Friday, September 18, 2015
Today is a huge day for me. It marks my one year clean from self-harm.
It was not an easy year. Self-harm is an addiction like any other. I had to make a conscious decision every day. Some days I had to make the choice every hour. While I am closer now than I was a year ago to my form of "normal", I still have my bad days and my really bad days. Each bad day I had to fight the urges to turn to my previous diseased behaviors to deal with the pain and mental torture and in the end, I won.
It feels sometimes like nothing has changed but as I look back, everything is different.
My self-harm journey started as a preteen when after a fight with my mother I punched a door. It's strange because so many people punch doors and walls and don't end up self-harmers. But I did. My whole body had been pent up with rage and the pain I felt when I hit that door was like an instant drug. And like a drug, I became addicted. I didn't even realize for years what I was doing. I would find some way to hurt myself when the stress or anger or anything became too much. I didn't realize I was self-harming because I was so lost. I hid it from everyone and lied to every doctor. I did not tell a doctor until I was 24 and that's just way too long. I hope if you're reading this and you're hiding your self-harming or suicidal thoughts and lying about being "fine". I hope you realize that you are only losing years of life, years of adventures. Please get help.
I couldn't have made it a year without my therapists, my doctor, my real friends, and especially my husband. When I started my recovery two years ago, I never thought it was possible. I remember being inpatient, perhaps my fifth stay in a sixth month period, and I remember having a total panic attack and just crying uncontrollably. "I'm never gonna get better! I'm never gonna get better!". A nurse gave me the biggest hug and told me that I was going to get better and that it was all in my hands. She told me that our mental illnesses will lie to us and try to keep us down and we just have to stand up to it everyday and say "I won't let you keep me down".
Getting through depression isn't as easy as just that. But if you take the right meds, go to therapy, and do everything "right", you will get no where if your own heart isn't in it. Everyone's recovery is individual and it takes time and effort. It's a full time job and it won't work unless you're ready to do the work.
It's so worth it.
Not everyone who self-harms is suicidal and not everyone who is suicidal self-harms. But sometimes they do mix, as they did for me. The link below has some great information.
Suicide and Self-Harm