Depression in its essence is a very difficult illness to describe at times. It can be hard to convey the complexity of what I suffer each day in a way which is not only helpful but also clear. When your mind is similar to an internal inferno, with thoughts in traumatic relentlessness, clarity is tough. With this in mind, it becomes an even greater struggle to explain self harm and why I would even consider it, yet do it. It is a dark passenger that takes the wheel every now and then. It is destructive physically and contributes to mental struggles. It is also a paradox because of the apparent relief it momentarily provides.
It's an obvious question: how could hurting yourself provide any relief? Unfortunately I am seasoned to self-harm and its effects. I honestly wish I could be writing this with no scars from the times I hurt myself but I am scarred. I wish I lived without the urges but I occasionally yearn for the pain. It is something which can be hypnotic and hurtful not only to me but to those who love me. To see someone in pain is, in turn, painful; to see someone in pain because they inflicted it on themselves is heartbreaking.
As hard as it is to confront, it is a very real effect of depression at times. I deliberately use the word effect because self harm is not necessarily something I have done out of choice but rather a symptom of my illness. I know I technically have a choice not to pick up a knife but when I have been so consumed by the swirling sneers in my head I have been compelled to cut myself. When I have felt so numb that nothing around me provides any emotion I have been desperate to feel.
It is terrifying how common it can be to feel utterly numb to everything around me. It's like living inside the world with headphones and sunglasses on; everything is duller in colour and in sound. Reality has become something Other and I feel disconnected. I have sat at home and wondered if I will feel anything significant again; I have been scared that numbness will be normal. Self harm enters the arena as a means to feel something significant, even if that is pain. It feels shameful and stupid but for a fleeting moment it feels of something.
The help and professional guidance I have is equipping me to walk a different path that engages me with reality without the detrimental effects to my health. Feeling comes through so many wonderful forms; it's important that I connect with those. It's also important that I don't use self harm as a means to punish myself because by punishing myself I am also punishing those around me who love and care for me. The thunderous effect depression has on people and those friends and family involved is monstrous, which is why I desire healing, recovery and wholeness. It's a painful path but I want to be a person of light and laughter to others and I know I can be.
It's a really difficult area of mental illness to comprehend but, from experience, I know that it does not imply someone doing it is any less of a person. It saddens me that I have hurt myself but it inspires me that people have stuck by me regardless. They have sat with me, comforted me and cared for me and I am truly thankful for their life saving support. When I have hurt myself I have seen the pain in loved ones' eyes because I would do that and my goal and aim is to see love and happiness in their eyes instead.