Hey, Lingering Wind. Sheena directed me here, as she knows my heart goes out to stories such as yours.
I first want to express how much I ache for you. You're not alone; I also struggle with self-harm.
I've got a history of suicide attempts, hospitalizations, and diagnoses that span nearly a decade. It was only in the last 2 years or so that I've even started getting answers...just know you're not alone... More of my story can be read in my Mental Health Report thread - which is long, but I would hope is proof to the encouragement and prayer warriors that exist here.
I know it's really easy to walk away from people (ESPECIALLY church people) when things like this are happening. I had a discussion recently where we talked about mental health, stigma, and the church. I've been victim of the mentality of, "well if you just prayed more...if you had more faith...you wouldn't be dealing with this!" it's an unfortunate reality that my chronic illness gets blamed for my apparent 'lack of faith'...
and I know I'm not alone in that.
For that I want to say: don't give up on the church people. My husband and I found a church that understands. Many people are struggling. One couple, part of the leadership team, deal with very bad illnesses themselves; his wife and I were talking about this once and said she'd dealt with the stigma, too! It's not limited to mental illness. People just want to point fingers and say it's all our fault that we're born like this - with chemical imbalances and whatever else, and it doesn't work like that.
All this to say, allow yourself to be vulnerable. I'm not saying go out and proclaim on every street corner how you've been in psychiatric care or whatever, but pray God would put people in your life that you can work things out with. Someone safe can really make all the difference... Sheena mentioned Celebrate Recovery, and from talking with her and others I know it's a good start. Even if it's not feasible right now, keep it as a tucked away resource to think about.
God works in our weaknesses, for He is our strength, and His grace is sufficient. He has allowed me the opportunity to minister to others and comfort those in need that I wouldn't have otherwise had because
I struggle with self-injury, have Bipolar Disorder, etc. I firmly believe He can use things like this to build the Kingdom and be glorified. We may not understand it, or even understand why, but He chooses to work in such mysterious ways sometimes.
I also want to share one of the most valuable resources I've picked up, the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook.
DBT is especially helpful in working to correct and redirect one's thoughts when it comes to self-injury and other maladaptive behaviors.
Anyhow, I've probably rambled on enough here. As Sheena said, know that you are loved. And as we've both said, you're not alone. I may not be on often, but you can feel free to PM me whenever! My husband and I will be praying for you!