If these old walls could talk, I thought to myself as I carefully picked my way across the broken floorboards of the main childhood home I had. My grandmother’s house was the center of my life. If my parents fought, we came here. We came here for Sunday dinners, we came here so Mom could clean the house, we came here when Dad lost his job, (which was often with his drinking,) we came here just because it was Saturday. We were always coming back here.
The walls were white, and the house stucco with adobe red trim and red sidewalks. The house was so big to me as a child and oddly enough I felt like a giant coming back to the abandoned and condemned house 11 years later. The house was built on land the mine owned next to a pecan field in Suhaurita, AZ. Two little houses stuck in the middle of a field 12 miles outside of Tucson. Squatters had obviously been there leaving their mark of tattered blankets, beer cans, and needles.
These walls, saw each tear, heard every whisper, saw every dream I followed after. They saw the ups and downs, they encompassed my life and had a story to tell. Especially when Grandma was sick and we had moved back to Grandma’s to help care for Grandpa while she was in the hospital. Walking into my old bedroom, my memory flashed back to when I was locked into my room during my grandmother’s last Thanksgiving, while the man who had molested me was free to walk around and interact with the family. Regardless of the restrictions the police department had put on him to not come within 500 feet of me, he was free. Staring out the window, I could feel my arms tingling. I closed my eyes, taking a deep breathe to push away the memories of what he had taken from me, and what I had to live with. It was one of the many reasons for the cuts running their jagged marks up and down my arms. Long after what my cousin had done, it left its mark deep within me, making me feel dirty, unclean, hurt, angry, ugly and at times enraged. I still felt this way all these years later. I despised myself so I punished myself. I also began cutting so I wouldn’t feel these emotions. At times, I just wanted to bleed so I would know that I was alive. It became an addiction. It became a way to cope with all these emotions, thoughts, and feelings that took over my world. My cutting became so dangerous that there were nights my husband would tie a string around my ankle to him, so he would know if I got out of bed to prevent me from harming myself. There were nights when my dreams were so real, I would wake up to a bloody mess and sometimes Chris was already beginning the cleaning up process. He only took me in for medical attention if he couldn’t get the wound to heal on its own. We had learned early on that cutting wasn’t understood among the medical profession because I was taken to Richard Young Hospital (a mental health hospital) against my will. I came out worse mentally and emotionally compared to going in, so Chris took on the burden of caring for me. For two years, I was caught in a cycle of trying to be normal, perfect, then I would drink, or have a flashback to my childhood or someone would call me a name and it would trigger the cutting.
However, after I surrendered my life to Christ, the need to cut was gone. I truly believe I was being oppressed and the battle for my life was not only being fought physically but spiritually as well. “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretentious thing that sets itself up before God and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. The enemy was using my feelings, my memories, my old wounds, to wage war for my life; had I not come to Christ and surrendered my life to Him, the enemy would have won. Had I not surrendered, God could not have fought this battle.
If these old walls could talk, they would indeed have a story to tell. They would have seen each tear, heard each prayer, and witnessed each wound God closed with his love. If these old window panes had been eyes, it would have seen and relished God’s glory in the battle He fought for me. It would have seen the scars that I carry on my arms as battle wounds from a war that He won for me, because He loves me that much.
For those who are still struggling with cutting and want to stop, first you must understand you cannot do it on your own. You need to tell someone of your struggles and know and accept they may not understand. You also need to seek help of a professional because cutting is an addiction and a dangerous self harm behavior. Seek help from a pastor and a counselor. Even though you may be getting help with your personal life, you also need to realize that it can be an oppression of the enemy. Telling someone and getting help is the only way to stop the cycle.
How to Break the Cycle:
1. Cutting is like any other addiction, it consumes your thoughts. Replace these thoughts with scripture that states’ Gods love for you. Each time the thought comes up to cut, begin repeating the scripture until the urge or emotion passes. Remember that with an addiction, its habitual and you need to find other things to replace the habit. It takes 21 times of doing something for it to become a habit…so it will take you some time to replace cutting with something healthy…like going to scripture, instead of the blade…
2. Crank the music! Listen to music that reminds you of God’s love, what he’s done for you. Music has the ability to control your mood, actions, and thoughts. So listen to things that are uplifting full of promises.
3. Pray, pray for God to heal the wounds and emotions that are the cause of the cutting.
4. Identify what emotions, moods, thoughts, smells, sounds, sights, social situations that trigger the need to cut. If it’s emotions, thoughts, and memories, its best to see a counselor. If it’s something like a social environment, it’s best to avoid it if its unhealthy for you…
5. Accountability! Telling people in your life that you can trust can help hold you accountable to avoid cutting. Plus they can pray.