Although I feel as though this is a topic that needs to be addressed, I do realize that this is on the internet and can be easily accessed by anyone. That being the case I will do my best not to be graphic or plant any negative thoughts in this post – I certainly do not want to make the problem worse. Over the last few weeks I have had a few people come to me for advice. People dealing with thoughts of hurting themselves – not suicidal – but rather attempting to cope with life by doing things that harm their physical person.
Self-Injury has been something I have dealt with since I was 11 years old. Most people don’t understand self injury. It isn’t logical to them. It didn’t make sense to me either, I didn’t understand why I was doing it or why it helped in the short term. It was my first addiction. Like any other addiction it just progressed, and the ‘positive’ effects got harder and harder to obtain until it just didn’t work anymore. I didn’t do it because I was suicidal, I did it to turn emotional pain into physical pain so that I could better cope with it.
I don’t know when it happened, but one day I realized I was hooked. Even though it didn’t ‘work for me’ any more – I couldn’t stop. Until I moved to my next addiction which was alcohol and then on to drugs. Many times, even doing all three to deal with the pain.
I tried many things that I found on the internet to be able to stop hurting myself – like holding ice cubes in my hand or snapping rubber bands on my wrist… Nothing worked.
Since I have gotten sober – I have realized that the reason that none of those things worked for long was because it wasn’t a physical void I was trying to fill – it was a spiritual one. I am a spiritual being living in a physical body and therefore if I am not maintaining my spiritual condition – I feel displaced. I become restless, irritable and discontent. The depression and anger hit me like waves when the tide is coming in.
That is why the ice cubes and rubber bands didn’t work, that is why I couldn’t ‘just stop’ any of my vices for any long period of time. Because I wasn’t taking care of my spiritual condition – I had completely pushed God out of my life and was trying to go through life on my own power. That is why I was in so much pain, that’s why I felt alone. And yet – I was angry with God for abandoning me, but He wasn’t the one that turned His back; I was.
I have also learned how to be honest and talk about my feelings to people that I can trust, I have learned to trust people and to trust God. Beautiful gifts that I never would have thought possible for me just a few short years ago.
So, thanks to God and my 12-Step Program – I have learned how to maintain my spiritual condition and I have not felt it necessary to injure myself in over a year and a half.
** If you feel you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It is a free, 24-hour hotline, at 1.800.273.8255. Your call will be connected to the crisis center nearest to you. If you are in an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. **