Self-harm once consumed my life. It shattered my self-image, hope for recovery, and relationships. I thought I was taking back control, but in reality, I was surrendering to my depression.
When I was searching for help, I was shocked when doctors told me my self-harm was ‘superficial.’ I would not be allowed in specific skills groups, and I was questioned if I needed inpatient treatment. I understood what they meant, but what they didn’t see was the pain behind the cutting. My wounds were surface level, but that did not indicate my pain was lesser than those who cut deeper.
Before my Borderline diagnosis, I was told that I was not sick enough to receive the treatment I was seeking. I had just been released from an inpatient care unit and was searching for a place in a DBT skills group. I had attempted suicide once, my self-harm was superficial, and I was working as a Mental Health Practitioner, so I was denied.
That experience put the belief into my head that for others to believe me, I needed to prove my pain. I increased my self-harm and continued spiraling downward.
The comparisons don’t stop in treatment; they exist in the recovery community as well. I have read comments comparing scars – you do not even have that many scars, mine are so much worse, you have it easy; clearly, I am in more pain. Why are we doing this to each other?
I hope that one day we will stop comparing people based on what we can see, and instead listen to what they say.
It honestly does not matter the severity of your wounds. I can understand how it can be helpful for clinicians to differentiate between the level of need, but I believe we are looking at this from the wrong angle. It should not matter, because what matters is what that person is feeling inside. Thoughts, emotions, impulses, that’s what matters, and that’s what we should be listening to.
All I want is for those struggling to be heard and validated. Your pain does matter. You matter. I want everyone to receive the support they need, because of what they are experiencing internally, and not due to their apparent need externally.