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Self-Harm Recovery Is Hard, but Not Impossible

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The last time I cut myself was on November 30, 2014.

These past two years have been a constant battle between my dark thoughts and my not-so-dark thoughts. If you had asked me how my recovery situation would be like two years ago, I would have simply said “nonexistent.” I didn’t believe in myself, and many people struggling with self-harm think just like me.

Self-harming behaviors control you. When you think you have found peace within yourself, the thoughts will creep back in and almost force you to relapse. And yes, sometimes relapsing seems to be the easiest option.

Recovery is not possible.

This is possibly the most common thought people who cut have.

It is absolutely false.

Three years ago, I began therapy. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I learned how to control my emotions and thoughts and that relapsing is OK. It is an inevitable part of recovery. The key to recovery is accepting that you need help. Without acceptance, the pattern will continue.

Can I honestly say that in these past two years I have been completely happy? No, I have passed through extremely difficult phases, in which harming myself would have been the easy thing to do. Yet, I persevered and here I am, two years later.

Now this in no way means I will forever have control over it, but I strive for it. To this very day, I think about harming myself at least once a month. Each time I look at my arms, I see dozens of scars that reproduce bad memories, like a ghost lingering on. I feel ashamed, not necessarily because of what other people might think, but of myself. I wish I had never touched that silver devil with my skin, but it happened.

I cannot possibly do anything about it now, except strive for better. Whatever I may be feeling is nothing compared to the sadness I will feel looking at my scarred arms. I decided it’s not worth it anymore, which was perhaps was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

I now opt for other coping mechanisms, such as reading, writing poetry and these posts and even thinking about what I want to do with my life. Anything that calms me down is helpful. The reality is recovery is not a one time thing. It is a constant back and forth. No one should tell you that it is not possible, not even yourself.

Think of it this way, you wouldn’t want to spend your whole life having the flu. Instead, you would do anything possible to help yourself get better. Yes, recovery is incredibly hard, especially when we live in a society where mental illness has a huge stigma around it, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

It is a long journey, with many bumps in the road, but with the right help, you can get through it.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: December 4, 2016
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