I thought it was a day like any other day at school, but it wasn’t. That day I discovered a new way of dealing with my feelings – the wrong way. My friend and I were on our way to the restroom, as we opened the door we got hit by a heavy smell of alcohol. Weird, we thought. There was no one else there apart from us. We went inside and noticed a blood-stained piece of toilet paper lying on the floor just outside one of the cubicles. But we didn’t give it much thought because we knew that older girls got something called a period. As I couldn’t stand the smell anymore I told my friend I’d go to the other restroom down the corridor. A few minutes later I found myself looking into my friend’s panicked face, hysterically crying in front of me, almost hyperventilating and I had no idea why. Then she told me what she’d seen. A girl. She was lying on the floor, unconscious. There was a broken bottle of alcohol. And blood. It was running down her arm. She had used a piece of glass to cut her wrist. We immediately called for help. I remember the paramedics taking her out on an ambulance bed and then being rushed to the school nurse. She told us something about self-harm. What? I didn’t understand. How could someone do that to themselves? Why? I was only 10.
About 6 years later I had become that girl in the toilet. I never thought I’d reach that level of despair. But the depression and anxiety caused by my eating disorders, lead me back to that same restroom, this time with a razor blade in my hand. It was the safest place for me to let it all out, even though I was letting it out on myself. It was the place where I could hide for a moment from the world outside, hide my ugliness, my unworthiness, my nothingness and my tears. It was like a cry for help, in an empty room.
What started as an occasional way of releasing all the feelings I forced myself to lock up inside of me, turned into an addiction. From once in a while, to several times a day, I was worth that pain I inflicted upon myself because I thought of myself as the most horrible person, never enough for anyone or anything. The more I tried to be perfect, the more unworthy, hopeless and ugly I felt. I couldn’t take it anymore. I was trapped in the misery of my eating disorders and cutting became my temporary fix. For a moment I’d feel release. Focusing on the physical pain and blood running down my wrist gave me a break from the voices screaming in my head. The release turned into a high which I immediately became addicted to. It gave me a break, but not a lasting peace. The more I cut myself the more I felt like I wanted to and had to. Eventually I realized I’d lost control, but it was already too late: I was trapped.
I’ve struggled with this addiction for a long time and am still doing so up to this very day. There is no quick fix to self-harm, as for any other addiction. Still, the temptations and the memory of that high I’d get from cutting are somehow imprinted in my brain. Even though I’ve found ways to cope with it and stay sober, the temptations won’t disappear. There are days I want to pretend I’m not that girl because it’s easier. Being on your guard all the time is tiring but I know that not facing this battle will ruin my life forever.
It might sound terrible, but there’s something greater than that. Someone greater than my addiction. THERE IS HOPE and I found that hope the day I met Jesus. He taught me that I’m an awesome daughter of God and a princess. He taught me about the Father’s unending love for me, His mercy and saving grace. I’m blessed beyond measure because I know, not only in my head but in my heart, that I’m made for greatness, and not for misery. That I’m made to live, and not only to survive. It’s by His grace that I’m not giving in to despair and keep fighting this and it is by His grace that I will conquer this and bring Him glory through it all, because one day I will show my scars so that others may know there is healing.
Please check out and like Chiara’s awesome Facebook page: Daughter’s of God. The mission of her page: To encourage women to become who God meant them to be so that they can set the world on fire for Him.
P.S. You are enough.