Self-harm vs Self-Damage


(Nothing like a controversial subject for a Monday, huh?)


There are seven red lines on my thigh today

One and a half to two inches long

Each neatly placed parallel to the next

I don’t show them off

Not because I am ashamed of them

But because the resulting conversation

Is not one I want to have with just anyone

However, I do not hide them either

My partner, my closest friends, my therapist

They know that there are times I have no choice

Times when the pain inside me is so overwhelming

That I absolutely require outer physical pain

To bring me back to sanity

To calm the storm in my soul

That storm that rips through me

Pulling me towards the brink

Wanting me to choose death over life

This is not my preferred method

I do not host a body full of scars

At least not in the traditional sense

Rather I find other ways to balance my pain

Balance the internal and the external

So that I do not collapse

So that I do not do far worse

I am covered in tattoos

I have my fair share of piercings

My sexual tastes run toward the extreme

I am a masochist

But I have learned to channel that need

So that I fulfil it in a safer way

When I cut I do not cut near an artery

My blades are sterile

My aftercare prevents infection

Similarly, when I choose other outlets

I do not seek permanent harm

I seek only pain


With the help of others who care

And are willing to push me where I need to be

But also hold me afterwards

To walk through the catharsis that I require

And it works

I am still here, alive, striving for a contented life

So next time you want to scold the one you care for

For the scars on their body

Or their fresh wounds and different lifestyle

Stop for a moment

Perhaps, instead of offering shame or judgment

You could offer love and care

Make sure they’re being safe

Point them to other methods of self-harm

Those that do not involve self-damage.

Otherwise, you run the risk

Of pushing them farther down into the darkness

Trust me, I know

For while I do these things that many see as “bad”

I would be doing far worse

If I hadn’t found these safer ways.




3 thoughts on “Self-harm vs Self-Damage”

  1. I understand you, I too have sterile ways of causing external pain to try and deal with internal pain. I have a kit with all my tools kept in sterile conditions. A carry over from my younger days, when I was foolish and used whatever was available. You aren’t alone (Holly).

    Liked by 1 person

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