**TRIGGER WARNING**This post contains some detail and discussion about self-injury/self-harm. If you are in active or recovery from self-injury/harm or feel that reading this post may trigger negative feelings, please consider skipping it.
I had a pretty normal childhood. Nothing crazy, but at sixteen, my mom and stepdad (the one who raised me and my sister) got a divorce. Shortly after mom met Keith; an ex-meth addict, who had recently been released from prison. We moved in with him, and for a while things were ok…but then things started getting weird. There were times my mom turned hateful. She started to say things to me I’d never heard her say. She was using meth with Keith.
I was seventeen when I found alcohol and began to self-harm. I remember the first time I hurt myself. I don’t recall if I was sober, but remember that it happened in front of my then boyfriend. It wasn’t drastic, but the relief I found in that moment was a catalyst for the next six years.
At age 20 I attended a technical college to get my phlebotomy certificate and worked part-time at a gas station. I was still living with mom and Keith in another house, and at one point we went four months without electricity because no one had the money to pay the bill. <
My self-injury was becoming more frequent.
I could not control anything else going on around me, so I controlled what I could. I could control pain.
Self-injury was my first addiction. I thought about it constantly. I looked forward to it. It was sporadic at first, but when I got my own apartment it increased and steadily got worse. I remember buying supplies, and getting genuinely giddy about gauze and tape.
I never talked about it much, unless it was with an online group. I didn’t want to tell anyone about what I was doing, because I didn’t want anyone to take away my ability to cope. Friends would always tell me they were there for me, and while I appreciated it, I knew I wouldn’t ask for help if I wanted to hurt myself.
In 2007, superficial scratching became cuts. I realized that drinking made it easier to hurt myself so that’s exactly what I did.
I started to slide downhill. I was promiscuous and felt no self-worth or respect. When I hurt myself, I had to take care of me. Cleaning and bandaging the wounds was like the only way I could love myself.
It turned into some form of twisted love.
I was never suicidal, but the more I drank the worse the self-injury got. I didn’t care about myself at all.
One night I got really drunk and when I woke up the next morning, my arm was killing me. I cleaned myself up and went to work. A friend of mine was helping me with my bandage and our nurse walked in on us. She told my boss what she saw on my arm. My boss, who was also a friend of mine, demanded that I show her what I had done.
It was humiliating.
That day I gave my tool to a friend and I never cut again. It’s been almost 5 1/2 years. It still crosses my mind every day. I still have urges, but I also have a beautiful two-year-old daughter who doesn’t miss a beat. I don’t want her to see Mommy with unexplainable “boo boos.”
I take care of myself today and use healthier coping skills.
I ask for help when I need it.
I can’t say that it’ll never hurt myself again, but I think I’m off to a great start.
Click HERE for self-harm support and resources.
If someone you know is self-harming, please read How To Support Someone Who Self-Harms
This brave post was submitted by Raven.