We falter, but we do not fail.
Faltering is OK, it’s a normal step along any road of discovery. Some would say that faltering in life is necessary, as one learns more from what doesn’t work than from what does work. Think about all the discoveries and inventions across the world and history.
At LifeSIGNS, we talk about recovery as a journey, not a destination. We don’t know what it means to be ‘recovered’ because such a bold statement is personal to each individual. We don’t talk about ‘stopping self-injury’, we talk about ‘moving away from self-injury’ as we learn new and different ways to cope.
Some people are rightly proud of being ‘clean’ from SI for a period of days, weeks or months, some people count the days. When a person falters, when life throws a curveball, it can feel soul-destroying to return to self-injury. Days later, you can still be despairing over having relapsed into past habits.
But, really, this is all about mental health, health and happiness, and only related to self-injury. Life doesn’t go smoothly in one direction, and neither does the recovery road.
If you’re counting the days, or if you’ve made such progress that you can’t exactly remember the last time you resorted to SI, and then you end up hurting youself in some way, you haven’t failed. You’ve faltered, and that’s normal - we are human, and we often return to our past before stepping into our future. We call this a glitch, and we tell people to keep on counting. Don’t stop, don’t break the chain, just keep swimming! Don’t break your count, it’s just a glitch, it doesn’t have to be marked on the calendar.
If you’re counting the days, don’t count this glitch, just keep counting; a journey of a thousand miles is not made on foot in one day.
If you feel your mental health has relapsed or is relapsing then don’t hestitate to activate your personal care regime and seek the help and support you need and deserve. Get a little extra support as early as possible - ward off a more serious breakdown, or if you worry that a breakdown or long-term ill-health is coming, let your support network know and seek the extra support you need.
When it comes to self-injury, be gentle with yourself. No harsh self-judgement, just self-care.
You might like to listen to Wedge talking about relapses and glitches.