Before we begin, I’d like to say that names have been changed for the sake of their privacy.
As a little girl, I was thriving. You would often see me running around the elementary school campus, squealing with delight, as my friends and I played tag, talked about the boys of our school, and the most recent High School Musical. Back then I let myself live. Didn’t we all? We were so unaware of what was coming. We were pure and certain of our futures.
The first time I ever felt truly sad was for my first elementary crush. We’ll call him Albert. Albert was a cute little boy, a bit rude, but back then all they cared about was four square and basketball. Girls were gross. Anyways, I remember liking him so much, and my Lola had given me a ring as a birthday present. I was obsessed with that thing. I loved rings! My mom and dad both had one, 'cause they were in love. So, I gave my friends the ring, then in turn they’d give it to him, so he would give it to me as a gift. I had bounced in my seat. I was so excited! A boy was going to give me a ring regardless that it was mine to begin with.
By the end of the day I was beginning to get concerned. He still hadn’t given it to me. I asked my friends over and over if they were absolutely sure they’d given it to the right boy and they said yes. When the final bell rang and we waited for our cars, I purposely stood next to him, chatting about our Neopets. His car came and he didn’t even say goodbye as he left.
I never got that ring back.
By fifth grade, I was down to three friends, as opposed to the big group it once was. I had little crushes here and there, but none really stayed. It was gross, but at the same time intriguing. I had just gotten over a crush on one of the school’s nerds, and was busy burying my nose in books. Then, one day, a boy we’ll call David, had come up to me. He was shorter than me, had spiky gold hair. It was cute to young me. He was blonde and had blue eyes. I was about nine or ten years old, and for my birthday that year, my dad had let me make my own Facebook, despite the fact that I was below the minimum age requirement. I immediately added all my friends. Weeks after, I had discovered the game apps that Facebook had and was playing a CSI game when I got a friend request from a cute blonde boy with spiky hair.
Needless to say, my throat was raw from all the squealing I did.
We chatted as if we were old friends. It was the highlight of my year, it seemed. How naive. The following day, I expected to hang out with him and become even better friends, but that never happened. When I asked him why that night online he said that his girlfriend would have gotten jealous and it was best to keep our friendship limited to online chatting. I was confused, but shrugged it off as we started talking about the games on Facebook. The time had come for me to take a shower and as I started getting ready I had told him I had to go. He replied, “Wish I could be there with you (;” My stomach…dropped. Again I was confused, why would he want to do that? However, I played his game.
“Me too!” I replied with about a billion exclamation marks. That was the most innocent of his flirting.
Somehow, word had gotten out that David and I were talking, which eventually got to his girlfriend. She confronted me and, basically, this cost me the rest of my friends. From then on I was bullied. I was called very crude things that elementary school kids shouldn’t even know about. And…that’s when I met my friend Mort.
Technically, he was an inanimate object, but he was someone…something, I was very close to.
According to Mental Health of America, “self-injury occurs in approximately as many as 4% of adults in the United States. Rates are higher among adolescents, who seem to be at an increased risk for self-injury, with approximately 15% of teens reporting some form of self-injury.” They also state that, “21-44% of people self harm by banging their head or hitting themselves. 15-35% burn themselves, and 70-90% cut their own skin.”
I’m ashamed to admit that at ten years old I was a part of the 70-90% that cut their own skin, in which my friend Mort comes in. Mort was a razor, as you probably already guessed, and I named him the French word for death.
It didn’t last long. I didn’t understand it. I didn’t like the pain. I thought it would help, and it didn’t really.
I moved on, the bullying stopped, and my life was pretty uneventful up until junior high. I had a large group of friends again. We were wild. Everyone in our school knew us, especially me and my old friend Miah. Then it started to get a little…weird. David joined our group and let me tell you, I’ve never felt more awkward in my life. He teased me about elementary school, but I shrugged it off. It was over. Done with. We moved on and, surprisingly, we actually started dating. We were on and off again, but that didn’t matter to me. I didn’t care about him or relationships. I was focused on my friends and the studies.
Well, up until eighth grade when David and I had dated, yet again. I remember it perfectly. David and I were hugging. I was wearing a navy blue hoodie with the hood over my head. I had on my Cedar sweats and I was just having a really bad day. Some of David’s friends came up to him and they had said, “Are you hugging a dude?”
Ouch. I kept myself hidden in David’s chest.
David had said, “Dude this is my girlfriend.”
His friend had laughed and mumbled something about me being fat. Huge.
I felt like I was holding onto a rope at the moment. It was dark and I was alone. I was just hanging and staring numbly up at the bright thing. Then the words echoed in my head over and over, and I let go of the rope, tumbling into a deep abyss.
David had broken up with me a few days after for being too distant and too quiet.
I met with my friend Mort again, but again, it didn’t last long. I was caught and the school counselor had my mom take me home, where she checked my whole body for cuts. She was so angry. I was so afraid.
But…I was lucky.
Not many people have parents to help them when it comes to self-mutilation. In fact, parents are often the cause of it. I was lucky to have a parent that cared enough to be angry with me for hurting myself. I was lucky to have a parent who helped me.
If you’re really paying attention, you can tell that I was not, in fact, depressed. I was sad. There’s a difference. I hurt myself, thinking it would help, but it never did and eventually I moved on. I was bullied, picked on, teased, dumped, and alone, but I always moved on. I always made friends again. I was the crazy one. I talked to people. I worried then let it go. I was fine. I was not depressed. Depression is something much more complex than being upset for a few days.