I know what I want to blog about today, but trying to get it from my brain to this post, has proven to be somewhat of a precarious process.
It means admitting to still having a battle I would rather not have. I know that I’m not alone. I know that talking about it, brings it to light rather than allowing it to hide in the shadows. I want to educate a bit in the process, so here it goes.
I still struggle with the urge to self-harm. I still do to a degree.
There I said it. Annnd breathe…
I learned yesterday in therapy that self-harm is actually an addiction. It made sense to me, because I actually feel a pull to it. The longer I ignore the pull, the stronger it gets. When I give in, there is relief.
I can’t even tell you how long self-harm has been a part of my life. I started very young, before I even knew there was such a thing (If that makes sense). I was at least in primary school when I started. I could have been younger.
“S” (My therapist) said that while it can be a fad among teens today, the cool thing to do. (How sad). It is very much a coping mechanism for survivors. For us survivors, it’s not cool or fun, it’s learned, its survival. Please don’t take that as encouragement to use it if you don’t. I’m working to stop it, and find new healthy coping tools.
Survivors, either live numb to cope with what’s happened to them, in which case self-harm allows us to feel something. OR, we feel so much pain that we can’t bear it, in which case self-harm takes our minds off of it for a time. Our brain learns that self-harm brings relief, hence the pull to do it again and again. Stopping it triggers a PTSD reaction. It’s a vicious circle. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that there’s also a pull to “*cut deeper” the next time.
*Cut deeper meaning whatever method one uses, to do it more extreme the next time.
It’s no different from any other addiction. For some drinking brings calm, for others eating calms, and still others, drugs…you get the idea. All of it by the way is self-harm just manifesting in different forms when done to extremes.
Trigger Warning Here
When I was a kid, I did a few different things. I tried to break my bones, I burned myself (Burning, I did into adulthood), and if I had an accidental injury, I would make it worse.
Into my adulthood, I would hack up my arms with sharp things. I don’t do that now.(Although the temptation is always there). I really can’t bring myself to say what I do. I’m not ready. (It’s not life threatening).
My family was not aware of what I did, but they wouldn’t have cared anyway. I know the mother was aware of self-harm existing though. I heard her say all time that “self-harm is just a cry for help.” It’s too be ignored.
I remember thinking back then, that if it’s a cry for help, shouldn’t someone listen to that cry?! There’s a reason. Her attitude and that of the father’s sent me into hiding and shame about it. It made me feel like I was just a baby, and a drama queen…
If someone had listened to my cries, I may have been able to stop.
Now, not without difficulty, I’m choosing to blog/talk about it. Not just for me but for others. For those who don’t understand and maybe even mock it. For those who do, you’re not alone.
I want to address one more thing. I mentioned above that some teens are doing it because it’s the “cool thing” to do. “S” said there are even suicide pacts going on in the schools that involve self-harm. because it’s “cool.” Not because these kids are survivors, or have been traumatized in any way, just because they want to fit in.
To that I want to say, that IT’S NOT COOL! It’s very dangerous. It’s life threatening. If anyone knows of this going on, then take a stand, tell an adult. If you care about your friends, don’t join in, or be an on looker, take action to help keep your friends safe. That’s what a true friend does. That’s the mature responsible thing to do. THAT’S COOL.
You may not think that anything bad can happen to you, or your friends. You may think it’s harmless. THAT’S A LIE. Think again.
You only have one life, that can be robbed in an instant. Please take care of it! If you’re doing this to cope with abuse, talk to someone you can trust. There is help out there. You don’t have to suffer alone.
There is hope!