Self-Harm Recovery

This is a story I wrote for a website.

Self-Harm Recovery

I started self-harm (cutting) when I was 15. It happened after a traumatic night in my house. I snapped and was looking for a way to channel the pain that I was feeling. I really wanted to die but didn’t know how to. So I decided to “dig” for a vein hoping it would kill me. I never got that far.

Over the years I changed methods, from scissors to razors. I found that razors worked best to alleviate my pain that I was feeling. I remember when I was 17 that I dissociated while I was cutting. It was the only time I lost time while doing self-harm.

During one distressing December, my therapist was on vacation and I cut to the point of needing stitches. I was a trained medical assistant at the time so soon after I got home from the hospital (which was my shortest hospital stay ever), I took the stitches out. I kept the wound open for a good month or so, cutting it every day. This was in 1997. By the time the New Year rolled around, I was getting tired of leaving the wound opened so I made new cuts. This went on for another month or so. I had changed therapists. The new social worker that I met was a DBT therapist and we talked about cutting in detail, such as why I did it, and the like. She told me something that no one had told me before: You can feel but not act on your feelings. That stayed with me.

Around this time, cutting lost its appeal to me. It no longer was the “drug” I was craving. Since then, I haven’t cut, though the urges are sometimes there when I am having a difficult time. I still have my “kit” but I hardly know it’s there. I suppose I could get rid of it as I no longer need it.

One thought on “Self-Harm Recovery

  1. Laura P. Schulman, MD, MA

    Sometimes I think having the kit and not using it is therapeutic in itself. I also have some self-harm tools, but interestingly I have forgotten where I put them. Every once in a while I run across them while looking for something else, and go, oh yeah, I need to remember where these are in case I need them. But then I forget about them again. So I guess I don’t need them 🙂 Glad you don’t need yours either!

any thoughts?

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