I thought I was done – that the Beast had been slayed and I was the Conqueror. On the one year anniversary of sobriety from self harm I got it tattooed: the date by the word “Healing”. I was so confident, so relieved, so PROUD.
Pride goes before a fall.
I was laying in bed desperate. Laying in bed after being torn open in childbirth. Laying in bed with a helpless baby and I was helpless and my other kids needed me and I couldn’t move. Laying in bed not knowing where I was or who I was and feeling a crushing sadness and weight of responsibility . . . I couldn’t breathe. I was trapped. Trapped in a life I felt I couldn’t live.
The only way I knew how to function was to cut. I couldn’t control the postpartum pain, I couldn’t control the needy children beckoning me through the day and the night, I couldn’t control the crushing weight bearing down on me but I felt like I could control the cutting. I guess in the end, though, the cutting started to control me.
I’ve been in the all-too-familiar cycle of self-harm and shame, harming and hiding. I wish it wasn’t so effective. I wish it didn’t produce immediate relief from the crushing weight of life. But it does. It’s hard to “ride the wave” when I have kids needing me every second and I’m shutting down and I have to take care of everyone. My needs are all secondary except the need to breathe – all I can think about is breathing so that I can take care of them. My body and mind start to go numb and the only thing to do to fix it in the moment is hurt myself back into reality.
Then, hours later, the quiet moment eventually comes when I survey the damage. I must start asking myself: “Is it worth it?” Is it worth tearing myself open, tearing myself down, to function in this life?