There is a world out there where hurting yourself isn’t an option. Where there isn’t that almost daily desire to destroy. Where such behavior isn’t acceptable and routine. A world where you believe you are worth loving. A world without indescribable pain and emptiness.
This is the dream I cling to desperately, the dream that motivates me to fight the darkness, to persevere daily, and to battle my demons. It gives me hope that keeps me fighting to get better. This must be a reality somewhere. Where that is, I do not yet know. I have not had the joy of experiencing such freedom. The world I know is one of self-destruction, one where the body pays the price for the sins of its owner and serves as a canvas to translate the emotional torment into a physical memory.
On the bad days, there is no hope of such a place. There is no hope of the pattern changing, sometimes not even a desire for change. The coping mechanism, while destructive, ineffective, and potentially dangerous, is what I know, what “works” for me. It is the knee-jerk response to deep chaos and panic. At times there is no reasoning with my mind; this is the outcome my illness desires and what is left of my mind lacks the strength to compete. During these moments, I feel a slave to the destruction, unable to fight back with no hope of freedom from the bondage of self-injury.
On days that the darkness is not so smothering, I can glimpse this hope of a different life. Hope that I do not have to continue to fear myself and what I am capable of. Those days I stand on the fence, torn between the darkness of my illness and the hope of a life without this monster.
Do I really want to leave behind the comfort I have known for so long? Do I really want to stop the pattern that gives me such a feeling of control?
I look back to the little girl I once was, the one who learned to do these things. I wish I could hold her in my arms, tell her how beautiful she is, how she doesn’t deserve this pain. Tell her of a life without fear of herself. And let her know this is a reality. She doesn’t have to learn this pattern.
And then I wonder why I do not believe those things for myself? What kind of world would this be if there was no hope to escape the torment of self-injury? I believe in a world full of mainly good people, one with hope for recovery from mental illness. So I guess, somewhere in the healthier but very deep recesses of my mind, I do believe in a world where I don’t hurt or fear myself. Life couldn’t be worth fighting, the struggle so constant, if there was no hope for healing. I will believe what I tell that little girl, and I will find a way to live life without self-injury. Someday.
The piece above was written in May of last year. At the time, I was desperately struggling to make it through my first 30 days clean from self-injury. I have now gone 1 year, 2 months, and 6 days since my last event. Today is a day I never believed I would see. I reread my words and have so much compassion for the young woman who wrote them, the woman who was so scared but so determined to fight. I wasn’t sure I could do it. But I want you to know I can, and I am, and you can too. I have found that world I was searching for, and it feels so free.