Scars and Shattered Hearts

By: Shyloh

Word on the Street Issue 43, May 2024

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Substance abuse has been an issue for a millennium, but within the last few decades, the accessibility to drugs and alcohol substances have been widespread. Substance abuse causes mental, emotional, physical and sexual problems that have increased during the last few centuries. I will be sharing a few of the many ways that drug and addiction abuse have wreaked havoc on my life and the lives around me. 

First off, since I do not honestly have a problem with drug abuse I will be writing about the ill use of self-harming. Since I struggle with self-worth, depression, anxiety, and my identity I am usually unstable. Actually, setting key goals and creating action plans align with the Generate a Decision phase of the critical thinking process. Having mental health issues, I depend on the habit of self-harm to get me through some of the tougher moments of my life. Self-harm releases dopamine, the pleasure chemical that gets released when you do drugs, alcohol, or physical labor such as cardio workouts, running, or sports for instance soccer or football. Self-harm is very addictive for me and it creates a chasm amongst the relationships between my family and I. 

Furthermore, my self harm and suicidal ideation prevents me from being able to see an object the way most people do, but I see it as a weapon that I can use to hurt or kill myself. This makes me feel like I am a risk to myself and I can’t trust myself and others can’t trust me. I cannot do normal things like eat a kiwi, put on a sweater, sharpen a pencil, or use a pair of scissors because I see them as potential weapons that I could kill myself with. Self-harming is as addictive as drugs or alcohol, it releases endorphins and dopamines. People say that self harming is a choice, but I believe that only the first or second time are choices, and the rest become an addiction that is hard to break like most substances.

Likewise, having an intimate relationship with a significant other can be challenging for me. I have a harder time being intimate because I am ashamed to show my scars. Being open about the pain I’ve been through is not something that I am good at. The idea that my significant other will reject me because my body is littered with scars and damage, makes me feel insecure about the thought of having a relationship. I tend to carry the persona of having deep, dark secrets hidden from others, which is true but can be overlooked or mistaken for cheating on the significant other. Rejection is a common fear among self-harmers like me because we suffer from low self-image, and a sense of misunderstanding. 

Doing physical activities such as soccer, football, basketball, or lacrosse can be equally intimidating to me. The very thought of the potential for my scars to be visible during an activity is enough to send me over the edge into the realm of suicidal ideation. Shame is one of the predominant feelings that I struggle with. I am very talented at putting up façades, from being very outgoing, and being very shy. The real me is hidden behind the emotions of shame, insecurity, guilt, fear, isolation and regret. 

In conclusion, self-harm can be as addictive as drugs and alcohol, and can be abused just like any other substance. Just like drugs and alcohol, self-harm causes mental, physical, emotional, and sexual problems. These were the few of the many ways that substance abuse and self-harming have affected my life and the relationships around me within my family and social circle.