This is a personal piece. Please be trigger aware when reading.
Things for me, just lately, have not been going well and this has led me to revisit an old coping mechanism; self harm. It has become a big part of my life again and something I have come to rely on to help me get through each day. It has also reminded me why I despise it so much as well. This post is about my current relationship with self harm.
Self harm, for me, is a bad coping mechanism. It keeps me alive at times but not living a life. It has dragged me back into an existence that I do not like, yet I feel powerless at the moment to do anything about it. It has become the centre of my thinking again as I find myself counting down to the next time I can hurt myself as well as visualising how I can do it. This is far from helpful. So why am I holding onto it?
The answer to the above question is partly answered here. It is an addiction. I am addicted to hurting myself for the small relief I get from it for a few minutes after I have hurt myself. I am addicted to the feeling of endorphins being released after I have caused myself pain. In this way self harming is very much like being an alcoholic or a drug addict. I was ‘clean’ for so long but when things got difficult I found myself falling back into my addicted state.
As with any addiction there is a cycle to it; hurt self to feel better, guilt sets in, feel worse, repeat. And this is a cycle I have known for more than half my life. No wonder I found myself falling back into it. As I have said before it is very much like being an alcoholic. The temptation is always there. I had resisted it for over a year but a set back has taken place and I feel I am back to square one. But am I?
The honest answer to this question is I don’t know. At the moment it feels like the self harm is here to stay but I also have the knowledge that I have managed without it for a considerable length of time so there is hope I could do this again and maybe for longer. We will have to see. Hopefully with support I will get back to a place where I do not need self harm as a coping mechanism. I will keep you posted on my progress.