I don’t think I’ve ever actually referred to it like that on this blog. However, today, I am doing the bravest thing I think I have done in a while. And believe me, this is more nerve-wracking than anything I’ve ever done. I am terrified.
I have never openly called self-harm what it is. Which is self-harm? It has taken me over 7 years, one 4 year relationship, a few years of blogging, disclosing it to a few people, hiding everything about it, for me to finally decide that I can talk about my story.
It’s my story, it’s my struggle. And today, I’m going to talk about it.
So, if anything about this will trigger you in any way, then please don’t read on. I’m trying to keep the actual discussion of it to a minimum, probably for my own sake, but also for the reader who may be dealing with the same thing. If you’re not ready to consider your story or tell it, then that is fine, but here is mine.
Self-harm is different for everyone, and people turn to it for various reasons. For me, I was bullied, I was catfished and I felt like I didn’t belong. Every time I tried to do well, or I felt like I was good enough, someone would say something that would knock me down, or something would happen, and I would go back to feeling utterly worthless.
I think it’s hard to describe a worthless feeling. Or feeling like you don’t belong. And having to pretend that you are fine every day. Because, maybe, I felt like I didn’t have something to feel sad about, and it made me feel extremely guilty for the feelings I had.
Every morning when I opened my eyes, I didn’t like myself and I didn’t like the person I was. I didn’t like the way I looked, I didn’t like the person I was, I didn’t like anything about myself. And, today, I can look back on that and attempt to remember that time, but I can’t really describe the kind of sadness or the way I treated myself. I was not at all happy about myself or the way I looked… and every day, I wanted to be someone else.
I didn’t have a boyfriend (but who needs a boyfriend when you’re a strong and independent woman who DON’T need no man) … quite a few boys weren’t even nice to me, and to this day it makes me very sceptical of any man who comes into my life or tells me nice things about myself because I didn’t have that kind of relationship with men for a very long time.
And, all these things, every single of these things, led me to make the decision to use self-harm as a coping mechanism, or sometimes even a punishment. And for years, I didn’t see this toxic behaviour or the way I looked at myself. I created this person in my head, and I was not this person. I could never be this person I’d created because this person was perfect – and no one is ever perfect.
I think that’s something I’m also trying to get at here by writing this. There is a real pressure to be perfect, and to be beautiful, and happy, not too loud, but popular, and smiling, and everything- and sometimes that pressure becomes too much. Sometimes, the pressure can mount, and mount, until there was is nowhere for it to go. Sometimes, we have so many emotions, that we have to be rid of them someway, and my way was self-harm. Sometimes, we feel nothing, because it’s easier to block these emotions out, and the only way to feel something is to self-harm.
There is a lot of societal pressure to be good looking, and amazing, and kind, and caring, and a really great person.
And I believed I was a shitty person. I believed I wasn’t there for my friends, like I let people down like I was doing nothing with my life. When, in fact, I was succeeding in my own special way. I was getting up every day even though I didn’t want to, I was studying, I was working hard to get good grades, even though I was hurting every single day.
Self-harm was never an option I should have taken, or let alone an answer to my problems. However, I’m here to break the stigma that people continue to do it to ‘attention seek’. Sometimes, people continue to do it because it is everything they know. It is how they have survived up until today. It is how they cope with bad news, with bad events- because it can be the only thing we know. And, you have to learn how to cope again when it all gets too much, but in a healthy way.
I had to teach myself healthy ways to cope with my emotions, or hardships that I faced. I had to deal with the temptation to go back to it. And that journey isn’t easy. I say isn’t, because I’m still on that path. And people around me know this, and they support me, and anyone or anything that is toxic has to go. It can’t exist around me anymore, because I know where I am and what I’m doing, and what I’m working towards.
Self-harm is an addiction, because of the endorphins that it releases. It makes you feel better for 5 seconds, but then everything that felt shit before feels way worse. It feels heightened, because you have that guilt of relapsing on your shoulders.
The crux of the matter of self-harm is the taboo that surrounds such a subject. That we can’t talk about it, and if we are to talk about it, then we are ‘crazy’. But the more that people discuss this, the less people will feel alone in their battle with this, and the more people can talk about it. And, I wish I’d had known that I wasn’t alone when I went through this, because maybe years down the line I still wouldn’t be recovering from such a thing.
Now, I still have those negative feelings and emotions, but I put them into working hard at university, exercising and socialising. I put all this emotion into blogging, and making sure that no one ever feels the way that I did. I put all that negativity, all that crap, all those awful things we can think about ourselves, and I chase the dreams that I have. It’s never easy to overcome something that was in your life for a long time, and kind of like your protection, and how you kept yourself from getting hurt by those around you.
However, I can now look back and write this story for you today. And I can be open, and I can talk about it, and I can try to not feel ashamed. Because it is my story, and it is my struggle, and it was a part of my life that happened. And I can tell you this today.