Self-Harm: My Journey

Self-HarmMy goal in writing is to provide insight and educate the public about mental illness.  General acceptance of those struggling with mental illness has yet to be achieved. Mental illness is the final frontier for social acceptance. ~Ted


Self-Harm: Shedding some light

I attempt to shed light on these matters with a touch of humor.  Unfortunately, today’s contribution is about the dark stuff.  We all have a dark side, that part of us which we don’t want anyone else to know about.  The following is my personal experience with self-harm.  Others may have other reasons and experiences for engaging.  These are mine. 


I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and OCD a few years ago.  I had been struggling with depression and anxiety for most of my adult life.  It doesn’t matter who you are, but everyone gets “depressed and anxious.”  However, it’s a matter of degree.  Let’s admit, others are trying to survive minute by minute – imagine that. 


My manic episodes manifested themselves as anger.  I felt bulletproof and did everything in fast forward.  I felt like I could fly.  Sometimes it subsided, sometimes it didn’t.  For me, self-harm wore “many hats.”  But the common denominator was releasing pain and anger.  It also served as a form of punishment for having this illness, for not “measuring up” – not achieving my objectives, being a “freak”, for my business and personal failures.  What I remember most was that there was very little physical pain.  If there was pain, it felt good.  I burned myself. 

I was numb and looking to transform an invisible enemy into something tangible - scars left from my burns.  Something I could point to, something to advertise to the world that I was in the midst of the battle for my life, an attempt at legitimizing the struggle for the uninitiated.  Yes, some of them had no reservation in writing me off.  This comes with the territory.  Accept it and march on. 

The great news is that I sought help and got it.  After sorting out the bad ones, I finally found the best professionals who were able to dial me in to the medications that worked.  I also engaged in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which involved my own efforts at managing this beast.  One must have the courage to seek this help.  It’s there for the taking. 


My heart goes out to those suffering.  You are not alone. There is hope and there are those who will accept you and welcome you in seeking their expertise. If you feel you are about to harm yourself, please call 911 immediately.


Peace to you.

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