The Struggle to Cope

I must have started writing this about 100 times.  There are so many ways to approach this topic, and how it makes me feel….how it makes others feel.  Is it possibly too painful?  Should I be safeguarding myself rather than bringing it to the forefront?  I recognize that this must be dealt with carefully and with respect.  I hope that once you have read this, you will feel that same way. 


That is how people who cut themselves need to be treated.  Carefully and with respect.  That isn’t to say that you should become an advocate for the behavior.  Just become an advocate for the person who carries that much pain and heartache. 


I vaguely remember when it all started back in my early 20’s.  I had no idea that there was anyone else out there that did the same thing.  I just knew I had to be a freak.  I didn’t want to die, but I was in so much pain, and somehow self-injury relieved that pain for me…..even if only for a brief period of time. 


It becomes addicting.  It’s a vicious cycle.  You cut yourself to express the only way you can that you are in pain, but you hide the behavior from anyone that might actually be able to help.  It took a couple of years before I was even able to go to my parents, and when I did they were so baffled and confused, they really had no words.  We all just knew I needed help in a hurry.  My body was covered in scars. 


Self-injury really isn’t the comical, circus freak way out of dealing with life that it has become to the general public.   Some of my favorite TV shows make a mockery out of it, and even though at this time, I am “clean”, it still gets to me.  I just have to shake it off, but it hurts to be made fun of.  Sometimes I will be at a store or a restaurant and I will see a teenage girl behind the cash register with scars on her arms, not that unlike my own.  I feel for her wholeheartedly, and I wish I could take her aside and tell her what she is getting herself into. 


If I had known anyone back when I started that had been through this hell, and they could have spoken to me about it, maybe it would have made a difference, I don’t know.  What I do know is that the behavior that you think is helping you out of your anxiety, depression, or sadness is only hurting you and everyone that loves you. 


When I think of the look in my husband’s eyes when he has seen what I have done, it hurts me deeply.  After having been hospitalized multiple times for such behavior, I know for a fact that it is NOT worth it. 

I needed to find effective coping skills for me, as you should for any dark period in your life.  Everyone will have different ways around it, some may seem silly and trivial, but I’ll take that over self-injury any day. 


I’m not perfect, there are still days where I have urges.  However, I feel like I am better suited to deal with those urges.  Not because of something a doctor said to me, or because one of my medications takes away the pain.  Quite frankly, NOT cutting myself is truly the only answer.  When I look back on the consequences of self-injury, that brief moment of time when I feel better just isn’t worth the risk in the long run.  Maybe it took this last hospitalization to realize it.  The sheer horror of that whole experience has definitely left a lasting impact on my way of thinking. 


One thing is clear.  You must believe in yourself, and your ability to cope with whatever you are facing, and know that you are coming out on the other side a stronger person.  Look back on your track record.  You’re still here, right?  Maybe a little beaten down….a little bruised, but here.  Nothing is going to change the fact that only the strong can survive what we have all had to endure.  Remember that, and know that self-injury is never the answer. 

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