Blog

Feb27
2015

I’ll Hold the Hope

By Daylee Hames

If I had to try to explain why I began to self-harm, it would look something like this:

I would tell you I needed to matter; I needed to feel as though I was worth something, anything. 

Our society would tell you I was looking for attention.

I would try to explain my struggles with depression and anxiety. 

Our society would invalidate it with a few simple words: “Someone else has it worse.”

I would tell you that sometimes it was easier to deal with self-inflicted pain than to acknowledge the hurt that runs marathons in my brain. 

Our society would say, “Get out of your own head. Get over it!”

This Sunday, March 1, is Self-Injury Awareness Day. For me, this Sunday is a reminder that I am nearly two years clean from self-injury. For some, this Sunday will be just like any other day. But for so many others this day will be an uncomfortable reminder. It’s a pointed finger at one of our darkest habits. It’s a forced memory of our most horrible nights. It’s a reminder of the urge we face on a daily basis. The stigma around self-injury makes me feel ashamed, convinces me I’m worthless, and scares me into refusing to open up about this dangerous habit.

And that’s the problem with stigma. It means this struggle we face is rarely talked about in the open. And if it is discussed, the right language isn’t used. How could we be honest about the overwhelming guilt we feel when covering our scars? How do we admit when the habit happened recently? Often we feel we can’t be honest about the boulder that sits in our stomach and between our shoulder blades when we wake up and we’re forced to face the choices we’ve made. We don’t talk about how to say – even after years in recovery – that we still have days where we purposefully keep ourselves busy. We don’t say we still have days where we purposefully reach out to our therapist and loved ones in order to not become exhausted by the urge to self-injure. And we rarely talk about relapse, a reality that has made me hate the word “process” more than I should.

We were not meant to do life alone. We were not meant to carry our brokenness by ourselves. This expectation is not realistic or safe. I needed my loved ones to get through my darkest nights just as much as I needed them to rejoice with me on my brightest days. We need to love each other right where we are. That kind of love and support holds the power to make the biggest difference.

We live in a broken world, and it is filled with hurting people. The stigma we face has claimed more collateral damage than we can imagine, but we were never promised a world without trouble. This Sunday I hope you remember this: There is something so much bigger than that trouble, so freely giving of peace, and that is hope. If you can’t hold onto that right now, that’s OK. Let the people in your community hold the hope for you until you can believe again.

This Sunday I will wear orange to fight the stigma, to advocate for my story, and to stand up for yours. I never thought the day would come where I would wear orange clean of self-injury. If you can’t imagine that day in your future, don’t worry. I’ll hold the hope for you.

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Comments (37)

  1. Sara

    March 10 will be my 2 year mark for freedom from this! This blog is exactly what I needed to read because for too often I have felt ashamed by the stigma that this carries even into recovery! This is what I needed to read today!

    Reply  |  
  2. Kyleigh

    Thank you for writing this. As someone who has struggled with self-harm I take comfort in the fact that there is always hope. Thank you for your words and acknowledging this day.

    Reply  |  
  3. Anthea

    Thank you for your beautiful truth. Your words touched me today. I’ll hold the hope etched into my heart. Big Love – you go boldly rock your orange shirt x

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  4. Kucera

    That was beautiful Daylee. Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  5. Rosemary Steinbach

    You and your struggle matters, and is not insignificant or anything to be ashamed of. I share my insight through the lens of a mother who watched my daughter struggle through years of private suffering. Pain is real no matter how it is realized. Be strong and courageous in your battle. You are worth it. You matter.

    Reply  |  
  6. Chrissy

    I keep trying to see the pretty things in this world but there is so much bad but I watched the movie and it gives me some hope I just feel so sad alot manily cause of the guy that i’m with who makes me feel like nothing

    Reply  |  
    1. Heather

      Chrissy, l read your reply and my heart hurt with you & broke for you. Honey, there are bad things and sad things, you’re right….but There Is Joy and There Is Hope! And even more than that THERE IS LOVE! Love is not selfish, it doesn’t call names, it doesn’t cast the blame of walk away from responsibility. It DOES put others first, it shows respect by being kind, gentle, protective. It treats others the way it wants to be treated. YOU are worthy of being loved! By yourself and by others. I know it’s hard to believe sometimes, and sometimes we think, “But you don’t know what they did, or what I’ve done. I’m not loveable.” Those are lies we tell ourselves and we’ve been told by people who believe it about themselves. WE ARE ALL WORTHY OF BEING TREATED PROPERLY! I’m hoping you’ll read this and realize that even some stanger, one you’ll probably never meet, knows that about you and you’ll begin to believe it. And find Hope

      Reply  |  
    2. Breazy

      Waiting for the world to change. I know exactly how you feel. I am in the same boat. I don’t know what exactly to say except thank you for letting me know I’m not alone.

      Reply  |  
  7. wendie

    This comment could not be shared due to the nature of the message.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Thank you so much for sharing part of your story with us.

      TWLOHA is not a 24-hour helpline, nor are we trained mental health professionals. TWLOHA hopes to serve as a bridge to help.

      If this is an emergency or if you need immediate help, please call and talk to someone at 1-800-273-TALK or reach out to the LifeLine Crisis Chat at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx“. We also have a list of local resources and support groups on our FIND HELP page. Please know that we also respond to every email we receive at info@twloha.com.

      Reply  |  
  8. Michelle

    This comment could not be shared due to the nature of the message.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Thank you so much for sharing part of your story with us.

      TWLOHA is not a 24-hour helpline, nor are we trained mental health professionals. TWLOHA hopes to serve as a bridge to help.

      If this is an emergency or if you need immediate help, please call and talk to someone at 1-800-273-TALK or reach out to the LifeLine Crisis Chat at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx“. We also have a list of local resources and support groups on our FIND HELP page. Please know that we also respond to every email we receive at info@twloha.com.

      Reply  |  
  9. Holly Ackerman

    Thank you for writing this. I have supported this organization for years now and wear your bracelet every day. This article means so much and this group has changed my life. Please continue to provide guidance and encouragement for people to get the help they need. I am much happier now and your page has helped make a huge difference for me and to let me know I am not alone. Thank you again!

    Reply  |  
  10. Ophelia

    Today, its been 9 months and 9 days since the last time I’ve self harmed and reading this just reminds me that I dont have to face this alone and that there’s always hope on those dark days, thank you so much for this :’D

    Reply  |  
  11. Steph

    Thank you

    Reply  |  
  12. Erica

    I was clean for almost 3 years. It’s true. Relapses happen. It did to me back in November. But I’m proud to say I’m clean again. Nothing new since November. It’s not a long time but it’s something. I struggle with the urge everyday but I won’t let my self give up. Always keep fighting <3

    Reply  |  
    1. Jess

      Even though you had a relapse you should still be proud. You did not fall back into that vicious cycle again. You pulled yourself out and started again. Each day you do not hurt yourself is one more day you have succeeded.

      Reply  |  
  13. ashley

    I’ve lost track of how long it’s been but it should be at least 2 years this year. Ever since my daughter came along even in the darkest thoughts in the back of my mind the sun shines I cling to a new hope and have something to believe in

    Reply  |  
  14. Bec

    Thankyou for sharing. It’s hard to open up about this topic because the shame felt and also because of trouble expressing exactly how we all feel sometimes. I’m a emotional bottler and felt this was the only way. Ur words are touching. Good on you. Hope u stay strong. I’ve been clean for about 6 months now tho I still think about it.

    Reply  |  
  15. Pat Murray

    Im almost 65 yrs old and still have the urge to —. Four months ago I finally found a psychoanalyst who has been working with me five days a week. Many therapists have tried to help over the yrs but this one was certainly worth the wait. It didn’t take very long to realize that when I tried to hurt myself (in so many ways) what I really wanted to do was to harm my many abusers. A light bulb came on I realized that was true. Memories are still coming and it seems like it’s never going to end but this, for me, is the price of freedom. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. So much better than living in the dark.

    Reply  |  
  16. Kate

    What a beautiful piece of yourself you’ve shared with us here. I too will wear orange Sunday, 8 years clean and praying for those who, like me, still have a battle to fight. But I do so with the knowledge that I have sought and received the help I needed, that the struggle gets easier with each passing year that I leave it in my past. I wish all of you the health and happiness you deserve.

    Reply  |  
  17. Christy

    I was 12 when I started hurting myself, more than 20 years ago, and I still remember the first thing my middle school guidance counselor said was that I was “just looking for attention.” I hope things have changed, but I know they haven’t changed enough. When you can’t open up and be honest about the things in your head, it feels like you can’t be honest about yourself. Like YOU are something to be ashamed of. It takes a lot to try to change that part of our culture, and I admire you for taking that step.

    Reply  |  
  18. Lauren

    I’m near my three year mark, with a baby on the way as well and at the one year mark I Tattooed “Hope” over some of my scars. It reminds me on my hard days that yes, I have hope.

    Reply  |  
  19. Milena Byrum

    This comment could not be shared due to the nature of the message.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Thank you so much for sharing part of your story with us.

      TWLOHA is not a 24-hour helpline, nor are we trained mental health professionals. TWLOHA hopes to serve as a bridge to help.

      If this is an emergency or if you need immediate help, please call and talk to someone at 1-800-273-TALK or reach out to the LifeLine Crisis Chat at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx“. We also have a list of local resources and support groups on our FIND HELP page. Please know that we also respond to every email we receive at info@twloha.com.

      Reply  |  
  20. Maggie

    I’ve been in and out of intense anxiety for about 8 years now, with depression and major self hate being a huge side affect of it. I have traveled to this site before, hoping to browse and find something, but never really took the effort to really figure out what I needed to get help. Everyday I wake up and its different for me, sometimes great and others just, well not great at all. I read this and it inspires me to figure out what I need, but I can’t do it alone. I hadn’t self harmed in over a year, filling in the void with alcohol off and on but now I’m sober and I want to move forward. I don’t know who else to tell about my relapse this month, because i’m scared to admit how I truly feel about it. I guess I just plan to read this over and over because I keeps my chin up. Thanks.

    Reply  |  
  21. Amanda

    I’ve been 3 weeks and 5 days clean. Before that I was a year and six months clean. I just don’t know where else to turn. My parents don’t understand. They keep telling me that it’s all in my head. But maybe that’s where the problem is, my head. I still think there is hope for me, I’m just trying to find it. I started ——- when I was 12 years old. No one knew for almost three years about my depression. I was diagnosed with severe depression and still my parents thought and stayed in denial that it was in my head. Then finally I got better but now here I am. Lost.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Hi Amanda,

      Thank you so much for sharing part of your story with us. We’re so happy to hear about your progress! Three weeks and five days is a big deal, and you should celebrate that! If you need resources specific to self-injury, we have some listed here that might be helpful: https://twloha.com/find-help.

      If this is an emergency or if you need immediate help, please call and talk to someone at 1-800-273-TALK or reach out to the LifeLine Crisis Chat at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx“. We also have a list of local resources and support groups on our FIND HELP page. Please know that we also respond to every email we receive at info@twloha.com.

      Reply  |  
  22. Sammy

    This is actually so inspiring, ive tried to stop and every time i relapse. I finally managedto find help for it after amost a year of facing it alone and still i dont feel like i have the support i need. I guess they dont realise its difficult but this has given a lottle more hope. Thanks

    Reply  |  
  23. Desiree

    This comment could not be shared due to the nature of the message.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Thank you so much for sharing part of your story with us.

      TWLOHA is not a 24-hour helpline, nor are we trained mental health professionals. TWLOHA hopes to serve as a bridge to help.

      If this is an emergency or if you need immediate help, please call and talk to someone at 1-800-273-TALK or reach out to the LifeLine Crisis Chat at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx“. We also have a list of local resources and support groups on our FIND HELP page. Please know that we also respond to every email we receive at info@twloha.com.

      Reply  |  
  24. L

    Thank you for sharing your story. I used to — to feel that I was worth something, or just to feel anything because the numbness was so overwhelming. I can relate to this, the amount of people who seen the scars and thought I was attention seeking, the sad thing is they people were meant to be my best friends. I’ve not — for over 2 years now but the urge always seems to be there. I pray that I’m strong enough to not have a relapse but sometimes I feel like it’s inevitable, something just waiting to happen. I have good days now but I also still have dark days. For now, I’m doing okay and I feel like I’ll be okay, but I can’t say that for sure.

    Reply  |  
  25. anon

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I am still struggling with depression and self harm…as well as daily thoughts of suicide. I was told yesterday that I “just need to get out of my own head” and that “other people has it worse”. I’ve been told I just have to get over it and move on. It is so invalidating and hurtful that no one around me understands but helps to know there are people out there who do understand!

    Reply  |  
  26. Kelly Golway

    I’ve been clean (meaning I haven’t self harmed) for 20 days now. My 15th birthday is on the 31 of March and I’m proud to say that for the first time in two years I will be clean on my birthday. 🙂

    Reply  |  
  27. Vanessa

    thank you.

    Reply  |  
  28. Christa

    Thank you so much for this.
    This is exactly how i feel, think and believe but i could not have put it in such beautiful words like you have. Society judges because they don’t understand what’s its like for people with this problem, with all the hurt they busy inside themselves, i myself am one of those people. It has been
    over a year since i have self injured but each day its there in my mind eachday, creeping in when Im quiet, screaming at me when Im upset, it never does fade away into the blackness forever but i cope just like everyone else.
    Thank you again for your beautifully written words.

    Reply  |  
  29. Pingback: I Am Not Going Anywhere « TWLOHA

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