I check out the SAFE Alternatives blog every now and then just to see what’s going on.
Many of the blog entries I’ve seen are written by people who are struggling with a lot of tough choices. I wanted to share a bit of my story to show that things can change, but it’s not always going to be easy. Change can take time and change is hard work, but it is so worth it.
I first went to SAFE in the Spring of 1999. I learned a lot about myself and made a lot of significant changes in my life, but I quickly realized I was not ready to stop injuring.
In 2004, I decided it was time to get my life together. SAFE was my last chance. I would either make the changes I needed to make to live a productive life, or I would continue down a path I did not want to be on and probably end up losing everything.
Because I had completed the program in 1999, I had an idea of what to expect. Knowing what to expect, though, didn’t make things any easier. I’d venture to say that, because I had previously completed the program, more was expected of me.
I worked hard at SAFE. Looking back, I think I could have done more, but for where I was in my life at the time, I can honestly say I made the most of every day I was at SAFE.
It’s been more than four years since I left SAFE in Naperville, IL, and returned home. I’ve continued the work that I began at SAFE. I’ve realized that I’m a valuable person and I deserve to be happy. Since returning home, I’ve changed a lot: I’ve graduated college, married my perfect-for-me partner, gotten a great job, and am about 6 months away from finishing my master’s degree. I have been self-injury free since stepping foot in the door at SAFE more than four years ago.
I still struggle sometimes. I’m still self-conscious about my scars. Life is not perfect and I’m not perfect, but I’m safe and I’m not ashamed of my past. (In fact, I–alongside Dr. Wendy Lader–participated in a TV interview for Lifestyle Magazine last year where I told my story. I figure if I’m ready to share my story with a national audience, I can share my story here and in-person with people who might find it helpful.)
Everyone deserves to be safe and everyone can be. If you’re struggling with the decision of whether or not to seek help, I would encourage you to do so.
SAFE saved my life by helping me change my life.