All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…

30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge: Day 13

9 Comments

Last August, before the demon Depression firmly grasped my soul, I began working through a 30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge. I was able to reach day 12 before I stopped writing. Now that things are a little (and I repeat, a little) better, I’ve decided to continue working through the remainder of the challenge. Partly because I hate leaving things unfinished and partly because I think it’s an important subject to talk about. So I’ll pick up today where we left off nine months ago, with day 13…

trigger_warning

What is the biggest realization about self harm you’ve had?

recovery quote

When I was last writing this challenge, I was self-harming on a daily basis. Every day, around the same time, I would take out my knife and slowly, carefully, begin cutting my flesh. It was a means to an end. A way to cope with the tremendous emotional and psychological pain I was under. Depression had seized control and my means of fighting back was to hurt myself; to show the world that no matter what, I wasn’t going to let the demon overwhelm me completely. I believed that by seeing my pain in neat, red lines on my flesh, I was proving to all and sundry that I was coping; that I wasn’t letting things get the better of me. But I was wrong. All I was doing was externalizing my pain. All I was doing was proving to the world that the demon was winning; that it was causing me to not only feel tremendous emotional pain, but by self-harming, tremendous physical pain as well. By self-harming, I was allowing the demon to win. The only way to not let him win, was to not self-harm. The only way to not let him win was to defy twenty odd years of coping strategy – the length of time I had been self harming in order to control my emotional pain.

And that isn’t an easy thing to do. To stop something cold, as anyone who has ever quit drugs, smokes or alcohol will tell you, is a painfully difficult thing to achieve. For weeks the urge was ever-present. The urge to hurt. The urge to harm. The urge to control. But I fought through the urges by taking things day by day. If I felt overwhelmed, if I felt like I had no other option, I would take out a red pen and draw on me instead. Sometimes just lines. Sometimes intricate patterns. I imagined the red was my blood slowly seeping through my skin but took solace in the knowledge that it was only ink. And whilst it was only ink. I was triumphing over the demon Depression by not succumbing to its urges; by ignoring its command. Slowly days became weeks, and weeks became a month, then two months, then three. Although the urges were still present, although I wanted to self harm, I consciously chose not to.

And then came today. Another day I didn’t self-harm. Another day I didn’t give in to the urges. Another day where I beat the demon Depression. That makes it eight months, two weeks, three days and an unspecified amount of minutes and seconds. Eight months, two weeks, three days and an unspecified amount of minutes and seconds that I haven’t self-harmed; that I have chosen, consciously, to not let the demon Depression win. No matter what anyone says about this, it is an achievement that I’m proud of. To go so long without self harming, through such a deep and persuasive depressive episode, is a personal record for me. And that’s the biggest realization about self-harm I’ve had. That no matter how much I want to self-harm, no matter how much I need to self-harm, I don’t have to. I can survive without it. I can live without it.

I can’t say whether or not I will ever self-harm in the future. I may do. I may not. Only time will tell. But I can tell you that I have learnt I don’t need to self-harm. That no matter how bad things get, how painful things become, I can – and will – survive without it. And I’m glad I’ve learned such an important lesson; even though it’s taken twenty odd years to realize it!

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge: Day 13

  1. Congratulations on going so long without self-harming despite your depression. That’s amazing! :)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Depression is a tough adversary and he fights dirty too…he steals your reason along with overwhelming your emotions. You are proving yourself tougher than he is. Congratulation.! And thank you for sharing your experience strength and hope for others.
    Big hugs, gerry.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have a time counter app on my phone and it tracks how long I’ve been self harm free, it was over 2 years but then a slip up. As of right now it is 3 months, 13 days, 20 hours, 38 minutes, and 54 seconds

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve never thought of using my phone to track how long I’ve been self harm free. Will have to start doing that myself, it’s certainly a lot easier than keeping track on a calender/memory! :) Don’t fret too much over your slip up, we all have those, I think it’s fantastic you’ve been self harm free for 3 months, 13 days, 20 hours, 38 minutes and 54 seconds! Congratulations! :)

      Like

  4. Wow Addy, wow, wow, wow! What an amazing post of yours that I have just read. I do not go through my emails every single day so the post that I have read just now is probably some two days old by now. The one I am referring to is the one where you resume your 31 day challenge. I quote “eight months, two weeks, three days and an unspecified amount of minutes and seconds that I haven’t self-harmed” and “you have learnt I don’t need to self-harm”. “twenty odd years to realize it!” Please give yourself a huge pat on the back! Now it must be eight months, two weeks, five days and an unspecified amount of minutes and seconds that you haven’t self-harmed. Addy, I really do love the way that you pour yourself out in your blog. You have a huge amount of honesty. It is as if you have nothing else to lose. Yes I agree with you that every time you give in to the demon Depression that it wins and not you. Please continue with your honesty. I love it. For you it may well have taken “twenty odd years to realize the truth” of what you have discovered. Even if one other person discovers the truth of what you have written from what you have written and maybe does not have to wait twenty odd years to find this thing out your writing of this particular blog would have been well worth your while. Thanks Addy. Please keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel quite often that I have nothing left to lose. Ever since my breakdown, ever since losing my friends, my possessions my home…what is there left to lose? I don’t hold any grudges about it but feeling this way does make it easier to speak openly and honestly on my blog. And I wouldn’t want it any other way! :)

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s