A World Without Self-Injury

By Kenzi RomeSeptember 28, 2015

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.

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Comments (34)

  1. Susan

    Beautifully written! Well done on your time free from self-harm. You are beautiful and you are a fighter!

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  2. cathy

    I don’t self-harm but this is how my depression feels. Thank you for your courage in sharing your story. God bless you!

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  3. Patience

    Very well written. I feel as of your words describe how I feel right now in ways better than I ever could

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  4. -

    thank you for sharing this. i realized about two hours earlier that i am potentially 7 days away from being 6 months and it was shocking and scary, honestly. i didn’t believe i could make it that long so many days and i question that briefly even now. it’s encouraging to hear you speak, and a comfort. when i was young i used to wonder why people would repeat things they already knew, but now i understand so clearly why it is so vital for us all to keep reminding each other that we’re not alone. so again, thank you.

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  5. Courtney

    Oh man, do I believe in this world.

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  6. Madison

    I read this and it feels like you were in my head as you wrote it. This is exactly how I feel. You have such a strong and true way with words. The daily fight is real. Thank you for writing this and being so openly honest.

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  7. Sarah

    Over four and a half years for me. Some days, it is still a huge struggle, but it’s worth the fight. Keep fighting!

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  8. Emily

    This is so powerful and you conceptualized the struggle so perfectly. Thank you.

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  9. Jenni

    Thank you. I really really needed this. I was almost going to self-harm but I picked up my phone to look at Facebook quick and this popped up in my feed and I knew it was a sign.

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    1. Kenzi

      Just hang in there. One moment at a time. I promise you can do it. You already are! 🙂

      Reply  |  
  10. Heathir

    I want to live in that world where I don’t want to self-injure. But all I have is this world. ?

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  11. Monica

    Thank you for opening up and sharing. Your words parallel mines. I applaud you for being strong! It’s been almost a year for me since I last self harmed.

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  12. Serena

    Thank you for this. As someone who struggled with self-Injury and feeling all the things you described, I appreciate when people post things that others can relate to. It’s been 3 years and 2 months since my last event and I thought I would never see this day. Thanks again

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  13. Sydni

    That was nicely put. Ill put that to mind.

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  14. Heather

    Inspirational 🙂 well done for going that long without harming! I wish i could do that xx

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  15. Kenzi

    Hearing from all of you puts goosebumps on my arms and tears in my eyes. It’s hard to not feel so alone no matter how long you fight. It’s amazing to be reaffirmed that none of us are alone. It makes this fight worth it. For all of you who have spoken out, thank you. I am honored to carry your voice.

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  16. Taylor

    Thank you so much for writing this—things like this and people like you are what help me get through my darkest hours. Lately I’ve been trying so hard to stop hurting myself, but I’ve only been able to go two weeks at most. Reading your story and knowing that it’s possible to rise above gives me hope that someday I, too, will be able to feel free.

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  17. Thirza

    This story is amazing. I don’t know who you are, but i’m proud of you!

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  18. Sarah

    you are so inspirational. And I have thought of suicide and if it wasn’t for the people around me I wouldn’t be able to be here.

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  19. Melissa

    This had me tearing up. I am 1 year, 5 months and 1 week clean from self harm. This 100% tacks down what it truly feels like. Thank you.

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  20. rosie

    This was a good read. Thank you. Going on 4 years “clean” in Dec after 13+ years of it. Still a stuggle. This helps. Thanks you again.

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  21. Lori

    God speed my friend !

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  22. Mary Kay

    I am in the middle of try to stop self harm once and for all. It’s been really hard and I’ve gone through a lot of treatment and run into a lot of issues these last two years. I am hoping that one day I can say that I have accomplished what you have. Thank you for the inspiration.

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  23. Lisa

    In November, it’ll be a year for me without self-injury. I still don’t feel completely free from it as my mind wanders, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come. Thank you for writing this and reminding us that hope is real and it can be stronger than our demons.

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  24. Donna

    This is beautifully written. I am so proud of how far you have come, knowing that even still you have days when you struggle. I have made it one year, 9 months. Stay strong!

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  25. Autumn Robinson

    Thank you so so much for this. As a 15 year old girl, I’ve struggled a lot with self-injury. But, I’ve gotten better with some help from friends who don’t judge me. They’ve kept me clean.

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  26. Lacey

    your story was so powerful! I was a teen who struggled self-harm and now am in school to become a social worker to help teens like me! Your story really hit home for me reminding me of the dark past I once had too. Although I know I would not be the person I am had I not went though it!
    with much love,

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  27. Lily

    I’m diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I was diagnosed 7 years ago and spent 1 month in a clinic after a suicide attempt. Self-injury is such a complicated thing.. I stopped ______ 7 years ago, after getting the right treatment and therapy for my illness, but I had some relapses.. not as terrible as it was 7 years ago where I ____ everyday. But it is still a struggle and I feel like a failure every time I relapse, but then I think.. it could be worse. When you have a mental dissorder that’s part of your life and cannot get “cured” you have to keep fighting everyday, sometimes it’s difficult. I found this web a long time ago, but today I watched the movie and decided to google it again. It’s nice to know there’s somewhere you can share things and read stories that inspire us, because as a “former” self-injurer.. it’s not easy for me to talk to the people around me, because everyone assumes I’m over it. Thanks a lot for the post. Thanks to the web too

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  28. Anna

    Until five days ago I was almost four months free of self harm. This relapse has left me in a bad place but I’m going to get through this; I’m going to see the world you wrote about. It’s hard but knowing other people out there are going through/ have gone through the same thoughts I have right now is really helpful. Thank you for your courage and for sharing.

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  29. shawna

    If I make it through tonight I’ll be 77 days…I really needed to read this. Thank you <3

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  30. Kim

    Kenzi –
    Congratulations and thank you so much for sharing your words and your journey! It is stories from people like you that can truly give others hope, while embracing them with love as they are. Thank you.

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  31. Moira

    I love this. I’ve saved it and have read it dozens of times since it was first posted. I could have written this about my life. Everyday I feel torn between stopping or continuing with my self injury. I honestly love it as much as I hate it. One day I know I’ll reach a place in my life where self injury isn’t an option. This hope for such a life must exist so that I can be the best mom for my girls. Until then, I’ll just keep hoping and praying for healing and recovery. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  32. Morgan

    I’m 35 days away to a year clean and it’s hands down the hardest thing I’ve ever done some days, some weeks are just a struggle still. I hope to see that place some day too.

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  33. Shelly Paulsen

    Powerful words!

    Reply  |  
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