In my secondary school days, I struggled with low self esteem. I would always beat myself up over my perceived failures; in hindsight, it was an impossible drive for perfection. Coupled with a tendency to internalise my feelings, I found myself turning to self harm to cope with my self-hatred.
It started as a way to punish myself for my inadequacies and not doing things ‘right’. Soon, it became a habit. I self harmed more and more frequently, and the urges were strongest when I felt stressed, anxious and overwhelmed.
Self harm was my coping mechanism; frankly, it brought me relief and was an outlet for all the feelings I keep inside of me. However, I always knew it was wrong and not socially accepted, but because of how useful it was in helping me cope (maladaptively) and its habitual nature, I could not and did not want to stop self harming.
I told no one about this for 3 years and no one knew. On the surface, I was a good student who had my life together, but deep deep down I was craving to just talk to someone about everything that is going on. I could not go on like this.
Eventually, I realised that the help I needed won’t always be as accessible and affordable as that in school. So I plucked up the courage to seek counselling. It was one of the hardest but best decisions I ever made.
I learnt how to be vulnerable with others, how not to let my feelings destroy me and how important it is to talk and express my feelings. I also understood that people need people.
Today, I still struggle with self harm urges every now and then, but I am in a much better place and I’m coping in healthier, more fulfilling ways.
There truly is light at the end of the tunnel, don’t be afraid to seek the help you deserve.