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[ Self-harm ]

Val - girl - 17 ans (20 August 2013)

Hi, I am supposed to be in recovery right now. I have been self harming since September 2012. I have been seeing a therapist since my second year of high school and in may this year, my therapist told my mother about my self harming issue (with my permission) I have been telling people that I have not self harmed since then, but I have relapsed twice. The last one being last night. I really can,t seem to recover fully. Yet, my life isn't horrible. I am starting cegep tomorrow, I have a loving family, I have an amazing best friend and a boyfriend that loves me. But yet, I am always sad. No matter what. At night, I over think about everything. And it makes me go insane. I'm scared of going to ask for more help. I don't want my mom to be disappointed again. What should I do? Please help me. I don't want to be sent to Douglas. I want to recover. I deserve my tattoo.. Please..

Tel-jeunes’ answer

Hi there!

Thank you for trusting us!

Recovery often implies that you will be challenged during the process. No recovery happens following a one-way pattern. On the contrary, we often do one step behind after doing 2 steps forward. What I mean to say is that relapsing twice does not mean that the recovery is ruined. When we decide to change a behavior, we need to let go the benefits of that behavior as well as the disadvantages. For example, people who use self harm use this method to avoid feeling other emotions or to punish themselves or express self-anger/self-hate. The benefit of self harming could be to avoid feeling what is lying underneath. The disadvantage is that the sensation of relief does not last long and is not efficient to deal with the problems on a long term basis. It could also lead to dangerous injuries or scars that will never go away. Do you agree?

During the process of change, it is usual to face the emotions we were once avoiding by self harming. Sometimes, it feels terrible, but it is a sign of improvement, believe it or not, it means that something is changing. The relapse can mean that we go back to our old methods of coping, but we soon realize that it is not working anymore, or not as good as it used to. Do you recognize yourself there?

While we face this transition of letting a behavior behind, it is helpful to find other ways of coping. Some people in your situation engage into talking about their real emotions with loved ones, or writing in a journal to understand themselves better. Others find a sport or an art to express themselves and use this activity to replace the self harming. Others find a support group to talk about the real issues with people going though similar processes. Without going to Douglas, it is possible to ask your therapist if it is possible to do group sessions, if it appeals you. It is your choice to make! I strongly encourage you to value your progress and be proud of the road you are in. Will you do that?

You can also call us anytime if you feel the urge to harm yourself, you will always be welcome! 1-800-263-2266 :-)

Take good care of yourself,

Tel-jeunes

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