Slipping Up



Slipping up is as much a part of giving up, or beating SI, as that first decision to quit. A great deal of it is about frame of mind, followed up by mental strength...

One reason why RYL doesn't ever pressure anyone into making that leap into quitting is because it can't just be 'done' - it is in fact a big moment, which can be made easy or impossible and everywhere in between, depending on the person's frame of mind.

For most people, that desperate, 'had enough' quitting promise; the feeling of being utterly sick of it, will lead to slip-ups. Not because the person is weak - but because the person was not wholly ready within themselves to quit.

The first and most major thing to remember while giving up self harm is that it is used by you as a coping mechanism. One day deciding to go cold turkey - to rid yourself of something you hate - is all well and good, but without the backup of new ways of coping, new leaves turned on such fronts as communication, expression and mental self-balance, you're doomed for one hell of a ride of craving, self hate, slips-ups and guilt; often leaving you worse than before; unable to stop, no confidence in your inner strength and utterly broken...

Slip-ups are nothing more than a performance check - if recognised as such, they are not any reason to be ashamed, guilty or annoyed. See them as nothing more than a tool... a reminder.

Say you are a teenager; chronically bad communicator who doesn't get on well with your parents because they dont 'get you', and with few close close friends - because hell, they don't understand you. You feel alone and misunderstood, and unsure whether relying on just you is enough - hell knows you let yourself down in the past... You cut, few people if anyone knows; yet so many people overlook it while you wear your 'everything's ok' mask, making you feel even more unable to cope and misunderstood...

Sound familiar?

If this situation continues, your SI will get worse, a sick cycle of guilt, self hate, teenage problems and self doubts ... stresses and pressures on you from many sides, larger than you've ever had before; and still, no outlet channel ... except that dark, dark secret of you hurting yourself ... You probably don't even know just why you do it, but it helps ... at least for a while...

One day you're thinking; you're sick of this cycle; you want out. Since the after-effect of cutting is so often guilt and self hate, it's easy to see this as the devil that drags you down. The reason you're different; the reason you hate the way you look; the reason you're not who you want to be...

So, one night; thats it - you quit.

After the first habit-based times are beaten, which was surprisingly easy, a couple of days pass - everything is ok... not much has changed - but the guilt is less; you feel almost better within yourself because so far so good...

Then comes that sucky day of the week we all get. Someone says something that hits a nerve. Your teacher has a go when you didnt deserve it - something, anything, causes your day to not go as well as yesterday - whats your very first reaction? To hurt yourself...

But you can't - you promised - and so starts the cycle of intense craving, guilt at even wanting to, and the self-dislike that comes with it...

Your life/problems/worries and strains stay the same, but that old ex-friend who you now realise you came to rely on too much isn't there ... no short term release; no way out.

It's SO easy to lapse; promise yourself one more and then continue; but it's not a crime - it's not sick and it's not bad...

You've removed the one thing that helped. By now I hope you realise that self harm is actually not a very good way of dealing ... but in the short term it works well for those who use it, and there's no denying that. Without replacing it with a whole lot of other leaves turned over at the same time, this cycle of slipping is a very hard (but not impossible) obstacle.

So don't make it so hard. Realise every time you want to cut that its an alarm bell telling you that you're in need - in need of an outlet; a pressure release. SI is one way of doing that, but there are many, many others - and with practice you can learn to use other, much better ways of dealing with things, that can make it all so so much easier... and really giving you a decent shot at not just never SI'ing again, but never needing to...

And thats the key; stop trying to not SI, and start not needing to. It is easier to say than to do, I know; but it's far from impossible. Therapy can help some people, distractions can help others, but teaching yourself mental balance is probably the best - it's the method I use to cope, and I have had more than enough tough times, I can promise you.

It's about self respect, communication where it matters, pressure release in healthy channels when it's needed; it's about taking care of your body, eating well and drinking plenty (water!); its about having something long-term you're committed to; something you love near you all the time; and things you love, you miss. It's about realising that you are the commander of yourself; and you have the control to either physically or metaphorically, push the right buttons and levers to achieve that mental balance. And it's about having the presence of mind to realise there are ups and downs, highs and lows - all you can do is sit back and ride it; get on with what you want to do while pushing those buttons when needed to make that ride that bit more comfortable. It's about passion and self belief; and more than anything, it's realising that none of the above comes easily or without effort, and perfection in any area is rarely achieved - and that that doesn't matter one bit...

Slip ups are easy, but dont see them as the end, or anything close; they are part of the process, in a greater or lesser degree, and they are far from being a ladder back to square one.


Harley Molesworth


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