People who self-harm are not taken seriously. Our pain is underestimated.
Imagine for a minute how upset a person must be to drag a knife across their skin or how frustrated or angry they must be to burn themselves.
Those of us who self-harm are the same as you, except when you hurt you talk about it, but when we hurt we self-harm. It is the only thing we know how to do and no matter how easy you may think it is for us to stop, it isn’t.
Self-harm is easier to start than it is to quit.
Have you ever felt so upset or angry that you have just broken down sobbing? Well I never have, ever. Not even when he was forcing himself on me or hurting me as a child did I cry. Not even when my mother turned her back on me. Crying only made things worse for me, it made more trouble. The only comfort I ever had was self-harm. It began when I was 14.
I want to cry, so very much, I just can’t. I am afraid. I am afraid of what will happen. It is like I am waiting for something that never comes. I have been waiting to release this secret, this pain for so long but crying never comes. I am frustrated.
My screams and tears are silent but my mind is violent. The urge is everywhere. It is under my skin, it is the monster in my head telling me to cut myself, to burn myself. I can’t stop it.
I feel like I am suffocating. My chest feels heavy, I can’t breathe.
I clench my fists and dig my nails into the palms of my hands, the way you do when you feel really, really angry. I want to punch something. I feel like smashing my hand through a window. I can feel anger rising within me, like a volcano ready to erupt but which can’t. I am trying to fight the monster but it is hard.
I am sad. I have tears in my eyes but they won’t come out. I am overwhelmed; Anger, sadness, fear, frustration, hopelessness, distress, self-hatred.
I want to scream!!
I need an escape. I need a release. For one moment I need to just forget everything!
I can’t hold on. I give in to the monsters. I cut, I burn, they feel like my only option.
For a minute I feel numb, I feel nothing. Then I feel the pain. The pain of the knife sliding across my skin, or the pain of the burn caused by a lighter or a hob and suddenly it hurts. It hurts a lot!
In that moment all the hours of silent tears and hatred, the hours of frustration and hopelessness disappear. I kill the pain with pain.
I do not hurt myself because I enjoy it. I do not do it for fun. It is just better than the emotional pain I have trapped inside.
Self-harm is a way to cope, it is not something that we do for attention. Our scars that you may see on the outside are nowhere near as many as we have on the inside.
We hurt ourselves on the outside to try and kill the unbearable pain on the inside.
We do not like to do it. It is not something that we plan. It just happens. It is horrible and scary. It is painful. It leaves scars that we do not want to explain, that we are unsure how to explain. We are ashamed.
Self-harm takes the pain away but when we are done what more do we have other than a bunch of scars that will never go away.
Yes, the scars may fade, but the urges, the monsters telling us to bring them back will become stronger and stronger.
We will always try and fight the urges, but sometimes the monsters are too powerful.
So you see, we are the same as you, I am the same as you, except when you hurt you talk, you cry, but when I hurt I cut or burn.
Not for fun. Not because I like it. Not for attention. But for survival.
I am embarrassed, I am ashamed, I am frightened….
But it is the only way I know how to survive.
So please, next time you see someone with scars, don’t judge them, don’t avoid them, don’t be ashamed. We are already carrying enough shame about ourselves as it is.
We want to stop, we know it is not right, we want to be free. We want to reach out for help but we are afraid. We are sorry we are not strong like you.
Every day we fight a battle. It is a battle with ourselves. Every scar shows a battle we tried to win but one which we have lost to the monsters…. but it is a scar and not a gravestone. We are still fighting.
We are surviving.
I am surviving.
Thanks for reading.