march 1st is self injury awareness day (siad). it is a time when people around the world share their stories of self harming and raise awareness of this sickness.
i don’t remember why i started self harming myself. but, it started when i was in high school. by this time i had attempted suicide twice and was experimenting with alcohol and street drugs. all i remember is being so upset about something i took my father’s razor blade and started to slash at my arm. when my classmate asked what happened to my arm, i told them a cat scratched me.
my self harming didn’t return until i was 33 and 34 years old. when i was 33 i took a cigarette to my upper arm. when i was 34 i used an incense stick on my lower arm. i still have the physical scars from both incidents. why did i do it? it made me feel better. there was so much turmoil churning in my head i just wanted it to stop. so i burned myself. when you have that much mental pain, 1. you can’t feel the physical pain or heat burning my skin. 2. it makes you feel better almost happy. it became something i would return to so the pain would go away. it was also a way i could gauge my emotions. if i could feel the pain my emotions were not out of control.
it has been 20 years since i last harmed myself. i decided to seek help when i was 35 and received therapy and medicine that helped calm those wild emotions. it’s something i hope i never want to do to myself ever again. but if i should relapse, i have a support network of peer, therapist, doctor, and coping skills. i know my warning signs and what to do. i am glad i sought help instead of keeping it my little secret.