My name is Leo, and I relapsed

I am 17 and I struggle with Self Harm

I no longer self harm, at least not consciously, but sometimes I think I still might.
But today I found myself scratching (kinda, I explain more later) for the first time in a while again. Honestly it was a bit scary. I have been only working on stopping for less than a year, but with all of the help of my girlfriend I have been able to stop and even stop the urges. I think.
Honestly the thing that helped me most was just thinking of her and think of how she would not want me to hurt myself, which might not sound good, but it worked. Knowing it hurt her when I did it made me not want to do it, because I don't ever want to hurt her in any way. Thinking about how she doesn't want me to do it also made me think about if I deserve it and eventually made me realize I don't.
But today, I got a bit of a scare. Actually, I kinda panicked after, but I don't feel like it should be a big deal, except I know that it makes sense that it is. I don't even know if I make sense, but I am just letting out my thoughts right now.
The point is that I got an "itch" on my arm and started scratching. But there was no cause for my itch, I just really wanted to scratch, and I looked down and saw my scratches from my cats (accidental ones) and just REALLY wanted to continue and make more and . . . well, I did, only a bit, like a couple seconds, but still…
I have been really stressed lately, as I am trying to get into college (my top school being UChicago), so my anxiety has been higher by … a lot. And I think going to see another college just kind of… set me off.
I ended up panicking because I thought that I was 3 months clean and I didn't want to fall back in again. I thought that I was doing so well, but ugh, I did it again. I just want this to stop and I really don't want to relapse. I immediately thought about my girlfriend which got me to stop and then I quietly talked myself down (in my head), so it didn't go on. But UGH I am just soooooooo frustrated at this point. I just want it to stop! I am not going to give up, but it is really disheartening to see how easily I relapse… I just don't need this to be looming over my head… again.
I just wanted to tell my story so maybe someone else relapsing doesn't feel so alone.

If you enjoyed Leo’s story, send a bit of encouragement in the comments section below or share this story with others.


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  1. *trigger warning: suicide and self harm mentioned*
    Looking back it is interesting to see how things change. When I was 15, I was struggling a lot with suicide, then with 16 it was mainly stopping self harm for the first time, and now at 17 I am trying not to relapse. Maybe with 18 I will be normal? That’d be nice. . . but I don’t think that’ll happen. In any case, I am glad that I am getting better so quickly!!!!!

  2. Also, this is not the first time I had thoughts recently, it is just the first time where I have actually done it again. I know this isn’t full relapse, but it did make me realize that I am slipping back in, which is scary.

  3. Leo, it is good to see that you recognize your symptoms and deal with them in a good manner. You are so blessed to have such a supportive and loving girlfriend. Having other positive things in your life will also help with your mind set and keep you more occupied. Therefore, not giving you time to dwell on your situation. Adding exercise and God into your daily routine will help a lot. Keep your positive mind set and keep looking forward. Wish you the best at UChicago. JP

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