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The Packer Weekly: Schmitz conquers her lowest point

Lexi Schmitz. Submitted photo

By Chelsey Cressman and Jessica Qian

Senior Lexi Schmitz used to dangerously escape her emotions. She can recall every moment leading up to the permanent scars on her skin, which reveal her lowest points, starting at age 14 when she began to self-harm.

In middle school, Schmitz’s best friend told her about cutting. At first, it did not make sense, but one bad night Schmitz gave into the idea.

“Feelings were so jumbled in my brain that I didn’t even think clear thoughts, it was just a loud noise [of] negativity screaming in my head, and it was kind of physically painful, too,” Schmitz said. “I would cut and it would go blank.”

Schmitz’s self-critical nature led her to feel like she was never at her best. This and other factors brought her to her lowest points. Eventually, Schmitz’s situation got so bad that she ended up contemplating suicide.

“There were some low points in my life that I thought it could not get any better and I was just stuck in a hole of desperateness, (with a) feeling of complete loneliness,” Schmitz said. “It’s not that you’re physically alone, but you are mentally. You just feel alienated.”

Though Schmitz kept her self-harm a secret at first, her friends found out and tried to talk her out of it. Schmitz continued because she was doing it for herself, no matter what anyone else thought.

“One of the downsides to trying to talk to people is when they say, ‘I know what you’re going though and I can help you,’” Schmitz said. “You have no idea what I’m going through. I think an important thing someone can do is just be there to get it off their mind.”

However, Schmitz tried to keep herself from cutting often, and in time she pulled herself completely out of it when she realized how permanent her scars really were. The affect it had on her mother, Melanie Martin, when she found out also drove Schmitz to stop.

“I felt worse about hurting her than I did about hurting myself,” Schmitz said.

The first time Martin saw Schmitz’s cuts, she was angry because she did not understand them. But when she educated herself on self-harm, it opened her eyes.

“A lot of people don’t even realize that their child is doing self-harm until it’s too late,” Martin said. “I just wish people were more aware of it, that it starts to happen and know what the signs of it are and to listen to your kids when they’re asking for help.”

Another important aspect in Schmitz’s healing process was art. She used her acting aspirations as well as drawing and music to keep her from self-harming. One band has particularly affected her is Twenty One Pilots.

“I can’t even describe how much Twenty One Pilots has helped me,” Schmitz said. “Their songs are about self-empowerment and knowing you’re not alone.”

One of Schmitz’s favorite lines from Twenty One Pilots is “Fight it, take the pain, ignite it.”

Self-empowerment was also a major force in Schmitz’s battle. Always finding and having positives to fall back on has helped her enormously.

“Now she has more self-confidence,” Schmitz’s friend, junior Deyshia Tubbs said. “She has a lot to look forward to and a lot going for her right now. What kind of friend wouldn’t be proud?”

Schmitz has been able to conquer her self-harm by being able to clearly see what was wrong, and now she can openly talk about it and help others with similar problems.

“It is still a big part of who I am and what I went to but it’s gone now,” Schmitz said. “This is the longest period of where I have been OK. I know how to handle my emotions and I know how to handle different situations. I don’t need it anymore.”