Why Bother Getting Clean from Self-Harm?

Getting clean from self-harm isn’t easy, and when you’re in a dark place, just trying to get better can seem like too much effort for too unlikely a reward. But the work to recover from self-harm is worthwhile—I promise.

Why I Got Clean from Self-Harm

I hurt myself for several years before I decided to get clean from self-harm. It was a decision I made on my own and for myself. No one pushed me into it or even encouraged me because, at that point, nobody else knew what I was doing. But I made the choice anyway, and I even managed to stick to it.

That doesn’t mean, however, that I didn’t question it. I asked myself, before and many times after, why I was trying when failure seemed an all too possible outcome. 

I knew if I changed nothing, I would only keep getting worse—and I had a pretty bleak theory of how that story would end. So, I decided to try to get better. Even if I failed, after all, at least things would be different—even if only for a little while.

What It’s Like to Be Clean from Self-Harm

Now, over a decade later, I’m so grateful to my past self for making that decision. I still have bad days. I still have bad weeks. But I’ve learned how to weather those days better than I used to, and all of the wonderful things waiting for me on the other side of those storms have proven, over and over again, to be worth fighting for.

I found my reasons in a hug from my mom, the smell of freshly baked bread, and the blue of the sea on a clear summer day—little things, but every one of them is something precious to me, something concrete I can cling to whenever I need an anchor. 

Finding a Reason to Get Clean from Self-Harm

Your reason, or reasons, for getting clean from self-harm may be different from mine. That’s okay. It’s great, even—the more personal your reasons are, the more effective fuel they will be for your journey.

Your reasons may even change over time. That’s okay, too—it’s natural for your motivations, as well as your goals, to evolve over the course of your recovery journey.

And if you feel like you don’t have a reason, ask yourself—why do you care? If you’re wondering whether it’s worth it to get better, that means that at least part of you wants to get better; otherwise, you wouldn’t be conflicted. Learn to listen to that part. Let yourself dream about how your life would change for the better if you were able to stop hurting yourself. 

Then remind yourself, as often as you need to, that recovery is possible. Even if it doesn’t seem worth trying now, take it from me—your future (healthier) self will thank you for the effort.

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