I have tried writing this post about 5 times and cannot think of how to formulate what it is I am meaning to say…
I know that this is because I feel shameful admitting the fact it has been ‘only’ one month since the last time I cut myself; because I am scared that you will think of me as a fraud for not mentioning this earlier; and because then maybe you will see my blog and my recovery process in a different and tainted light hereafter.
The truth is, however, that this incident was truly (and miraculously) a one-off. Besides this episode on May 1st, I have not self-harmed in almost 6 months. What happened a month ago from today was an unfortunately ineffective and unhealthy response to some excruciating feelings I was going through. What I have to remember, however, is the contrastingly high number of times I have been able to get through this pain without resorting to my old coping mechanisms, in recent months.
I am trying not to see the ‘slip-up’ as a failure, but instead to step back and widen my perspective, and to acknowledge – and applaud – the fact that I have self-harmed just once in the whole of 2015, as opposed to once a day like I had been doing previously.
Instead of seeing the relapse as an opportunity to beat myself up and dig myself further into a pit of shame, I have been attempting an alternative approach – seeing it as an opportunity for learning and growth.
The fact that I self-harmed on that day does not take away from, by any means, the vast amount of progress I have achieved over the last 6 months. The fact that I self-harmed on that day does not dictate my overall worth nor strength nor applied efforts. The fact that I self-harmed on that day does not mean that I have ‘no right’ to be publishing posts on a blog in which I express my strides and strengths (as well as pitfalls) in my recovery. The fact that I self-harmed on that day does not mean that I have ‘failed’ or that I am a ‘fake’ or ‘weak’, or that I have taken steps backwards in any way.
The fact that I self-harmed on that day does mean, however, that I can take away from the experience a number of things to boost my chances of effectiveness in similar situations in the future. I have completed a Chain Analysis exploring what was going on for me emotionally, what my vulnerability factors were within the circumstances, what I didn’t manage to do so effectively, and how I could cope with the feelings and situation better next time.
Also, the fact that I am actually one whole month self-harm free again is a miracle in and of itself. It really was not long ago that I was unable to even anticipate surviving just a few days without it. And so a whole month free from it, following a period of a number of further months before that, is an achievement I cannot overlook.
Cheesy as it may sound, tonight my efforts go towards looking at what I have achieved, instead of dwelling on what I have not.