For starters, it’s okay. It’s okay to not feel okay, it’s okay to not know how to deal with your emotions, and it’s okay to breakdown. But what isn’t okay? Is making yourself hurt more than you already do. It isn’t okay to indulge yourself in physical pain, just to distract yourself from the mental pain, or the pain you feel inside. Feeling hurt is better than feeling empty, but purposely making yourself hurt is something that I took a long time to realize isn’t okay.
Throughout all of the feelings you experience when going through a time where you suffer from self-harm, there will absolutely never be anything worse than “the urge”.
“The urge” is that feeling you get when you all of a sudden feel the need to participate in your harmful behavior. You could be doing absolutely anything. You can be surrounded by friends having a great time, reading your favorite book, swimming, shopping, watching TV, or doing literally anything else in the world when all of a sudden that thought pops into your head. You could feel happy, sad, or empty at the time and you would still get the urge, and it won’t go away until you cave in. You’ll start to slowly lose your sanity, until you aren’t the same person anymore. You can’t focus on anything else, and it’s like you’re living outside of yourself.
Your fingers and foot start to subconsciously tap, you’ll feel like pacing around or throwing things, and you can feel it. You can feel the spot on your skin where you usually hurt yourself. It’s like it’s pulling you in, just waiting for you to do it. You become a different version of yourself; someone who you never knew existed. Once you finally give into it, you’ll come back to whom you usually are, left staring at the destruction you just caused to yourself.
Then the next morning you wake up and see the new scars you placed there the night before, most of the time forgetting that it had happened. You’ll sit and stare at them for a moment, contemplating how you feel about them.
It’s been four months since the last time I’ve self-harmed, but the scars are still there. They’re starting to fade a decent amount, but I still see them everyday. Sometimes I regret it and wonder why or how I ever did that to myself, or how I ever became that person. Other days I think of how proud I am of myself for not having any new scars, and realize that those marks are a part of my past, and nothing I should be ashamed of.
When trying to quit self-harm, it will feel like the most difficult thing you’ve ever done. You see the old scars or begin to get “the urge”, and it becomes so easy to give in. It can become so unbelievably difficult to not give in, and the withdrawals will be one of the hardest things you’ve experienced so far. I always thought that giving in a tiny bit each time, but slowly doing it less and less, would be the way to quit. I soon realized that that is not the case. You quit by forcing yourself not to do it, which slowly turns into sleeping and eating less, pushing everyone you care about away, and watching any form of self-esteem or happiness go down the drain.
In reality, you don’t actually have self-esteem, and you aren’t actually happy. Those are both false senses of hope given to you by your addiction. And yes, I one hundred percent believe that self-harm is an extremely addictive behavior. Those two seconds after you brake skin, before the blood starts to show, you feel so alive. You feel like you were never broken, and like everything will be all right. As soon as the blood surfaces, you’ll just be reminded of all the hatred you have for yourself and the reasons why you did it in the first place.
You continue this process so many times over the next few minutes until you’ve finally convinced yourself that the fake happiness you received, from the chemicals released in your brain when you felt pain, were actually feelings of real happiness. The worst part is, you will genuinely believe that you are happy. And that’s how you become addicted.
When you become addicted to it that becomes your happiness. When everything is going wrong and you don’t know how to make it right, you turn to self-harm, looking for that false sense of happiness. Until you snap out of this self-destructive parallel universe and realize the happiness is fake, you can’t stop.
Sometimes, you never realize that yourself. I didn’t realize that until I had a friend repeatedly tell it to me. He’d always be the person I would go to for any form of a problem, especially with my self-harm problem. He’s a major reason why I’ve been four months clean, and why I can honestly say that I don’t miss it. I don’t miss having to make sure no one was around when I got dressed, not being able to wear certain things, or having to lie to everyone about how I was doing. But in the end, quitting self-harm led me to an even more self-destructive behavior. I made him my source of happiness, instead of self-harm.