February has always been an “in between” kind of month for me. As a student it was always the time of year when assignments started to pick up and midterms arrived. But this year February is a month of milestones.
February 17th, 2016 marks the one year anniversary of the last time that I engaged in self-harm. One whole year has gone by since the last time I used a razor blade to ease my pain. 365 days. Words cannot even begin to explain how huge this accomplishments is for me. Self-harm is an addiction; to go a full year without giving in to the urges is incredible. As much as I had hoped that the urges would have stopped by now, this is not the case. And while I’m a bit hard on myself sometimes for still having these urges, I am proud of the fact that I’ve come so far.
In addition to this, February 3rd, 2016 marked the one year anniversary of the appointment that I had with my parents and my psychologist to tell my parents the truth about my childhood experiences. For so long I had protected them from the reality of my childhood. I didn’t want to shatter the image that they had of a family that could be whole despite the dysfunctional relationships and fighting. For so long they thought that I hated my abuser simply because he caused a lot of tension and fighting among my family. They never would have imagined that he was in fact an abuser as well as an instigator of conflict.
As if this wasn’t huge enough, I also disclosed that I had been suffering from an eating disorder and cutting myself to deal with my anxiety, panic attacks, and trauma symptoms. Needless to say, my parents were shocked. Their straight-A’s, happy, hard-working daughter was not as happy as they thought and certainly not as stable as they had imagined. While this appointment with my parents did not make it as easy for me to be open with them as I had hoped, I have absolutely no regrets about my decision to tell them about what I had been going through. My hope is that one day I will not feel compelled to hide everything about myself that is anything less than perfect.
Looking back, I tend to criticize myself for the things that I have not make progress in rather than seeing how far I have come in other aspects of my life. The one year anniversaries of these milestones is a reminder that I need to give myself credit for everything that I have overcome and everything that I continue to successfully fight through every single day.
For those of you who are struggling right now as well, stay strong. You can get through this. I know you can.