self harm

Withdrawal (from a person)

withdrawal from a person
is different from a
drug—it is the
scratch of a rusty
house key with the message
“bitch” in
pretty red letters but you’ve gotta
turn the key, sweetie, so
what’s left
for me to
unlock?
what’s left for me to
scratch up?
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Things I Know About Self Harm That the School Counselor Somehow Doesn’t

It’s been almost six months since one of my best friends, who won’t be given a name for the sake of her privacy, attempted suicide. I haven’t mentioned it pretty much at all on this blog, although I’ve wanted to, because I felt talking about the details of something so personal would be crossing a line.
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Thank god, thank god

Cassie and I have clicked ever since we were babies. As she puts it, we’ve been best friends since age zero. We grew up together, have shared everything right from the start. We’ve laughed with each other and cried with each other and danced and sang and played with each other. She has been there for me through literally everything–there hasn’t been a week where we haven’t seen each other or at least texted.

I never in my worst nightmares thought I would be faced with the fear of losing her.

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Guest Post from Valerie Schauf

Valerie runs an amazing blog over at More than Skin Deep (formerly known as hope in healing). Her goals, and the goals of her brilliant blog, to bring encouragement to those struggling with addictions in SI, Depression, and Anxiety; bring awareness to family, friends and loved ones of those struggling with these addictions; and offer help to those willing to take the journey to personal freedom.

Tips for Supporting Your Loved One Who Struggles With Self-Harm by Valerie Schauf

I want to give a huge shout out to Inspired Advocates for inviting me to write a guest blog, as well as for their support for my blog, More Than Skin Deep. It is a huge privilege for me to be able to partner up with them in help spreading the word about self harm awareness, which is an issue that is near and dear to my heart.

A little background on me, when I was in my late teens I began down the slippery slope of self harming. At first, I would self harm a few times a week as a way to “cope” with feeling numb, I struggled with feeling any sort of feelings other than numb and depressed. I self harmed because it made me feel in a twisted sort of way that I was alive, I could feel pain, I could see blood, I could experience something with feeling. It quickly progressed into a horrible coping skill and I found myself harming myself several times a day. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder. I went to therapy, as well as a psychiatrist. Medication never helped much, my therapist threatened to put me in the psychiatric ward at the local hospital as my self harming became alarmingly deeper. I went on and off trying to stop self harming, I would stop for a few months and then fall back into it. Meanwhile I struggled with eating, either starving myself or binge eating. My studies at college suffered, I had a hard time dealing with anxiety during class. I was in a constant state of flux, emotionally up and down, and I believed the only thing that could regulate my emotions was by cutting or burning myself. Fast forward a few years, it was my senior year of college, only by God’s grace had I not been kicked out or flunked out, and the turning point for me is still quite vivid in my memory. I hated my life, I despised the way I looked, I was terrified of graduating college and having no job and no where to go, the scars on my body were very apparent and I wore long sleeves year round. A few weeks into the school year, I quit my job, I debated whether or not I wanted to graduate with the degree I had been working towards for the past 4 years, and I felt completely hopeless. I remember curling up in the front seat of my car and crying, “God, you better do something or I won’t make it, I won’t live, I’ll die if you don’t do something.”

A month later, I walked into the church where my family attended and my life was radically changed by Jesus’ love and grace. I was able to feel love, and feel as if I could give love again, I wanted to live again. I threw away everything I could find that I had used to harm myself, and I walked away from it.
I can’t tell you that it wasn’t a struggle in the coming days, it was. I can’t tell you that I never slipped up, I did. I can’t tell you that it was a perfect ride, and that I didn’t have to work through piles and piles of negative thinking patters, wrong self perception and all that lovely mess. I had to work hard to overcome the addiction to self harm, I had to try new things, I had to give myself grace, I had to be okay with opening up to others and sharing my struggles with them. But I was willing, I was desperate to live, I was desperate to have a life that I looked forward to living, and it was worth it. It was worth the sweat, the tears, the sleepless nights, I am here and I’m alive, it was worth it.
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Flowers in a Jar

When I was little, two of my favorite shows were Dragon Tales and Maggie and the Ferocious Beast. Dragon Tales was this show about these two little kids who wish upon a dragon scale and get whisked away to dragon land and go on adventures, and in the process learn values like patience (or something). Maggie and the Ferocious beast was about a little girl who befriends a “beast” (very cleverly named Beast) who kind of looked like a yellow triceratops with big red spots. I’m pretty sure that show taught about discrimination but I really can’t remember. Needless to say, these shows weren’t much more than fluff, probably torture for whatever adult had to watch them with me. They were full of bright colors and fun music and exciting shapes, and watching TV as a toddler is probably about as close to high as I’ve ever gotten.

As you can see, I didn’t really carry much from those TV shows with me. I only remember a very select few episodes. But one of them has stuck with me to this very day and I still reference it as one of the reasons that I am the way I am. And I can not, for the life of me, remember which show it’s from.
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An Amazing Poem

This poem was written by my good, close friend. She has a fabulous blog over at The Adventures of Nash.

In The Mirror

 

Hungry

Hungry for the day when another little girl

Will not feel inferior to another video girl

For a day when we cannot find someone skipping a meal

Despite their privilege of food

For a day when we may all have idols nearer

And everyone may find it easy

To look in the mirror

Hungry

 

Tired

Tired of self harm being so present

In my life, seeing people and not stopping them

Of one more slash, one more red mark

To take the years of a teenager to heal

Despite their privilege of health

Of a day when who we are becomes clearer

And everyone may find it easy

To look in the mirror

Tired

 

Saddened

By the world’s view of women

They are not here, WE are not here

To be given away

Know when or when not to be respectful

By the way that girls are made to feel like

They SHOULD please others

Despite society saying be yourself

By the fact that society is the interferer

Of seeing the beauty in the mirror

Saddened

 

We are told to be ourselves

And shamed if it isn’t what is expected

It is a ruthless game of who will conform first

Be yourself

But not like that

Be yourself within these walls

I yearn for a day when what’s inside is held dearer

Than what you may see in the mirror