The Mighty Logo

What You Should Know Before You Judge My Coping Mechanism

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Some people will judge me for what I’m about to write. I know that. I hope those that know and understand will have some compassion and less judgement.

Amongst other things I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder last year. After some hefty therapy it seems to have settled down now, which is a relief.

However, one of my coping mechanisms to survive PTSD was to resort to something I used to do many years ago. In one form or another I realize I’ve been doing this my whole life, actually. I self-harm.

It’s not a cry for help, believe me. Crying for help is possibly one of the last things I would ever have done or indeed would do now.

It’s definitely not attention-seeking. I don’t need or want attention, thank you very much. I’ve had enough of that to last a lifetime.

It is coping, it is my way of managing when the stress gets overwhelming and I feel like I’m drowning. Like I do now.

It’s my last resort. When nothing else works. It’s far from great. It’s not a healthy way to manage stress, I do know that.

It makes me feel better and yet also worse. It’s not an addiction but it’s a familiar and safe (yes, I know that’s odd, but I am safe, believe me) recourse.

I’m ashamed and embarrassed by my scars, but yet I continue to need the safety of knowing I can create new ones if it’s needed.

I know it’s not healthy. I do know. I’m trying to be more healthy in my coping.

I have more scars than most, some physical, many mental. Not all self-inflicted. I would like them to heal so I can heal, too. I would like to live in a time where I don’t need to even think about them.

I’ve had many labels attached to my name recently. The majority of which will be judged in some way or other by anyone who cares to listen or read.

But remember that behind the face and “camouflage” of clothes and makeup can lie many layers of complicated living. Not just for me, but for many.

Follow this journey on Red Peffer.

The Mighty is asking its readers the following: What’s one secret about you or your loved one’s disability and/or disease that no one talks about? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: June 9, 2016
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home