“This feels so good…” I thought to myself when I saw blood dripping down onto the floor. I stared at the razor, thinking how can something so painful bring so much pleasure. For some reason the razor blade made all of my problems vanish for that split second. All the anger and disappointment I felt eroded away. When I started cutting myself in High School I did not realise that “dirty” habit would turn into a nasty habit. For a long time, I was ashamed of my scars and I felt all alone. I didn’t know there were other people out there who mutilated themselves. Soon enough that all changed!
“I watched my skin rip apart and that made me want to stop!” said, Sade Giliberti. Most of you might know her as a talented TV presenter as well as a trend setter. But what most people don’t know is that at some point in her life, she found comfort in watching a blade pierce into her skin. At the young age of 17 she remembers herself, going through a deep state of depression. She had just lost her mother and not only was she grieving, but she was also facing the challenges of being a student in matric. With no one to turn or talk to, her inner darkness consumed her to the point of cutting herself. For her, it was actually her own little secret, she didn’t want anyone to know about it.
She wasn’t looking for attention or sympathy which is one of the stigmas that most people associate with people who cut themselves. Self-mutilation occurs when someone is highly depressed and they find ways to hurt themselves in order to release their emotions. The same way some people may express their anger onto a punching bag- people who cut themselves take out their anger onto themselves. According to SADAG (South Africa Anxiety and Depression Group) report 60% of young people who have a mental disorder, do not get the help that they need.
Young people are afraid of talking to their peers and parents about how they really feel. They don’t want to be judged or seen as being different or “weak”. Unfortunately, when they do speak about their issues most of their parents think they are possessed by some evil spirit or that they’re just going through a phase. This causes the young person to feel alone and remain silent with their pain.
“These are my scars, I did this to myself. You don’t want to get to this point!” said Sade during a very intense interview. She never wants to go back to that point in her life. She urges young people to talk to someone a friend, a counsellor or anybody who is willing to listen. It’s been eight years now since she stopped cutting herself, but every day is still a struggle. Now she knows how to deal with her emotions in a positive way, such as directing her emotions into the art of photography.
If you know of someone who is going through this problem, or if you yourself are depressed and tend to self-mutilate. It’s not too late to get help. There are people out there who are willing to help you just call SADAG’s toll free helpline – 0800 567 567. The best thing to do is to direct all those emotions into something you love or may be good at, because harming yourself is just another way of inflicting pain onto your body and prolonging the healing process.
Images taken by Thabiso Molatlhwa @Ric3hard