Let’s be honest: New thoughts on Self-harm

In the second post on this blog, I wrote a little something called Cutting out psychosis the hard way. It was the story of how I started cutting myself as a way to relieve the pain I was feeling. I cringe a little as I reread it because of what I wrote towards the end:

“After I realized the magic of this coping mechanism, I cut myself every time I had an episode, up until about 5 years ago. I now have scars covering both of my upper arms, hands and legs. I only cut where it couldn’t be seen when I wore clothing.

I wear the scars like a badge of honor now, not caring who sees them. It was some very tough years I made it through, my way. It may not be the way anyone else would choose, but it worked for me and it worked well. Between cutting and the pills, I survived those troublesome years. It was a kind of self-medication. Some people drink. I cut.”

I have a hard time believing that I wrote those words. I don’t remember what I was thinking at the time of its writing, but I can now truthfully say that I don’t feel that way at all.

My scars are a constant source of embarrassment and shame to me. Every time I look at them, I am transported back to every instance that I tried to cope with what I was feeling by cutting myself. My memories of those times come back so vividly to me, and those are not memories I want to revisit anymore. I mean, I already had to go through that shit once, do I have to force myself to relive it every time I close my eyes?

The biggest reason I regret writing that passage is the glorified image of self-harm that was invoked by those words. Did I even think about the people who were struggling with their own self-harming urges when I wrote that? To me those words sound like I am advocating self-harm as a great coping mechanism. Do I really feel that way?

If I really sit and think about it and be completely honest with myself, I have to say I feel a little anger at the person who wrote those words. That person was not me, because if I am truthful, I hate that fact that I used to cut myself, and if I had it to do over, knowing what I know now, I would never had picked up that razorblade in the first place.

I think I did a real disservice to the mental health community and people who suffer with mental pain like me every day. But the great thing about writing all my feelings down is that I can go back and reflect on the words and correct my mistakes. I have to remember that I never know who might be reading what I write, and if I don’t take the time to think before I write, I might put something down I really don’t feel and cause damage to an innocent person.

Kids, there are many different, and much better ways to cope with the shit you are feeling. I am 45 years old and have the benefit of experience, so listen when I say that self-harm not only damages you physically, but mentally as well. Find some help to combat the urges you feel, because you don’t want to look back on your life when you are older with shame and regret. Self-harm is an easy fix to the problems you are having, and sometimes the easy way is not always the best way.

I wish each and every one of you to have the strength to resist the urges to harm yourself.

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9 thoughts on “Let’s be honest: New thoughts on Self-harm

  1. It takes a great person to recant a prior error. Well done.
    But don’t be too hard on your younger self: they were speaking their truth, and though you may wish otherwise, at least they had the self-knowledge to say out loud certain things which presumably would have taken some courage.
    Did anyone offer you encouragement to try other coping mechanisms, via comments on the original post? I’d like to think so.

    • The post in error, I forgot to say, was only a month ago when I started my blog. But I guess you could say it was my “younger” self because this and other blogs have helped me to grow in a very short time.

      Thank you for your comments. I hopped over to your blog and really like what I saw. I am following your story now.

      Happy Blogging!

  2. Everyone makes mistakes. You aren’t a bad person for saying those words, you are a good person who made a mistake. Don’t feel angry with yourself, just look at it, shake your head a little and change it. 🙂 If it’s any consolation you’re doing great!

  3. The thing that’s really awesome is to recognize that sometimes we no longer believe what we once did. You were in a different place when you wrote that. At the time, you believed that–you weren’t trying to deceive anyone. And now, your growth has brought you to a different place, where you can use your experience to educate others. Bravo! 🙂

  4. I wouldn’t be so hard on your younger self…that may have been the truth you were feeling at that time. In full disclosure, I’ve not entirely quit myself, but I wouldn’t try to put off my choices or actions on what someone else expresses in their blog. We all have the right to express our truths as we go through them.

    • Thanks for your great advice. The anger I felt at myself yesterday passed quickly after I realized that I am not perfect, and do make mistakes on a regular basis.

      Looking forward to your next post!

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