Being in recovery from self harm, it’s rare to have good days. I still suffer from depression and anxiety which complicates being in recovery from self harm. So, when I have good days, I cherish them. Today I had graduation practice (I graduate from college tomorrow), my friends and I hunted for fairy doors, and then we discovered a cute coffee/comics/record shop. For the good days, be sure to take a picture, or do something to help you remember that day. It will be helpful for the bad days. Love you all, and stay strong ❤
So this is where I am this morning. It’s Tuesday, May 9, and this Saturday, May 13th, I will be graduating from college with a degree in Spanish. I have been clean from self harm for 78 days, which is roughly 2 and a half months. You would think that with me being 22, it would be longer than 2 months since the last time I cut myself, but you would be wrong. Last night, I had a dream that I was at a lake with a bunch of other people, and someone was going around killing the people that wanted to kill themselves. I was in that group of people that wanted to, so I was sitting by the water waiting when someone else walked up and we started talking. I guess in the dream I was having self harm urges, because I told this person that I wanted to cut myself but that I wasn’t going to because I was about to die anyway. Then Obama walked up and started wading into the water, and then the dream ended. When I have dreams where me in the dream is suicidal and wanting to cut, it really opens my eyes. Because when my waking life follows me into my dreams thats when I know that it’s getting to the point where I need to see my therapist again. Anyway. After I graduate on Saturday, my plan is to take a year off of school (possibly substitute teaching during this time) and then return to school to get my teaching license, and possibly M.A. in Spanish. We will see where life takes me. What about you all? What’s happening in your lives?
Take care xoxo
Well…a big problem actually. So, I have been free from self harm for roughly 2 months now (that’s when the last relapse happened.) But, I have a BIG problem. My scars are beginning to fade, which, lately, I have found to be EXTREMELY triggering. I’ve tried drawing on myself, simulating blood, etc. but none of the “tricks and tips” have worked for me. It’s like, I hate having visible scars that people can and will ask me about, but at the same time I like having them because it’s almost as if they validate what i’ve gone through. Like, I want to be able to see them in private in my room, but I don’t want others to see them. But if they fade and are no longer visible, then it’s like (in my mind at least) my pain wasn’t/isn’t valid?? I don’t know if that makes any sense at all or if i’m just crazy, but can anyone relate? Or give advice on this?
Self love is important. Self love when you have scars is hard. A couple weeks ago I posted about trying to love my self, scars and all. And I wrote about possibly wearing short sleeves at my job. It was incredibly difficult, but I did it. And not only that, but I bore my arms and my legs on a mission trip with my church. For an entire week. I was incredibly anxious at first, but was only met with love and acceptance. It was harder at work than it was with my church family. At work, surprisingly, not a single customer asked about my arms. But coworkers did, and it made some feel awkward, and it made me feel awkward, but I pushed through. With my church family, some of them knew about my history and some of them didn’t. I got a few questions from those who didn’t know, but it was asked in the most polite and respectful way-which I’m not used to at all. The whole week I was with my church family, I can honestly say I was comfortable in my own skin. I’m still working on being comfortable at work, and will probably work my way into short sleeves all the time since it’s getting hot, but for now I will be wearing short sleeves with a jacket, and will be taking it off periodically as I feel comfortable. But overall I count this as a win over my depression and anxiety. I’m learning to love my body, scars and all.
I absolutely hate what I’ve done to my body. I look at myself in the mirror and I’m not happy with what I look like. My arms, legs and stomach are covered with scars. I’ve seen people with worse scars than me, yes, but just having them, even if some aren’t as deep as others and some are more faded than others, a scar is still a scar. I can’t wear shorts or short sleeves and feel comfortable in my skin. I will always get stares and questions. Recently, I asked my supervisor (with whom I was friends before he became my supervisor), if my workplace could force me to wear long sleeves. Because where I live and where I work it gets hot during the summer. And it’s starting to warm up. And I’m trying to be comfortable in my skin so that I don’t die of heat stroke. And he is one of the 3 people that I work with that knows about my self harm, so I asked and he essentially told me no they can’t make me wear long sleeves. Legally they can’t even discuss the self harm with me, but may ask where they came from or something along those lines. And they can ask if I’m okay and refer me to the mental health phone line our work provides but that’s about it. So I want to get comfortable in my skin and maybe one day wear short sleeves to work, but I don’t know how.
Self injury is a lot more prevalent than you think. I’ve been struggling with it since I was 16. And though I’m in recovery, I still have off days where I mess up and relapse-more times than I care to admit. I have scars. I have a hard time wearing shorts and short sleeves because of the scars. But I’m trying to not let them stop me from wearing clothing that’s weather appropriate. Self harm is a hard thing to overcome. And so many people you encounter every day have struggled with it or are currently struggling with it. It’s something done in hiding, so you probably don’t even realize someone you encounter is dealing with it. Self harm brings shame and guilt, so if you discover someone you know is harming themselves, don’t tell them they need to “just stop” because it takes more than will power. It’s not something you can just stop immediately. It takes time, support, love and a willingness to recover. Be there for those in your life who are harming themselves. Support them, love them, and most importantly, don’t judge them.
Because let’s face it. Things are never going to improve, the stigma is never going to change if we keep sweeping this topic under a rug and pretending it doesn’t exist. Depression. It’s more than just “feeling sad” and it’s not an adjective you can use to describe feeling sad one day out of the 365 days in a year. For someone who struggles with mental illness, it can be hard seeing people chalk it up to just being sad. I refuse to continue hiding not only my depression, but the physical and mental effects it has on me as well. Let me begin by saying that if your depression is telling you to pretend everything is hunky dory when you know it’s not, then, and pardon my french, you need to tell depression to shut the fuck up. Now, on to the things people who don’t suffer from mental illness don’t know about it, and what they need to know about it. Depression drains you. Physically, emotionally, mentally. To the outsider, this may come across as you being lazy, but I hear you and I know you’re not. I know depression takes away your joy, I know it robs you of your will to get up, it steals your motivation. It makes your brain foggy, it affects your mental clarity. You can’t focus. It takes away your appetite, you either aren’t hungry, or the thought of food makes you want to puke. You can’t sleep no matter how tired you are or you can’t stop sleeping, no matter how much sleep you got the night before. You get frustrated from not being able to complete simple tasks that used to be done with ease, you have a worse temper. You have no motivation and no energy, sometimes you might go weeks or months before physically being able to clean your room. Your memory gets screwed over and you suffer from short term memory loss and when you try to explain to someone that you forgot the assignment, or the study session you were supposed to have, or what time you were supposed to come in to work (even though you checked your planner throughout the day), people just don’t understand and you come across as an unmotivated slob who never wants to do anything-even if you are the most hard working person on the planet. You get headaches a lot, random pains, and, yes, digestive problems. You cry randomly for seemingly no reason at all, have obsessive thoughts, among many many other things. These are the not so pretty effects of depression. The things no one wants to talk about. The things those who don’t suffer from depression don’t know. Depression is not a pretty disease, it’s not something to be glorified. It tries to take everything you once knew away from you, and it doesn’t want you to be happy. I’m posting this so others can know. I’m posting this to start the conversation. I’m posting this as a “fuck you” to my depression. There is a light, there is a hope, and it starts with you. It starts with your voice. Don’t let depression silence you.