Compass

by JB
(USA)

I have a protractor and compass set. I don’t know where the protractor is anymore, but I know exactly where I’ve stashed the compass, because that’s what I use to cut myself.
I am from upper middle class, 18 years old, female, and attending an elite liberal arts college where I plan to double major and where I play a varsity sport. I’ve been born and raised in a loving, Christian family, and throughout high school, I’ve attended youth group regularly, excelled at various sports, done well with schoolwork, and been a leader in various extracurricular activities.
I don’t know if I believe in God or not. I’ve attended Bible studies all my life and I feel like the material has been drilled in my head so much that it isnt meaningful anymore; they are just stories. I know that if I told this to my parents, they would be disappointed in me, blame themselves for not making me a good enough Christian and place even more pressure and attention on me. I would become a black sheep to them, that is in the wrong and that they have to save. I can't tell them other things too, like how I’ve gotten intimate with past boyfriends, occasionally drink, and yes, cut myself. I can't tell them, I do not know how to and am too ashamed. I have to be good and always do right. I feel like I am living a lie, saying I am a Christian while I am unsure of my faith.
I started cutting the start of senior year. The day after I first did it, I felt like everyone was looking at me funny and somehow knew what I had done even though I hadn’t told anyone and that my clothes covered it. It would take me months to tell someone.
There was so much pressure. My best friend came out to me during this time, telling me that she was depressed and was receiving medical attention and therapy. She was suicidal, and I tried to always be there for her, but it was hard especially when she would push me and her other friends away at times. I also was dating a guy that was not good for me; the only reason I was with him was because I just wanted to be held. My off season coach for one of my sports moved, and I found that cathartic outlet cut off. I started a different sport and was relieved when the long practices would numb me. But soon that wasn’t enough and I went back to cutting on and off, each time saying I was done for good. There were many other things going on, but I will not go into detail except to say that they just all added up and I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore.
The people who I have opened up to are few; only two and one of them has left the country and the other is on the other side of the country and we do not talk anymore.
I get scared of myself sometimes. People see me as a bubbly, happy, talented and beautiful girl and do not see the other side that I hide, the part that is scared, alone, not good enough, and brutally judgmental. I do not know which I am, and I feel like the two are always competing and I am in the middle, bouncing from one extreme to the other. I am tired of always watching myself to make sure that nothing slips, that no one catches on. It’s hard to hide the times that I feel distressed and can’t crawl out of bed, especially in the dorm. Hiding my explosive and unexpected bursts of unwanted and unexplainable sadness and despair is getting harder and harder. I do not want anyone to see my weakness, but at the same time I want to scream, "help me, someone!! Look, look, look!"
My behavior is not excusable. I have not been abused or bullied or have had a close loved one die. There are many others whose stories are harder to hear than mine and I do not feel that mine is important or of any consequence at all. But I really wish I could let go of my pride and tell someone, and just cry in someone’s lap and be comforted and loved and be told that I am going to be fine. But I have no expectations of this from others. I don’t have any expectations of others, but high expectations of myself, and when I fall short, I feel the need to punish myself.
I really hope that I haven’t been too graphic and that this will be published, because I really am struggling and I do not know how to talk about this. This is the first time I’ve actually written this all out and I feel some relief. I feel safe that this is anonymous and hopeful that maybe I can read a response, any response, which may comfort me. Even if this is not published, like I said, I have felt some relief which is a good direction, and please, to whoever reads this, please pray for me. Thankyou.

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