We do not wake up one morning and decide that now would be a good time to cut. Until we cut we prepare ourselves mentally. We keep thinking about it. For days. Maybe even for weeks. Maybe we even hold the blade in our hands. Stare at it. Unable to do it. But that is not the worst part. The worst part is the cold and confusion. The world of pain we live through before we cut. Because until we actually put a blade to our skin, we have hurt ourselves a lot mentally. And in my experience the depth of the cut reflects the mental pain we have been going though. If we scratch our skin, we are trying to escape a dark pit of pain. If we cut until the blood flows. If we cut until the point where we question when it will stop bleeding. We have walked through hell. Mentally.
This is why trying to make us stop cutting will not actually help us. Sure, if we stop cutting we will be spared the scars on our skin, but it does not mean we are healed. It does not mean that the mental pain is gone. And there are so many reasons for that mental pain. Trauma, being in a field of tension, being alone, being empty, one’s relationship to oneself…. they are uncountable and trying to list them all will never do everyone justice.
All I am trying to say is: if we want to heal, we will have to heal from the inside. This is why forcing someone into therapy may save their body but they may wish for death, because controlling them may silence the part of us that wants to recover. Forcing them into something is most likely going to increase their mental pain. If we want to help someone in pain, we can give them advice and if they trust us we may have a chance at leading them to therapy. Talking them into it. Changing their minds. But we cannot do anything against their will. Because it is them who will have to heal. It is them who will have to do the work to get better. And if we cannot decide to heal, we cannot really get better.
And there is another point: depending on how long we have been in the darkness we may not even know what the light is like anymore. We may not even know how it is to not be so hurt that we cut regularly. And of course we know that we are not well. But we do not know what it means to be well. We have forgotten how it is to be free of the blade’s slavery. And we may have given up hope. But even then: unless we want to heal we cannot get better.
I think deep down we all want to heal. No one likes hating oneself. No one likes being in pain. But we may very well be tired of trying to get better. Why? Because maybe we have tried without results. Or maybe we do not believe that we can actually be helped. Maybe we are afraid what a therapist might think. Maybe we simply do not have the energy to put in the work to get better.
And this is the point where we need support. Of those we love. Of those we trust. Not to push us. But to not give up hope in us, even if we cannot believe in ourselves anymore. Sometimes we need someone to gently guide us because we do not have the strength to make the decision to get better ourselves. And that support is worth more than anyone can imagine. Because it may prevent us, from hating ourselves, as even if we cannot love ourselves, there is someone we trust who obviously does. And who still trusts us. So how bad can it really be?
I know for myself that I would have slipped into the darkness deeper and more often if it weren’t for the people around me who were always there no matter what. They are the real reason I can look into the mirror without disgust for what I see. They are the reason I am not an utterly and hopelessly addicted to cutting. So: Thank you.