I just got out of the hospital, having spent 6 months at an inpatient facility – not designed for self-injury – but where I learned so much because one of the choices my doctor made was to use “Bodily Harm” as a resource in my treatment.  She read the book and it helped her understand what I was going through.  She also learned to listen to me, really listen to me.

We focused a lot of my treatment on how self-injury is a CHOICE, one that only I can make, not her or my friends or family or anyone else can make for me.  I would have to decide for myself if I wanted to get better and if and when I did, she would be there to help me learn to deal with the consequences of my choices.  She gave me choices and alternatives, helped guide me through the process of learning to make better choices, and I’m now making each day self-injury free. 

I’m 27, almost 28, and have been dealing with this for more than 10 years.  I hate self-injury and what it has done to my life, but I’m proud to claim I don’t have to choose self-injury as my coping skill anymore.  I learned so many diffferent and better ways to cope.  I still have scars and I’ll always have scars, but I’m not making any new ones.  I can wear short-sleeves and shorts now because self-injury is in my past, not my present.  I am choosing everyday, often multiple times a day, to choose alternative ways to cope other than by hurting myself.

I’m posting here tonight to say that there is hope, if you want it.  YOU have to want it for yourself – no one can want it enough for you to get it, only YOU can want it and then you have to TAKE IT, CLAIM IT and LIVE IT!  It is so hard, don’t get me wrong, but it is possible.  It hurts to take the harder way out, to feel.  It requires effort, conscious effort.  The thoughts still come into my head, but I choose what to do with my thoughts now.  I don’t let my thoughts control me, I control them. 

Acknowledging that self-injury was MY CHOICE, was one of the biggest and most important factors in my treatment.  My doctor and the rest of staff constantly reminded me of this.  I was treated at a “crisis facility”, not intended for long-term treatment whatsoever, and my doctor had little to no experience dealing with self-injury or my eating disorder.  My doctor made the choice to learn more about what I was dealing with and then I got to teach her, as she had never heard of SAFE before.  When she heard about the program, I told her about the book.  She went out and bought a copy for me and a copy for her – we went through the book together.  That book was a big step in the start of my treatment.  We then learned together what would work for me and what wouldn’t, but it opened up doors for communication between the two of us.  Sharing the book together was amazing!

Just remember that you have a choice to make everytime you feel the urge to hurt yourself.  You can either do it or you can do something else, anything else.  You don’t have to hurt yourself because no one is making you do it.