years later I’m still learning my own worth. It’s what you said, not being “enough” and then someone showed me that I was enough, I had enough. 🙂 I just needed someone to hold up the mirror.

    You have an amazing platform here, perhaps I can encourage you to put a few paragraphs in about how to get out of a self-mutilating cycle. Maybe add some numbers to helplines in the major countries? If anyone is reading this and has a self-destructive problem like cutting, get help. It can move onto something else and before you know it you are wrestling with a monster. Get support. Get better. You are worth it.

    In conclusion: I believe that most teenagers go through that overwhelmed, angsty stage, due to hormonal changes. I hope to catch my kid when he’s 11 and tell him: “You are going into the toughest stage of your life, kiddo, strap in.” Someone’s gotta give the poor thing a warning! 🙂 And obviously I’ll tell him to come talk to me when it’s too much.

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Juhani

      I am so glad you managed to get through your struggles. It is so common for girls that have been abused and/ or raped to cut. It is so much more common than people think. I worked in a treatment facility for a year and almost every woman that self harmed had some incident of abuse in her past. Often this also leads to body dysmorphia and eating addictions too.

      Fortunately one of the only problems I have never had is an eating disorder. Although now that I have quit smoking I must admit that I am totally hooked on coffee, Coca Cola, chips and dip… sweets… but I will be dealing with this issue next on my website.

      As you saw from my story I only had a fleeting experience with cutting so I can’t really explain to others how to get through it, well not from my personal experience anyway. I will investigate this and hopefully bring out some more content related to self harm.

      As for help line numbers I will look into that… thanks for the suggestions! And a very big thank you for sharing your experience too. I think it is really important for people to know how common it is. To know that we are not crazy. Just normal people with big problems, problems that can be overcome in a healthy way.

  10. Freddie says:

    Hi Lynne

    Thank you for a beautiful post. Sounds unhealthy to call a post like this beautiful, but the intention makes it what it is.

    I never really knew what self-harming was and have never done it. I do distinctly remember though, at the hight of my active addiction, how I needed to get drugs again and I really, really, really did not want to use again, but could not not use. At those stages I seriously thought of cutting myself as an alternative to calling my dealer. It made no sense to me at all at that stage.

    Today, I understand that my I was hoping that the physical pain would numb the emotional pain, just like the drugs did.

    Thank you for your frankness and openness and courage to venture where few others dare to go.

    Freddie

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Freddie

      This is the first time one of my posts has been called beautiful, thank you. I’ve got the disturbing and sad routine often… sometimes inspiring but not beautiful.

      Yes it is hard to explain, I mean cutting yourself and self harm is just not logical is it? That as the freaky part about it. At least with drugs and alcohol there is some sort of logic to it.

      I also couldn’t understand it, I had such an urge to do it at that time. I stopped cutting and never felt the urge again until last year when I quit smoking cigarettes. Oh my gosh it is scary how quitting cigarettes woke up so many old cravings…

  11. Lauren Kinghorn says:

    Oh Lynne, this account is so raw and real and emotionally charged. I feel for you. And I can relate. I too went through similar emotions and chose similar outlets. I too hurt the one’s who loved me most when I was a confused teenager. Your story is every teenagers story, in a way… at least in terms of the emotions you feel as a teenager. Each child handles these difficult feelings in their own way and so their lives might take different turns. Your brutally honest testimony has the power to change a teenager’s path and even save their lives. You are doing very special work with this website. I honour you.

    • Lynne says:

      Lauren that is my hope for this post, to help other teenagers. I must say it was awful being a teenager wasn’t it?

      I do hope that my website changes lives that would be so amazing!

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