I wanted to write something about this for yesterday, but something about it felt so absurdly fragile on the run up to it, and so I decided to leave off writing it until it was tangible - until it was something solid, over and done with. Yesterday, though, I was a year clean of self harm. One year clean to eleven years self harming, and this year someone feels like it's been longer than all eleven of the ones that came beforehand. After feeling as though self harm would be something that would plague my life forever - this year seems like something that would never happen, this feels entirely strange, and new, and almost unreal.
Self harm is without a doubt the hardest thing that I've ever had to kick - there are nights that I lie awake feeling like my skin is itching under the surface, there are days I think that the only thing that could take the edge off is the habit that ruined my life for years beforehand. It's felt impossible at times, and I find myself angry at the world in a way that I never used to be when the habit was dulling me down. I find that I feel like I'm a completely different person now; and some of this is a bad thing, but most of this is such a good thing.
In the same way that I feel angry to a more intense level, I feel happy to a more intense level, joyful. I laugh at jokes now, I have bare arms, new tattoos where there used to just be layers of scars. I'm a completely different person to the girl that I was this time last year; scared, dishonest, constantly feeling unworthy of the life that was being offered to me. It's taken a year to get here, and it's also taken so much more than a year to get here. It's taken more fluoxetine tablets than I care to count, a thousand and two long sleeved jumpers, ruined pyjamas and bedsheets and so many plasters shoved in my bag.
I am now a grown woman, a grown woman who will always have a self harm addiction - whether I like to admit it or not. Addictions are hard to kick - and when hard times roll, I'll always think about how easy it could be to right my feelings, to set the timer back to 0 and calibrate myself to that person that I was before. For now though, I'm a year clean - and I'm holding on, letting the habit go, managing, living, surviving. For now, I'm clean.