“Always recovering, never recovered.” A simple sentence that can be a harsh reminder. That’s not to say your efforts or how far you’ve gotten were for naught, but to keep getting back up when you do fall.
I’ve learned over the years, of course, that it’s extremely important to know you are not alone. Others are struggling and surviving alongside you and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
I’ve always had a difficult time accepting the shame part. I’m very back-and-forth on my scars. On one hand, they’re a reminder of what not to do, proof that I’ve held on this long. On the other hand, I hate them. They’re a reminder that I was ever so weak to do such a stupid thing, and now I have to live with the physical proof.
The amount of shame and guilt I’ve dealt with not only from myself, but a few loved ones as well, breaks my heart. I can’t help but feel they’re ashamed of me; of knowing me, being who they are to me, as they tell me to cover them up like a dirty secret. Maybe they don’t know how much that hurts — how damaging it is to someone who resorts to self-harm. They’ve never apologized. Never tried to understand.
Over the last decade, I’ve relapsed and just keep adding to them. Like I said — always recovering, never recovered.
I have lived with these scars for more than a decade, and even when they’re hidden under long sleeves, I never forget they’re there. Like there’s a spotlight constantly fixed and burning on them for everyone to see and it’s my own fault because I can’t find the light switch. I’m never not aware of them. I never forget. Some days are easier to deal with — like, this is me, this is my body and my scars, and it’s okay because I’m still here. Some days, I just want to hide; they’re ugly and forever a part of me, and I hate them.
I think I realized today that self-harm is an addiction like any other. It may sound obvious, but think about it: is it ever referred to as one?
We turn to it in the most desperate moments because, if only for a moment, we feel better. And then you always crave it. Even years into recovery, it’s there, somewhere, in the back of your mind. For more than 10 years, the razor has been my only true friend. The only one that’s never left. Never wanted to. It’s only ever seen me at my worst.
I don’t want to be ashamed of myself; my mental illness, my body. Every day is a fight to do the right thing. I know I’ll get out of this funk eventually. And I know I will keep learning to care a little less that I live with my past (and present) self-hatred etched in my skin.
I am in recovery. I am a work in progress. And I’m still working on being okay with that.