I’ve lived on this Earth for 20 years, for 11 of those years I self-harmed. 11 long years I’ve been at the mercy of a blade and the control it gave me. I needed that control more than I needed my next breath, because I believe that’s what self-harm is. It’s about having the control of your own pain and how you can handle it. I needed to control my pain because I couldn’t control anything else, I’m not a control freak but when you’re nine years old and you’re at the complete mercy of someone else, it’s hard not to want have some sort of control over your own actions. I believe that everyone can tell you the first time they self-harmed the feelings it brought. For me it was control, but it also gave me mind-blowing numbness. It gave me the ability to block out everything else until I could only focus on the pain it gave freely. Stood in a classroom, everyone around me looking so happy and so content brought something out in me. So I reached out towards the scissors and did it right there and then, in front of everyone. Of course, I got ushered out immediately when they notice that I was bleeding quite badly. They started fussing over me and asking me if I was alright and for those couple of minutes, for the first time since I could remember, I was okay. I was okay in those couple of minutes. They asked me how I did it and I looked at them and told them I did. Immediately they started to look at me differently, I mean what kind of 9 year old chooses to do that? What kind of reason would I have? Why did I do it? What brought it on? Have I done it before? I got asked those questions for a long time after that and I get asked it quite often now but I haven’t got the answers for them. I still don’t have the answers 11 years later and I don’t know if I’ll ever have them. Self-harm then became my addiction. It became the thing I relied on every day, it became the thing I couldn’t stop thinking about, it became the thing that I trusted to help me and it did help me. Self-harm isn’t about attention seeking, it isn’t a lot of things people think. For many it’s a way of surviving. It’s a way to keep going when you don’t want to. It’s a way to live another day even though you wish you didn’t have to. It’s a way to make breathing a little easier. I have a question for you to think about, ‘If self-harm is attention seeking, then why do we try so hard to cover it up? Why do we try and hide it from everyone?’ There are a lot of other ways to gain people’s attention, a lot of ways to gain positive attention of people but when people see self-harm scars it only brings negativity. Don’t say to people that they do because they want the attention when honestly, nearly a 100% of the time, we can’t stand any sort of attention. Positive or negative, we want to blend in with the background and become invisible. Self-harm is personal and not for the whole world to see. We don’t want anyone to see us because we believe we aren’t worth it. Also, don’t call people who self-harm weak because we aren’t. We are not weak just because we have to find something each night to hold on for another day, we are not weak just because we have to harm ourselves to live another day.
Self-harm is one of the deadliest battles any one could face and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy because to be feeling that low, that confused, that insecure, that angry you have to hurt yourself just to be okay for a while? I can’t even begin to explain it into words. Another thing, just because you self-harm doesn’t mean we are suicidal. They sometimes come hand in hand. I repeat, SOMETIMES. Self-harm isn’t about trying to kill yourself, it isn’t about taking that final breath, I’ll say it again, self-harm is our way of trying to survive. It’s about trying to find that way, trying to find our way of coping and it’s not just a teenage thing either. Most of my family thought I would grow out of it but you can’t outgrow it, it just doesn’t work like that. Adults self-harm too, teenagers self-harm, it’s not an age thing. It just doesn’t stop at a certain age, you can start and finish at ANY AGE. You can be 40 years and still fall apart. You can be 13 years and fall apart. You can fall apart at any age and it can happen anytime.
Self-harm isn’t just about cutting either, it comes in many forms. Banging your head against the wall? Self-harm. Pulling your hair out? Self-harm. Taking a couple of extra pills? Self-harm. Scratching yourself on purpose? Self-harm. But there’s also so many ways of self-harm people wouldn’t even consider. You walk across a road without looking each way just because you wouldn’t care if it hit you? That’s also self-harm. It’s not just black and white.
It has many different faces and to each their own. For everyone it’s a different thing, just like they do it for a different reason. They each have their own reasons, they each have their own methods. Don’t alienate them, just sit and listen. Even if they can’t quite form the words they want to say, just sit there and be with them because sometimes that’s all we need.
Now I’ve been in recovery from self-harm for nearly 3 months now. Recovery for me has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever faced but it’s also been one of the most rewarding. I’ve realised that I’m not a bad person for the ways I tried to kill my sadness. I’m not a bad person for needing something extra to survive and neither are you. You are not a bad person if you self-harm, you just needed that extra reason to live and that is perfectly fine, but don’t think that it will last forever because it won’t. You want to know the way I see my recovery? Each scar on my body is a fight I won. It isn’t a fight I lost because I picked up the blade, it’s a fight I won because I still lived for another day. It isn’t a fight I lost because I was weak, it’s a fight I won because I could still smile after everything.
Recovery isn’t easy, recovery isn’t just stopping and never doing it again and recovery isn’t simple. Recovery is hard and sometimes it’s down-right painful. There are times when you will fall because it’s not an easy thing to give up, but we can always rise up and conquer our demons. There are days I still want to self-harm there are days where I don’t even think about it because I realised that I could make self-harm a chapter in my life. A chapter where I could close the book, but it would still be a part of me, I couldn’t erase it and I don’t want to. It’s a part of me and I’m okay with that but it doesn’t rule me anymore. So make self harm a chapter, and make recovery the whole damn book because that’s a fight worth living for.
Lyndsay lives in England where the weather constantly changes it’s mind. She lives with her 4 cats Anakin, Sabbath, Manson and Oli. She often has fascinating conversations with them and they give her lots of cuddles because they have such awesome names. She’s on facebook and is always up for a chat
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