I still remember when I made my first cut. And I remember why.
Imagine being thirteen years old. Being thirteen years old and your mind being full of pain. But it’s full of pain that you cannot comprehend. There were times I cried for what felt like hours on end and I would genuinely have no idea why I was crying.
There were too many thoughts.
There was too much pain.
All I wanted was one thing… anything to give me a reason to be in pain.
So I made that first cut and the release was something indescribable. It was as if the overflow of feelings I had been experiencing for so long finally had an explanation. Finally I felt justified in my feelings.
It was a while before I made the next cut. But when I made the second one, the third and fourth came quickly after. Before I knew, I was cutting every day and every night. Because the pain couldn’t be reasoned away anymore.
Fast forward and I was in grade nine and I remember eating lunch by myself in the bathroom at school and crying. I cried because I didn’t want to do this anymore. I didn’t want to hurt myself anymore, but I couldn’t stop. I had never considered myself to be addicted to something before, but I definitely felt like I was at the power of this monster.
I got to a point where I didn’t care how isolated I was. I avoided talking to my dad, I ate lunch in the bathroom most days, and I was generally just withdrawn from things. But then I was blessed with one of the best people I have ever been lucky enough to know. This person made me feel like I was important. She genuinely meant when she asked me if I was okay. But the most important thing she did, was she helped me to see that I didn’t have to live this way, that there was something deeper going on with me and that that was okay. She is the reason I got help and believed that I deserved it.
I remember she met me before I went into the guidance counsellor’s office, and she said that everything would be okay; it was the first time someone had said that to me and I believed it.
This February marks eight years since I made that choice. I would be lying if I said that those years had been easy. There have been more ups and downs and highs and (very low) lows than I ever imagined. But I’m still here and I’m still fighting. I am still counting my blessings each and every day for the privilege I have. I have a loving and supportive family, and throughout my journey I have had access to many helpful resources. I remember that not everyone is afforded the same opportunities in recovery, and I am thankful.
Whatever your journey, and however long the tunnel seems, please remember that there is always an end and it always has light.