On a very special ‘Real World: Cancun,’ the show tackle a difficult subject: self-mutilation. Ayiiia Elizarraras, who won a spot on the show after gathering enough votes over at realworldcasting.com, was found to be secretly cutting herself.
Ayiiia has a history of self-mutilation. She talked to us about this very tough issue, about how her housemates and MTV reacted, and why she doesn’t want to get help.
Tell us about tonight’s very sensitive episode.
You can expect a lot of tears and a lot of me opening up about this problem that I have. Just kind of the controversy that happens – some people are very supportive and other’s aren’t very supportive.
What brought on this episode of cutting yourself? Your bio says you have a history of this behavior.
What I was going through at the house – everyone was very cutthroat. I never had to deal with that at home. Having to deal with that took me into depression mode. Cutting myself was sort of a release for me. I haven’t done that in a really really long time because at home I don’t really go through those emotions any more. I don’t deal with people that I really don’t like on a regular basis. So when I was put in that situation it was very hard for me. Being in the house with those people, you’re just totally out of your element, it really brought my depression out because I couldn’t count on anyone I felt, and it was difficult.
Who found you?
Right after that happened, Jonna was the one that found me. She was there to comfort me, I talked to her about it. She didn’t ask any questions. She obviously knew what was going on. I respect her and I love her for that. Because she was the only one to comfort me that night.
What did MTV producers do when they saw the footage?
MTV pulled me aside and they asked me if I needed help. They suggested I see a therapist and were willing to talk to me about my problem. Throughout the whole thing, I just didn’t feel comfortable having to talk to a therapist about it, because I was being filmed. It wasn’t as personal as I would have liked. People might be like, ‘oh she needed help, she didn’t get help,’ but it was so personal and it would have taken time. I kind of just set it aside and dealt with my emotions in a very healthy way. I kind of just needed to deal with it by myself.
Tell me about the roommates at the house who were not supportive. The roommates that weren’t supportive? I don’t really know what to say about them, because I feel they don’t really understand the situation. They kind of gave the typical answer that everyone gives – oh, she’s just looking for attention, blah blah blah. And it’s just honestly, when someone is dealing with something that big, it’s not for attention. I don’t believe anyone does it for attention. But that’s because they just didn’t understand. They need to look a little bit more and not judge the person right away. That can really damage someone.
Was it damaging to you?
It did, by them not being supportive that made me feel even more alone. Like not only dealing with rude people, but I’m dealing with people that have no idea what I’m going through and have no heart in a way.
It’s great that you did have other roommates who were supportive.
They were very very supportive. They helped me out a lot. I was able to talk to them more after. But I had to really open up and let them know what was going on. They made me feel comfortable.
Have you ever gotten help in the past?
Yes, I have dealt with this issue since, I wanna say middle of High School. It was on and off, usually when I’m really stressed out. I have seen therapists, I’ve seen two to three.
Why did you not continue with therapy?
I just feel like I never got that personal vibe from them. They usually just put me on drugs for depression. I don’t want to deal with that. I just need to get it out in other ways. I’m definitely looking at different outlets now, I’m working out, just like get my frustration out in different ways definitely helps.
Do you have any idea why you began cutting yourself?
To be honest with you, I think I was very influenced by movies that I watched. I didn’t reallyw atch PG 13 movies when I was little, so that definitely influenced me. I would see people cutting themselves in a movie and I would think, ‘oh, maybe that would help.’ That definitely opened it up for me. And I haven’t been able to stop from there.
How about your family? How did they react?
I don’t really talk to my family about personal issues so they are kind of clueless about it. I’ve just kind of dealt with it by myself. My friends are the ones I talk to. And they have just helped in a really big way.
But they’ll get to see the episode on TV?
My mom actually doesn’t watch the show. Thank goodness! I warned her, ‘don’t watch the show!’ and she’s kind of respected my decision upon that. But I’m sure she knows exactly what’s going on. For this next episode, um, I kind of don’t know. I have no idea how my family will react.
What advice would you give people going through a similar situation?
Just, keep your head up, honestly. It’s not worth it and not a good way to handle your stress. Hurting yourself is not the way. There are different outlets you can use – you can paint, you can jog, you can go out, you can do a sport, you can go shopping, anything to keep them away from it. Some lose hope because they think it’s the only thing that helps. This is the only thing they found. It’s not true, you have to keep going, keep searching for a different outlet. It’s not healthy whatsoever.
Are you already receiving letters from people going through the same thing?
I received a lot of letters from supporters, teens dealing with the same thing. They have someone to look up to and get through it. I just encourage them that there is a better way and they will get out of it.
What do you want to do after Real World?
I wanna step out of this reality world category, and I really want to do something with myself. I’m into fashion. I want to try to get a clothing line out there. Something like 80′s funk, rock, east coast-like. I definitely want to also write a book. I’ve been writing since I was 13 about everything that I have gone through.
‘The Real World: Cancun’ airs Wednesdays at 10pm ET/PT