My friend, Rachel, was bold enough to share her struggle through junior high. Thank you Rachel, and forever strong! Here’s her battle:
My name is Rachel Pickham. I’m sixteen years old. I grew up in a medium-sized suburban town in Illinois, nothing special; pretty boring to be completely honest. In sixth grade I went through a six-month diagnosis that ended with a neurologist telling me I had Myasthenia Gravis. I began to feel “numb” as a mental block to all the things going on around me, and I started to ignore people and hide my thoughts. It didn’t affect me very much at the time, but in junior high it began to set in for me that I was abnormal in the way I felt things. The numbness had become habit, and by then I couldn’t break the cycle. I noticed it suddenly and did the only thing I could think of to make myself feel. I took a mechanical pencil and dug it into my skin, dragging it about two inches through the flesh of my wrist. I felt something then, of course- panic and regret, and pain. I absolutely loved it. Hiding the cut and then the slowly-scarring scab kept me busy for a long time; a few months until the winter. I made one small slip and my mother noticed it, and she didn’t mean to be, but she was angry. Her anger and disappointment scared me, so for a long time I stopped. But I began to miss the exhilaration of the cut, and feel the dreaded numbness again, so I hid in my bedroom and repeated my mistake, this time on my upper thigh, and there were more. This process repeated for years, until my parents saw a small set of cuts for the last time. They offered me therapy, and I didn’t want it, but I took it. It helps, but my decision to stop has done more. This hasn’t been easy, let me tell you- I loved the pain and I craved it, so I started subconsciously doing things like turning the water up too hot in the shower or pulling off hangnails just to see the blood. Those things were almost harder to stop than the cuts. I still want that pain, want it almost uncontrollably sometimes, and I still love the way my scars look, but I’m growing. I’m getting there, I promise. It’s been three months, and I’m really very happy.