Relapse (TW: self-harm)

After almost 800 days, I’ve relapsed yesterday. None of my skills worked and the feeling of imploding soon wouldn’t go away. What hurts me the most isn’t even the relapse itself, but the fact that it helped. It helped to relief the feeling of pressure and chaos I had on the inside. I keep on thinking about how I know better and that there are other ways to get rid of these feelings, so why did I do this? I know my progress isn’t lost, I know I’ve come very far and dealt with emotional turmoil without harming myself, but I still feel so angry and disappointed in myself.

Everything has just been too much lately. Coming down from a travel high, my dad’s 15th passing anniversary, my birthday and Christmas coming up… I hate these months of the year so much, because every time I get overwhelmed and it’s hard to cope through it all in a healthy way.

I’m scared that I’ll do it again. I’m scared that my brain will make me remember the feeling of relief and makes me crave it again. I can’t talk about this even with my best friend, because she doesn’t truly understand. So even if she means well, in the end she can’t say more than “try to utilize your skills”.

Why can’t I just have a carefree life for once? I just wanna be content…


It may have been the “perfect storm” of circumstances that triggered your relapse. It means that you have overcome every other circumstance in your life, except for this one, for which you were not prepared. Having experienced the relapse, and the circumstances that led to it, if the circumstances were to reoccur, it’s far less likely that you would relapse.

Did the self-harm provide relief, or distraction? Yes, distraction feels like it provides relief, yet it does nothing to change your relationship to the circumstances that led to the relapse.

During the past 800 days, how often were you afraid of relapse? I suspect that you spent much of your time not even thinking about it. Fear isn’t much of a deterrent from relapse. Fear and anxiety are more likely to exacerbate the craving.

To say “try to utilize your skills,” is a suggestion to try again what didn’t work. Your skills are useful, but it sounds as though you need another tool or understanding that can help you manage the circumstances that you presently face.

You might be able to get your best friend to understand a bit more, or perhaps quite a bit more, but what do you think would happen if you explain to her that what you really need is for her to simply listen and care. The ability to do that is a skill that everyone needs to learn.

You seem to understand that there are better ways to get rid of the feelings that trigger cravings, but perhaps this particular time, the feelings manifested too quickly for you to engage one of the “better ways.”

Lighten your load, even if others nag you about it. Decide what you can do without feeling overloaded or overwhelmed, then don’t try to do anymore than that. This time of year is bringing up troubling memories for you, and it sounds like you are at the stage of grief that comes before acceptance. It’s possible, that spending some time sitting quietly with those memories, and allowing those feelings to pass through, can help you to find peace giving acceptance.

Because the world demands that we care about stuff that we would really rather not. We need to pick convenient times in which we can temporarily let go of that burden, and spend that time in whatever pursuit helps us feel content. You can’t feel content all the time, but sometimes you can.

There may not be anyone around you that you can talk to about this, but we’re here, and maybe it will help if you talk to us.

By the way, welcome to Heart Support. Thanks for being here with the courage to share your feelings. Wings



It’s good you know that you haven’t lost that progress. Those reminders are hard. Those occasions where memories come up and settle themselves, and the hurt feels raw all over again.
I know that your friend may not understand exactly what’s going on or how you’re feeling, but I am glad they are there for you and you’ve been talking to them. It’s frustrating to have to be the one to have to take the steps to heal because it doesn’t seem fair to have to do all the work when you’re the one who is hurt, but there are days that will feel like it’s so worth it. It’s okay if there are moments and days where it’s messed up and you don’t feel okay. You can’t be expected to hold it all together all the time, so even if your friend may not fully understand, lean on them to support you, even if it’s for a healthy distraction.


Servus upthathill,
welcome to Heart Support and thank you for sharing and reaching out to us.
don’t be to hard on yourself, you had 800 days free. you can do that again and you will do better next time.
feeling overwhelmed when so much in you is working is totally normal. i think most of us can relate.
i can and for me it is a challenge everytime. take is slowly and reach out, speak it out everytime when you
need it. explain your situation and take care of yourself.
maybe you can try to make your situation a bit more understandable.
is there a carefree life? i dont think so. but be aware that there are people who care, who love you and
who want to help you. when you let them. you are worth.
you matter and deserve everything good in this life, feel hugged and Greetings

1 Like


Hi Friend, Welcome to Heart Support! 800 days! Wow, that’s incredible and you’re right, your progress isn’t lost. I’m glad you recognize that. I self-harmed for a long time and I can tell you that self-harming doesn’t actually “help” you because now you have a whole new problem to deal with. Self-harming is only a distraction that just leaves you with a scar and shame. That’s it. I will share with you one coping skill I learned in therapy called Urge Surfing, it teaches you to not ignore the urge, but to ride it out until it subsides, using mindfulness meditation. It’s helped me a lot. I hope you know that you are seen and loved here. Please continue to reach out here for support. ~Mystrose


From: eloquentpetrichor

Hello, upthathill! Welcome to HeartSupport and thank you so much for sharing this with us :hrtlegolove:

I’m really glad that you do not see this setback as you having lost all of your progress. So often people will look only at what they see as failure and not at all of their progress and it is wonderful and heartwarming that you see your accomplishments even while at a low. And nearly 800 days is an amazing achievement.

Honestly does anyone have a carefree life filled with contentment? I feel like only children are blessed with that ability. Once you are old enough to see life that just isn’t possible anymore. Everyone has things they worry about and think about. That’s what life is but that doesn’t mean we cannot enjoy the little things and celebrate our accomplishments like you do every day you do not relapse and every day you don’t even think about it.

You are doing amazing! Keep it up! And please share here anytime :hrtlegolove:

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From: Lisalovesfeathers

Hi Friend welcome to HeartSupport and thank you for posting here. Wow almost 800 days, that is amazing congratulations. Yesterday sounds like a really tough day and I am so sorry that, that happened. Sometimes it doesnt matter how hard we try things just get too hard to cope with and the pressure builds as you said. If you didnt have another outlet for that it must have been virtually impossible to deal with. I get that you put off talking to your friend because of the possible lack of understanding but sometimes a good friend just needs to hear you and be there, sometimes they dont actually need to say anything at all. I dont know what your options are with reaching out but if this contiues maybe go and see your doctor and see what they suggest. I have just done that myself with regards to increasing my meds. its worth a try to see if they can help with anything. You can also post here as much as you like, we are here for you always. Much Love Lisa. x

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Oh wow. First of all thank you everyone for your replies and kind words. I honestly feel a little bit overwhelmed, as I’m not used to people truly caring (aside from my best friend) or encouraging me. Really, thank you so much. It means a lot :purple_heart:

That is true. Most of the time I did not really think about relapse. I had moments when I was afraid of doing it, but ended up getting through the situation. Thank you for reminding me of that. I guess sometimes it’s easy to forget these things.

Thank you for saying that. I need to remind myself of this more often and cut myself some slack.

I’ll look into it and definitely give it a try. Thank you!

I think I’m also afraid of disappointing her. She is like an older sister to me, the only true family (even if we’re not blood-related) I have. My ride or die basically. In these moments I also feel like I don’t want to put my burdens onto her, especially right now. She hasn’t had the easiest time either and is still recovering from loss she has experienced. I feel more obligated to help her than have her deal with my struggles, if that makes sense. But I’ll try to gather up some courage and talk to her about my relapse in the next few days.

I do have a psychiatrist and also a great GP. If it happens to turn into a frequent thing again, I will definitely reach out to either of them.

Again, thank you everyone. I’ve been feeling a bit better since it happened and your words contributed to that as well. Also thank you for the warm welcome into the community. :purple_heart: