It's been 200 days since I last self-injured. This is part of my story that I am not as open about because I am partly ashamed of it, but also because I feel as though people will look at me differently and I am scared that by sharing it, I may put my future in higher education at risk. But, I also know that in order to end the stigma, people have to speak up - and I happen to be someone who can do just that.
Anyone who knows me well, knows that when I was younger, I self-injured. It started in middle school and has followed me through college. I had never gone more than 6 months since 7th grade without self-injury — that is, until April 19th. People tend to think self-injury stops when you hit college because it's a "teenage angst" thing. Nope, approximately 4% of the adult US population self-injures (Mental Health America, 2015). The scars I have, I am in part ashamed of them, but through them, I have become a more compassionate person because I understand how much it emotionally fucking hurts to then take it out on yourself physically. I cut because either I had so much emotional pain and needed to release it physically or it was a punishment for myself. It was a punishment for not being enough — whether smart enough, skinny enough, brave enough, or pretty enough. During those times I self-injured, the blood that oozed out and the cut was a badge of honor in some ways — I cut my arm in the same spot 50 times, pushing the blade further into my flesh each time — I didn't fail at that like I do everything else was usually my though process at times.
I can't say I'll never do it again, because when it has been a habit for more than 10 years, it's hard to break. I had gone months before without self-injury, but never this long. I'm not cured, that's for fucking sure. I'm sure I'll feel the absolute heart-wrenching disgust, despair, and anguish burning in my soul again, but for now, I'm taking it one day at a time. One day at a time has gotten me to 200 days free of self-injury. I'd be a fucking liar if I said it didn't cross my mind during those 200 days, but I took it one step at a time. I may falter, I may fail, but that's ok. As long as I learn from the hiccups and continue to take things one day at a time, I will be ok — as will you.
Take things one day at a time. It’s ok if you stumble and falter, we all do and we all will again. If you need help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number at 1-800-273-8255
Mental Health America. (2015). Self-injury (cutting, self-harm, self-mutilation). Retrieved from http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/self-injury