[Possible trigger] The below is a beautiful piece of writing shared on a self-injury support group I am a part of. I’ve gotten permission to quote her and share here. Bits and pieces of this I’ve expressed before … but to hear it said so perfectly and accurately by someone else who also has struggled with this addiction brings me a great deal of comfort. I couldn’t have fully expressed it any better. And I soooo appreciate her for sharing. Enjoy. I hope it helps my friends understand a little more why it’s so hard to “just stop.”
So my name is Jill and I’m a recovering self injurer.
Well, I say recovering, but I feel like that’s a weird phrase for us, isn’t it? You think about other things you can recover from, drug addiction, alcoholism, a cold, and then you compare that to self injury. We have physical wounds with physical timelines and then mental wounds, which we’re not sure we can ever heal. A cold goes away. An alcoholic will always face his cravings, as will a reformed drug addict. They can help heal their wounds by staying away from their substances. It’s not easy for them, it may never be easy for the rest of their life. And then there’s us. I don’t know about you, but I can’t leave my body. I will wash my hands everyday and see the scars on my arm. Every day I will see my scars. And every day I will know that I can hurt myself. I don’t even need a blade. I will know that my substance is not only at my fingertips, it is my fingertips. It’s my hands. My nails. My teeth. It’s the corner of a wall. It’s an “accidental” fall down a flight of stairs. I don’t belittle the struggles of anyone facing an addiction. But to those who tell me to “just stop,” “find something else,” and “try not to think about it” I invite you to stop breathing because the task is just as impossible. The answer is that even if I never cut again, or stick my hand down my throat, if I never bruise my arms, or burn my skin, I will have said no at least once a day. I will have said no not to something apart from my body, but my body itself. I will not “recover” from this, but I will live in spite of it. I will not be better. I will never wake up free from scars and triggers, but I will wake up. I will live. And I will do it blood free.