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If Anna could go back in time, and tell her younger self just one thing, it would be to never start cutting herself, or hurting herself in any way. Self harm was something she never thought f before.
It was in her second year of high school - sophomore year - when all the stresses and pressures put on her to succeed and get good grades in all her classes started to really get to her. Anna was never a good student, didn't test well, and was typically a C student.
With all that stress and pressure and a lot of unhappiness, that fist time that she cut herself she actually felt some relief, she didn't feel so uncomfortable for a minute, and in her head she was like "hey, this works." And so, she kept on doing it - more and more often.
She didn't realize though how hard it would be to keep secret, how difficult it was to keep her arms covered all the time. When someone saw the cuts on her arms, and asked about them, she would make up stories and excuses, telling them "oh my cat scratched me," or something like that. Gym class was the hardest since they all had to wear uniforms that showed her arms and all the areas where she had been cutting herself.
Anna learned the very hard way that self-harm is a real addiction and that once you start it is nearly impossible to stop.
Its been almost ten years since Anna first started doing this, and, despite a lot of effort, it is still happening. If something goes wrong at work, or at home, or if she fails a test, cutting and hurting herself is the first thing that comes to mind - and that was a really scary realization to come to. She constantly thinks, "I wish I never started cutting myself."
A few years ago her parents found out that she had been hurting herself, and her Mom yelled at her saying "I didn't bring you into this world to cut yourself up."
Hearing that started to have an effect on Anna, and she began to face herself and finally realize what she was doing, and that it wasn't healthy, not just for her, but for everyone around her, it was harmful to everyone. She was hurting herself and hurting the people around her, hurting the people she loved.
She has always felt ashamed of this harmful habit, but at least now she is making her best efforts to stop - it's hard though, and every little thing that may go wrong during the day sends her right back into that unhealthy way of thinking, followed by depression, anxiety and other mental health issues she was dealing with.
She still has all the scars, and looking at them today is very painful, but she knows that they will eventually fade away. She may not be able to fully fix herself right at this moment, but she is trying, and through sharing her story she is also trying to help those around her who may be going through the same, or similar things.
If Anna could share one message it would be to never start cutting or hurting or harming yourself - it is a slippery slope that you do not want to go down. Talk to someone - a therapist, a loved one or family member - and get help. And most of all, don't start a habit like this one that is so hard to stop and can do so much harm. Self-harm, self-injury, self hurting, whatever it is called is not a healthy way to deal with pain.
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