Before you keep reading, I’ll be talking about self-harm. If this topic is triggering, I’d turn the other way. If not, hello–I want to write about this not only to be able to help others struggling with self-harm, but also myself.
I’ve battled with self-harm for a countless number of years, from cutting to punching my arms/thighs and, oddly enough, biting my arms. I’ve had a problem with biting my arms ever since I was younger as a way to release anger and later turned to cutting early 2012. I had occasional relapses from 2012 until it picked up again toward the end of my first semester of college. I’ve been clean for almost 1.5 years (thank God), but that doesn’t mean I’ve been clean of having thoughts of self-harming.
As much as I had hoped the more frequent and rapid thoughts were being caused by all the different medications I was on, I found that once I wasn’t on any medication that the thoughts were more intrusive and harder to shut off. It’s hard to talk about it without giving people the wrong impression that you’re not ‘safe’ or that you can be ‘dangerous’ to yourself or to others. It’s just thoughts I can’t shut off and spend roughly every other day living with on repeat. I enjoy skateboarding late at night when I’m sad and clenching my fists or hugging myself tightly helps to avoid giving in to relapsing, but after suppressing your emotions for so long it eventually becomes difficult to release any emotions at all in a semi-normal way (even just clenching my fists together).
It’s an uncomfortable feeling that comes and goes sporadically and leaves you helpless on your bedroom floor. It’s a feeling that leaves you crying out to God to make it stop. It’s a feeling that I can’t shut off until my body goes numb, and then I wake up not understanding why I went downhill until the next time it happens, until I eventually just go numb and live my life as normal as possible.
But in June of 2017 when I told myself that’d be the last time I put a sharp object to my arm, I didn’t do it entirely because of the fact that I knew I was hurting my family and friends around me–that’s a reason that can easily be abused (and I know because that was my excuse to myself when I started self-harming again). When I made that decision I did it because I was tired of hurting myself both physically and emotionally. I no longer understood why my body had to suffer because of the way someone else treated me or for something I said that was wrong that could’ve been easily resolved. I knew that if I truly wanted to love myself I was going to need to stop fighting against myself.
If I truly wanted to be happy, I needed to stop trying to pick myself back up with the same thing that was destroying my body.
I’ve always believed in the notion that I was given the difficult trials I’ve been given because God would never give me anything he knew I couldn’t handle. Whether you’re religious or not, the enemy is always working against you to try to bring you down–Satan, a school bully perhaps, you name it. When you don’t give in to the enemy and keep yourself upright, the enemy will work harder. These facts alone are what have helped me to continue to stay clean even when the thoughts become louder and pick at my brain like rapid fire.
I have to remember that ultimately I am staying clean because I know I deserve a better life than one that is lived miserably sheltering my wounds under long-sleeve t-shirts and hoodies.
I have to remember that I was given this life with these difficult trials because God deemed me capable of pushing through any obstacle in my way.
I have to remember that my perseverance pisses of the enemy, and that gives me an odd feeling of joy.
And you have to remember, too.
don’t give up.