Abbie, Louise and Nicole have burned themselves with everything from heated metal to cigarettes, stabbed needles into their skin, punched the wall and thrown themselves down the stairs…They were fighting against ‘feeling unreal’, against the inability to cry and express emotions, the urge to cut away ‘the monster inside themselves’. This film explores the impulses that cause some young people to self-harm and the relief that physical pain seemingly provides from the emotional pain they suffer.
Director: Andy Glynne
Voice: Nicole, Abigail, Lois
Animation Director: Katerina Athanasopoulou
Music: Alex Parsons
I think the fist time I self harmed, I found a needle in my room…and, I just drew it across my skin. And I remember the sight of blood, and feeling like I had discovered something. It was a relief. I had found something that could help me almost.
I guess I was trying to cut away a part of myself…I was trying to kill the monster inside. Sometimes I just wanted to see blood and see my skin and know I was still alive, because one of the things that I struggled with was feeling unreal, and feeling like I wasn’t human or like I wasn’t part of the world.
I have burned myself with a cigarette, I’ve burned myself with my straighteners.
I burned myself with anything from a heated piece of metal, or cigarettes were another very common one.
So, I would head-bang. I would use needles and, um, just press them into my skin as far as they would go. I bruised myself, I scratched myself.
I punched the wall, I trapped my arm in the door, I threw myself down stairs. And that pain, even though it hurt, I liked it because almost the physical pain detracted from the emotional pain and it made me forget all about it.
Literally sometimes I would feel this desperate need to tear off my skin because I cannot stand to sit in it, and it’s the most tortuous feeling of being trapped in yourself because there is absolutely no escape. And, yeah, sometimes self-harming gives that illusion of breaking out, almost.
Every scar has a meaning, and it’s like sketch book when I look at them – ‘cause it’s so much on the same arm, and they cross over so many times, and it is like they tell a story.
When I self-harm it’s like you’re in a scary film, and you finally come to the end where something happy happens, and you’re ok again.
People cry, I can’t cry. My blood is my tears because I can’t cry - there’s no way for me to show emotion that isn’t self-harm, and I wish there was.