Twelve and half years, at this point, half of my life. That’s how many years self-injury was a focal point in my life.
I remember the first time. Clawing my arms with my nails seemed like nothing, it was just how I dealt with the emotions and thoughts I didn’t know how else to express. Just like it seemed like nothing, it quickly became to amount to nothing; scratching myself lost its strength and I quickly moved on. The thin pink lines began to transform into emergency hospital visits as I hoarded medical supplies in an attempt to mend my wounds on my own. Long sleeves covered a story untold and my life began to look exactly like an addicts. I didn’t dare to go anywhere without the safety of razor blades that I had strategically hidden. I didn’t only want to self-harm, I needed to self-harm; sometimes multiple times a day. My thoughts told me no one cared, no one understood, and life would always be painful. I was desperate for healing of the gaping holes of hurt in my life; I was desperate for control.
No matter how many people begged me to stop, no matter how many tears loved ones cried, I couldn’t stop because I didn’t want to stop. Something was finally working to “fix me”, or so I made myself believe. I told myself I had control, when in reality I was completely out of control. I wanted help, but I didn’t want to make myself vulnerable. I feared being judged, thought as weak or be seen as a bother, or even worse, be hospitalized.
As I left my teenage years I swung back and forth between trying to stop but not wanting to let the safety of self-injury go. I’d quit for a day and occasionally a week. Within a year I went from quitting for a month, to quitting for three, to quitting for six months. I came to a point where I knew the timing was right, I was finally ready.
A year into being self-harm free I despised the remaining scars that no amount of scar cream, oils, or vitamins could fade. I hid them with make-up, jewelry and long sleeves. I didn’t want to be reminded of all the years of pain.
Now, I wear my remaining scars with pride. They tell a story of healing, even more, they tell a story of survival.
March 1st is National Self-Injury Awareness Day – Do you know the facts?
* Research shows that self-injurer’s do so for emotional regulation
* A person that self-harms does not have to have a mental illness
* Males and females self-harm
* Self-mutilation is not necessarily a suicide attempt
* Self-harm is not “just attention seeking”
For more information including on recovery and support, visit: