To The One Struggling With Self-Harm

Alex Ronsdorf

I know right now it feels like this is the only way to fix the pain searing the inside of your skull, and the anxiety that pulses sharply within your limbs.  I know harming yourself gives you a strange sense of relief, but then becomes an addiction feeding on your mind and body.

I want to tell you that you don’t have to live this way anymore.  Self-harm has given you some relief, but it is a cruel master that will leave you empty and broken.  You are stronger than you know.  You have strength within yourself that is more potent than anything self-harm might seem to provide.

I want to tell you that despite all the people who don’t understand, there are some that do.  There is still kindness out there, and warm shoulders to rest your head on, when you feel too weak to handle life alone.  There are counselors who can help you sort your pain into boxes, and help you find ways to shoulder the load.

I want to tell you that your body is a beautiful vessel that holds you, that keeps your pain inside, and keeps you safe.  Your body holds all the mystery and secrets of you.  It heals your wounds.  It preserves you when you feel like your mind is breaking.

I want to tell you that your scars do not make you ugly.  Your scars are staircases to a long struggle, to the long stream of hurt mirrored on your skin. Your scars make you a survivor.  But now it is time to leave self-harm behind so you can recover.

You need to fight for yourself.  You need to decide you won’t abuse your body anymore.  Only you can make that decision.  No one else can force you.

Once you have decided to stop self-harming, it won’t be easy.  The temptation will still snake along the edge of your consciousness, and scream at you in your darkest hours.  As you work towards healing, your thoughts will weave in and out of dark corridors.  Recovery will be a battlefield.

But recovery is worth it.  Recovery is a process, but over time you will learn to love yourself again, to preserve all the beautiful parts of you.

You might relapse.  That’s ok.  Addiction is a difficult beast to shake.  If you relapse, remember that you can shake the dust off your feet and get back on the path to wholeness.  A relapse does not mean you have fallen back in that pit.

The road to recovery will be hard.  But it will be worth it.  Someday you will emerge from this journey battle-scarred but empowered, with self-harm only a memory, a part of your past you left behind so you could live with strength and grace in the present. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Lynne Shayko is a master’s student in clinical mental health counseling at Kent State University.

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