Tiger stripes, Anonymous (15)

Throughout middle school and to this day I’ve been depressed. Everyone has their coping mechanisms, mine a bit less healthy. I would use pieces of plastic, mechanical pencils, any sharp object except knives to drag across my arms and my legs. Whenever I was sad the burning sensation and marks on my body brought me comfort. It was my own drug before I knew what drugs were. People would see the red or white puffy marks on my arms and legs and ask what they were. I always said they were cat scratches or I was just drawing on myself a little too hard. I opened up to some people about what they really were. I’d laugh and make jokes about them being my “tiger stripes”, trying to lighten the mood. It always made people uncomfortable and they’d always make me promise to never to it again. I wouldn’t talk to them about it again after that. I couldn’t stand hurting them. I would always wear long sleeves until the marks would fade. I wouldn’t be able to stand if my parents saw them. Even if it was 90 degrees outside, if the marks were there, long sleeves were on. Lucky for me no scars were left and they would only last for a few days. The reason behind harming was not because I felt I deserved it, it was because I wanted to feel something. When I got to the point of being numb it would always be there. It still happens today and I don’t tell many people. I’m working on trying to stop and find better ways to cope but it’s so difficult.

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