The Spiritual Side of Self Harm
This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, but I didn't decide to start teaching and writing about Tantra and meditation because I have it all figured out. Though I do honestly believe that my (and everyone else's) spirit has everything sorted out. My soul understands all teachings, but my material self is a terrible translator sometimes, in words and in actions.
Today, I find myself reflecting on self-harm, one of the toughest spiritual themes in my life. I believe my mom attempted to take her own life 22 times before she finally succeeded on July 6, 2010. Both my parents' pain came from abuse and over their lives they developed self destructive behaviors that trickled their way down to me. I learned how to cut myself in middle school when my mom came home from an suicide attempt and showed me the wound on her wrist. This taught me that no matter how painful and intense my inside world became, there was always a to let some of it out.
This began years of “letting it out”... at home, at school, at work, anywhere I could find a private moment. Each overwhelming sensation of sadness, pain, embarrassment, or disappointment would inspire a new scar on my forearms. My family, being in as much pain as myself, didn't know what to do and I struggled to find the right answers in traditional psychotherapy.
After many failed attempts at connecting with a therapist, I started realizing that my spirit was frustrated at my refusal to listen to my own inner wisdom. Oh, I heard it! In my dark moments I could hear my wiser side in the background, “No, don't cut there, you can't hide it.” or “Not too deep, please!!”. This inner sage encouraged me to reach out to people around me and not to give completely into the darkness that was consuming my body.
Getting Creative with Treatment
This may be controversial to many, but that inner sage became stronger when I connected with the spirits of psychotropic mushrooms and LSD. I don't recommend this to everyone, especially if you don't have safe people or a safe place to enter into such a ritual, but there has been evidence of this benefit for decades.
Something about experiencing the loosened reality of LSD helped to take away the power of daily minutia that would previously have cornered me into cutting. The opinions of people around me became less important than my own inner compass. My family's pain was their own and I became more focused on what could to heal myself. Being perfect in school, which I never was, became less important than filling myself with knowledge that made me feel passionate.
It was this awakening of passion in my life that has helped me to avoid my lowest valleys and to distract me when I dive down anyway. Meditation taught me how to be still while my emotions and those of others swirled around me. Tantric practice taught me how to work with my own orgasm to bring the light of my spirit more fully into my heart, even though when I first practiced I didn't really consider it a treatment for depression. It just felt good to tap into this bright place of safety and pleasure. The more I worked to show this to other people, the more lasting the lightness was in my own body.
Today there are a lot more resources for those who understand and feel this painful urge to self destruct. Most professionals no longer assume that you are simply trying to end your life, instead offering more productive advice than just, “Don't do it!!” One of the leading websites for those who self-harm and their families is Life Signs. To those who are in the moment of extreme pain, they even suggest masturbation, noting that,”"Self-injury is a serious matter, and if people are looking for something else to do when they're feeling tense and triggered, then we need to be open-minded."
I am excited that this well respected group is willing to admit and discuss the benefits of using one's sexuality to help heal a body and mind in distress. Of course, seeing as we live in an age when sexual addition is the fastest growing of all, there are issues to be aware of with this self healing technique. I recommend reading Life Sign's full article on the subject for more information. From my own experience I have learned to listen to my inner wisdom more. The soul can gently guide us away from destructive behavior if we can get past our stubbornness and listen to it.
Do you have a story you want to share? I'm happy to listen. Comment or contact me to be heard :)