Letting go of self harm – for good.

Today it has been 461 days since I last harmed myself.

This weekend, an old friend of mine came to stay. Recently she has been going through some issues (obviously I will no go into them here as they are her issues and not mine) but to cut a long story short, I want to tell you about something that will rock  your world.

Image courtesy of Julia Pearlman, The Site.Org

On Sunday evening I noticed that familiar pattern of cuts across her forearm. Funnily enough, I wasn’t even looking for it, and if she didn’t bring it to my attention by mentioning the fact she didn’t want to wear short sleeves, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed it at all. The fact that I wasn’t subconsciously scanning her arms for any signs of self harm is a revelation in itself. At some point in the last 12 months I must have stopped this habit, and it makes me wonder why. Perhaps being happy in simply being myself is enough to stop me desperately seeking out others who share my secret shame? Perhaps if you stop cutting for long enough, the need to be in that ‘club’ slowly goes away too?

The second thing which was equally surprising was my reaction to actually seeing the cuts on her arm, and the way I felt about it. Previously I would find seeing wounds on other peoples arms (particularly fresh cuts) very triggering, and then would struggle with my own intense urges to cut myself. This time – nothing. I felt compassion and empathy for her and her situation, but I felt nothing in terms of my own urges. For the first time since I starting harming myself nearly 14 years ago, I was not triggered by the sight of self harm.

I have been amazed how I have been coping recently with life events such as my Dad’s illness or the death of my Aunt Thelma. I have been so proud of myself, and I believe I am now well on the journey to loving myself, and looking after myself. All through these events I have not given a second thought to self harm, which makes me wonder whether the way my disorder has been treated in the past was the right form of treatment for me after all.

Therapy and medication did nothing to stop my self harming behaviour, however concentrating on improving my quality of life through diet, exercise, hobbies, quality time and a new relationship has appeared to heal me in a way nothing else before has been able to. Perhaps forgetting about the self harm and concentrating on the important basics of life is the best way to treat Borderline. Similar to the phrase, “Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves” – Perhaps improving your quality of life is enough to stop the cutting behaviour once and for all. Perhaps taking away the REASONS for self harm, will take away the behaviour as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have ‘down’ days, and struggle with certain things. I know that I need to work on the things I find hard, and will probably spend the rest of my life working on them. I know there will be times where my life may return to darkness, and I need to be prepared for that. However, I fully intend to live my life to the full. I am not willing to waste any time given how much of my life has already been swallowed up by mental illness.

I hope I can bring as many people as possible along with me for the ride. My journey has made me who I am and given the chance, I probably wouldn’t change it. Keep strong guys.

Image courtesy of http://oraclesandhealers.wordpress.com


  1. You have come such an incredible distance from those first posts I recall reading and I know you had been posting a while by that point, your journey, the things you have overcome have been amazing and I am so glad you are doing so well, you should be so proud of yourself 😀

    1. Thanks Paula… you don’t look like you are doing so bad yourself :). Good to hear from you! xx

  2. thewhitewarriorprincess · · Reply

    Hi you, I’m so pleased and glad for you :)) it’s lovely to keep updated with how you are getting along keep smiling xxxx Ps. May I get the password to your post before this one? X


  3. You are an inspiration. Thank you.

    After 11 years of self harming stopping seems impossible but to know people have stopped gives me hope.

    1. Pride, I self harmed from the age of 12 to the age of 24 – so 12 years in total, and I have now stopped completely. There is hope. As my post says, once I let go of actually TRYING to stop self harming and focused on improving other things in my life that contributed to my quality of life – the urges went on their own. Take care. xx

      1. I have found that when other parts of my life are in order self harm isn’t even a thought in my mind and when things get bad I have set up positive things to help me.

        You take care also.

  4. Hey so i know you wrote this post a few years ago but upon a google search i have come across it, as i have been of late finding ways to move on from my own pat of self harm. I am only really in the early stages as i still have periodic lapses, but reading your post has given me hope and i just wanted to say thanks.

    1. I’m so glad you reached out to me. It has been just over 5 years since my last incident and I find it so helpful holding that date in my mind. It makes me feel proud and strong. Keep well! x

      1. 5 years is massive. I unfortunately relapsed and had to reset time… curly I’m almost 4 months free. It’s been so hard but I’ve gotten better at mangling/tolerating distress, and using my wise brain (like rational thinking) way more. It’s still very common that I have urges and thoughts to self harm but I’very been more willing to seek support before I get to crisis point. Honestly, you being 5 yeas free gives me hope.

  5. I’m so glad it does give you hope. It would have seemed unbelievable to me, so I broke it down. First it was 6 months, then 12, then before I knew it 2 years…. etc etc. 4 months is amazing. I hope you are proud of yourself. Some things that really helped me in the early months when the urges were so so strong were 1) remembering that it was a TEMPORARY feeling that would pass, so using distractions in the moment – sleeping, music, films, running – I tried to stick to healthy things rather than things that could be equally as addictive and damaging like smoking or drinking. 2) I tried to put more value to my body, and worked on my self esteem. I tried changing my thought pattern from “I deserve this pain” to “I deserve better than this”. 3) I leant on the support I had around me. I talked openly about my feelings, just to get them out there. I surrounded myself with safe people that I knew would help keep me safe. I’m rooting for you! xxx

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