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Mental Health

One Year Clean

Trigger Warning! This post contains references to self-harm – although in this instance we are celebrating an achievement. If this still is not appropriate content for you right now (and I completely understand, no hard feelings), then please feel free to browse through my content.

Greetings fine folk! Today is a momentous celebration for me, as I am one whole year clean of self-harm (cue fanfare)! Whilst it is important for me to express my gratitude to how far I have come in my recovery, it is also valuable to reflect on what made me fall into dark times. Sharing my story of pain and suffering is not easy for me to do (so you may not see many witty brackets), however, the more we speak out against self-harm, the more we can connect and support one another.

So…I will cast back to this time last year.

Photo Credit 📷: Elvis Bekmanis

January 2019 – I think we can all agree that the beginning of the year is a mixed bag of hopes and dreams, as well as misery. The weather here in dreary England was (most likely) dull and rainy, the Christmas pounds were showing on my belly and most of my time was spent revising for forthcoming exams. Doesn’t paint a pretty picture, does it? At this point, I started on first round antidepressants, but I felt as though they were not working. Sleep had not been kind to me – I was either weighed down in bed by my depression, or up until the early hours with voices in my head telling me toxic things. Without a car and license, I was bound to my house and cabin fever well, and truly, kicked in. Months and months I was told to wait for the call , that would herald therapy, but I was desperate for help. My relationship was in disarray, I wasn’t sure if we would flounder. A friend who I relied on for support, was also struggling and we spend huge amounts of time trying to lift each other up – an exhausting process.

It built, and built, and built, until I was numb. This bombardment of negativity drained me of everything, and resolution had not appeared to guide me away. Initially, I wasn’t hurting myself because I hated who I was…I hurt myself to feel something. The pain brought me the satisfaction that my body still had working nerves, but then a different spectre came to light – guilt. The desolate feeling that I was stupid, reckless and useless for hurting myself introduced self-disappointment. By the time I had finished, I was scarred, hurt, and in tears.

Photo Credit 📷: Hans Eiskonen

However, there is light.

Through all the pain and misery, sprung determination. Enough was enough. I locked away my oppressors, out of sight, they could not hurt me. I made a note in my calendar that 15th January was the day of change. In the morning, I would begin again as a different person.

Fast forward six months, and life was completely different. My relationship was over and all the time had I spent clinging on for dear life, had been converted into spending time with friends. The friend whose needs I could not meet, had also moved on – we were different beings now, happy and content without one another. I had completed university (and passed spectacularly, may I add) and I moved back home, with my Masters in sight. My scars had faded, though I still felt their presence. Although, self-harm thoughts also frolicked in my mind, and bothered me significantly. I wanted to get better, I had been doing so well, yet these thoughts lingered like a bad dream.

Photo Credit 📷: Charles Postiaux

Now, it is a year later. Yes, I still experience those devastating thoughts, but they do not override me. I am making progress! Never before have I had the adrenaline rush of knowing I can overcome the dark forces in my mind. I have a brilliant support network of friends and loved ones around me, and I feel free enough to talk about my past to them. Finally, I am working through these problems with a therapist and the road to recovery is very much paved (and driven on).

I am stronger than self-harm. I am worth more than the pain I enforced on myself. I survived.

Featured Image Credit 📷: Andre Hunter

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