I’ve been a cutter since I was 17 years old. At that time, I would cut no less than three times a day, every day. I carried a safety pin around and did it in public restrooms. You’d be surprised how much damage something so small can do.
As with any cutter, it progressed a few years back to knives. Steak knifes, with serated edges, because that’s always what I seemed to pick up. I have 2 scars from the last two incidents with them, and it’s the last episode that prompts me to write this.
I cut my arm, badly. I didn’t even realize how bad it was until several minutes and much blood later. It finally stopped and eventually, even though it was ugly to look at, started to attempt to heal.
A few weeks afterwards, I noticed my right breast was inflammed. I immediately went to the doctor, scared of Inflammatory Breast Disease. We discovered it was strangely a case of mastitis…strange because I haven’t ever had children, when it’s more common. Of course you can get it when you don’t have children, but it’s much more rare…and as an added “bonus” it puts you at an 11% chance of “regular” breast cancer for the next year. (Which I have been being routinely checked for since it happened, and I’m almost in the clear.) We chalked it up to me wearing too tight of sports bra. But I was treated for MRSA, in case. He looked at my arm (which still was ugly, and open, after that time.) and told me that when you cut yourself, bacteria can travel. It could have landed there, causing the irritation in my breast. Because I caught it mere HOURS into it turning red (OCD can save your life!) it never hurt, or got much worse. I was put on the antibiotics, and routinely saw the doctor in intervals to make sure nothing was amiss.
The point of the story that I never really knew, even 14 years later, is that when you cut, you can cause infection…in places other than where you cut. Every now and then I would get my cuts inflammed or even infected, but I never thought of it traveling somewhere else in the body. I haven’t cut since that day in the doctor. That seriously scared the living hell out of me.
That isn’t to say I’m cured or that I’ll never do it again. I’m sure I will. It’s ‘in my blood’ (for a horrible pun). But I know to take extra care and precautions in the clean up process. Hopefully I won’t ever do it again. Once I abstained for a few YEARS. But it came back. But for all you cutters out there, read this and keep this in the back of your mind, that something very serious can happen from cutting.