How I Went From Self-Harm to Self-Love

When I was about 15 years old I began self harming. I was a cutter. I did not do it for attention, but rather to release all the pain and suffering I had inside. I would hide my cuts because I didn’t want anyone to see them. I was ashamed but that is how I coped with my pain.

Around that time I also started going to youth group with my best friend. My parents had grounded me for sneaking off to a party and youth group was the only place I was allowed to go. My best friend was one of the only people who knew about my problem, and he was worried about me. So worried that he told the youth pastor. I was so angry at him for telling that I didn’t talk to him for the whole ride home, but now I’m glad he did, because the youth pastor sat me down and talked to me. That was a turnaround point for me.

During that conversation, our youth pastor asked to see my wrist. I showed him the other one. “The other one,” he said knowingly. I showed him my scars. He didn’t judge me, but instead told me that I was loved, that God loved me, that he and his wife loved me. He asked me why I cut, and how he could help. I was bawling my eyes out. My family usually threatened to put me in a mental institution because they had no idea how to help. This man helped me by being there when I felt that no one else was, and when I felt that no one else cared.

Brittany's tattoo now covers her scars.
Brittany’s tattoo now covers her scars.

It’s still a struggle every day to not start cutting again even after ten plus years of stopping. My kids are the reason I don’t now. It took a lot to stop but here are a few things that helped:

1) Deep breathing exercises, like counting along with my breaths, helped with dealing with my anxiety.

2) Keeping a rubber band on my wrist to snap when I felt the urge to cut helped me to resist cutting. Chewing gum also helped distract me from the urge to cut.

3) Staying outside and keeping myself occupied with walks and going to parks keeps me feeling happy and healthy.

4) Talking to someone about it my anxieties and feelings can help release them from my mind.

Last year I decided to get a tattoo that I loved to cover my scars. Now when I look at my wrist it symbolizes to me that I do not have to be defined by my past. My scars are battle wounds that remind me of what I’ve been through and how far I’ve come.

 

 

 

Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know is struggling with self-harm, anxiety, or any other mental illness, we recommend seeking professional help. To speak with a counselor at any time you can call this national hotline

Brittany

My name is Britt and I am from Ohio. I have two beautiful children and I am a single mom. I love watching movies and reading. I joined I Believe in Love because I want to share my experiences with others that are in the same position I am in hopes it helps them through.
Brittany

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