The Quest To End Self-Harm
Health and Wellness

The Quest To End Self-Harm

On August 6, I will be 2 years clean, but this isn't just about me.

10
The Quest To End Self-Harm
Tumblr

Self-harm is a touchy subject. But chances are, whether you realize it or not, you know someone who self-harms. It's far too common. At least half my friends have tried it at some point, and I know people who still do.

A lot of people, especially those in generations older than my own, think that self-harm is for those too weak to get through the tough times in life. Those people look down on the ones who self-harm and see them as less than, see them as dumb kids who are incapable of handling themselves. That self-harm is for privileged white girls who don't realize how good they have it (these people should know that self-harm has no race or gender). Either that, or they see it as attention seeking behavior.

But perhaps worse than those people are the ones who think of self-harm the way it's portrayed on internet sites such as Tumblr, it's suddenly this romantic idea. A sad girl with long hair and cuts on her wrists… they make it seem like it's this great thing, this beautifully tragic thing.

Oh, and it's not. Self-harm is horribly misunderstood. Maybe that's why it's still so common. Maybe that's why people who self-harm feel so alone in their struggle.

I'm coming to you as someone who used to think self-harm was the answer. It wasn't even that long ago, really. My eighth grade year was all kinds of messed up. One day, it just got to the point that I couldn't handle it anymore.

And maybe that's why self-harm is so misunderstood. Because nobody understands how easy it is to get addicted. How easy it is to get obsessed. How easy it gets to suddenly need it like you need to breathe.

Here's the science behind it: self-harm is normally a product of depression, anxiety or both. I myself have bipolar II and anxiety. The reason for this is because when the skin gets cut, burned, scratched, etc. the brain releases endorphins to deal with the pain. The endorphins give a sense of immediate calm and relief from emotional pain. Self-harm becomes an addiction because the brain craves the relief endorphins give whenever it experiences emotional pain.

Now, you may be reading this thinking, "why in the world would someone hurt themselves and think that it would fix anything?" I used to wonder that too. There's actually a lot of reasons why people do it. Some think that they deserve the pain. Others find that they enjoy the pain. They liked the way the cuts looked. Or maybe they felt it kept them sane. Maybe they were angry at themselves. The girl I used to do therapy with said that she couldn't find any reason not to.

Most people I know who self-harm or used to did it out of self-hatred. Most of them hated their own bodies. To this I ask, what good does it do for your self-image to make your body less perfect than you already see it as being? Who thinks that a body with scars looks better than one without them?

For me, a big reason I did it was that I felt my life was out of my own control, and the self-harm was something I could control. I couldn't control what meds I took, whether or not I went to therapy, I couldn't control how I handled my problems, I couldn't control what I worried about, I couldn't even control my own thoughts.

Thing is, I didn't control the self-harm. It controlled me.

It's an addiction, no different than drugs or alcohol. The really insane part is that I'm straightedge (an alternative lifestyle in which you don't drink, smoke, or do drugs. It's essentially against addictions.) It's one of my core life principles. I couldn't see what was right in front of me: I was addicted. But, at the time, self-harm was the only thing that made me feel alright again.

Self-harm is a coping skill, it's just a really bad one.

But by the time I figured that out for myself, I had already been a mental patient, gone on a ton of different medications, undertaken months of therapy and my quality of life had gone off the deep end. Not to mention, I already had over 500 scars on my body. And now, nearly two years after I finally made the decision to end my self-destructive behavior, I still have to look at those scars every day.

This coming Saturday marks two years without self-harm. Two years. I never thought I'd get this far. It's huge, it's cause for celebration. I mean, two years ago I wanted to die and now I'm living a full and happy life. But this war is never over for me.

And, I mean, that's fine with me. I've only become a better person because of this. But I still wish I'd never picked up that razor.

So yeah, I guess I won my battle against self-harm. Does that make my scars battle scars? I've come to terms with them, but for a while they represented all of my failures. They proved that I would always be a failure. I got past that. I hold myself up and love my scars. Because they show where I've been, not where I'm going. They show what I went through, but they show that I got through it and came out the other side even stronger.

But I still think about it. Two years later, and there's times I consider going back to it. I recently talked to someone who's been clean for nine years, and she told me she still gets urges. It's not easy to quit. It's really hard. And it's nearly impossible to do alone. But yet so many people think that alone is the only way to do it. Maybe that's why they can't find the motivation to get clean. Because they think they have to do it all by themselves.

Maybe I see them as battle scars, but they brand me. When people see them, they see a psycho, a crazy girl, someone who doesn't know how to handle her own emotions. Because what sane person hurts themselves and thinks that'll improve their quality of life? It sounds crazy.

No, I'm not crazy. But I can feel people stare at them. This summer is the first summer I'll have ever worn a bikini, because my stomach, my thighs, my wrists, my biceps, all covered in scars. It's ugly. It's not "tragically beautiful." It's distracting, it makes people make assumptions about me, it brings judgment from strangers who don't even know me. It's not fun. I wish I could take it back. But I can't, so I'm doing what I can to make this work for me.

To me, the biggest way I can make this work to my advantage is to stop you from messing your life up the way I messed up mine.

Self-harm brands you for life. Reach out to the people you care about, and tell them that they're never alone. Please don't make my mistakes, or let anyone else make them.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Being a pharmacy technician never held as many risks as it does now. Exposure too hazardous conditions were little to none, and garbing up was only conducted in IV compounding. But, now, in order to give nurses the medications they need to help their patients, they need us, pharmacy technicians.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Epic Activewear Deals Every Leggings-Lover Needs To Know About From Nordstrom's Biggest Sale

Wearing my pleather Alo leggings till someone physically removes them from my body.

I'll be the first to admit I'm not an athletic person, at all. Since junior high school, I've been happily cheering my friends on at their football games and soccer matches from the sidelines as long as I could go home to my yoga mat and spend Sunday mornings at Pilates with my mom's friends.

Weekends are often spent in my casual wear, from the second I throw them on for morning meditation through running errands and evening walks. No, I won't be running a marathon or joining my friend's volleyball league anytime soon.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less

TikTok was banned by the president, but Instagram is here with its newest feature called Reel. Many of us are still wondering why TikTok was being banned in the first place. Was it all the dangerous TikTok trends? It was because of a security concern, but not in the way you might think.

TikTok is owned by Dancebyte, which is a China-owned company. Basically, just like any other app, TikTok collects the user's data. The main question to ask yourself when investing in any app or marketing tools who will be owning my data? So yes, China currently owns all the TikTok user's data worldwide.

Keep Reading... Show less
Disney

I've always been a huge Disney villain fan — whether it was for their cryptic one-liners, enviable outfits, or sidekick banter. Some of the most iconic lines from cinematic history have been said by the characters we love to hate and occasionally dress up as once a year.

The fear-mongering Gaston I now find hilariously cringe-worthy is now charming and oftentimes considered by fans as rightfully justified in his actions. Die-hard fans of the Disney villain fan club claim alternate egos in their favorite evil characters, adopting their hilarious witticisms into everyday life.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Reasons To Put The Damn Mask On, And Stop Fussing With It

COVID-19 is real people, do your part to protect yourself and others.

Ilana Stein

With the ever-changing reality of our world due to COVID-19, there has been one constant throughout these past unforeseen months, masks. Ever since coronavirus hit the ground running in the US, the CDC has been recommending social distancing and mask-wearing to stop the rapid spread.

Many people have been great about adhering to these policies, mandates, and suggested uses, but others, not so much.

Keep Reading... Show less

Anyone who goes to Panera Bread will tell you that their mac and cheese is to die for. If you're a huge fan of their mac and cheese, you won't believe the new recipe they're coming out with!

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been an athlete my entire life. I love movement and I've been jumping, kicking, swimming, dancing, throwing, you name it since I was in diapers. I'm also pretty competitive and probably went through a few sore loser phases. What can I say? I like to win, and losing can sometimes feel like I've failed. Especially, when your competitor is your best friend or someone that you worked all year long to defeat.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

I Asked My Boyfriend His Opinion On Liking Other Girls’ Pictures, And, Spoiler Alert, It's Cheating

"When you get into a relationship and you're in love, you have to realize that liking photos is for the single lifestyle."

Ladies, listen up. If you are in a relationship with a guy and he is liking other girls' pictures on social media, then it's a red flag. A man who can look at someone else and show interest by liking it means he doesn't care about your feelings AT ALL.

Keep Reading... Show less

Picture this, we're settling into our date, the conversation is flowing, we're ordering drinks, laughing, and then it happens... the job convo.

Him: "So what do you do?"
Me: "I'm a dating and relationships editor."

Keep Reading... Show less

- I have extremely sensitive skin, which is why I have always resorted to a plant-based organic beauty line such as Radha Beauty.

- Radha Beauty won me over years ago when I was looking for organic skincare brands.

- I was so excited to see they launched a new line incorporating USDA organic rosehip oil, so when their PR team sent me some, I could not have been more thrilled.

- After a week of using the products, my face felt as smooth as a baby's, looked more glowy than ever, and even cured some of my summer sunburn.

Radha Beauty isn't just a best-selling beauty brand on Amazon — it's a USDA-certified organic beauty brand I live by, and anyone who knows me knows I am all about holistic wellness.

Typically, it only takes three days for me to tell if a skin product is working or not because I have extremely sensitive skin. It's also why I have always stuck by plant-based organic beauty lines such as Radha Beauty.

Keep Reading... Show less

I have definitely had my fair share of breakups. I broke up with my high school sweetheart my second semester of college (he was cheating on me), I had a breakup with another guy I thought I was going to marry, and others in between. Regardless of whether you're the one doing the dumping or being dumped, breakups can HURT.

Keep Reading... Show less

Social media is something many of us have been addicted to (whether we want to believe it or not) since the moment we got it. I remember getting Facebook at 10. Instantly I was hooked. I loved being able to share my life with people, a little too much in my opinion, and I loved being able to see how/what other people were doing all the time.

Keep Reading... Show less

I am not in any way any sort of medical expert. These are just some tricks that work for me and have worked for others who also suffer from anxiety. These may not work for everyone, but I do hope these help some people in their fight against anxiety.

Keep Reading... Show less

-Having struggled with acne prone skin for years, I was cautious to try a new serum on top of the other products I've come to trust.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments