My grandfather used to say that if they invented a new addiction I would quickly pick it up. He was right. When I was young I did many things to hurt myself not realizing how much I hurt others too. But at that time, I was too full of self-loathing to notice anything that wasn’t about how awful I felt about myself. I wanted to jump out of my skin, escape my body and senses. Luckily, I’m here to tell the story.Now at 50, I have overcome most of my addictions. I have one left, smoking. It’s still self-harming, but I’m hanging on to it until hopefully either I win or it beats me. For now, as I look at the long list of self-inflicted harm, I’m happy because never would I have thought, I would ever overcome any of them: drinking, getting high, burning myself, cutting myself, sleeping around, accepting crap from people, binging on food, starving myself, biting my nails and tanning. Quite a list! And I’m sure I might have left one out!
I believe that healing came slowly, gradually letting go of my addictions and other self-inflicted harmful behavior by accepting life and learning to love myself. I still have a long way to go and will never finish rebuilding, but I no longer strive for perfection as I’m in a more peaceful and loving place now.
All these behaviors are gone, and honestly, I don’t really know the person who did all those things anymore; she is foreign to me now. I feel deeply sad for her and wish she had repaired herself faster and wasted less time. But I’m a slow learner.
It’s been a rough ride, and although I still have my down moments, I don’t indulge in self-harm anymore. I’m not fighting life or circumstances anymore. There are days that are bleak but I don’t react to them. I try to deal like a normal person would. I feel the pain, sit with it and let it pass. I’m not so afraid of feelings and don’t try to escape them.
Did I do it alone? No. We never do it alone. We recover with the team of people who support us and love us no matter what. For this, I’m grateful and lucky. We cannot go it alone. Granted that our battles are our own to fight but without love and care, we cannot survive them.
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