Sunday, March 31, 2013

What Defines You?

I've written, briefly, of defining scars before. I hope you won't find me repetitive, but this is the most important lesson I have ever learned, and so I have a strong desire to share it with you.

I have lots of scars. They come from self-injury, sheer clumsiness, surgeries, accidents, and childhood play that got out of hand. There are also the emotional scars left by past loves, well-intentioned family members and friends, death, and just plan mean actions. Then, there are the scars yet to come: my still forming suicide attempt scars, those inevitable emotional scars, and, without a doubt, more scars from sheer clumsiness.

Odds are, you have lots of scars, too. Scars of all kinds, shapes, and sizes.

But here's the cool thing. While our scars help tell our stories, they do not have to define who we are. I have chosen to let someone else's scars define me. Let me tell you my favorite story about him.

This man was a leader, although a controversial one. So, when a woman was caught sleeping around, the other leaders brought her to him to see what he'd say about it. He ignored them, essentially, and told them that any of them who had never done wrong could punish her as he saw fit. None of them could make that claim, and so he told the woman she was free to go. He assigned no punishment. But he told her not to do it again. See, she was guilty, and he knew it. What's more, he had the power and authority to punish her. But he chose to let her go. To give her a second (or third, fourth, fifth?) chance.

Cool guy, right? Many of you have guessed by now that I'm talking about a man named Jesus. (Full story in John 8:1-11). He was brutally murdered by being nailed to a cross (a common punishment at the time, which makes me glad I didn't live back then). The thing is, he was innocent. He had done nothing wrong. He was murdered, essentially, because he made the other leaders uncomfortable (and because he had to, but maybe we'll discuss that later).

Are you getting this? An innocent man, who knew that he'd be killed without cause, chose to let guilty people, like the woman who'd been sleeping around, go free, unpunished, for a second chance. He took their punishment, and then some. Why? Because he was, is, the Son of God, and he wants us to be reunited in Heaven. All you have to do is believe that he came to earth, lived a perfect life, died on the cross, and rose again - all to save you and me from our wrongs, our sins. (See Acts 16:30-31)

His scars define us, not our own. How blood, his scars more than cover mine as well as yours, if you'll let him. Click here to email me if you have questions about this. I don't know much, but I'm willing to talk and to refer you to someone who can answer your questions if I can't. Happy Easter, all!

Thursday, March 28, 2013


First of all, thank you to those of you who have contacted me with concern and words of encouragement. Let me assure that I am no longer suicidal and I am seeking the help that I need.

Now, I'm keeping this post short because, frankly, I need a mental break tonight. I just want to post a scripture that I stumbled upon in my reading last night. I hope it is as helpful to you as it has been to me this week.

"I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord."

Psalm 27:13-14 (the emphasis is mine)

As always, leave me a message or click to email me.

Love y'all!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Love Came Down and Rescued Me

This blog entry has needed writing since Monday night. However, as you will learn below, I was in  no shape to write it on Monday, and have taken the two days since to consider how, exactly, to put the experience into words. I wanted this entry to be honest, yet hopeful and non-triggering. I have done my best. It may not be an easy read, but it is a very real account of what many of you are facing. It is also a clear depiction of why the church, and many other religions, need to openly discuss issues such as depression, self-injury, and suicide.

I have struggled with depression for a fair portion of my life. I have struggled with self-injury for approximately six years. I have been actively suicidal for about a month. By "actively suicidal" I simply mean that it was more than just wishing I wouldn't wake up.

Last week, I told someone, in person, that I was suicidal. They did not respond. No words. No actions. Just went back to what they were doing and later acted as if nothing had happened. So, I began to more actively plan for suicide. I decided that I would wait until the Monday after Easter, because I wanted to see my family one more time. However, stresses over this past weekend and my simple desire to be in heaven, where there would be no more pain, prompted me to move the date up to this past Monday.

I told God that I would give Him all day Monday to change my mind. That I would be open to seeing Him working in my life. I went about my normal work day. I even shared some laughs with friends. Still, it was a rough, rough day. When I arrived home, I knew I would have about two hours before my husband returned. I planned to do as much damage as possible in those two hours so that I would not be able to be saved.

In process, I had my laptop with me to play music. I don't do much in my life without music. I also decided to send some goodbye messages to friends to read after I was gone. I began a conversation with a friend, who we'll call Nick, asking him to pass along a message to my best friend if anything happened to me. Understandably, he freaked out, and when I argued that he didn't even really know me, he countered with, "Well then now is a good time to get to know you." The conversation continued, but I was unconvinced that I should stay.

When my husband returned, he walked into the bathroom, but didn't notice the empty pill bottle, or the blades on the edge of the tub. He went to bed with little fanfare. I took this to be the final sign from God that I was not meant to stay in this world. After all, if a husband doesn't notice, who will?

Then, as I was preparing to complete the final step, which my husband's arrival had interrupted, I heard a ping from my computer. It was Nick. Following my questioning why he cared, he told me that, even though he didn't know me well, "You are still a person. Aren't we all brothers and sisters in Christ?" Then he gave me his number and told me to use it if I ever needed someone to care again, or even just to talk.

Nick said nothing fantastically out of the ordinary. But Nick was the instrument God used to save my life on Monday. There is something about hearing truths from someone who doesn't really know you that makes them more real, more useful, more believable. Now, I'm dealing with the healing. Not only the physical, although that is certainly rough, but also the mental, emotional, spiritual healing that must occur. I have hard decisions and changes ahead of me. Keep me in prayer. But mostly, take from this that you are loved. You are needed. You are important. I care about you. And I never want you to go down the path I walked on Monday night. It's awful beyond measure. So please, leave me comments, here or on my tumblr, or click here to email me. I love you all.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Rainbow After the Storm

I'm still processing "the storm" referenced in the title of this entry. So, we'll focus on the rainbow.

Last night was rough, to say the least. Until a guy I hardly knew, and who I certainly never expected to respond to my message, responded. We'll call him Nick. He encouraged me. He asserted  that there was good in this world, even for me, at a time when I truly didn't believe it. And, in part because it was coming from someone who was not extremely close to me, I believed him.

Have you ever experienced the strange phenomenon of trusting people who don't know you more than those who do? There is just something about a stranger telling you things.... My loved ones, my close friends, I know they want me here and that they want me to stop self-injuring, so of course they will say things like, "There's always hope." But someone who has no vested interest in my life? They must be saying it because it's true. (Or at least that's how my thought process went last night.)

Let's be clear about the nature of this "rainbow," though. My depression is not over. My self-injury temptations are still there. The rainbow is simply the ability to see that there is some good in this life, even if I don't know what it is just yet.

So, hang in there, Loves, your rainbow is coming.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Let's Chat

Sorry for the late post. I've been fighting with myself over what to post for y'all here. See, I want to be strong for all of you, but I can only do that by being honest, which means, sometimes, by being weak.

Today, I relapsed due to some of the realities of my life at the moment. I knew that I should post about it here, but I fought it. Why? Because I want to be better. Because I want you to feel like you can come to me, and I feared you wouldn't come to me if I still struggled. Silly, I know. I realized that when I saw a quote posted by Hope Inside Love, which read "You were born to be real, not perfect," attributed to Erika Linder.

So here I am, with a fresh bandage on my arm, being real with you. I still struggle. I do not have this down pat. I have some fantastic strategies for recovery, but there will still be relapses while I muddle through it. I just want to start the conversation, particularly in organized religion, that will eventually help people like me to recover. You see, I think one of the reasons we have such an epidemic of self-injury is that we don't talk about it. So, get talking.

Friday, March 22, 2013


Let's be honest. For those of us attempting to recover from various forms of self-injury (eating disorders included), some days aren't about getting better, they're about making it through. However, I urge you to choose your coping mechanisms carefully.

Here are my rules for selecting coping mechanisms:

  1. It cannot be another form of self-harm. A friend, with totally good intentions, suggested once that I snap myself with rubber bands. To me, this is nothing more than another, albeit less likely to scar, form of self-injury.
  2. It cannot be potentially dangerous to others. I used to drive fast, really fast, down back roads. The danger to myself would never keep me from doing it. However, the potential danger to others was enough to stop me.
  3. It must be reasonable. While skydiving would probably be an awesome way of coping, I can't go do it at the drop of a hat.
  4. It must not be regrettable. I love tattoos. I have one and I have two more planned. However, getting a tattoo as a coping mechanism is setting yourself up to become addicted to tattoos as a method of self-injury. Plus, spur of the moment tattoos are nearly always regrettable. If you want them, plan them out well in advance and get them when you're calm.
  5. If at all possible, it should be constructive. For example, if I can cope by painting, writing, volunteering, or getting something off my to-do list, I do. This way, you not only cope but do something positive in the process.
  6. When possible, it should be something that naturally helps lift depression. I work out, which releases endorphins, or go tanning, which gives me a boost of vitamin D. 

Have other rules for choosing coping mechanisms or suggestions for positive methods of coping? Leave them in the comments or message me if you know me off the blog!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Not Your Fault

I wrote yesterday that one of my Tumblr followers committed suicide. My first thoughts were, "What could I have done differently?" "What if I had said X?" "What if I'd messaged her sooner?" While there is always room to evaluate how we act and react and to improve our reactions, this line of thought was not healthy.

Then, I remembered a book I read called Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. In that book, she said that we have to take ownership of our actions, but that we must release any and all responsibility for the actions of others. In all likelihood, nothing I could have said or done differently would have made a difference. And, even if it would have, it was her choice, not mine. She still made the conscious decision.

Particularly if you are feeling responsible for the problems, feelings, or choices of others, check out Codependent No More. I realize it sounds irrelevant to you. It did to me, too. But it has been one of the most practically useful books I've ever encountered.

Still, not taking responsibility for the actions of others does not mean that I do not reflect and thoughtfully change my approach. For example, I've chosen to edit my Tumblr to include suicide, self-injury, eating disorder, and other hotlines. (I'll do the same here soon.)

Repeat after me: How someone else acts is not my fault.

Now, believe it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Impact of Strangers

I wish I came to you in a better mood and with better news today. Last night, two of my Tumblr followers attempted suicide. One did not succeed but plans to try again soon. The other...I haven't heard from. Nobody has heard from.

So, with heavy heart, I remind you that, no matter how hopeless it seems, no matter how alone you feel, your life has an impact on those around you. I have never met the two lovely ladies who attempted suicide. Yet I was devastated to learn of their attempts. I spent over half the night refreshing my browser, praying they would contact me to say that they had changed their minds or that their attempts failed. I still hold this crazy hope that the one young lady who hasn't contacted me is simply in a hospital getting the help she needs and is therefore unable to contact me.

Your life matters. 

And one more thing. I've noticed that most of my fellow SI sufferers have not told their loved ones. Many of them have told no one in the real world, only online. I challenge you - tell someone you trust. It won't be easy. They may not react the way you want them to. But you need someone in real life to know what you're going through. You need someone in real life to know that you injure yourself, that you're suicidal, that you have an eating disorder, whatever it is you're going through.

Then, at least, someone will know and be able to help you when it gets bad. I couldn't help my two lovely followers because they weren't checking their messages and I have no idea who they actually are. Please don't let that be you. Please give your loved ones the chance to help you.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sorry for the lack of a post today, y'all. Currently trying desperately to get in touch with one of my Tumblr followers who plans to commit suicide tonight. Please send up prayers for her.

Monday, March 18, 2013

My Treatment Journey

Today, I'm struggling to adjust to a new medication dosage, and as a result of feeling sick, I had planned not to post tonight. However, it occurred to me that perhaps a post on medication is needed.

When I first struggled with depression, I told no one. I believed there to be a stigma attached to mental health services, such as counseling and medication. Somehow, in spite of depression and suicidal fantasies, I survived high school and most of college without physical harm. Then, a little over halfway through my second year of college, I entered the world of self injury. I still sought no help, in large part because I wouldn't have known where to go anyway.

For the next five or so years, I struggled with depression and self injury on my own. I told no one and received no help. Though I saw the doctor for other reasons, none of them ever noticed or commented on the scars on my arms.

Finally, I told a couple of trusted friends and began to work through my issues with their help. I relied heavily on my faith, and theirs, to get me through. I began to see a counselor as well, and when the issues still continued, I finally agreed to go on medication. I was ridiculed by some "friends," even told that I wasn't a good enough Christian or I'd be able to cope without medication. They were wrong. With medication, along with the help of friends and faith, I went nearly a year with no self-harm issues. I even felt happy sometimes. Those of you who have dealt with self injury know what a miracle this is.

Now, due to some life issues, the depression and self injury has worsened again. After trying what I could on my own, I went back to my doctor to seek counsel. She suggested increasing my dose, and so that is what I am trying. The bottom line is this: You have to take care of you. Listen to the counsel of those around you, and certainly do not go against your own faith and morals, but in the end, do what you need to do to be healthy. There is nothing inherently wrong with counseling, medication, or other forms of help.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Unending Love

This entry was inspired by an incredible message at church this morning. As always, you need not be Christian to read, comment, or take something from this blog, though. (See this link for the message which inspired this post, which will be uploaded in the next week. It is called "As in Adam, So in Christ")

Who are you? Take a moment to think about it. Consider the aspects you try to keep hidden, the things you try to keep yourself from believing, the things that have enormous impact on our identity, and even the things that depend on the perceptions of those around us.

We have, essentially, two options of ways to identify ourselves. The first is through Adam (as in the first man), which is to say through humanity. This option reflects the broken world we live in, in which we experience spiritual, psychological, social, and physical death. (This is a common choice of non-Christians and is the source of sayings such as YOLO.)

The second option is to identify ourselves through Christ. That is, through the resurrection. This allows us to experience spiritual, psychological, social, and physical death both now and (more fully) in the next life. 

So in what ways are you experiencing the results of the life of Adam?
For me, this list includes depression, self injury, and marriage issues, among many others.

In what ways are you experiencing life through Christ?
This list, for me, is short, including only the limited ministry I have through this blog.

It was quite shocking for me to see that I'm experiencing the results of Adam's actions more than those of Christ. Still, in the midst of my struggle to see myself the way Christ does, it is encouraging to know that "neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39). In my life, this means that no cut, no burn, no marriage issue, no amount of low self-esteem, nothing can make God stop loving me. Nothing.

This is not to say that we don't do bad things. We do. Only that those bad things cause us to distance ourselves from God, but God does not stop loving us as a result. God never stops loving you, if you only believe. Now that's the kind of love we all desire.

Friday, March 15, 2013

More on Music

Hey, y'all! We have company tonight, so I'll keep this one brief. I just want to remind you how important music can be to recovery (it's certainly been essential to mine). If you're on Facebook, check out my lovely friend's page at this link, called "Save Your Wrists, Listen to Music." It's a great community for any of us struggling. And even if you don't struggle with depression or some form of self-injury, come for the music!

Thursday, March 14, 2013


When I started this blog, I never dreamed of the ways in which it would be used. I never dreamed I'd have an international audience, including viewers from the United States, Germany, the UK, Canada, the Philippines, Australia, Finland, France, Indonesia, Mexico, and Sweden.

While I'm truly humbled by the number of page views and my international audience, I am most humbled by the way God is using this blog in my own life. See, when I'm having rough days, I still hold myself accountable to write here. And on those days, God seems to use my own blog to speak to me. Today, I was  struggling with self worth due to my past mistakes as well as to listening to what others think of me. Then, an amazing song came on the radio, and I suddenly knew both how I would be getting through the day and what I would be writing for you. So, without further ado:

In a world that loves to use labels and identify people by superficial characteristics, it's easy to lose track of who we are and what really matters. We also live in a world that keeps track of our wrongs, and often remembers them longer than our successes. I don't know about you, but I get bogged down in that and I forget that I am more than my mistakes, more than my weight, more than my scars.

Let me remind you who you really are (I need the reminder, too) through a song by Jason Gray called "I Am New." You are, we are, "forgiven, beloved, hidden in Christ, made in the image of the Giver of Life, righteous, and holy, reborn, and remade, accepted, and worthy, this is our new name."

(Find the full song here, along with an incredible music video.) OR watch below!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Good Life

After seeing many many people struggling with depression post about wishing their lives were more like so and so's, I feel the need to say this: There is no such thing as an easy life. There are personalities which deal with conflict better than others. There are people who are able to hide their issues. But there are no easy lives. There are only those who suffer differently than we do.

But here's the thing - suffering does NOT mean we can't have the good life. We have things to work through, sure. We need to learn how to manage our conditions, of course. However, we can reach out to others who struggle with similar issues even before we have ours all figured out. Look at me, for example. I still struggle with depression. I still fight the urge to self-injure, and I have relapsed once in the last month. Yet I have two outreach blogs, and I truly enjoy talking to those who are suicidal or on the cusp of self-injury. It is one of the things that helps to keep me from those things myself, because I must make coherent arguments for sustaining life and life without self-injury. It's like taking on an alter ego, in some ways, except that it is how I strive to live every day.

Which brings me to a question I never thought to answer before: Why use the name Nina on my blog? My real name is one I associate with my self-injury struggle. The name Nina I associate with my recovery, and here's why: The nickname Nina was given to me by one of the first friends to know about and help me with my recovery from self-injury. Nina is a shortened version of "ninakupenda," which means "I love you" in Swahili. Nina also means grace, favor, and strong. So, just as Abram took on the name Abraham when God called him (feel free to ask if you would like more information on that story), I have taken on a new name for the sake of my outreach. I make no claims that God has assigned this name, just to be clear, only that it is a name I identify with in my recovery.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Think Happy Thoughts

As I've mentioned before, I have a tumblr account in addition to this blog. It is not only another place for me to encounter and hopefully help others who struggle, but also a blog where I can feel free to write my "in the moment" thoughts, even the darkest ones.

First, I encourage all of you to have a place to express those thoughts, whether it is in talking with a trusted friend, writing it on a blog or in a journal, or in prayer. (Or all of the above - just don't get stuck in thinking that way.) There is something cathartic about expressing your dark thoughts. The trick is to release them once they're expressed. I confess, I have trouble with that, too, which is where step two comes in....

Second, reblog, like, repost, post, jot down, hang on your mirror, say to others, say to yourself, and firmly believe whatever positive thoughts you can. I say this because I've noticed that, particularly on tumblr, we all tend to reblog those negative thoughts that we identify with. (I'm just as guilty as the next person.) And while it's important to express your suicidal thoughts or fears about the future, it is also important not to let them linger (see number one). Try posting positive things on Facebook, tumblr, twitter, whatever you use, and watch it spread. Not only will you find yourself feeling a little more positive, you'll see others begin to like and repost your positivity, too.

Monday, March 11, 2013

You're Not Alone

I can't lie to you all. Today has been an extremely tough day. One of those "feeling extremely triggered for no particular reason" kind of days. What got me through was remembering that I'm not alone.

In the very brief time that I've been sharing my story with others, I've discovered that two friends also struggle/have struggled with self injury and one other friend has attempted suicide. Not to mention all of the tumblr followers I've gained who struggle with the same things.

When I'm feeling triggered, I feel even more different from my "normal" friends than usual, so it's useful to remember that there are people who do understand what I'm feeling. These are people who I can go to when I'm struggling, because they understand what I need. However, I do think we, as a mental health community, need to work to better educate the neurotypicals (those who do not suffer these issues) so that they are better able to help us when we struggle.

What would you tell the "normal" or "neurotypical" people in your life if you had the chance?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lessons Learned

How many of you who struggle with self-injury (including eating disorders) have been told that you're just "attention seeking?" That you're not really "sick," you're just lonely, or something like that?

I'm sure most, if not all, of us have heard that at one point or another. And sometimes it is a cry for someone to notice. But many, perhaps most, of us hide our self-injury quite carefully from those we know. We actively avoid attention based on our self-harm, and only participate in self-injury because it eases emotional pain in some form or another. We are not "attention seekers," we are hurting people dealing with the pain in the only way we know how.

Telling people about my struggle with self-injury has been the hardest thing I've ever done. Telling strangers is one thing, but telling people who I know and love, people whose opinion of me matters, is difficult. The first person I ever told, who we'll call Sam, was extremely hurt by my actions. He told me that it hurt to see someone he cared about so down that she would resort to harming herself. He suggested a tattoo on the place where I typically cut to remind me that hurting myself hurt him, and he made me a bracelet for my other arm for the same reason. Sam's reaction was helpful, and was the first push onto the road to recovery for me. But not everyone has reacted that way. Some have only said they would pray for me (which isn't all bad, mind you, but not immediately and practically helpful at first). Some have flat out refused to help and even criticized me for seeking help in the form of medication and counseling.

It's been a struggle, to say the least, but I've discovered a few things by telling other people about my self-injury.

  1. Telling the right person/people can result in real help.
  2. Some people don't know how to react, but it doesn't mean they don't care.
  3. For the sake of my mental health, I have to focus on those who do want to help, not on those who have walked away.
  4. I am responsible for being honest about my struggle when necessary, but I am not responsible for how that makes others feel, think, speak, or react.
  5. There is no one I can't live without, no matter how much their reactions or rejections may hurt.
  6. People are, in general, more understanding than we give them credit for.
  7. I know more people who do struggle or have struggled with self-injury than I ever would have guessed.

Friday, March 8, 2013

"Coming Out" as a Self Injurer

Today, I confessed my depression and self-injury to my parents because I wanted to be able to be open about them in this and other outreach/ministry opportunities. It was the most nerve-wracking thing I have ever done. And they didn't even react, except to tell me, when they left a few hours later, that they would keep it in prayer. In some ways, I'm glad. It means that they aren't reacting out of fear, anger, or pain. Instead, they are letting it sink in. I do hope that they will ask questions later, if they need clarification, but I'm not sure they will.

Regardless, I've done my part. All I can do is tell them about it, tell them that I'm recovering, and leave it at that. They are aware and so I can have my ministry in public without fear of their claiming it hurt to hear it from someone else. That's all I needed. I am not responsible for their feelings, thoughts, or actions. Only for mine.

Please remember that, if and when you tell people, you cannot control how they react, and how they react does not say anything about you - only about them.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

How to Save a Life

First, let me just say that I do not have the definitive answer to how to save a life. Frankly, actually saving lives is up to God, not me. Rather, I'm talking about protecting someone from self-injury or suicide. What I offer you below are simply strategies that have worked for me and for people I know. The first list will be for those of you suffering from depression, self-injury, and suicidal temptations, just like me. A second list will be for those of you who, also like me, want to help other people through rough times.

Have anything to add to either of the lists? Leave it in the comments!

Protecting Yourself

  • Call someone you trust
  • Throw pillows at the wall
  • Rip up paper
  • Squeeze a pillow/stuffed animal as hard as you can
  • Hold a piece of ice in your fist until the urge goes away
  • Do jumping jacks
  • Write down how you're feeling
  • Meditate
  • Pray/Read Scripture

Protecting Someone You Love

  • Say encouraging things that you can back up with evidence (eg - Things get better and here's how I know)
  • Don't get discouraged when they reject your positive attitude - remember that it's hard to see the light when you're stuck in the dark.
  • Hug them
  • Send them random fun texts/messages
  • Call them - just say something
  • Give them a positive/encouraging song to listen to when they're down
  • Ask to hang out - and DO IT
  • Draw things on their arms/knees/wherever they self-injure
  • Get them out of the house

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Two Lives

Recently, I've been feeling more and more like I'm living two separate lives. In one life, I am highly successful. I am good at what I do. I enjoy what I do. I'm happy with my work and school life. I love it, even. In this life, I can embrace my struggle with self-injury. This life includes my blogs and opportunities to help others in similar situations. It also includes my faith.

In my other life, I have several good friends, but the relationships that are most important to me are in bad shape. I have not yet told many people who actually know me about my self-injury struggle, and so I have to wear long sleeves and be careful not to expose recent injuries or obvious scars. I have not told many people who I know in real life about the troubles in my marriage, and so I have to carefully tiptoe around those issues. It is a stressful, difficult life.

If it's so hard to live two lives, why do it? For me, it's a combination of not wanting to burden others, particularly my family, with my issues and being ashamed that I have these issues to begin with. However, I am always available to family and friends when they have issues, and I do not offer judgment or shaming to them, no matter what the problem. Strange, even hypocritical, right?

Something I'm learning, and that I think it's important that you learn with me if you haven't yet, is that our problems matter, too. I think many of us who suffer from depression and self-injury also suffer from codependency  We get so lost in taking care of others (which we often do in negative ways, whether we realize it or not, such as manipulation), that we lose track of ourselves. So, I'm telling you now, your problems matter, your pains matter, your struggles matter, and everyone has struggles. They are nothing to be ashamed of. While I'm not advocating a social media shout out of all your issues, do not apologize for needing to let people into your struggle or for seeking advice or for having struggles at all. These are things I have frequently apologized for in the past out of shame. No more.

Thank you for sticking with me through this long post. If you're interested in learning more about codependency, check out a book called Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. I'm not an advocate of self-help - I honestly believe most of it is bullshit. This book, at least as far as I am into it, is not. This is written by someone who has been there and figured most of this out for herself through experience. It's worth your time. I promise. Now, go take care of yourselves, y'all!

Monday, March 4, 2013


I decided to take this past weekend off from all of my normal work. This meant I would have free time to do things I enjoyed or even just do nothing. Those of you who struggle with self-injury know just how dangerous this is. When I'm busy, I think about cutting/burning less. However, I felt I needed to take this weekend off because I was simply burnt out.

So, Saturday morning, I helped some friends move. It was therapeutic, and I came home in a great mood. Then, a friend decided to cut off all communication with me due to starting a new romantic relationship. Immediately, the self-blaming began. I wondered what I had done wrong. I cried in the bathtub for two hours. No matter how much my friend assured me that it had nothing to do with the status of our friendship, I couldn't help but feel I'd done something wrong. As you can see, my weekend off was spiraling out of control. I was depressed. I was triggered. I was hurting more than I'd hurt in quite some time.

But I vowed to continue taking the weekend off, even though work would have helped me cope. I headed to a friend's party, where the sheer number of babies and pregnant women present painfully reminded me of what I would never have. Then, that night, the serious issues with my own marriage relationship were re-exposed. Talk about a double whammy. I slept on the couch that night, though I use the word "slept" quite liberally. I didn't sleep more than about fifteen minutes the whole night. It was the kind of night where I had to make a very conscious decision to stay on the couch and ignore the calling of the blade.

Still, in spite of all of the trials that popped up during my "restful" weekend, I did learn something about rest. Resting, truly resting, takes effort. When you're struggling with an addiction, that effort is doubled. When you're also dealing with relationship issues, it's quadrupled. Why? Because addictions and relationship issues are things that we (or at least I) tend to bury in work when I've done all I can otherwise. What I should be doing, when I've done everything in my power to fix the addiction and the relationship issues, is to rest in God. After all, my SI addiction and my marriage and friendship issues are bigger than me. But they're not bigger than Him. They will never be bigger than Him.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Sin Lucha, No Hay Victoria (Without Struggle, there is no Victory)

Hi, all! I hope you had a great time celebrating Self-Harm Awareness Day. One of my dear tumblr followers wore orange to celebrate. I wore my TWLOHA shirt. Anybody do anything more exciting?

Today, I'd like to take a moment to explain the title of the blog, since some of you have asked.

I titled the blog "Cutting Your Way Out" because this is a recovery blog. You could certainly make an argument that the title itself could be triggering. Since this is a recovery blog, that seems counter-intuitive. However, recovery is not pretty. Recovery is a battle. The title is a reminder of that, for you and for me. The title will, I hope, keep me from posting anything implying that recovery is all sunshine and rainbows, even though we will certainly have some sunshine/rainbow days sprinkled in.

Are you currently trying to recover? If so, what has been your biggest obstacle? Your biggest success?

Are you currently muddling through the addiction? What is your biggest struggle? What things help you to have good days in the midst of your struggle?

No matter where you're at in your struggle, know that I love you and that I want you to be happy and healthy when you're ready.