The Many Forms of Self Harm

**Trigger warning: self harm

It’s been over a year since I last wrote something down for this site. I’ve been thinking and reflecting a lot lately, however, and feel I’ve come to a new understanding about myself personally that I just needed to write down somewhere.

I’m incredibly self-destructive in ways that I never really realized.

It’s a weird thing to say out loud. I never really considered myself to be someone who was that self-destructive, but there are certain patterns and habits I’ve developed over the years, including how I run this site, that make me realize that I’m self-sabotaging in ways a few years ago I would’ve never even acknowledged.

It’s seeing an email come in about someone submitting to the site, and deciding to wait to answer it.

It’s getting this website to a point where it could really grow into something even bigger, and then stepping back and not following through.

It’s having years of experience writing music, but feeling anxious and afraid every time I try to write something new.

It’s becoming less personal with friends after they’ve seen certain parts of you, parts that you tell others it’s okay to show.

It’s having a skill set and numerous talents that you stop pursuing because you’re bored.

It’s limiting the jobs you apply to because your head constantly tells you that you’re not good enough to do the jobs you know you’re qualified for.

It’s self-harm without the actual physical pain. 

It’s all of these small actions and thoughts amplified over time, building and building until you’re left with a scar when you weren’t even aware there was a wound to begin with. I’ve been self-harming for years and wasn’t even aware of it.

And I feel so incredibly empty right now from it.

We have a tendency to think of self-harm in a very specific blade-on-skin kind of way. But the truth of the matter is that self-harm can encompass all different kinds of self-destructive behavior. The depression and anxiety in my life that I identify with definitely aid in these recurring behaviors. It’s a reminder that I’m still struggling every day, and I’m trying to find new ways to push forward. It’s all I can do with this new information I know about myself.

Because honestly I’m not too sure what else to do.

But there’s always the comfort in knowing that I’m not alone.

And you’re not alone.

You are loved.

Paul Falcone

Want to submit to this site and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

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Keep Walking, Don’t Worry

keep getting up before the sun

keep your wit

but make sure it’s secret

until you’re able to trust again

it’s okay

if you don’t know the difference

for a little while

take a walk down the railroad tracks

behind your parents’ house

stare at your boots

feel small and upset

beside the vastness

of the dead swamp

the 1997 family photo stays in the front pocket

of your blue jeans

mother, father, two daughters, a family wedding

remember the tantrum before the plaid jumper

the white socks, the Mary Janes

as if you need such a stark reminder

that past self preserved

now broad shoulders have filled out

the cracking voice

the scruffy chin

the court date

now you are more yourself

than you were

when you were five years old

trying to fall asleep

in purple Pocahontas sheets

wishing towards Sirius

praying on your knees

to a God you’ve never met

that tomorrow

would be a tomorrow

with groves of aspen

golden lion’s mane

and concrete

be thankful that everything is different

that you didn’t give in

to temptation

but keep listening to sad songs

shake the dust

watch the robins

smoke before bed

take sleeping pills

don’t worry about it

visit the ocean

please remember

the tide will always recede.


This poem was submitted by our friend Cal. Cal is a queer and agender mixed media artist and poet from Boston. You can visit Cal’s Instagram page here, and read more of this beautiful work by visiting his website here.

Always remember that you are not alone.

You are loved.

AC

Want to submit to Dear Hope and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

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Creative Pieces dear hope poetry

International Suicide Survivor Day

All week I have been struggling to find the words to say to you all in regards to today being International Suicide Survivor Day.

Even now as I write this I find myself deleting and rewriting the same words in some effort to express what I am trying to say.

Overall, I feel proud.

I am proud of myself for taking the conscious effort to continue my own life.

I am proud of all of you who are continuing to fight for your own lives.

As I read through social media news feeds, I see so many people raising their voices and opening up about their own struggles. I read about your own experiences and how hard you fight every day to stay alive, and I am so proud of all of you for continuing to open up and share your personal battles. Not only can it be therapeutic, but by doing so, you are inspiring others. You are showing other people that they do not need to be okay all of the time; you are showing them that a fulfilling life is possible while living with a mental health condition; you are showing them that even if they struggle, recovery is possible and attainable.

At Dear Hope, whenever we read a submission or read your comments, we feel your pain and your joy. We are there with you in your highest and lowest points, and we are rooting for you each and every day.

At Dear Hope, you are always welcomed, needed, and loved.

I’m a fairly emotional person and all I want to do today is hug every single one of you and tell you that you’re doing such a great job. It’s hard, it really is, and fighting can be discouraging and exhausting, and there are days where you feel like all your strength is gone but you’re doing it. You’re living. You may not see the progress you’re making but we do.

On this International Suicide Survivor Day, we want to tell all of you — whether you have been battling with your mental health, have had or still are having harmful thoughts, and to those of you who may have attempted to take your own life — you are a survivor. You are a fighter, and no one can take that away from you.

Lastly, we want to take a moment of silence for everyone who is not here with us. You are missed, loved, and this world is not the same without you. Today shows that you are not alone — there are millions of other people out there that know what you’re feeling.

Today, and every day, we ask that you share your story. Share it with us and share it with those around you. Your story is important and it is valid. We are listening.

You are loved, always.

AC


Want to submit to Dear Hope and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com.

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Watching Her Go

She keeps saying she’s leaving.

But I don’t know where she’s going.

She keeps telling me she’s done.

But nothing has been finished.

She keeps thinking she’s gone numb.

But feels it when I pinch her.

She keeps crying in the dark.

But there’s no sad movie on.

She keeps missing my calls.

But I know it’s on purpose.

She keeps drinking more wine.

But it’s becoming a problem.

She keeps swallowing more pills.

But she’s already exhausted.

She keeps screaming my name.

But I have already lost her.


This poem was submitted by our friend Kelsey. You can follow her on Instagram here.

Always remember that you are not alone.

You are loved.

AC

Want to submit to Dear Hope and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

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“Confession of a Surviving Liar” – Coping This Is Who We Are, Entry 24

Trigger warning: this post discusses suicide.

Below, we have a coping piece written by our friend Icess Fernandez Rojas. This piece is not only powerful and emotional, but a symbol of strength. Thank you, Icess, for  bravely sharing your story with us.


“All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.”

― James Baldwin

“We each survive in our own way.”

― Sarah J. Maas

July 2015

I am a liar.

I know how to react when the question comes. I know what will happen if I answer with the truth. I know what I will do if I think about the truth too long.

“Icess, do you want to hurt yourself or others?”

“No. Of course not,” I say straight-faced, like answering whether I wanted red or white wine with my dinner.

A check mark on the clipboard. Then the next question. Topic dropped. Another fooled.

If I answered yes, I would be immediately admitted somewhere where I couldn’t hurt myself, watched for a day or two, and then something about medicine. I wanted to get to the medicine part, to the part where chemistry was going to fix me.

The real answer to that question was yes. I thought about killing myself like people planned out their vacations. There was a letter crafted. Instructions. Simple. Direct. Perhaps reassuring. Hopefully reassuring.

My death would be just as simple, just as direct. No blood. Nothing to clean up. Neat. Clean. Even in my death I thought of others, of the people behind me who have to clean up the mess literally and figuratively.

Damn it, not even my death was my own.

Coping: This Is Who We Are dear hope

The Lie that Ableism Feeds Us

First let me be honest with myself and you.

I have been here before.

I have been so almost well that I start thinking that it might just be all in my head, that I could wield my will like a magic wand and wave all of this away.

I seem to have an almost recuperation cycle, where I begin to feel guilty, lazy, pathetic.

I day dream about doing laundry independently, washing dishes at all, taking dates out for fun nights on the town, walking by myself in the rain, hugging my children without coughing, being a “productive member of society” again.

That is always accompanied by a deep, subtle in it’s expression, but pervasive sense of self doubt which leads me to both question how I have handled my illness *am I just being lazy* and push myself to “try harder.”

Let me be clear, this always eventually results in my body crashing hard, usually in a pretty scary way.

Because my illness is real.

I am not being lazy

I am not just giving up

If I actually gave up, I would die. I am not actually exaggerating. This world, which by and large I am not in any way compatible with, would kill me.

But it is still hard not to listen to the world that measures worth in productivity, in hours worked, in dollars earned. It is hard not to listen to the well meaning people with suggestions and advice who just know I could do this or do that. It’s hard not to listen to the pity eyes and good intentions of loving relatives who are just so worried about me.

So let me tell you, and let me tell me

One more time

For the folx in the back

And the folx in the back of my mind
I am real and I am doing just fine

I am real and I am doing just fine
even when I would like your help, I don’t need your saving or your salvation

I have value

I have worth

I work damn hard, thank you very much

Even when I am not fine, I am doing the best I can

Repeat after me

Even when I am not fine, I am doing the best I can

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A huge thanks to Selissa Leonard for this powerful and insightful submission. You can find more of her work by visiting her website, here.

Always remember that you are not alone.

You are loved.

AC

Want to submit to Dear Hope and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

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Photography Series: “Still Fighting” by Alessandra Ortiz

What if we could see depression?

1

Would we still doubt its existence?

2.jpg

Would we still think that it’s a sign of weakness?

3.jpg

Would we still believe that it’s “just a bad day”?

4.jpg

Would we still assume that it’s a cry for attention?

5.jpg

Would we still fear others’ opinions of ourselves?

6.jpg

Would we still be too nervous to ask for help?

7.jpg

Would we lend a hand to those in need?

8.jpg

Would we find the courage to fight and keep going?

9.jpg

Would we finally understand that we are not alone?

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A very special thanks to Alessandra Ortiz for these beautiful photo submissions. You can find more of Alessandra’s work on her blog and Instagram. You can also read her previous submissions to Dear Hope, such as her piece, “Morning Routine” here, and her latest poem, “Her” here.

Always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.

AC

Want to submit to Dear Hope and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com.

Follow us for more posts, inspiration and art on FacebookTwitterTumblr, and Instagram

A Lens Into Our World dear hope