The act of hurting oneself. Intentionally causing harm to our bodies without the intent of ending things. Why do we do it? Whether you're a teen, adult, man or woman. It can affect anyone of us. Females and teens being the most likely, we are all susceptible. It can happen at any time to us all.
Scars tell the story of where you've been. They don't dictate where you're going
This is one of those topics that has impacted me in the past, yet I still don't feel fully confident or comfortable talking about but, I will give it my best shot.
Just like my last blog I'd like to throw some common misconceptions about self-harming at you. I've read many articles and they all say the same thing. Hopefully, these can shed some light for you.
As already mentioned, many people think self-harm is a teenage girl thing. That just isn't true. More likely, sure. Only? Absolutely not, it can happen to all of us.
You are trying to kill yourself. Of course, you can commit suicide through cutting or other self -harming methods, self-harm or NSSI (Non-suicidal self-injury) is exactly that. Non-suicidal. I will talk about it more in a bit with my experience but for me, it was always a way to cope with the mental pain.
"You just do it for attention". WRONG! In my opinion, a terrible stigma attached to self-harm is that it's done for attention. No no no! Support maybe. Most people try and do their best to hide it. The opposite of attention and if it isn't hidden, I can guarantee you it is probably a cry for help.
It's only cutting. Also not true. It can be many different ways of hurting yourself. I remember a period in my life where I would just bang my head against the wall. Many different people engage in NSSI in their own way. There's no one method that defines it.
This one mostly applies to me but "that would never be me". Not meant in a condescending way but I use to be ignorant about NSSI. My hatred of sharp objects (knives, needles, etc.) always lead me to think I would never be in those shoes... Well, that wasn't true was it lol.
I meant it when I said, I never thought it could be me. To this day I'm terrified of sharp objects. Whether that be a needle or needing to slice my bagel with a bread knife I'm always fearful of cutting myself. So how did I get here? Like many things, it's never simply black or white there's always an in-between.
I wouldn't always describe my self-harm as NSSI because despite what my second misconception said I did sometimes think to myself "maybe this could work". Crying and bleeding in the shower I can assure you it didn't... From being scared using tweezers and scissors to feeling like a pro researching 'safe' places to cut and using a swiss-army knife. I can tell you it was addicting. The high I used to get made me feel great in the moment. I couldn't stop. I didn't want to stop.
Why did I do it?
For me, it was always a way to combat the mental pain. I will forever be of the mindset that my physical pains hurts me way less than my mind does. What hurting myself did, acted as an outlet for my mental pain. If I was hurting so bad physically maybe the mind wouldn't be so strong. For a while, it worked. If I was feeling overwhelmed with emotions, I knew exactly what to do but, eventually, that caught up with me. I'm extremely lucky that somehow those cuts never scarred. I'd even call it a miracle. At the time I didn't know that and I couldn't look at myself when showering. I was ashamed. With the help of my best friend, I knew I had to put an end. It's not simple at all. Quitting an addiction as I'm sure we all know can be extremely difficult. There's always a chance you fall right back into the hole. Hurting myself anytime I felt down was no way to live. I knew change was needed. Now, I wanted to stop.
How do I fight it now? How do I deal with the urge?
I was lucky that I didn't get to a point where it was near the point of no return, it was still controllable. Sure, it always crossed my mind but it didn't 100% consume me, so I'm sure this helped on my path to stopping.
It started with finding alternate ways of coping. Unfortunately, this is a lot easier said than done. Letting ice melt in your hand will not give you the same rush as cutting does but it was a start. I remember even saying to my bestie how dumb that sounded. "What's that going to do for me".
Despite the difficulties, I kept at it, admittedly with the odd set back falling into old habits. I was determined though. There are many things that cause me pain in life, the last thing I need is to personally add to that list. Along with ice cubes, punching my pillow became a thing and truthfully my personal favorite squeezing a stress ball. None of these things even to this day can give the same release but all together they certainly help. Overall these are substitutes on a much minor scale, ideally, we would do none. For that, we will take one step at a time.
I think my fear of sharp objects in the present day has helped me overcome this. Just like my suicide story, it's been over a year since I even had the urge to hurt myself. I know I got lucky and I do not take that for granted. It was a scary path to be on that I luckily got out before it worsened. More than anything I kept quiet about this from everyone. Not because it was any worse than some of the other things I've done but because I was ashamed of myself. I told myself never me and there I was. I felt weak, helpless and vulnerable.
Truth is, I may be those things but those very same attributes make me who I am today. Underneath all of those traits, there is courage and strength to share. I have to remind myself of that. You as well, we are all stronger than we think. I'm here for anyone who needs help. We are in this together.
I may have not scarred, but this quote can be used for the memories I hold onto.
My scars show pain and suffering but they also show my will to survive. They're part of my history that'll always be there.
Pictures share a story. There's always hope
I've created a Patreon for anyone who wants to help and support this journey I'm on. This isn’t about money nor will it ever be. I plan to blog as long as I have thoughts running through my head and stories to tell, but I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t help me in my situation. All support is appreciated but not mandatory. It's very awkward 'asking' for money especially when I don’t want it to come across like that is my intention.
If you've read all of that and still choose to support me, I will forever appreciate it