For about two or three years, cutting made my pain much easier to handle. It gave me an outlet for my pain, simply by allowing me to express my emotional pain in a physical way. I started cutting myself in 2014, after I read a book about teen self-harm. Up until then, I had been too afraid to hurt myself in any capacity. I had also tried to commit suicide at least a dozen times before that, but always given up at the last moment. All those suicide attempts were impulsive and weren’t that well thought-out even though I’d planned to end my life quite a few times before that. But this book afforded me insight into the life of someone who engaged in cutting. The novel was semi-autobiographical and was a truly chilling one. It made me realise that cutting was something I had not heretofore tried and might be something that worked. I don’t recall whether I researched the practice or even how to do it. I probably just followed what the protagonist did in the book. When I started, I was 23 years old. When I stopped cutting, I was 25. So, I had been at it for close to three years. I don’t remember much from that time, except that it was a very difficult time for me, emotionally. Things at home were spiralling out of control. At least, that’s what I felt. I felt like my entire world was crumbling and falling apart right in front of me, but very, very slowly and that there was nothing I could do about it. And despite my new-found sense of independence and self-confidence (very mild), that sense of powerlessness has never really left me. And I felt that today when my first response to cruel words from parents was an impulse to cut, followed by actual cutting, then thoughts of suicide, and finally, researching possible and painless methods of suicide. This is my pattern every single time. Only that in the past year or so, I had managed to not cut at all. Not that I never wanted to. I had done it for so long as a means of comfort, that it was the first, and often only, thing that I turned to for solace. But I had always managed to control the urge to cut and maintained that for a whole year. It was my new start, studying abroad. Sadly, when my time there was drawing to a close, I knew what I would have to come back to and how things would be. And I wasn’t wrong. Things are back to exactly how they were before I left and exactly how I knew they would be upon my return. Although I have a tiny sliver of hope for the future, I know that there is no change on the horizon in this situation for me. If I continue to stay here, whatever progress I made in that one year away would be washed away and be as if it had never happened. I don’t want that to happen. I worked very hard for those changes in me to happen. I don’t want to have had done all that work just so my parents can break me down again into that sad person I used to be. But I also don’t see a way out. So, for now, I have self-pity. In reality, it’s a no-good coping mechanism, but it helps me to release some of the pressure by crying buckets of tears. And, there is a strange comfort to be had from pitying yourself and lamenting about your sad fate. It hurts like hell for a long while, but once I’m done with the pity party, I feel a little better. Not a whole lot, nor do I feel like I have a solution (and I don’t really), but I feel a just a tiny little bit better. And I guess that’s at least something.