I was standing in front of the stove, sterilizing the glass baby bottles in a pot of boiling water when it hit me. The water splashed on my arms and parts of my thighs, scalding my flesh. Instinctively, I jumped backwards and when the sting registered in my mind, I moved in closer. For the first time in months, I felt a strange sense of relief with this physical pain. It’s as if the vice crushing my insides loosened; the emotions had somewhere to go.
Even if it is brief, I found a way escape this fiery world of pain.
Self-harm is not an “attention getter”. It’s not a badge of honour. It is not a failed suicide attempt. It does not imply that we are danger to you. It is not just exclusive to teens; I am 33 years old. It’s not like stuffing yourself into the latest fashion fad just because it’s cool.
Self-harm is a coping mechanism.
Like popping an overinflated balloon, self-harm provokes an outward explosion of unbearable emotional pain that I cannot rid myself of. It is an immediate release, albeit a temporary one.
I have an amazing support system and a psychiatrist of whom I can trust to talk about my intense emotion pain, yet I rarely tell them that it’s those feelings that trigger the self-destructive behaviour. Nonetheless, I am receiving help. I do not display my scars for all to see. They are concealed under clothes and wounds are inflicted in places that are not obvious.
I often think of the thousands of people who do the same, tugging at their sleeves, wearing pants in the summer and thick jewelry crawling up their arms, who won’t get undressed in front of their lover, and who always has an excuse for their injuries. Not only are they attempting to keep their scars a secret, they are also hiding their emotional pain.
This is why I am taking part in The Semicolon Project 416. The Semicolon Project was created for those who were going through struggles with self-harm, depression and suicide. The symbol of the movement, the semicolon, represents our stories that are never ending.
On April 16th, 2014, several bloggers including myself, are banding together to show others who are fighting like mad, that there is never an end ( represented by a period) to our lives. WE keep moving forward. Along with drawing a semicolon on our wrists, we have written posts of encouragement and awareness and hope.
You do not have to blogger to participate. Anyone can and the more the better. Show those who are suffering in silence that it is safe to reach out for help. All that you have to do is draw a semicolon on your wrist.
“A semicolon represents a sentence the author could’ve ended, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life”
If you are a blogger (and you do not have to be a mental health blogger) and would like to help spread the word, you can write a post or simply take a picture of your wrist with a semicolon written on it and link it up with other amazing bloggers who are taking part in this movement.
The link is on Motherhood Unadorned and is open until April 19th.