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I’m an attention whore, and I can’t stop

When I was a kid, I had selective mutism. That basically means that in most social situations, I refused to speak, period. I wouldn’t be able to tell people my name or my age or anything because I was too afraid of them. That pattern of behaviour has followed me throughout my life. When I turned eighteen, I started cutting. I used everything and anything sharp to slash up my arms. My mom found out after a month and I went to the ER. I was placed in a psychiatric facility. After I got out, I thought I had changed and that I would be fine. A few months later, it just started all over again.

Over the past five years, I’ve amassed over seventy stitches on various cuts. I’ve spent over two years total time in placements. Self harm consumed my life. I would dream about having urges, wake up with urges, go to sleep with urges. I failed grades repeatedly, I cut off all my friends, alienated my family, anything and everything to cut. Nine days ago, I went to a new group home. I thought I had changed and that I would be fine.
I picked up a piece of dull glass because that’s the sharpest thing I could find. I went into the bathroom and locked the door. I cut my arm until I had cuts that were several inches long with fat tissue bulging out through their rubbery red lips. I slashed up my face, two red curving cuts on each cheek. I sat in the bathroom and I cut for two hours, and no one checked on me once.
I received seventeen stitches on my arm. I want to count the stitches the plastic surgeon put into my face, but there are so many so close together that I can’t figure out a number. They let me go home because I always stay safe after I cut. I’m sitting on my bed right now, knowing that I won’t leave the house for at least a week until the cuts on my face heal. I do it because I hate myself, and I need to matter, and because when I’m forming blood clots as broad as my palm I go into shock and nothing is real.

I stare in the mirror, but it’s not my face. I just get this giddy feeling and talk to myself like I’m my best friend. I answer myself and I tell myself that this is what we’re made for, this is when we’re closest together.

When I talk to myself and answer like that, I feel the happiest because I’m talking to my best friend. I can’t talk to other people. I hate doing it, so I’ve made up my own world. I’m my friend, my parent, whatever I have to be for myself. I become whatever I want to be. I’m a famous writer crippled by drug addiction, I’m some beautiful person desperately loved by someone else.
My mind is so splintered and irrational that I can’t decide what my reality is or who I really am. If two people asked me the same question individually, I would tell them two different answers and mean both of them genuinely. When I fantasise that someone is saying or thinking something, I treat it as reality. If someone gives me a sidelong glance, I’ll decide that it’s because they hate me for mispronouncing their name last week, oh my god, I’ll never be good enough. I imagine them yelling at me, and I react as if it really happened.
I need people to think that I have problems. I need it so bad. I need someone to look at me and tell me that I’m hurting. That they can’t imagine how much I’m hurting. That I have a right to feel this way. When people see the cuts, sometimes they do that. If I told someone that I’m so humiliated because a cashier told me I gave them the wrong amount of money, they’d give me a few words, move on. I wouldn’t be able to show enough emotion to make them understand how bad I feel. But when they see muscles exposed in my arm, they sure as hell listen. But when they do give me the attention, I don’t want it. I know it’s horrible of me to manipulate people like that, and I hate every second of it. But as soon as it’s all over, I start craving it all over again.
Everyone thinks I’m kind because I’m polite. I don’t judge people on their appearances, I’m always trying to be encouraging. But I hate talking to people. I only care about them because I need them to like me.

Beyond that, I don’t care about anyone. I don’t need them. In facilities, I suck up to people and tell them I’ll be their friends forever, that I’ll give them everything so that they’ll like me. Then, once I’m distant from them, I cut them off in a second. They don’t matter to me.
I play the role of the victim. I act like a sad, broken girl who just wants inner peace, and would never hurt anyone. Inside, I manipulate everyone to buy into that image. But I’ve convinced myself that my persona is reality. Writing this down is the most honest I’ve been with anyone or myself in years.
I act like I don’t want attention or help. I act like I would never try to ask for concern. That’s what makes them concerned and give me attention and help. The problem is that all that help is misdirected. Five years of everyone around me pouring every ounce of love and support into me, which I silently use to feed my problems even more. This could go on forever if I don’t stop it, but I can’t. I can’t face the horrible reality of what I’m doing long enough to admit that it’s happening, let alone admit it to someone else.
I’m an attention whore, and I can’t stop.

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