Last night found me curled up and rocking in a corner, trying to decipher between reality and my mind. I needed a grip on life, something to ground me to reality, to show me that I was not lost to my thoughts. The problem was finding that something.
Up until this point in my life, I would turn to self injury to ground myself. Pain draws you back to reality, not necessarily the pain itself, but the singularity of that pain. Knowing that something specific caused that pain allows you to have a connection to the real world. It’s like pinching yourself to see if you’re dreaming. The cause of the pain allows you to realize what is real and what is not.
However, I have made a promise to never self injure. I have sworn to not hurt myself as long as there is one person who still cares about me. I still miss it though. I miss that grounding in reality, the singular feeling that there is life outside of my head.
People look at self injury like it’s attention seeking behavior, like it’s a cry for help. Maybe it is sometimes, but I think more often, it’s just a way to check reality. It’s a way to realize that our mind doesn’t control everything, that the darkness is limited to inside us. It may seem strange that hurting ourselves on the outside would help us realize that the darkness doesn’t control us, but it takes us out of our minds and allows us to see outside of ourselves.
For me, self injury was never about attention. You will never see scars or marks or any indication that I self harmed. Yet, I went for days at a time causing myself pain. I still wonder if what I did caused permanent damage because I still get pain where I hurt myself.
What I want you to understand is not the mindset behind self injury, but rather the why’s that could possibly be addressed in other ways. Not having the option of self injury last night, I instead looked for someone to talk to, to give me something real outside of myself. I allowed myself to cry completely because tears were outside of myself. I felt the textures of things around me to get me out of my mind. And I focused on something I had to do externally.
It’s hard dealing with this stuff. It’s hard being locked in a reality of the mind that feels more real than real life. It’s hard to find ways out of your head without turning to pain and what you know. But, we can do it. We can overcome. We don’t have to give in to the pain. There is hope for us without being hurt. We just have to find our way.