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Naturally, every victim of verbal abuse has their unique story. While some circumstances may be similar, each person's healing journey will take its own path and timeline. For myself, it took many years before I was ready to face my past and deal with it to begin healing. As I continue my journey, I have met and spent time with many other survivors, all who were at different phases of their healing. 
Self-harm fanfiction can be a tool for healing or a harmful trigger. It all depends on the writer's intent and the reader's discretion.
Living alone has either been the best thing for me or the worst, and it fluctuates often. As an adult living with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), it's easy to stray from the task at hand or spend a whole day doing nothing.
I recently realized there is a safety to wanting nothing. In spite of the fact that wanting nothing in and of itself is horrible, that safety can actually feel comfortable -- especially after a long time.
Receiving words of affirmation does not come naturally to me. My instinctive reflex is to feel uncomfortable whenever someone compliments me—even if the person doling out this kindness is a family member, close friend, or my partner. I automatically want to minimize the compliment, so as to deflect attention as far from myself as possible. But as I continue to live out the process of eating disorder recovery, learning to receive affirmation feels like the next step in my healing.
I have aphantasia, neurodiversity (a different way of thinking), whereby I am unable to visualize. Most of you reading this now can easily imagine a sunset, a calm lake, or fluffy white clouds against a crisp, blue sky. I simply cannot conjure images. Having a blind imagination, as it's sometimes called, used to trigger my anxiety insomuch as my inability to visualize used to cause frustration, anger, confusion, shame, and a feeling of failure.
During my mental health journey, I have experienced the harmful effects of stigma with regard to learning disabilities and mental illness. In school, students bullied me for being the last person to finish tests. Therefore, I thought I was stupid. The stigma placed upon me by my classmates led me to shame (or stigmatize) myself. Thankfully, I have gained many strategies to stop self-stigma from controlling my life. Here are five techniques I use to stop self-stigma.
"Wow, you look so pretty in that dress." -- Compliments like these are hard to accept when you have anxiety. 
Around this time last year, I decided to cancel my gym membership and practice yoga at home to support my binge eating disorder (BED) recovery. I wanted to try a new way of exercising that would help me lean into my recovery. I'd been experiencing a deep shift of motivation in my recovery, and I was encouraged by my counselor and my partner to try something new. I had a feeling I'd outgrown my gym routine, and I wanted to experience a new way to interact with my body. 
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that I’m someone who can become overwhelmed fairly easily. Sometimes, I think it developed in my adulthood, but maybe it’s just something I never noticed or had the words to identify as a child. Whatever the case, being overwhelmed negatively impacts my mental health, and I want to talk about it to address the stigma around it.

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Comments

Laura A. Barton
That totally makes sense. It's a feeling of needing to do all the things, but then becoming too overwhelmed by them in the process. I think I get like that sometimes, too.
Kim Berkley
Hi Lexie,

Thanks for your comment. First, I would urge your friend to consider coming out to her parents about her self-harm if that's at all possible—I know for many people, this can help alleviate an otherwise pretty heavy secret to bear. However, I do understand that in some cases, this may do more harm than good—I will have to leave that up to your friend's judgment.

If disclosure is not an option, could your friend perhaps try arm bands? I've seen some quite pretty ones made to be worn on your upper arm—looking for adjustable ones might help to ensure they fit well and don't slide down during the day. Many of the ones I've seen are plastic or metal, but elastic armbands are also possibly an option. Temporary tattoos or body art to cover the area might also work, depending on whether she can wear anything like that at all on her skin.

I hope that helps. If you have more questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to leave a comment here or elsewhere on the blog. I'll be reading.


Sincerely,
Kim
Kim Berkley
Hello,

Thank you for your comment. Know that it's not unusual to feel this way—I've seen many comments (since I started writing here) about fading scars triggering urges to self-harm again, even long after the recovery period has begun. I'm glad that you're trying to keep from going back to self-harming—and that you decided to reach out for some support in doing so.

Before I suggest anything, a reminder: I am not a therapist or mental health professional. I would strongly urge you to connect with one if you feel able to—I think that kind of dedicated support would help you not only with your current predicament, but any other complications that might arise during the healing process.

That being said, there are two things that I personally think are worth considering:

1) Do you think covering your scars completely would help, or make the urges worse? It's possible that if your eye isn't drawn to them in the first place, they might be less triggering for you. If you're not already doing so, be sure to take good care of the skin in that area and think about whether wearing simple coverup makeup, super-lightweight tights/leggings, or even just slightly longer shorts (depending on where your scars are) might help reduce the effect your scars are having on you. If you try this, keep tabs on how you're feeling—if it makes your urges worse in any way, stop right away.

2) The other, more sustainable option (in fact, I would urge you to consider this even if you also try covering them up) is to work on managing your stress and managing your response to this trigger. Since you can't completely avoid your scars (or the fact that they've faded), the main thing is to work through your feelings about this and find ways to cope when the urges come on. I've written a few articles about this, hopefully you will find something useful in them:

https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/2/using-self-harm-urge-surfing-for-recovery
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/10/emotional-regulation-and-self-harm-recovery
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/5/alternatives-to-using-self-harm-to-regulate-emotions
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/3/self-harm-recovery-coping-skills-to-help-you-heal


I hope that helps. Feel free to reply here or comment elsewhere on the blog if you have more questions, concerns, etc. Take care.


Sincerely,
Kim
Analise A.
I'm in the same kind of situation but with just one 23 mo old child. My abuser has been gaslighting me to the cops and everyone else he talks to. He even messaged me last night in the middle of the night telling me everyone will agree that I was the one manipulating HIM! Saying things about the Bible and God when he isn't at all religious, just trying to sound holier-than-thou to try and make me look bad. He knows I have severe anxiety and ocd and so when he took his stuff out of my apartment (luckily I was smart enough not to put him on the lease) he took my mattress, all the fans(we don't have central air) along with a bunch of our groceries and is holding my ebt card captive and just spent nearly $500 of it,blaming it on his brother and left the place an absolute mess. I have blocked his number and soci media but am scared to even leave because we live in a small town and I am bound to run into him at some point. He isolated me so completely that I no longer have any kind of support system left and even the amazing guy I have been lucky enough to find I keep at arm's length , afraid to feel for another and be hurt again.
Sarah
When I get overwhelmed, I overwork myself feeling like it will help... But it doesn't. I think feeling overwhelmed causes this sense of urgency to accomplish the neverending list of things and puts your own mental health second to everything else.