One Year.

It’s hard to know where to begin.

When did everything stop becoming too much, and I not enough?

Is that when it changed?

Or maybe, it’s all still the same, but I am learning how to cope now.

Image result for self harm art hope

(Image sourced from: http://rebloggy.com/post/love-art-quote-life-happy-depression-sad-quotes-beautiful-motivation-words-pain/118689143386).

Today, it’s been one year since I last self harmed.

And, I am so, so happy.

A year ago, I finally asked for help. Seven years too late, but just in time.

I remember trying to talk my way out of having to go. I remember breaking down in the doctor’s office. I remember how much it stung. I remember reading what was happening off my phone, because I couldn’t trust myself to actually say the words instead of just running out of the room.

The first thing she did was make me write down the number for the mental health crisis team. Then we did the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale. This became a regular feature over the next few months. I have lost count of the number of times that good old Kessler has calculated just how awful things were.

Then we talked about medication. She gave me drugs to help quieten the thoughts.

Every few days afterwards, my doctor would ring, just to chat. She would send me TED talks to watch. I was told to come back all the time. And I did. The medication was increased to the highest dose.

After my brain, and all the things whirling around inside, began to stabilise, I was referred to the local psychological services clinic. I spent a few months going there.

My psychologist taught me how to breathe again.

She also had some pretty interesting theories about how things got this way.

I’m still trying to work them out today.

I also did an online CBT course. It helped keep me accountable.

After eight months, my husband decided that I was ready for all of our sharp things to return. I remember we would chop up all our apples into little pieces, just because we now could.

I was so proud that day.

All the knives, scissors, keys, nail clippers, staplers, razors and pins were unearthed. They were removed from their secret hiding place. I still don’t know where that was.

And I could be trusted with them.

It was really, really hard at first, having so much temptation around me.

Sometimes it still is hard. But I can never go back to how things were.

I can never let myself cause that sort of pain to the people close to me again.

At least, that’s what I tell myself anyway.

Because the thing is, some days I really can. But I won’t.

I won’t.

I am so thankful, thankful more than words can say, for everything my doctor, husband, family and friends did for me.

I am so thankful that they never gave up on me, especially when I did.

Today, I am free from the pain that self harm has caused.

Free for 365 days, after years of  not being able to go more than a week without. Free from having to self harm multiple times per day, just to get my mind what felt like under control.

Image result for recovery art

(Image sourced from: http://tobereal.org/whatyoufeel/karenjames).

The scars still litter my skin, but they don’t bother me. They probably won’t go anywhere for a while, but that’s okay.

They are neither good nor bad. They are simply etches from the past.

And today, I’m learning to live in the present.

It’s so hard to get through to people for who this is their present, that there is more than this. Something that sticks with me, is that each of us had every chance not to be us. In terms of probability, we shouldn’t be here.

But we are. And we all deserve so much more than a life of pain.

Sometimes, when it’s so painful that you want everything to end, it feels impossible to cope in any way other than old, destructive paths.

But when have these ways ever helped you? When would you ever tell your younger self, or a friend, to do what you do?

They don’t. You wouldn’t.

Because we deserve so much more.

Today, I’m still taking medication. I’m still trying to deal with the diagnoses. I’m still trying to cope with the past.

But today, I have hope. And this hope makes me feel free.

And that life is worth living.

Love & light,
Kaitlyn.

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