Unfortunately, in middle school I started to self harm because of some very difficult times I was going through (terrible self esteem, bullying which had lasted for years, feeling very lonely etc.) I was able to stop for an entire three years which I was proud of and wanted to keep up but this April I relapsed. Since then I've been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and gone on meds which is helping but things are still really tough. I relapsed again recently and now I feel like I'm back at square one. It's so difficult to forgive myself for slipping up. I'm determined to get better but I need some advice on how to get through this and start again. Thank you.
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I'm so sorry for the delay! My mental health has been suffering lately. Thank you so much for your patience!
Paige "Jude" Gilmar
Thank you for reaching out to Asking Jude. You are by no means back at square one. I’m so proud of you for all of the progress you made and how far you’ve come. You sought help when you needed it and that is a lot of progress on its own. Relapsing is not a failure, it is not the end, it happens. You have gotten through this before and you will get through it again. I’m touched by your determination and courage to get better. I suggest you practice self-love by rewarding yourself by visiting places you enjoy, hanging out with people who make you feel good, repeating positive affirmations, and journaling.
Loving yourself is not a simple task, so you are going to need to work on practicing activities that reinforce self-love. (This is a great list of actions to take to learn self-love: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/get-hardy/201203/seven-step-prescription-self-love). One of the first steps on many lists about self-love is mindfulness. In terms of self-love, mindfulness can manifest in the form of befriending yourself. Like a good friend, practice listening to your feelings, paying attention to activities that make you happy, and learning what your values are and what makes you you. Treating yourself like a close friend will help you learn to enjoy your own company and love the person you are. Start by practicing these habits and eventually it will become second nature to feel comfortable with yourself.
I also suggest trying out positive affirmations and journaling. Positive affirmations include repeating to ourselves loving statements every day. Try statements like, “I am worth it,” “I am beautiful and strong,” or “I love myself.” It may feel silly at first and you may have a hard time believing the things you’re saying. Over time, the statements will become more and more believable. Everyone experiences their thoughts through their own filters. If you're having self-deprecating thoughts, you need to stop them at the source and correct them as soon as they happen. Over time, your brain will adapt to this new lens of thinking. I also suggest you try journaling or any other outlet that allows you to explore your thoughts. Journaling is useful since you can better understand yourself, your morals, and your thought process. This will help with self-love as it will manifest a closer bond with yourself.
Progress isn't linear, and you’ve probably already learned that. Relapsing does not equate to a loss of self-respect. You are still the strong, respectable person that you were and always will be. The determination you have to get back up shows your dedication to yourself and the people who care about you. I think that's something to really respect yourself for.
To aid in your recovery find a strong support system for yourself during this time. You should reach out to trustworthy friends, guardians, and licensed professionals. Create a support system that will help you look out for yourself on your road to recovery. You are never alone.
Here are some resources for you to check out about self-love:
Here are some resources about relapse:
Your journey is far from over. I hope you learn to love and forgive yourself.
Hey there, love! I relayed your submission to Max. They'll be answering it soon!