Content warning: self harm, suicide
In the UK, one in six adults suffer with a diagnosed mental health disorder. This can range from “common” mental disorders, such as anxiety and depression, to lesser known ones. Many of these people also suffer with self harm.
People may self harm for a number of reasons – from feeling as if they need some control over something or the feeling that they need to destroy something and their own body is the only thing that they have access to. It isn’t possible to list all the reasons someone may feel the need to harm themselves. I don’t claim to be a psychological expert, but I do know that struggling with self harm can be one of the most challenging things that anyone, especially the youth of today’s society, has to deal with.
Recovering is yet again another journey that is difficult to deal with, but what’s important is to remember that you are so much stronger than you think. Yes, it is okay to relapse. Whether you’ve been clean a day, a month, or a year – you are allowed to relapse.
Relapse does not make you weak.
Relapse can make you feel pathetic, unable to take care of yourself, or useless. It’s not about that. Mental disorders never go away overnight.
Relapse is a part of recovery: if you know you can make that day, that month, that year before harming yourself, you know you can do it again. It may take a while, and sure, a year seems like a long time, but it will go faster than you think. Relapsing after however long does not make you weak, it proves that you have the capability to take care of yourself.
Don’t think of your relapse as a failure. I can promise you, I understand completely how it feels. Think of how long you were clean. Think of how long you stayed strong. You can do that again. You know you already have the capability. You can do it for longer.
Recovery isn’t about making promises, it’s about making small steps and trying your hardest every day.
No matter how bad you feel, one day you’ll get that feeling that you’ve been spiralling down a dark tunnel with seemingly no end, but you’ll reach it. When you look up you’ll want to see someone reaching their hand out to help you. This time, you’ll see a ladder. You’ll realise you don’t need the hand, because whether you’re a day, a month, or a year clean, you’ll know you have enough strength to climb.
Recovery isn’t easy, but you will get there. You will see the ladder. You will climb it. And one day, you’ll reach the top. You will finally realize that you have always been so much stronger than you thought.
If you need support, you can call Childline at 0800 1111, the Samaritans at 116 123, or 1-800-273-8255 in the United States.