It has been on my heart for a long time to write a post about self-injury. I keep turning the other cheek to this pressing feeling that I need to post on this topic. Leave it to God to press into me to do something that makes me a little (or a lot) uncomfortable. I’ve made it past the point in my life where I feel like I need to write to process my feelings on self-injury, so this post isn’t for me. My guess is, reader, that it is for one (or more) of you. I spent years of my teen and young adult life hurting myself to try to cope with my life.
I have scars that I will bear forever. They line my arms and my ankle if you look hard enough. Some of them, you don’t have to look too hard to see. I can’t say that I am ashamed to show them. They remind me that I am a survivor. They remind me that I am alive. My scars are from taking a razor blade to my skin, night after night, week after week, for years to try to erase the anguish I was going through. I like to think that I am on the other side of this part of my life; it has been almost 9 years since I picked up a razor blade to use it as a weapon against my internal pain. There is hope and a future on the other side of self-injury. I know this now.
Jeremiah 29:11 says: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare (prosperity) and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
My hope is in Jesus.
In my cutting days, I had no hope. I had no coping mechanisms, and I had no self-worth, value, or direction. I was a ship afloat in a sea of pain. I spent my days expecting that today might be my last day. I don’t mean this in a sweet, “cherish each moment” kind of way; I mean it in a “I want to die” kind of way. I’m not trying to be sensational; I’m just trying to be real here. Without hope, we are lost, aren’t we? I was so lost.
If you know someone who is cutting, please, don’t ignore it. Don’t turn the other cheek and assume that they’ve got it handled. I spent years having people stare at my obvious struggle and never say one word to me. It didn’t make me feel better; it made me feel invisible and furthered my opinion that not a soul cared about what I was going through. No one cared enough to notice me. That being said, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all, yes? I’m sure your momma taught you that. I will never forget my experience when an overbearing Wal-Mart employee called me out in front of a full line of people. In the midst of my depression, I didn’t need someone telling me that I was an idiot.
Help for Anyone Who Knows a Self-Injurer
I’ve had people ask me what they can do for someone who is cutting. If you are in a place to speak into that person’s life, the best thing you can help them with is learning a new coping skill. Self-injury is a way of coping when you have nothing else left. We all need ways to cope with anger, fear, frustration, sadness, and grief. The other thing you can do is give them hope in God. Even if they are not receptive initially, we all need Jesus. I cannot imagine where my life would be without my loving God. I do not even want to imagine a world like that.
Resources You Should Know About
Seventeen has a great article on resources for self-injury including a self-injury hotline: 1-800-DONT-CUT. You can also go to IMAlive and chat live with a person who is trained to help people in crisis. There are people who want to help you learn how to live again. It is never too late. No matter what you have been through, there is another side to the mountain you are facing.
Hope. There is hope. I am here, and it isn’t even hard to breathe anymore. I am actually happy. My life is not perfect, but I am no longer haunted each and every moment by the ghosts of my past. I am so grateful to be living in a way that I never could have imagined.
If you are reading this, maybe you can answer this question: Do you think there is a need for more literature on this important topic? I’m wondering if this may be bigger than just one post. Comments always welcomed, and please, be kind to one another! You never know what kind of struggle the other person is going through.