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“You Really Wish People Understood”: My Story Of Recovery From Self-Harm

Posted on July 10, 2015 in Health and Life, Mental Health, Society, Taboos

By Dee:

I am 18 years old. I’m in recovery from self-harm. And I know I’m not the only one. There are many more just like me. And it’s time we voiced ourselves. It’s time people listened. So, this is my attempt to bring about awareness.

Image credit: Loren Kerns
Image credit: Loren Kerns

It’s really important for us as humans to express ourselves. When we’re happy we laugh and smile. When we’re sad or hurt we cry or talk it over with friends, right? Let’s just say I’m different. What if you can’t do that? It’s all bottled up. It needs a release. Self-harm helps. When you cut or burn or whatever, the first priority for your body is to manage the injury and the unwanted emotion is pushed away. For the time being it’s being managed.

But it only gets you this far. You can’t do this forever. You decide that now you’re tired of doing it day in and day out. You can’t live without it. And you know you need help. That “self-harm voice” is screaming “it’s no use”. You can’t stop. But you decide you don’t want this ‘friend’ anymore.

You never think it’s this hard to stop. But it is because it’s not just a habit, it’s a defence, a way of managing emotions, a comforting soothing thing. But you have to stop before it’s worse because honestly, you know you deserve better.

You really wish people understood. But nobody does. And worse, even when you try to explain, nobody wants to. And that includes “professionals“. You call up helplines to hear “if you want to stop, just stop” and you try explaining “but I have to” just to hear “is anyone holding a gun to your head and forcing you?”

The battle is always going to be hard because self-harm never occurs in isolation. It’s a secondary response to a problem which is too hard to deal with (depression, anxiety, abuse, loneliness). The best way to manage it is get professional help, which is why professionals need to know about it. So that when a person takes that step to ask for help, they are given the support they deserve.

About the Author: Just a kid wanting to spread awareness about mental health. When I’m older I would like to work in the field of mental health, probably as a psychiatrist or psychologist. My counselor literally keeps me alive, she is that awesome. I would love to help people, specifically children who are abused.