Friday was Self-harm Awareness Day. First, and most importantly, people who self-harm aren’t just attention seeking. They are trying to release the mental pain they feel everyday. I’ve never cut, or pulled my hair out, or picked at my skin until it bled, but only because that isn’t how my mental illnesses work. But I’ve absolutely done my own form of self harm.
I’ve done self harm by not sleeping enough even though I know I should. I’ve done it by drinking too much to numb the pain, then drinking more the next day to numb the pain and the hangover. I’ve self harmed by not caring about my self, my health, or even whether I lived or died.
I’ve harmed myself by letting people who were toxic in my life, who I knew were toxic, stay in my life because I was more afraid of being alone, with myself, a person that on most days I don’t really like. If I hadn’t been so afraid of being more of a burden to my family, I would have done worse. Maybe I would have cut. If I’m being honest, I’ve thought about it. If I’m being really honest, if it hadn’t been for the people in my life, I probably wouldn’t be here at all.
People who self harm aren’t any weaker, they are just showing their pain, their struggle, in a different way. Just like the fact that no two cases of mental illness are the same, no two cases of self harm are either. It isn’t pretty, almost nothing about mental illness is, but they’re survivors. They’ve survived every single one of their worst days, even if those days left them scarred. But they are not alone. And for anyone struggling with those kinds of thoughts, there is help.
Since I’ve started therapy, I have fewer bad days, fewer days where I treat myself and my health with such apathy. Fewer days where I struggle through hangovers and self-induced sleepless nights. Fewer days where I’ve wished for a way to release the pain. And that is something. Because whether self harm leaves a person scarred or not, the true healing always starts from within.
If you have thoughts of self-harm you can text CONNECT to 741741 within the United States to reach the Crisis Text Hotline