I don’t remember the exact moment, but I know it changed me irrevocably. Obviously.
I was 12 the first time I cut myself. And I’ve been in this war of relapse and recovery ever since.
It wasn’t until last year that I realized that it’s an addiction. 10 years of this unhealthy relationship and I was only now seeing it for what it was. I even asked my family doctor about it, and she shared the same sentiments.
And it may sound so obvious but think about it – is it ever referred to as an addiction?
We turn to it in the most desperate moments because it offers a relief, if only for a moment. A relief that’s always temporary. And then you always crave it. Even years later into recovery, it’s there in the back of your mind. Every day is a fight to do the right thing and stay clean or sober.
If we talked about self-harm as an addiction, maybe it would help people understand it better, understand those who struggle with it better.
“We couldn’t imagine the emptiness of a creature who put a razor to her wrists and opened her veins; the emptiness and the calm.”
This quote, in one of my art journals, is from one of my favourite books – The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. It’s a beautifully tragic story and the words have resonated with me in a way not many things have.
Self-harm is a part of who I am, whether I like it or not. I will always be in recovery. I have to make peace with that.