Day 1: How long have you been self-harming? Discuss why you started.’
I’ve always been a freak, ever since I was a little child; always extremely nervous, too shy for my own good, and as a result I’ve never been able to make friends. Now I’m seventeen and things are far worse. Selective mutism rules my life. I hate this, it’s emotional agony. I can’t put into words how horrible it is to feel myself freeze up when social interaction becomes necessary; I just can’t seem to get the words out, and my brain just goes blank, so if I do manage to say something, my chances of holding any sort of conversation plummet to nothing.
I’m afraid of people, of having to be social. I’ve had to resort to sign language for various periods in my life where it got so bad that I couldn’t even speak to my parents, or the few other people I felt comfortable enough around to speak normally. But even when I’m in public, sometimes my fingers would freeze and I couldn’t manage to form the actions at all. I’m well aware that no matter how hard I try, my inability to talk makes most of my communication methods incomprehensible to the majority of the people I know. Only my parents, and the two ‘friends’ that I have, know enough of sign language to make it slightly easier for me to get my point across. Even when I’m in public or in class for example, forming a quick, if somewhat half-hearted ‘hello’ or ‘thank you’ feels like good manners, and people seem to get the gist of it.
I think that’s why I started to do it. All the pretty, popular girls at college are thin. I want to be normal. I know I’ll never be like that, but the overwhelming idea that maybe if I looked like that, then maybe people would like me more has never left me. It wormed its way inside my skull during puberty: that grim couple of years where even the dumpiest pre-teens evolved into something boys would lust after. I’d always been told that I would just grow out of my shyness, but I lost all hope when aside from the obvious bodily changes which happened over the course of the few years at the start of high school, my condition worsened until I finally jut stopped talking.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget the disappointment I felt with myself then.
Seven days ago, I acted on my desire to be beautiful. I purged myself, threw up the meal that mum had put so much effort into making, and felt so guilty- not only because of the wasted food, but for how good it felt knowing that I wouldn’t be putting any more weight on that night . I’ve done it twice a day since, and it completely terrifies me. I don’t quite want to do this, I feel so conflicted. I know in my heart that it’s an unhealthy choice, and that obsessing over my weight isn’t doing anything for my already low self-esteem, which is why I’m doing this challenge. I think that if I can last thirty days without purging, then I can nip it in the bud, so to speak. I’m looking up healthy eating plans. I think that finding a healthy alternative to all this makes much more sense, and then in a month’s time I can forget that I ever even resorted to having to regurgitate my dinner into the toilet.
I would say that in the past week I’ve lost less weight than I’d like to think. On the day after it started, I felt so guilty for eating the big breakfast that I’d made myself to cancel out what I’d done the night before. Before I knew it, it was all out of my body and I was on my way to college. I’d done my best to eat a normal size of lunch, but it felt like my stomach had shrunk, I couldn’t eat more than half of my sandwich without feeling sick to my stomach. And so when I got home and made myself dinner, the whole damn cycle started again.
I’m really scared. I need real friends, not the two people I have now who tolerate my partial silence around them. I’ve known them since I moved to their primary school in year 3, and so I am comfortable around them to talk quietly. But I feel like they just don’t know the person I am inside. I’m not a mute mentally- my thoughts chatter round my brain seemingly at the speed of light. I have so many things I’d like to say, so many jokes I’ve got untold, so many anecdote I want to share. I just can’t express myself enough and it’s too frustrating to even contemplate about too much.
What a slump I’m in. I need something to jolt me out of it, otherwise I’m afraid that I’m going to stay like this, a socially awkward teenager, forever.