Self harm, for most, might seem like an extreme path. You might find it nauseating, stomach curling and just plain uncalled for.
For me it has been an escape route. A fight for control.
I first turned to self harm when I was 14.
I remember the day vividly. I got home from work, the sun was bouncing through my bedroom window. I was meeting a friend later and I was quite excited. The memories of the previous nights disco dancing were still fresh on my mind. I called him from outside the club. I thought he too might be out chasing the night.
Back to that day, the bedroom.
The phone rang and I took the call.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
Bobby is dead.
Bobby was a friend of mine. We had romantic feelings for each other but I was taking my time. Just the other day he was on the phone asking me over to his house for dinner with his family. I was scared of things moving too fast, so I made an excuse.
The caller continued telling me the reality that hovered over that day.
I had a glass candle holder. It generally sat looking out the window but through the course of the conversation I found it grasped in my hand. My grip growing tighter.
I could see the blood trickling down my hand but I felt nothing.
That’s where it began.
When the pain set in I wasn’t in control. When the pain from the glass set in, I was.
And it continued. Every time I found myself loosing control of my emotions I turned to self harm. Glass, razors, keys, paper.. anything that would bring the release, the comfort.
I wore long sleeve shirts and lied about falling into stock cages at work.
I hid it well but they found out eventually.
I’m not proud of my coping mechanisms but they were exactly that, they helped me cope. I can only hope I never go back to that place. If self harm is the pit stop before a suicide attempt, then I’ll take that pit stop. Regaining control, or what it felt like at the time, gave me enough space to not want to proceed to a suicide attempt.
If you are struggling with self harm please reach out. Talk to anyone, talk to me. There are better ways of coping.