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When Self-Harm Becomes Your Best Friend: A Healing Journey Tale


~ TRIGGER WARNING ~

Please do not proceed if reading about self-harm will activate more harm than healing within you.

With Love, ~Kristin Windsor

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After ten years of chronic self-harm that helped me cope with severe mental health battles stemming from intensive traumatic-stress trapped in my nervous system, cutting no longer was enough pain to ground me in present-moment reality.

Not even thick gashes that bled for hours could break through the insanity I was experiencing caused by years of traumatic stress.

My desperate attempts to silence the inner chaos reached new experiences as I began bashing my head into hard surfaces.

The pain and temporary loss of consciousness achieved was enough to help me cope with the severity of internal battles occurring during that time.

Traumatic events happened throughout my life, from ages 4 to 24. The events caused a dramatic rewiring of my brain-body systems, which allowed me to survive, both during and after the events.

However, the rewiring also caused chaos within my nervous systems. The energetic flow of communication deep within my microscopic body-brain cells was disrupted, which created all-consumingly terrifying experiences.

Five years of mental health care treatment offered no help, hope, or healing.

I was left to cope in the only ways I knew how, without an understanding of why I was experiencing the things that I was. I had not yet learned about the rewiring I had unconsciously experienced; I had not yet uncovered the truth of my early childhood trauma that had sparked the mental health battles that started by age 10.

I continued cutting on a regular basis; it had been such a long-time, dear, helpful friend that I could not possibly give it up.

Alongside this habit grew my other habit. Hitting my head against hard objects was such a convenient way to cope: there was no blood, no clean-up, no scars to hide; I could simply continue on with my day, feeling the relief provided by the self-harm as it helped me function for many hours afterwards.

I felt I reclaimed a piece of my sanity with every head-bash I initiated and endured. I felt a wave of peace wash over me every time I harmed myself. I felt a reconnection with myself every time the chaos was temporarily silenced through the harmful act.

I had no idea I was partially dislocating many of my 22 skull bones. I had no idea what was happening to cause my experiences, or how else I could possibly cope with it all. My dozens of other coping tools were not nearly enough to effectively confront the intense severity of my experiences.

Hundreds of medications and dozens of therapies had offered no help, hope, or healing. Every doctor I had access to in the entire city had exhausted their knowledge and was left with nothing more to offer me.

Several months into this transition from cutting to head-bashing, I began to break the hard objects I was hitting my head against, particularly a bathroom door at a home I was staying at while continuing to experience homelessness and disability from my health battles.

When the door was replaced with a new one, I ripped apart the old, broken door and saved a bag of pieces from it.

I wasn’t entirely sure what I’d do with them specifically, but I knew I wanted to heal, and I knew that pieces from the pain could be a powerful tool while artistically crafting my healing path.

Several months later, while staying in a different home as the battles of homelessness, disability, and traumatic-stress continued, I lovingly brought forth the pieces from the shattered door, and I wrote colourful affirmations on them to meet myself where I was with the intention of moving forward through the pain towards new, healing stories.

Later that year, I was able to completely stop all methods of self-harming and acquire healing resources to reset my partially dislocated skull bones.