When people choose relationships over isolation, health and wellness over sickness, and connection over despair, they get better. Sharing one’s struggle with others who understand can and does make the difference in ending the cycle of self-injury. This is a place to learn, share, and connect with people who understand your isolation, shame, and pain. Please take the next step and reach out, even if just to read someone else’s journey. Then you can learn what others have found helpful along the way.
When I was 9 years old I discovered a way to free myself from all the problems I was faced with. It was a way to breath, and way to believe that everything was going to be all right. That discovery was self- injury, and it was my best and most loyal friend. Today I am 32 years old and over 50 days self- injury free.
Self -injury for me was not about being “emo” or looking for attention. Self- injury was a companion that could easily fix all my problems. I remember the first experience I had with SI, it was unlike anything I had ever felt before, and as it progressed the injurious act became more violent, leaving behind scars that I would have for the rest of my life. With each scar lies a story behind it, stories that turn into memories that will never be forgotten.
As the years went by I began recognizing self- injury as a living, breathing thing. It was like an active volcano in the pit of my stomach, with every eruption, was another cut. I then gave it, its own identity. Self-injury was now known as “The Bad Thing”.
In the beginning of my self-injurious experiences, I was called a freak from a friend of mine who once saw my arm after I had carved the word peace on it. A few years later my mom would say the same thing to me, after noticing cuts on my legs. That’s when I really felt alone, like something was really wrong with me. Why did I enjoy and get so much satisfaction from hurting myself? I just did not understand.
One of the main reasons for my self injury was all that emotion that I had I bottled up, hoping that it all would just go away but now that I am older I have come to be taught and learn that self- injury is not the main problem, but the problems themselves, which are the problems. All the experiences I want to forget, and the people I want to forget cannot be treated with self- injury but I must come to terms and accept these experiences in my life.
About three months ago self- injury begun to morph itself into much more then it originally was. On some self-injurious occasions it didn’t make me feel anything and some nights I would self-injure for hours on end and never see enough blood. It was like a drug, I now had to go deeper and longer to get that high that I received from self- injury much earlier in my relationship with it.
I also started becoming obsessed with the ritual of SI. I had a blanket that I would sit on, I had my tool of choice, and I was ready to begin the act of hurting myself. It was satisfying in an inglorious way. I sometimes would even watch triggering material, to get myself in that place where I wanted to self- injure.
“The Bad Thing” was taking on a form all its own and I was in a relationship with self- injury, it appealed to all my senses. Touch, taste, hearing, and scent, which is even odd to me when I think about it. I was in love with self- injury and it was in love with me.
Since March of 2011, I have sought out help for my 23 years of self- injury. Let me say, that this is the most difficult thing I have ever experienced in my life. I am essentially letting go of something that has helped me survive. But I have begun to realize that self -injury itself causes many losses. Loss of healthy relationships with people, loss of trust from family, and most importantly loss of ones own self-worth.
I at times feel like I am nothing without self-injury. If I am not a self- injurer, then who am I? I suppose the struggle with self-injury will always be apart of my life but I am learning to replace those self- injurious acts with positive ones, such as writing or playing my guitar.
With the help of my therapist Andrew Levander I have begun to learn about self-injury and why it has satisfied so many of my needs for so many years. I have looked at many challenging experiences I have had in my past and I have begun to deal with them, instead of wishing they were gone. I still have a long road ahead of me but I know now that I am on the right path to being self-injury free for the rest of my life.
I encourage all others who struggle with self- injury to speak to someone who you trust about what you are experiencing and feeling. Please get the care you need to be given the tools to learn to live a self-injury free life. Learning to respect and love your self as much as possible is the best gift anyone can receive.
As for me, I am still on the road to recovery and hope I can stay positive and discover as much as I can about myself. I hope to live a life that allows me to be the woman I know I can be.
Thanks again to my therapist for being patient, caring, non- judgmental, and supportive, even on days when I was, and still will be difficult. I have never had someone challenge me, as much as Andrew and for that I am very thankful.
Written by: M. Scott
Someone you care about is in pain, and that person is trying to tell you. Information from those who struggle with self-injury provides insight into their world. Any feelings you have are normal. It is OK to feel angry, sad, confused, hopeless, or all of these and moreLearn More