Finding your outlet

A friend sent me a message this morning.

“I want to cut today.”

I know what that means. This isn’t a passing thought. This means the blade is in one hand & the phone is in the other. She’s taking a chance & reaching out. You have to understand this important detail. Those who reach out are at their wit’s end. Take it as seriously as they do. Brushing them off proves the lie they’ve told themselves – no one cares. They are drowning in a sea of these lies. They need you to tell the truth. Be their life preserver.

I asked her what was going on & she shared a bit of her story. I told her when I feel like cutting, I like to use gel pens instead & draw whatever wherever I feel like cutting. So instead of slicing into my arm, I’ll use my glitter gel pens & doodle a little instead. My expression of the fine arts is strictly dance. I do make a wicked stick figure but that’s about it. 🙂 So I’ll draw little shapes or happy faces or something that’ll make me smile. Feeling the cool tip of the pen glide across my arm works for me. I don’t really know the psychological reasons for it; I just know it helps me. It doesn’t take away the darkness but I do get the “release” from cutting without actually cutting.

It’s hard to describe, but from what I understand, “fellow cutters” get it. They get the pressure whether it’s internal or external. They get the cornered feeling. They get the release they feel seeing & feeling the blade against the skin. They get the sting you feel in the shower when the water hits it. They get hiding their scars out of shame but secretly hoping somebody notices just to pay attention to you. It’s a fucked up catch-22 but it’s the sad, quiet truth.

They. Get. It.

For those of you who know me personally, I realized confessing this can seem like a lot. The few who know were flabbergasted when I told them. “You?! But you seem so happy! What do you have to be upset about?” Yeah, that’s kinda how it works. Everything can be right on the outside but not in your head. You learn to fake it & hide it all inside until it overflows into deadly ways.

Which brings me to my whole point of today’s post…

You need an outlet. NEED. Make it as important as your daily water intake & getting enough rest at night. Sometimes, I use my gel pens & color a geometric picture. Other times, I use them to write notes to loved ones. They are one of my favorite & easiest outlets to use.

And, yes, there are days when it’s not enough. It happens. I need something stronger. I’m learning to turn away from food & alcohol and to find other productive outlets. So I dance, I work out, I watch a funny movie, I do a puzzle, I text a friend, I play a silly game on my phone, etc. I do something other than what my mind is screaming at me to do.

You have to make YOU a priority. This has been one of the biggest struggles for me. I’m used to serving others & pushing my needs aside. After all, I’m fine. I’m doing okay. I’ll get through this. I can make it on my own. Blah, blah, blah. There’s no shame in asking for help. There’s no shame if you fail. Anyone who shames you needs to be out of your life. Don’t be afraid to speak up. There are more of us out here than you realize. Like you, we’ve gotten really good at hiding it. But you know what? I’m done hiding. I will proudly hold your hand as you go through this. You are not alone.

Regardless of your expression of self-harm, I’m proud of you. You’re still here. The demons in your head got loud & they still couldn’t take you out. You’re a badass & an inspiration to us all!

Just promise me one thing. Please. Try to find your outlet. Find what works for you. And in the meantime, I’m here for you if you need to talk. We’ll walk through the darkness together.

Side Note: I’m not a doctor by any means. Please see one or a therapist if you need serious help. Sometimes, just talking it out doesn’t work & you need a professional. Go to one. Love yourself enough to take that flying leap. They will catch you & you won’t fall.

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