You DESERVE recovery!

I remember when it started. Most people probably do. I was 16 and my dad was lecturing me again. I remember thinking I just couldn’t take this long conversation anymore, but I felt trapped. I couldn’t leave. I felt like I couldn’t even breathe. I couldn’t speak. All I knew was I needed out, but I was stuck there.
Unfortunately, my knowledge of self harm was that it was just “cutting.” I had no idea that it could manifest in any kind of harm that one does to him or herself intentionally.
As the years progressed, my mental health deteriorated. It first it was just depression, then anxiety joined the party. Then I had Bipolar II, then Bipolar I. Then, they wanted to tell me I had Schizoaffective Disorder. They missed a crucial diagnosing factor, though, because I lived in denial about my self harm for many years. When asked, I always answered no and I thought I was telling the truth. I justified it as “well I’m just doing what I have to do to get by.” And that was true – I later learned to be compassionate and look at it as a coping mechanism for the things I had no other way of managing.
Eventually it became hard to ignore. At that point I had no choice but to admit to myself that this was self harm and incredibly dangerous. As I came to terms myself and shared with my trusted mental health professionals, I finally received a correct diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. After going through Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, my self harm stopped and I learned better coping techniques and I now no longer meet the criteria of BPD.
I share my story for two reasons: “cutting” gets most of the press and many people may not be aware that self harm can take many many forms. The second reason is that I want to share hope. Recovery is possible and you can learn new coping mechanisms that are more healthy than self harm. But be kind to yourself – don’t beat yourself up, because you are doing the best you can with the skills you have. All you have to do is learn new skills. It is a challenging journey, but you are worth it. You deserve recovery. It’s not too late, and you’re never too far.